I’ve never told anyone about how I really became a believer because it was a gradually instant experience. Makes no sense, but yet it does. So here goes ...
I wasn’t raised in nobody’s church. I went when my mama asked me & honestly I only remember going on Easter and Homecoming (sort of like of Family Reunion Day at the church of the elder members of the family). So yeah, I knew the basic drill, but the people freaked me out. Church people were and have always been a bit off their rocker to me for various and ridiculous reasons. I’ve been sent to Hell on many occasions for the silliest reasons (ie. not going to church, getting a tattoo, etc.). I don’t believe any of those things are inherently wrong so if you send me to Hell (in your mind) for these, I label you as foolish.
Anyway, back to the story.
I was baptized during my teenage years and it meant a LOT to me, but I didn’t really get my transformation until YEARS later. I read my bible, but I still wouldn’t get involved seriously in anybody’s church. I began to really study my bible during my last year of high school and that’s around the time things began to get awkward for me. It was like finding myself and not even realizing that I’d even been searching. I didn’t really get it though.
When I got to U of M, I felt the need to completely change, but I couldn’t embrace it fully due to my comfort within my insecurities. I knew my insecurities and I was fine with them. They kept me in my safe bubble - the quiet girl who just listens to everyone and rarely speaks. That was me & I was okay with it even if I was dying on the inside to free my voice. Those years were rough for me and nobody really knew the extent of it. I cried many nights without a soul in the know - or at least that’s what I thought. And then I hit a brick wall. I hit it and I hit it HARD!
My success and my belief in myself was grounded on some very simple things. I was smart - All A’s (maybe a couple B’s). I was financially on point. And I had family and gained “friends” wherever I went. This was my brick wall that came tumbling down after I hit it HARD! The first hit seemed real small to everyone else, but was a massive blow. I got a C in my Calculus class and CRIED. Yeah, I cried over something as simple as a grade. But what you don’t know is that that’s how I defined myself. My A’s made me feel special - I was somebody as long as I got A’s. That C rocked my world and the 1st bricks started tumbling down on top of me.
The 2nd hit came when I realized that that C cost me my scholarship. I had a job, but no way was I gonna be able to come up with 10K to make up for that. This meant that I couldn’t register for classes, which meant I needed to go home. But I couldn’t go home. I’d drown there in the sorrows & pains of others. I’d drown in their delinquencies and never get out of the cycle that has grasped many of my family members [that story is for another day]. I had to tell someone, but who?
That was the 3rd hit ... I had NO ONE to tell who I trusted would actually listen or be able to do something about it. I looked around and realized that I didn’t really have any friends. The one that I would have told had, for some reason, gone away. Another one I should have been able to tell was doggin’ me out & abusing me without even realizing it. I couldn’t tell my family because I just couldn’t fathom telling anyone over the phone - they were so far away. Plus, I didn’t want to disappoint them. It was a sad, sad day in my world. I was a failure, I was broke, and I had no one to turn to for help, for love, for ... anything actually.
The next hit was simply a realization that I had been asking for help for a LONG time, but no one even knew it. I wasn’t asking for tutoring or money. I was asking for some life-saving help. See I had suicidal thoughts all the time, but wouldn’t really acknowledge them. I’d say stuff to people like “I just want to disappear” and I think they thought I just needed some “me time” or something because nobody called me on it except 1 person and that is what woke me up. When he questioned it and began to keep an eye on me for those reasons, I realized that I needed help. Who knew when my thoughts would finally produce actions. The fact that my thoughts had produced some words shocked me so I didn’t want any parts of the actions. I had no idea of how to do that though except to think positive thoughts. Isn’t that what all these self-help folk tell you?
Well, that mess didn’t work for me. I distinctly remember the day I broke down because I couldn’t handle the weight I was carrying and all I could do was bow down, pray, and cry. It wasn’t like I hadn’t prayed before. It wasn’t like I hadn’t cried before. I’d even prayed & cried on my knees before. But this time was different. It was the 1st time God revealed himself to me so plainly and so swiftly that I couldn’t deny what happened. No it wasn’t one of those surreal visions or anything you imagine on tv. It was ugly. I was ugly, but GOD ... oh, but GOD.
I’d just had a meeting with some admin folks about how to get me some scholarships, loans, and any other financial aid out there so I could stay here. I remember the lady asking me if I’d rather not be in the meetings and my answer was “yes, I’d rather just know the outcome.” My mentor lit into me after that meeting talking all kinds of stuff about that answer shows that I don’t care and that I’m leaving it in their hands. He was all kinds of “they could eff up your life and you wouldn’t be around to stop it.” My response was, “I am tired. I can barely contain my tears in those meetings. I really don’t want to be apart of the process now that it is kind of in their hand. I’ve done all I can.” He said some other stuff, but left it alone. I thought it was over after we parted, but it was NOT. He had called my boyfriend and told him about it. My boyfriend called me and proceeded to give me the Holy Roly Christian version of a cursing. I hung up the phone. I’d had enough.
When I got into my room, I had every intention of taking a nap cause that’s what I do when the world is too much for me to handle. I couldn’t calm down though. I was way too upset to just bury myself in sleep. I didn’t even want my normal go-to feel good snack, ice cream. The tears just started flowing and flowing and flowing and flowing some more. Then it got ugly cause I was angry that they’d come and that I couldn’t stop them from flowing. [I HATE crying - it is the worse thing EVER to me!] And then it was like all of my burdens all of a sudden attacked me. My suicidal thoughts started colliding with my thoughts of being a failure, which were already tied up with my financial woes ... And everything went dark. Honestly, I don’t remember anything within about an hour span. I didn’t faint or anything, but it was just so chaotic that I can’t remember how I ended up on the ground, when the tears stopped flowing, or when I started praying.
And although I can’t give you specifics as to what transpired in that hour span, I can tell you when I came to myself I literally heard a voice say “I took care of it already. Just get up & go wash your face.” Now again this was no dramatic movie scene so bring your imaginations back to the screen. It took me a minute to get up - I was still in a daze. However, I got up with such ease that it kind of scared me; I knew I just had those burdens, but I didn’t have them anymore. That makes no sense again huh? Well, it was like I saw my burdens, but they weren’t weighing me down anymore. I didn’t realize it at the time, but at some point, I’d given them on over to Him.
Then once I gathered myself, I went to wash my face AND ooohhh the ugly that I saw was ridiculous. However, after washing my face and looking back in the mirror, I finally saw her. I saw me and I smiled at me for the 1st time in over a decade - I was barely 20. Yeah, well ... No everything didn’t magically happen over night - I didn’t have the faith to believe that it would anyway. It did happen though and as each one was taken care of, I saw just how POWERFUL, MIGHTY, and AWESOME my God is. He took care of things in ways that I wouldn’t have even dreamed up & he continues to surprise me as I put more & more trust in Him.
So while this post is VERY long, I apologize for its length, but not it’s contents. I am thankful everyday for what God has done and continues to do for me! My finances were taking care of abundantly then and I’ve never worried since. He always comes through with more than what I need. I graduated and went on to get my Masters with every intention of getting my PhD once I get the clearance. I met & married my wonderful husband who accepts me as is and always has a listening ear for all of my craziness; he even picks up on my sad days without a word from me. I never thought I’d even get married or have a kid, but look at me now. I thank God for it everyday.
Last but not least is that I have placed my identity in Christ and continue to seek His purpose for me living on this here Earth. I won’t ever FEEL another one of those tumbling bricks since with my God - there are no walls that he cannot move. He moves mountains y’all so rest assured that ain’t no wall tumbling down on me now that I’ve given my life to Him. No, I’m not perfect in anything I do, but my God, my God!