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The TEST of Adulthood
I grew up in a devoted Christian family and never had to think twice about my beliefs. I went to church every Sunday and participated in the youth groups and outreach programs. It was my mother who opened my eyes to many denominations while she was trying to find herself as a married and divorced woman. We were Missionary Baptist before my mother married my stepfather. The church we attended was a family church. My grandfather was once the senior pastor before he left due to his health. I had so much history in that church, as a child I was baptized there and served in the children's choir. When I was 9 my mother met my stepfather and after a year of dating, they married and we moved to Jackson, Alabama. After a few weeks there we joined an African Methodist Episcopal church. The church was mainly people of our area and very small. While living in Jackson, my mother and Stepfather made a name for them selves, and not in a good way. My Stepfather was arrested and while in prison, My mother divorced him. She tried for years to piece herself together. In Fall 2001, while in Demopolis, Alabama we met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). My mother joined first and then we followed because children do as told. They really helped us and took us under their wings. My mother enjoyed the church because they had programs to keep us busy and out of the streets. I enjoyed the youth conferences and seminary classes. We later moved a city over called Linden. My mother didn't want to attend the LDS church anymore and found a liking to the Apostolic / Holiness church. They were strict and didn't care for my mother much because she was a single mother. They knew she had several of us out of wedlock and wanted her to get up in front of the church and apologize for her past sins. My mother shocked me with her response to the request by the church members. She boldly told them, " Yahweh and I handled that a long time ago." It was that very moment she lost her religion and began a true relationship with God.
My mother died a few weeks after that incident, she died free of labels. She was clothed in Yahweh's love. I took my mother's death as hard as any 15 year old girl would. I was angry at God for a very long time. My mother's brother and his wife took us in and I began to see God again. I attended the local Mormon church and picked up where I left off. I was happy there. Some weekends I would spend time with my Godparents and go to church with them. My Godfather is a great pastor in Bayou La Batre, AL. Those were the times that I loved because I was active and unaware.
My uncle wasn't able to take care of us anymore and his wife was cheating as well. We were split up and I drew the short end of the stick. I lived with an alcoholic father and my grandmother who was very bitter. It was everyday that I wished for death and ask God to remove me from that place. When I was 17 he did. I moved in with my father's girlfriend. She is a big part of my life until this very day. Her home was a place that she allowed me to be myself and she even treated me like a daughter of her own. There is where I met my best friend. However, around this time we were 18 and very popular. We liked to go out and party Friday and Saturday. Yet we would get up and go to church on Sunday. Those were my hot mess days. I knew God, but wanted to do me. I was 19 when my life turned again and in a messed up relationship with a guy who didn't tell me he was married. I found out because a family member of his talked too much. He put me through so much until I left. Around that time my father found out he had cancer. He Died later that year. We caught it too late. I didn't get to really know him until he got sick and had to be sober. He was amazing. I knew God gave him peace because I was at peace too. I reconnected to Yahweh again and I wasn't perfect still. I was figuring life out. I went to School and a year in I met Jeremy(my husband). We were dating a few months when I found out I was pregnant. I was so happy, we were having a girl. God had other plans for her. I had her at 22 weeks gestation. She lived for a week. Her liver ruptured. We used Arcadia's death as a way to get closer. We Married August 14,2012 on my 23rd birthday.
Here is where it get's shaky, we joined a church close to us. I will not reveal the name. It was all good. I had a baby the next year. Summer is her name. While at this church I enjoyed it and they would come visit or send things while I was on bed rest. It want until I decided to serve that I saw the ugly face of religion again. I was on the worship team and it was great. Out of nowhere the leader left and the pastor and his wife were angry and wouldn't address the issues going on. That made a majority of the church leave. One day a young girl asked a question and the pastor snapped at her. She was hurt, I spoke up for her because he was an adult and she was a child. I no longer serve of attend anymore. This was very recent by the way. I took this as a valuable learning experience.
I looked back at all of my experience with churches and religion. Religion killed Yeshua (Jesus). At the end of the day it is all about my relationship with God. I am the church and there is only one church. We go to these buildings and sometimes walk out feeling empty because we don't want to go and sew our own seeds. You cannot harvest without working hard. It isn't about a title, it is about the condition of your spirit. God made man in his likeness. Yahweh was with me all along. I had to stop and take time to see His work. I can read and teach myself and pray for his guidance. Churches are just a place to fellowship as a group. Happy I can see that now. There will be times of test in your life and mines was death of loved ones and how I would handle it. Now I see those test lead to my Testimony. God Loves imperfect people and uses them. Don't believe me? Pick up your Bible and read!