At an early age, my hope was found in whoever accepted me, but guys and promiscuity took the lead. Even though my mom brought my siblings and I to church, and I said the prayer of salvation at eleven years old, I didn’t quite understand who God was to me. I wish I could tell that eleven-year-old version of myself that, though she feels alone, God is with her. It would haveprevented so much pain, heartache, and misery. But I know that nothing is wasted with the Lord, so even though a lot of things happened to me as a child, I now get to share my freedom in Christ with others around me.
At eleven years old, I was introduced to pornography. I used to hang out with a group of girls in elementary school who were just as confused as I was. They had been in touch with their sexuality well before I was and would slowly show me what they learned. Because I was already in a place of not understanding my worth and value and being a slave to people’s opinions of me, I stepped into unknown territory. As a young girl, my innocence was stripped, just like that. This is exactly what the enemy wanted for my life—to be a slave to lust.
Lust was something that would follow me and continue to follow me until I broke up with it almost a decade later. It is a nasty spirit that drove me to places I never thought I’d see, doing things I never thought I’d do. After all, I grew up in a safe, well-provided-for military family. Looking at those types of things or doing those things wasn’t something you would expect from me. But as times and seasons changed, my parents changed as well. The constant back-and-forth and fighting within their unstable marriage made me feel unwanted and unnoticed. I remember hearing the rage in my dad’s voice some nights. I wanted to just run and hide. Even though he said with his mouth he loved me, I watched as he stood and completely belittled my mother. As a little girl, it broke my heart.
Fast forward into college and this promiscuous lifestyle still continued.
The truth is, the deeper I fell into that lifestyle, the more bad things started to happen to me. And I knew it wasn’t by chance that they were happening—they were signs that I needed to change. I just didn’t want to change.
Christmas week of December of 2013, everything changed. During this time, God met with me. I was on Christmas break at my dad’s place, and I was reading through my Facebook timeline when I discovered my sister had re-posted a post from a woman named Heather Lindsey. I noticed she was happily-married, she loved the Lord, and she was beautiful. I couldn’t help but to be drawn to her life, her family, and eventually I stumbled upon her story.
I put down my phone when I saw this, and I grabbed my laptop to get a better view of her blog, heatherllindsey.com. Because there wasn’t a quiet place in my dad’s apartment, I went to the bathroom. I ignored everything else in that moment because all I wanted to do was read more of her story.
What I didn’t realize is that when I walked into that bathroom, I was walking into an altar time, uniquely-designed just for me and my Father. I opened up my laptop and began to briefly scan through the words she wrote. It seemed as if the words were jumping off the page at me and landing so sweetly upon my heart. I was introduced to a warm feeling I hadn’t known before. As I began to weep, everything that I had been searching for my entire life became so clear to me. It became so evident that I chose to live this chaotic life, but I no longer had to. I wanted to and I needed to live for the God she worshipped. He was the answer I was looking for.
I placed my laptop aside, got down on my knees and I began to cry out to God. It was the most imperfect prayer filled with tears. Somehow I knew that God would understand me. I just wanted God to know that I was sorry about how I was living, but before I could even carry on anymore, He knew. His presence hovered over me like a thick cloud. I wept for nearly an entire hour because everything in my life finally made sense. It was like, “Aha! THIS is why I have been feeling so broken.”
I chased after so many things that left me feeling empty, but that night I found who I was supposed to chase. I chased Him with my entire heart, and I longed for Him more and more.
To say that my moment of salvation was perfect would be a lie. In fact, it was a complete mess. But God knew about my mess even before I even knew there was one. God lovingly pulled me out of the mud and gave me the clean start I so desired.
I put on His robe of righteousness and I pursued to know Him more by buying my first Bible, which I still have today. God led me to resources, studies, and sermons online that I could learn from. One of those resources was the Gathering Oasis Church. I would listen to their podcasts and sermons online. He placed people in my life to lead me on the right path and lead me closer to Him. Although my journey with Him wasn’t perfect, He led me to a life of purpose and an identity that I had desperately longed for.
He set me up to meet people I never knew I would meet, and took me places I never thought I would go. He especially knew I needed to move out of my home in Alabama, so He moved me to Atlanta, GA. Moving to Atlanta birthed something that I didn’t realize was in me—leading worship. Singing was one of the things I had left on the shelf once I began to chase after meaningless things, but God, in His grace, saw fit to allow me to pick it back up again. Even though I was perfectly fine with lifting my hands in the congregation, the Lord led me to a very special woman who saw that gift of leading worship inside of me. She not only taught me how to lead worship, but she also pushed me further towards Christ unlike ever before.Although I wanted to stay in the background, the Lord brought me up a little further. Today, I lead worship at the Gathering Oasis Church; the same church Heather Lindsey and her husband planted. God is amazing, right?
All that I needed was right in front of me. He set up road signs so that I knew how to return back to Him. He intentionally designed specific circumstances to happen so that I had the opportunity to choose Him. There’s no way that I would be who I am today without God; in fact, I am nothing without God. Today, I am so full of the life God has given me. He has madeall things new and I am certain that if God did it for me, He can do it for you too.