Firstly, I just want to say God is a very Merciful and Patient Father. Looking back at my life and reflecting on the person I use to be, where I am now and who I am yet to become in Him, it makes me so grateful because He could have given up on me at anytime and even now but He didn’t and hasn’t, that is how much He loves you and I.
I was raised up with Christian morals and my main example at the time in my family was my grandma. She would take me to church with her, teach me things in the Bible and pray with me. Even though I loved to go to church for different reasons, I did not have my own personal relationship with the Lord. I was one of those Christians who thought to themselves ‘I’m not that bad, I don’t do this and that…’ (always making comparisons) and I would call upon God only when it suited me. Yet, I had issues that I did not take notice of for example, I would constantly lie, had different insecurities, struggled with lust, I would idolise things above God and so many other things. However, I thought that going to church on Sunday and listening to sermons, that would literally go into one ear and then out of the other was still ‘good enough’. I was so oblivious to the fact that my heart was so far from the Lord and that I needed Him on a deeper level, than I could ever understand.
I will always remember how my grandma would be on my case and question me whether or not I was praying regularly and studying the Word. It would annoy me so much at the time but now I can see how God used her to keep me on the path He wanted me to go (I’m so thankful for her life). In reality, there will be no significant change in your life, no matter how much people tell you about Jesus until you make the decision for yourself to accept the Lord fully and decide that you want to change. In my mind I always knew that there was ‘more’ because I would see how some people would be so passionate about their relationship with God and they would be on fire for Christ but I never knew how to get to that stage in my life. Trust me when I say, I tried over and over again to do it by myself and with my own strength but it never worked at all. There would be a couple of times where I felt like there was progress but then after a while things would go back to the way they were before.
In 2012, I decided to get baptised and become more serious with my faith, this was the only thing I believed was best to do at the time. I saw baptism as a sort of covering, I thought that once I did it everything would be lovely, I was expecting some sort of transfiguration experience. Although, things eventually got better for a while, where I would have more Christian discussions and read the Bible a bit more, I was still a lukewarm Christian. I did not allow the Lord to fully take control of my life in order to transform and renew my life to be more like Christ. I was around people who did not push me closer to God, I would look at boys in the wrong way and worldly values reigned in my life. It was like a back and forth game, that always felt like I was not winning, I was just on the same level, same position and there was no progress.
As mentioned before, I had some insecurities and one of them was that I struggled in knowing my worth and this was something that was not sorted out before I got baptised. At the time I weighed my worth based on how people saw and treated me; this meant that I wanted to please everyone irrespective of how I felt in the process (I did not value myself in Christ at all). I cannot even blame anyone for the things I experienced because the way I was treated was determined by the way I valued myself at the time. This happened especially with males, now before I touch on this topic briefly, I need to stress the importance for both males and females to build a firm relationship with the Lord before getting into a serious relationship with anyone!!! I cannot stress this enough but back to the discussion, last year before my first encounter with the Holy Spirit in 2015. I was in a relationship with a Christian, but it wasn’t an official relationship (we didn’t date but we liked each other). In my mind I thought that because he was a Christian, God would not have any issue with the relationship we had and just like my baptism, it was another covering for me. This guy was on fire for the Lord and we would have conversations about God at times but no matter how much we would speak, there wasn’t any significant change in my life. We experienced quite a few ups and downs for about a year and there were a lot of signs that the ‘relationship’ had to end. However, I was stubborn to the things that the Lord was showing me concerning the relationship because I believed that the fact that he was a Christian made up for a lot of issues we had. I tried to change myself to be the person I believed he wanted me to be (outwardly), funny how I was willing to pay attention to the type of female he wanted to be with, rather than spending time to find out who I really was in the eyes of the Lord. I was so distracted, I changed to the point where I could not even be truthful to my best friend at the time and above all things, I was far from the individual God wanted me to see in myself. Truthfully, I was ashamed of who I was becoming, but I was willing to continue bending my back, still not knowing my worth and settling for less than I deserved.
The turning point
Things got out of hand and the relationship had to end. At the time I was so hurt, felt like dirt, so broken, I believed that God would not love me the same and I did not understand why I was allowed to go through all those emotions but looking back now I’m so grateful cause it has made me who I am today. If it was not for God and some of the people who are still in my life now, I really do not know where I would be. So after that had happened I was invited to an event at one of my close friend’s church, that I’m currently at now. I had my first, powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit which completely changed my life and it was as if everything in that one moment just changed inside of me. I felt like that empty void within me was filled by His presence and that my past no longer had the power to dictate my future.
Now, I can actually say I know God on a deeper level than I previously did, I have learnt different things along the way and I am still learning only by His grace. One thing I learnt from my past is that God can and will if He has to use anything, even if it means you having to hit rock bottom just to realise He is that rock that should be every single one of our foundations, He will use it! (Psalm 18:31) Take it from me, if God shows you that a relationship, whether it is a friendship, boyfriend, girlfriend or even just a situation that you may be in is not for you, my best advice would be to pray and be obedient to His voice.
Do I still mess up, go through seasons of testing, have times where I’ve felt lost, or ever feel like giving up? Definitely, at times but now I know that there is someone Greater than I am, who lives inside of me and motivates me to keep going, even in my suffering I’ve now found purpose. (1 Peter 4:12-13).
This is to encourage anyone who desires to experience God for themselves on a deeper level rather than just feeding themselves off of other people’s experiences. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but God wants a personal relationship with every single one of us. The main issue I dealt with was that it was hard for me to believe that a Perfect God would even take the time to listen to someone like myself, who was so dirty and unworthy but literally God wants you to come as you are! He loves broken and humble spirits (Psalm 51:17).
At first I did not see the point in writing my testimony on this blog because I thought to myself that I don’t have one of those big stories that could help someone or that some could relate to. However, the Holy Spirit made me realise that regardless of my story it is the same Spirit (Ephesians 4:4) who can and has transformed many people’s lives and even if only one person can relate to it, it is better than not sharing your story at all.
Under the ‘Encourage Wall’ there are testimonies and encouraging words from other brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to also share your own experiences that you believe may minster to others.