Alexia H.'s testimony "A Tearful Breakthrough That Lead Me To God/christ-filled Life" on 6/18/2012, 6:56pm...
All my life, I’ve identified myself as a Christian, a Seventh - day Adventist, to be exact. For me, religion, church, and God were things I had to grit my teeth and bear through every Saturday until 8-9 PM in the evening, till I free to do what I wanted to do.
My family was never overly strict about my religion. Being a Christian was a passive activity at best, a label at worst. I went to church but neither liked it or disliked it. To me, church was a place I had to go every now and then. The preacher preached the same things every service, the congregation sang the same songs. God was a strict, mean parent who was always going to "strike me down with lightning". Every now and then, the adults around me would be so moved that they would start falling out all over the pews and into the aisles, crying and flapping their hands up to the sky, eyes glazed over and staring up at something (or someone) whispering, “Yes, Jesus…Oh, Jesus!” over and over again.
As I grew up, I pretty much forgot about religion, church, and God altogether. At best, God was the center of a punch line of a comedian’s joke on Comedy Central – a good laugh and nothing more. When I was young, my parents bought me one of those fake kiddy play sets you set up in your backyard that had the monkey bars going over the top. I climbed on top of the bars (something that ‘big kids’ do instead of going over the bars in the traditional manner) and made it halfway across before the play set shifted, tipping me off and over the edge.
I screamed as I fell, and, with mouth agape, rammed my mouth dead into hard-packed red Georgia clay. The blow was so strong that it moved my upper jaw forward about 2-3 inches and gave my two front teeth buck-teeth. Ever since that day, I’ve been severely bullied up into the 11th grade in high school due to my teeth and learned to cope by not talking…ever. As I grew up, my mother was forced to move multiple times from houses and apartments and back again; we never settled down for more than 2-3 years at best. As I grew up, I slowly began building a curdling, festering hatred towards my peers and decided to never, ever, associate with anyone of my age group or any ‘activities’ my peers enjoyed doing (smoking, doing drugs, shopping for clothes, etc…). I dedicated my life to learning – researching various topics on the web, creating my own philosophies and dogmas; God never even crossed my mind.
I never blamed God for my misfortunes; I had forgotten completely about Him. I decided that I was (to some degree) better than my peers and built myself up on the satisfaction that I didn't friends/companions, nor did I do any “childish” things my peers did. I got along well with my teachers and other adults and saw school as my ‘job without pay’; while other kids were playing around, I focused my energy on my studies and classwork, ignoring the taunts and absorbing their taunts and laughter to build me up inside.
One day, I grew tired. The bullying I experienced on a daily basis got increasingly worse to the point that one day I came home and decided to commit suicide by taking a whole bottle of aspirin and washing that down with a few swigs of bleach. But before I did it, I began to write out my final words – my will – in my journal (I had started keeping a journal a few months before this incident) As I wrote, I remember a little voice in my head ask me a simple question:
“Who will you be if you do this?”
I remember writing the question out in my journal. I wrote back, “I’ll be nothing. Just another statistic on 11 Alive news. I’ll join the ranks of all those ‘quiet’ peoples who never talked to anyone are who were going to bring a gun to school and kill everyone. That’s who I’ll be.”
“And is that all you want to be?” the voice replied back, “Just another statistic?”
No. That’s not who I wanted to be at all. To kill myself would mean to give in, to let those bastards win against me. I couldn’t let that happen.
“Just wait and see,” the voice whispered to me. “Wait and see what’ll happen. I promise you it gets better…just wait and see.”
And wait I did. True to its words, that voice spoke the truth, and within a few weeks, I was taken out of school to go a private Christian school a town away. Unfortunately, my mother’s house was foreclosed at the beginning of the U.S.’s economic down spiral, and we were forced to move into a one-bedroom at my aunt’s house, which, too, got foreclosed on. Again, we packed up our bags and were able to move into a two-bedroom apartment, where things went from bad to worse. Me and my mother grew very distant from one another. Since she worked at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, she wouldn’t get home until nights, where she would take her frustration, exhaustion, and anger out on me verbally. Again, we were in jeopardy of losing our apartment, only this time we would have to move to a U-Haul storage compound in live (illegally) in one of the storage sheds, taking showers at the local gym and eating at McDonald's.
Fortunately, my cousin and her husband were visiting from Michigan and helped us get another apartment a few miles away on the edge of Atlanta, and, yes, we lost that apartment, too. Our car’s engine died suddenly on us, and since we had no funds and nowhere else to go, we were forced to move across country to live with my cousin in MI, where I’m currently living with my mother.
Surprisingly, God never crossed my mind the entire time all this occurred. I scoffed at my mother’s sighs of “I guess Jesus doesn’t love us anymore,” and passed off the remarks as superficial.
But I was always a person of self-improvement. I loved reading ‘how-to’ books and articles on the web, researching ways to improve myself, to make the way I learned/thought/acted better and more efficient. One day a few months ago, I was sitting in my mother’s new PT cruiser assessing my ‘growth’. I was doing pretty well in all areas except for (you guessed it) my spirituality/religious life. As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I did believe in a Higher Power, but it wasn’t necessarily God. I began researching ways to create my own religion (and God) but ran into snags. My “God” was an omnipresent being that didn’t really care what I did, loved me no matter what, and only wanted to be thought of every now and then , and whatever this “God” liked, I liked it and so forth, which suited me just fine. But, deep down, I realized this “God” was superficial at best.
One evening, my mother was getting ready to go to work. She had just gotten off the phone after cussing out several bill collectors and was in one of her moods, which generally meant she would verbally take out her wrath on the only person who couldn’t run away from her – me. Over the years, I’d gotten used to these outbursts, but every time, no matter how much I gritted my teeth and remained silent, I always broke down and cried when she left; this time wasn’t any different.
As I lay on the floor sobbing, I grew angry. I began to verbally rant, scream, and curse the world, myself, my life, and every painful/hurtful situation I could think of. As I went down the list, I eventually started to yell at God himself. I can’t remember verbatim what I said, but it wasn’t Christian-like at all, and I do remember slumping wearily diagonally on the bed, tears and snot staining my pillow. I cried out, “God, you don’t love me anymore!” over and over again until I grew tired. After that, what happened next I can only describe as God placing the Holy Spirit itself into my throat/vocal cords; I began to speak in tongues, or at least in some form of random gibberish that made absolutely no sense to me. The words/guttural grunts that came out seemed right to say, so I said them for a period of 5-7 minutes on stop; eventually, I fell asleep.
I awoke to find that everything I used to like (my hobbies, interests, pursuits, etc…) filled me with a sense of detached, “dead” numbness. Before my night time incident, I loved reading self-improvement books and studying philosophy; now, I couldn’t so much as look at those books without grimacing in disgust. It was like the feeling you get when you hear your favorite song come on the radio – that feeling that makes you tap your foot and dance/sing to the music – was gone from me; I soon gave away all of my old possessions.
Along with my book choices went my music and YouTube video choices, too. All of my old likes/dislikes/hobbies had no more appeal to them. Again, that same little voice who told me to wait from killing myself appeared in my head again. “All of your old interests are dead to you now. Know you see how trivial and materialistic/worldly your ‘self-built’ identity is. Your following a dead, unfulfilling life and now you finally see the world with blinders off.”
Right then, I knew that God had spoken to me. Over a period of months, my life’s completely changed around. I used to watch and masturbate to several different types of highly inappropriate internet pornography, swore constantly, and knew very little of God and too much of my religion’s ‘rules and regulations’ and not enough the ease and freedom I would experience from getting to know God personally through The Bible and actually talking to Go on a daily basis. With God’s help, I overcame my soft addiction to pornography and masturbation, haven’t cussed (out loud) for a few weeks, and have since grew very close to God through Lectio Divina devotion in the morning and casual (but respectful) conversations together. God has also helped fill my old interests again, too. I used to feel uncomfortable listening to gospel music, but God is always there to help and satisfy me, so he led me to several “R&B” gospel artists, including Mary Mary, Detrick Haddon, and Kirk Franklin. He’s also led me to Max Lucado’s books as well, all of which I enjoy reading very much.
Every day, my heart is afire and I feel full, satisfied spiritually, but always searching for more and more. I am humble before my Father, thanking him every morning for waking me up because He didn’t have to, and I enjoy talking to God on a daily basis. I feel a lot freer knowing that I have someone who can and will help me with my trivial, human problems and who will never judge or laugh at me behind my back. Me and God? We got a thing going on. I tell him about my day, my favorite music and what I’m reading, and I truly believe he not only listens, but cares, too (of course, He always instructs me to become more like Him and His son, Jesus Christ, too)
That’s my testimony. Yes, my life’s not perfect. I worry about things and get discouraged, too. But God can and will help me if I come before Him and tell him what’s going on. There’s this line in the song “Go get it” by gospel artist Mary Mary that says, “It’s alright to crawl before you walk. It’s alright to walk before you run. But if you wanna get what you never got, you gotta do something you’ve never done.” That’s my creed to life. I think that’s God’s creed for us all.