Friday's are all about freeing yourself of whatever is hindering your spiritual growth. I'm setting the table and my partner, Kim Possible is serving up the meal. So, without further ado, we present to you:
Keep Running – In and out of his life.
Barring my youthful rebellion of anything “un-cool”, I would say the biggest factor in people avoiding, opposing or otherwise denouncing God is that all too often we make decisions about how we are going to serve God based on how others have misrepresented His character and goodness. So my view on the subject is: “Don’t let what other people do affect your relationship with God.”
In and Out of His Life Take One: I can honestly say that I have been on “the run” in my relationship with God before. I grew up in a single parent home. I watched my mother struggle to raise two children by working three jobs at a time. I had to grow up fast. My mother loved us and wanted the absolute best for my brother and me. However, because she worked all the time, we basically had to raise ourselves. She had a “Things to Do” list on the table for us everyday along with a schedule of what we should be doing the moment we woke up until it was time for us to go to bed.
My mother found God when I was in elementary school and she exposed me to prayer because I would walk in on her conversations with God all of the time. She also made sure my brother and I were in church every Sunday. It became a tug-of-war between my grandparents since one went to a Baptist church and the other went to a Methodist. Go figure? So, we had to swap churches each Sunday. Well, this went on for quite some time. Every Sunday after church my grandfather would take my cousins and me for ice cream after we ate dinner. I noticed that every Sunday on the way back to grandma’s house from the ice cream store that we would ride past a motel. I would always see my grandfather’s Pastor get out of the car with another woman as he was walking into the motel. I would look in the rear view mirror at my grandfather from the back seat and my eyes would then follow his Pastor inside the motel. It was almost as if my grandfather would pass that motel every Sunday just to let his Pastor know he saw him. One Sunday, I couldn’t take it anymore. When we got back to grandmother’s house, I asked my grandfather in front of everyone “Grandpa, why is Pastor _________ always going in the motel with another lady and not Mrs. _____________?” The room became silent and my grandfather’s face was frozen. My grandmother blurted out “Go ahead and tell her. Tell her that your Pastor is sleeping with another woman. And while you are at it, tell her that those deacons steal money from the church every Sunday.” So, he sat me down and began to tell me that sometimes people don’t practice what they preach etc. When I got back home to my mother’s house I told her that I no longer wanted to go back to church because Pastor ______________ was a hypocrite and I didn’t like that. She said I didn’t have an option not to go to church.
In and Out of His Life Take Two: So, I did go back to church, I just went to my grandmother’s church. However, that experience put a bad taste in my mouth for church and God. But, I was always spiritually aware even as a little girl. So, my mother started going to a non-denominational church and the Youth Ministry was a little more modern and that was a catch for me. I went to Youth Church and was happy to see that the youth dressed like normal people. I was 16 at the time and I was beginning to “smell” myself. I developed an anger and a hatred for my father and his absence in my life. I blamed my mother for my not having a normal childhood. For some reason I held her responsible for being the odd one out. All of my friends had both parents and I didn’t like the fact that my dad was lame. I began to have sex, go to parties, listen to music (I LOVED MUSIC), and I would have my fair share of wine coolers. My mother would always tell me that I couldn’t serve two gods. Of course, I was like whatever and I told her that my generation was different from her generation.
The Pastors daughter came to my house to spend the weekend and would you believe that “trick” told me that I was not living right because I was listening to secular music. I brushed her off and was like whatever “church girl!” I left her in my room while I was on the phone with my boyfriend and when I came back in my room that chick had taken ALL of my poster’s down. She ripped my Michael Jackson poster down, you know the one where Mike had on a yellow vest and some white pants?
She tore down my Thriller poster,
my MC Lyte,
Doug E. Fresh,
and Public Enemy posters
and she took ALL of my tapes and broke them. I cursed that girl out and kicked her out of my house. I told her I needed her and her holier than thou attitude to hit the road. I was pissed at her and my mother was pissed at me. Whatever!
At this point in my life I hated going to church. Because even though the Youth Ministry kids seemed cool, they were very judgmental and did not come off the side of the tracks I came off. They were exposed to a whole lot more in life than I was. They went to great schools and lived in great neighborhoods. I lived in a good neighborhood too, but if you walked out of my house a couple of blocks down it wasn’t too far from “the hood!” I thought the kids in the youth ministry were straight crazy. They didn’t listen to music, they hadn’t had sex, they hadn’t had any drinks, they made me feel like I was the prodigal daughter with all their “You are going to hell, if you don’t do this or if you don’t do that!” So, they turned me off from God. I became very rebellious and I wanted to start doing things my way. Bump God, bump church, bump those lame, phony kids in youth ministry. So, I just went all out. I experienced a little more than I bargained for. The gentlemen I was dating for almost 3 years pulled a gun on me because I wanted to break up with him. In that moment I saw my entire life flash before my eyes. I knew that I could die because my boyfriend was probably one of the biggest drug dealers in my city at the time. I knew what he was capable of and in that moment I thought I would be part of a statistic. Long story short, God got me out of that situation alive and I became tired of living that way. I would go to parties and feel empty. I would hang out with my friends and drink and not be fulfilled. I would have sex and still be lonely.
I could remember going out to parties and coming back home and I would hear my mother praying for me. Her prayers would sound something like this “God, where ever she is, make her sick to her stomach. Do what ever you have to do to get her attention.” I was like OMG, how could she pray something like that. But, I went in my room and cried my eyes out. I knew that God was expecting more out of me in terms of my devotion to Him. I knew that I couldn’t just live anyway I wanted to. To whom much is given much is required. I prayed and told God “If you are who I just heard my mother praying to, make yourself real to me. I want to know you for myself.” As time progressed He made himself so real to me and I started cultivating a relationship with Him.
As I have matured over the years. I realize that we ALL fall in and out of his life. But he is the one consistent thing in our lives. He is such a gentlemen and he will never force himself on us. In my case I believe he allowed me to almost lose my life to get my attention. I was a hard nut to crack because I did not like phony Christians and I wanted my relationship to be genuine. Either I was going to go all the way in my relationship with him or I wasn’t going to have one with him at all. That was how I saw it. I think that we all have different seasons in our lives. At times we are more in tune with God and what He wants out of us and at other times we push him away and kind of do our own thing. What are the circumstances in your life that keep you going in and out of his life? Are you MIA in your relationship with God? That’s how I see it, how do you see it?