A good friend of mine recently asked me, “what was the journey like? The life journey, spiritual journey, and finding God. And what is it that you gained?” The past ran through my head. A lost little girl with an absent father, unraveling into a spiritual boss lady.
Growing up I was forced to go to church every Sunday; a Catholic Church at that. And every Tuesday evening, I knew after school I would be taking my behind to CCD; a religious education program for those who aren’t familiar. I dreaded both every week, and didn’t appreciate learning about God one bit. But I was young and didn’t know any better. Eventually, I graduated from CCD and stopped attending church as well, but God never took his hands off of me.
I started doing things that I would probably whoop my daughter for doing. But honestly, children have to learn on their own. I was drinking nearly every weekend, I was lying to my mom to sleep over my boyfriend’s house, then I got to college and started smoking weed everyday to function. I used to tell myself that I couldn’t start my day, or even eat without smoking first. Do you know how unstable, (and dirty) that sounds? But people truly tell themselves these things and become dependent on substances; trying to escape reality.
Reality for me was the pain my dad’s incarceration was bringing me. It’s something that I was blind to, and didn’t understand the impact on a child’s development that it could have. My dad is Muslim and prays five times a day, so I believe him keeping me in his prayers has major affect on my life as well, and helped me find God. I got back in contact with my father during my freshman year of college. Thanks to my roommate; our dads were best friends and we had no idea, nor did we know one another prior to college; that’s an example of how major God’s work is. But my sophomore year of college is when my life changed. God wanted me to stop playing with Him. You can leave home, but He will always bring you back with open arms.
My sophomore year in college is when the weed smoking was at an all time high; I was living however I wanted to. Over winter break I went to a concert with some of my friends at the time, and afterwards we decided to smoke with a hood booger that we knew. Hotboxing on any Philly block with a hood booger, to be exact. That same night is the first time I recall dropping down to my knees and praying to God. Asking God to protect me. The car we were smoking in got shot up with twelve bullets before the second L could even get sparked. A nineteen year old girl from the Suburbs involved in a drive by shooting..I felt like I was in a movie. After this I knew my life had to change.
I didn’t stop smoking until two years after that. But I did stop living so recklessly..or at least I tried. But you have to understand that you can be saved, and still wander off. As Christians; God repeatedly saves us and brings us back to Him. He repeatedly forgives us. And never stops loving us. But, look at it as a relationship with a significant other. How many times are you going to hurt a person, and do them dirty before changing? How many times is that person going to forgive you for your actions before finally realizing their worth and leaving? The difference with God is that He will never give up on us, but when do you get to the point of saying, “okay enough, let me get it together now?”
I know what God has done for me, and is still doing for me everyday; there’s no reason not to submit to that. We are allowed to be a hot mess, work in progress, and God’s masterpiece all at once. But for myself, I have too much to do here on this earth, I cannot have the enemy sneaking up on me and taking me out. I say that to say we are going to mess up and make mistakes, but we have to be careful out here with our actions. Don’t let your pain ruin you and your future. Choose to take authority over your life; finish the unfinished business of your childhood that keeps barking at you. Wholeness comes when we are able to know that our childhood injuries have less power in our current adult lives.
We cannot do too much about the pain that we suffer as a child, nor will it just disappear out of nowhere. But once we enter adulthood, it’s only up to us to heal the womb and close it. Yes, my father is behind bars and was absent during my childhood. Instead of remaining bitter, lost, and carrying baggage into a relationship; I now choose to pray and take initiative on building an indestructible relationship with him. Behind bars or not.
The most valuable thing that you can give yourself is time. Taking time to be more fully present, and aware of your mind and emotions. “Each decade will uncover something amazing inside of you;” at twelve years old I hated Church and I thought it was “weird” that I had to go learn about religion at night. Today at twenty-two, I take pride in sharing God’s light and what He has done for me in my life so far. Never stop looking, nor becoming. Constantly EVOLVE.