I’m convinced that another name for God is something! I literally could not sleep this morning, so many thoughts swirling around in my head, it was around 3am-ish and usually I just lay there and talk to God, thank him for the many blessings and also pray for those He has laid on my heart. This morning as I was thanking Him for saving me I realized THIS MONTH that it has been TEN YEARS!!! Yes I was not always the Ebony that you have come to know today. And I remember it like it was yesterday.
Everything seemed to be going so right in life. We had moved to Kansas City in January of 2007. All of our belongings fit into the smallest U-Haul available; a mattress, toddler bed and clothes and an old vehicle towed behind it. Jalen was 4, Ava was almost 2, I was almost 32. A lot of things happened in that first 10 months. Our car had broken down so I had to get a job so we could afford car payments. I got a temp job, we rented a car for a few months and then decided to take up the offers we kept hearing on the radio, “you have a job and bring home $250 a week you can get approved!” It never seemed that easy in Ohio. But it worked, I was able to get a newer year vehicle, the first I had ever owned and it seemed we were on our way! We finally had money left in between pay periods, I had a great job, Jeff had a great job, we finally had furniture, it seemed like we had it all! But SOMETHING was missing…
Marriage had gotten rough at the time as it sometimes can, especially without Christ, and I had had it up to here. I remember googling stuff and had come to the realization that one of my issues was not just your normal PMS but a self diagnosed extreme version called PMDD. I remember Jeff was getting it so bad that HE was the one that called the doctor and made me an appointment! So I went to an OBGYN and he prescribed birth control pills to get my hormones under control. I also decided to get some counseling to try to figure out why I was the way I was, it was free through my job so why not. It was 6 sessions and it felt good to get things off of my chest and hash out childhood but also during that time I had decided to go to the library to get some books on marriage, and I will never forget one of them, the title was “The Myth of the Submissive wife” so I probably thought it was going to tell me how that was not a thing or how that did not work! haha Though I don’t remember the specifics about that book or the others I had checked out, I do remember that they were all Christian, it was at that time that I had realized that I had everything but God! God used my hard time in marriage and life to bring me to himself (Gal 1:12). And I have not looked back since! I remember one Friday night soon after driving around hoping to see cars in a church lot but no such luck. I was so broken! I had begun watching/listening to Charles Stanley and ordered his CD offer that went over salvation. And though life at the time was still hard, there was this unexplainable peace that I had knowing that no matter what happened, I would be okay, that God would take care of me, and that was an amazing feeling!
Because of the work Jesus did on the cross God did an overhaul on my life!! And it was not overnight, I will always be a work in progress, but when I tell you that saying “I don’t look like what I’ve been through” is true! Just a small glimpse into my story and you would think I was making it up. Yes, I started going to a church, went home and still got high (marijuana, a ten+ year addiction) with Jeff, he has a journey of his own to hopefully tell one day (I Peter 3:1). And I remember how God released me from that as well, it was February of the next year, four months into my new journey, and I knew I could not stop smoking on my own no matter how hard I tried or what parameters I put on it; I won’t smoke in front of my kids, I’ll only do it at night so I can get to sleep, etc. but I could not do it on my own, so I prayed and asked God to take it from me and just like that I was done, cold turkey! I thought I would have to do it for life because I could not get to sleep without it but as I write this now that phrase “the lie of the enemy” is exactly what that was! I would still be around it for a short time after and never had the urge to partake. All thanks to God! The overhaul of my life was amazing, those that know the old me can attest, and that right there should tell you, old friends, that there is a God! I went from hard core rap to buying the edited versions of CDs to stop listening to rap altogether and then someone at my job gave me a “christian rap” CD and it was on from there!(There is a God!! hahahaha ;-))
I wanted to add some pics of the old me to this post but didn’t want to get “likes” as there is nothing to like about my old life. I was a dead woman walking. I could go on and on about the changes God has made in my life over these ten years but I don’t think either of us has the time for that! But one thing I do know is that there is such a difference from saying you are a believer and going through the motions to actually being one! As I write this I googled that book to try to conjure up a memory and saw the actually title was “The Myth of the Submissive CHRISTIAN Wife”. I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time when I picked that up but I can bet I thought I already was a Christian! I grew up going to church (I could write a book on that), was in a gospel choir in college, got baptized at my ex-boyfriend (who I was living with at the time) families church (went down a dry devil and came up a wet devil)! Went to church with my husband’s family, went to church on my own with my kids back in Ohio a few times, but NONE OF THAT actually made me a Christian. If I would have died prior to my conversion ten years ago I would have been going to hell! It saddens me how many are out there believing they are saved when they are really not. Because when God gets a hold of you your life WILL be transformed! You will not want to go around doing the old things you used to do. Like my current Pastor says – if you still are what you were then you ain’t! (think on that) I’m not sinless but I definitely sin less! I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20) It is impossible to continue giving yourself to unholy things if God lives inside of you!
This journey has been a long, eye opening one but after finally digging in the scriptures for myself and listening to SOLID bible teachers (crucial), I finally had that firm foundation that I had been missing all of those years. It would take almost seven more years after I got saved for me to find a solid, bible teaching church rooted in sound doctrine that would disciple me, mentor me, serve along side me, take me on missions, etc. Sadly, not all churches are created equal! Yeah, you may come out feeling good at the moment, or you may have shouted, danced, cried, and maybe you walked up to the altar and repeated the “sinner’s prayer” but none of those things necessarily translate into a transformed life – sugar coated preaching is dangerous to your soul (II Tim 4:3-4)! You see all the things I said I did above and I still wasn’t saved, remember, the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and there is such a thing as a false conversion, so I urge you to take a look at your life!! Please make sure you are in a church that teaches the inherent and infallible Word of God as Truth and not one that just tickles ears and makes you feel good. Look for a church that places great importance on teaching people the Bible, living godly lives, serving together as a family and sharing the good news of Christ with others where you live and around the world! Dont just live a sub-par christian life. I have definitely found that with my church Abundant Life and I am so sad to have to leave but with the model that they’ve laid out I have already found a similar assemblies in what will soon be our new city.
I look forward to this next chapter in my life, I am so grateful that Jeff and I are now raising a second generation of believers who will know Christ for themselves and will grow with the solid foundation already in place! It is so important that we continue this legacy of Truth with a capital T! I am so glad that God woke me very early this morning and laid it on my heart to write out my testimony!! I knew that it had been ten years this month and I knew I wanted to tell part of my story this year and God saw fit to make sure it happened!! I am telling you, God is so faithful!! I hope this blesses someone, encourages someone, challenges someone and most importantly saves someone!