Let Go and Let God: He Is Your Husband!
Making the Lord your Husband
Well, the last sentence of my prior entry was to let go and let God. Elaborating upon that, I want to share my story. I am an expositoryl person: I speak from my heart. I can only share what God has done for me, and being that He is a loving God who doesn't discriminate, what He did for me, He will do for anyone (male or female) willing to step out in faith with the truth of His Word. Expounding on " The Lord being your Husband" is not necessarily intended for women only. There are plenty of men out here believing God for a "Proverbs 31" type woman, just as there are women out here trusting and believing God for a "sactified man". Therefore, please consider my writings to be gender neutral in actuality, although my accouts stem from a female perspective. What a mighty God we serve!
I was raised in church. Yup, baptist background from the 1970s. My parents took me, my sister and my brother to church almost every Sunday morning, along with a plethora of lifesavers, mints or whatever it took to keep us still and quiet. Every service followed the same itinerary: Hymns, announcements, offerings, more hymns, exhortations regarding the scripture of the week, closing with opening the church doors for membership along with prayer. It was a no-no to laugh in church, and the best way to avoid harsh discipline was to lay your head down and be quiet. How many of you can relate to that? Very, very structured religion. I'm sure, reflecting back on it now, that the Reverend intended for the service to be a rewarding experience for all, but I understand now the confusion that indoctrinated religion can create minus a true relationship with Jesus Christ.
I was sent up for baptism at the age of six. Had no concept of the true meaning of baptism, except that it was my turn to be dunked in the water and to get "saved". However as the years passed, I developed my own instinctive curiosity in God, and what church was all about. At the age of nine, I read the Book of Revelations. Scared me half to death, but I was so proud of myself that i anxiously waited in line to shake hands with my pastor to announce the completion of my goal. I shared with him that I read it! And it was scary. He patted me on the head and told me I was a good little girl at that was that. Yet it piqued my curiosity even more. Who was this God that wrote this book? Why would people have to endure all that the Book of Revelations described? That began my own quest for who God was.
I started a Dear God journal. Everyday, faithfully, I wrote to God about my day, my experience, my hopes and dreams, my failures, my hurt my pain & success. I figured if God wrote a book as big as the Bible for us to read, then surely he had time to read what I wrote. As I got older, I began to come to my own conclusions about religion. After an interesting study in english on existentialism, I concluded that God ordained reincarnation, the "me first" concept associated with existentialism and that life was an eternal complex blob of reliving throughout history until we finally got it right. Thank God for His patience during my quest to find Him. Then I went to college. End of those quest days.
In college, I encountered God on a more personal level, however, my head was in the cloud of boys, boys and more boys. (Or should I say men). My best friend and I attended a revival outside of our dorm in the park across the street. She had a true encounter with the Lord and committed her life to Christ. I, however, went up with her, but was more interested in all of the cute men who attended this church. My best friend, whom I will call Rhonda, went the church faithfully after her conversion, seeking a sincere relationship with the Lord. I went seeking a date with one of the cuties who attended. Rhonda eventually met and married a man who attended the church, and my interest fell off. Ehh...more fish in the sea elsewhere. Now, I thank God for a praying best friend who never gave up interceding for my salvation.
College was a whole new world for me. I grew up in the middle crowd. My friends all fitted in except me. I guess my rites of passage that entitled me to an occasional invitation to this party or that event was connected to their association. Yet in college, a different city, a new community, I had the opportunity to redefine myself, which I did wholeheartedly. Went from quiet as a mouse girl, to party animal in less than a few weeks. I was amazed at the attention I received from men who wanted to date ME..the quiet country mouse, not considering that they also wanted to get between my legs as well. One guy in particular especially sought after me, whom I considered my friend-my best friend back then. Ever persistent, he was my shoulder to cry on when I broke up with my high school sweetheart that I caught cheating on me when I came home for summer break. He was SO WRONG for doing so, without my realization that I was just as guilty of cheating on him as well while away for the summer session. Yes, "Tommy" consoled me all right - into his arms. He became not only my best friend but also my boyfriend, and I envisioned us being together for life. How the devil can make a mess look so good...
Life seemed great. Tommy was the local DJ and the star of the city in the local music industry and I was his girl. He actually was very good, and contributed to a few major labels compilation of music. The future looked amazing. But the problems mounted with the popularity. The more popular he became the greater the competition got. I however, was not worried about it. My man was faithful! That is until I caught him with the first woman, and over the years it turned into several women. Hanging in there, I became pregnant, left him to move back home after dropping out of college my junior year. I had my daughter at home and intended on remaining in my small town, however the job opportunities were terrible. In 1987 the minimum wage was $3.35/hr. Plus Tommy was calling regularly, begging me to move back with the promise that we would be the family I always wanted. Ladies, you know what I did: I went back.
Two months later, we were arguing again like cats and dogs, he was back to flings and it just wasn't working out. I cannot explain the pain of walking in on the person you love with all of your heart in the bed with another woman. Or of the person you hope will marry you trying to throw you down a flight of stairs while pregnant. Looking back on the situation, the one conclusion about myself that I find now indisputable is that a young lady will mirror the relationship she sees growing up. My parents divorced when I was 16 yrs old due to spousal abuse. Simply put, my father and mother were arguing and he broke her leg; left her outside alone to crawl for help. Nasty divorce that took years to settle, proceeded by years of my mother being tormented with his efforts to reconcile followed by threats of physical harm because she refused to. Not because she didn't want it, but because she faced the isolation of her family if she dared to "take that man back". Later in life I found out, talking to my mother, of years of abuse she endured, both physically and mentally, during the course of their marriage. And at some point, she concluded that it was her choice and she finally chose and was at peace with it. But that took years of healing and God to finally feel that way.
I wasn't going to church during the time I had moved back with Tommy and wasn't thinking about church. I realized that it wasn't going to work, would never work and wanted out. However I was stuck in a rut: I lived with him and his family. I had a temporary position with a very prestigious company that offered me full time employment at the end of my assignment, with the starting salary of $10.00/hr (which was a lot of money back then) but I sadly discovered I was pregnant AGAIN. Not knowing my rights, I was scared half to death that if I accepted the position and they discovered my pregnancy I would be terminated and would go from a good life to a life that I was beginning to despise: shared lving quarters with this man in a big city which I had no close family affiliations with. Out of desperation, I contacted my friend Rhonda, whom I had never disconnected with and who had been praying for me all along and shared with her a situation that had occurred. My baby, I noticed, would not fall asleep until one or two in the morning regularly, which was not the case prior to moving back. Tommy's sister was my baby sitter while I worked, and this particular night, they were having a social hour at her house. It was very late, I was tired, had to report to work the next day at 7am (my regular schedule) and no matter how much I tried I could not get my daughter to sleep. So I rocked her as I read my bible. (I had gotten saved a few weeks beforehand). Tommy and one of his sisters became incensed that I was reading the bible while they were having a good time. Tommy slapped the bible out of my lap and told me how sick I made him. His sister began to fuss as well, and in the course of her ranting told me that she knew why my daughter would not sleep until late at night: she would give her beer so she would sleep during the day with her. I wasn't that saved: time to fight! Through the grace of God no one was hurt and a fight was averted by Tommy, who was shocked as well with her revelation, but I knew enough was enough. I had to get out of there.
Rhonda had never given up on me. During my return, she invited me to a new church she and her husband were attending, and I visited. I remember that first visit when I returned as clear as day. It was a spirit filled church and the gifts of the Spirit manifested regularly. On the day of my first visit, I saw a woman go up for prayer and the Lord healed her leg. One leg was shorter than the other, and she wore an orthopedic shoe. We were on the second row and had a clear view of the entire experience. Being raised in traditional religion, after seeing that I surmised that this church practiced some sort of witchcraft because I had never seen anything like that in my life! Sure, Ernest Angley and Oral Roberts did it, but that was on tv. This was real life! Yet Rhonda continued to invite me to church. As the situation got worse with Tommy, I went back for a second time. But I saw it differently the second time. I saw the kindness in the eyes of the people who attended. I saw the love of Christ. I saw the truth of salvation.And I met Jesus. Not only did I get saved but I also was filled with the Holy Spirit and I had never heard of it before, never seen or heard anyone speak in tongues and all of a sudden I was in the middle of it, loving it as well. It was an awesome encounter with the Lord.
The next day after the argument, I waited until everyone left and called in for work. Tommy's sister had to go downtown for an appointment and he went to work. I called my friend and told her I had to get out of there asap. She as well called in and came to help me. I didn't get all of my stuff but we packed all we could in her hatchback and left. As we drove away I felt the peace of God in my heart.
Rhonda and her husband, Moe, allowed me to live with them indefinitely. But I didn't want to live with them any longer than necessary. It was a good time for me. My assignment had ended, I didn't accept the job, I was beginning to show and no one seemed to want to hire me, so I read the bible during the day and kept house for them while they worked. My daughter was nine months old and I lived off the word that came from church, studying and TBN: with constant prayer and supplication. Because they lived in the surburbs I didn't run into my ex at all, and a comfortable schedule ensued. All I had was God and the people He put in my life, having walked away from a lifestyle of constant partying, drinking, drugs and a long term dysfunctional relationship that I could only blame myself for allowing to go for that long.
God became my husband. I began to pray for a job and a place and He opened the doors for it. A drug store hired me, despite my protruding stomach, and one of the pharmacist was a christian married man who took me under his wings like a daughter. At times, I simply didn't have money for lunch, paying everything myself, and amazingly his wife would pack lunch for him and me, and he would give me the extra lunch she packed. We shared the Word together as well. God provided me with a babysitter who only charged me $25.00 a week for my daughter, yet allowed me to pay what I could afford on the first of the month when rent was due. I was making the minimum wage of $3.35/hr and my rent was $350.00 a month. I had a flat in a nice part of town, and my furniture consisted of a 13 inch b&w tv, a twin bed, and a table, but I was at peace and happy. I had Jesus! I was drawn to the Word like a moth to a candle: I read and read the bible with passion. I joined the church I gave my life to Christ at, and they helped me anytime I asked with food vouchers to buy groceries if I ran short. When I was staying at Rhonda's house I had applied for foodstamps yet I never heard anything from them, so I made it through the grace of God, and had moved from the county to the city so I forgot all about that, because my God was supplying all of my needs.
But the pressures of life do not go away, even after salvation. Living from paycheck to paycheck is not a great feeling, and God was truly filling the voids and revealing Himself to me in ways I had never seen before. One night, as I prepared for work, I realized that I didn't have enough money to catch the bus the next day. My job was about a mile away, and I was six months pregnant by then. I had learned in the Bible that God supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, so I said a prayer and my daughter and I went to sleep. I woke up earlier than usual, went to pack my daughter's lunch (which consisted of peanut butter sandwiches) and discovered that I had two pieces of bread left, one egg and that was all in my refrigerator. My heart dropped, but I decided that God would provide a way somehow. I put my daughter in the stroller and walked to the baby sitter. I had packed the peanut butter sandwich and egg for my daughter's lunch, trusting that God would take care of me although I didn't know what I was going to do. My payday was still a week away. While walking I felt the urge to cry, but I chose to praise Him. Imagine me: a six month pregnant 22 year old hurriedly walking to work and singing praises to God. Didn't care who heard me at this point.
Thankfully, Mark's wife had packed the extra lunch again, and we praised God together while eating lunch. It didn't occur to me to ask my brother in the Lord to pray for me and share my dilemma, partly because it was embarrassing enough to me that he knew my secret about lunches. As the end of the day approached I sang praise songs in my head; I didn't want the customers I checked out to think I was crazy as I worked. Mark offered to take me home when he saw me walking as opposed to waiting for the bus as usual, and I thanked him but declined. I didn't want him to go out of his way to pick up my daughter being that he had his own family, and I was fighting the shame I felt in my situation. I felt like a basket case. While walking to the babysitter's house, I recited the few scriptues I had memorized about the promises and provisions of the Lord. As I loaded my daughter in her umbrella stroller, the babysitter shared with me that my daughter had thrown the peanut butter sandwich out of the playpen and that she fixed her something. She asked me could I send something besides peanut butter sandwiches because my daughter refused to eat them. I guess I had peanut buttered her to the point of disgust. I told her yes ma'am I would work on that and we went home.
I lived on the second floor, in a secured building so a key was required to enter. After struggling with the stroller up the stairs, my belly and a baby, I was worn out. I thought that maybe the Lord had led my mom to send me money and it would be in the mailbox so, after I got in the foyer, I excitedly checked my mail. No letter from mom. Because I rarely checked my mail it was packed in the box and spilled on the floor. As I struggled to bend down to pick it up, one letter caught my eye. A thick packet in a unmarked envelope. As I opened it food stamps fell all over the floor! The application from two months before had been processed and approved and they mailed me stamps starting with the day I applied! Over $500 in food stamps. I fell to my knees praising the Lord. Why? I never reported my new address...
A few weeks later, Rhonda came to my place and we had a girl's day after church. I helped her put a relaxer in her hair, and she helped me with mine's. As things wrapped up, I walked her to the door and thanked her for a great time. My daughter was asleep while I ran downstairs to lock the door behind her as she left. The landlord had sent a notice advising all tenants to be sure and do this because of an assault in the neighborhood. Some man, on a crazy spree had grabbed a knife and went on a spree, stabbing anyone he saw out and about in the area. When I heard the breaking news on tv, I was amazed at the protection of the Lord: I had taken the trash out in the alley a few minutes before the incident, and this man was apprehended in that same alley behind my apartment! How grateful I was that the Lord shielded me from being stabbed by this man.
Anyhoos, when I came back upstairs from escorting Rhonda out, my daughter was standing in the kitchen. Holding the container that held the relaxer with leftover smeared all over her face and hands. Removing her hands from her mouth. I panicked! Living on a tight budget, I did not have a phone so I grabbed my daughter and ran to my next door neighbor's apartment. They were not home. Nor did I have a car. I rushed through the alley to the main street and caught the first bus, praying all the way down the road. We were pretty close to the college hospital downtown (probably a five minute drive) and it was the longest ride of my life. Rushed in the ER and told the staff what occurred. Immediately they asked for the package it came in to see the ingredients. It didn't cross my mind to grab the box, so I explained to them that relaxers contained lye and gave the name of the brand, which they investigated. After discovering the ingredients, a solemn Dr came out to me, to share with me that she ingested some very dangerous chemicals and to be prepared for severe damage. She would probably need a trach due to the type of damage these chemicals incur internally and would need a tube to eat. Lord how my heart dropped. They had her stabilized, however they administered some type of swallow test and she wasn't able to swallow any water; it instead drooled out of her mouth. I called my friend Rhonda and shared it with her. She prayed with me, and told me she would call others to pray for us, and to TRUST GOD. What else could I do?
They kept her on IV's all night until the next morning. They preformed endoscopy on her to assess the damage already predicted. While waiting, I prayed to the Almighty God who had managed to bless me with my job, my apartment, food, friends who cared and so many other things I didn't go into detail about for the sake of space. Then, they brought her out to me. She had dried blood on her nose and it was 2 days after her first birthday. I had decided to myself that regardless of what happened, she was my daughter, a gift of God and He would give me the strength to make it through this. But God had a different plan. The Dr came to me to discuss his assessment and he told me an amazing thing: she did not have the problems they projected! Now..let me tell you how God works: he shared with me that he had never seen anything like it before. She had no damage to her esophagus, her stomach, her upper intestines. BUT at the end tip of her large intestine she had a 3rd degree burn and would need to be hospitalized for treatment for that. In other words, this chemical had went completely through her body unscathed, and right at the end cycle, there was a burn. God protected her insides, and left proof that He did so...What a mighty God we serve!
After that incident, I decided to move home. Tommy had found me and visited my apartment with the intent of trying to convince me to let him move in, and my neighbors, Alvin and Bunny, who were also christians in the Lord as well as black belts in karate, ended up escorting him out. I called my mom on their phone, and asked her could I come home. Thank God for a mother's love, and she, along with my little brother, came to pick me up. It was a surprise to discover I was 7 1/2 months pregnant when they did, but they took me back home. To another adventure in the Lord.
I hope anyone reading this will remember: What God did for me, He will do for you. Please. Let Him be your husband.
To be continued...
(Real names of parties involved not included)