It was sometime in 2004 and I had rededicated my life to God after a lady preached the Good news to me in a way that spoke to my heart. Everything seemed to be moving smoothly. I was studying my bible, going to church, attending fellowship at the office, just generally trying to be holy. I had told my boyfriend to stay away from me for a while, so I could build my personal relationship with God. I did not want to fall into sin.
1 month gone, and it was all perfect, until an old friend came visiting. It was a Friday. He drove from far to pay me this surprise visit. When I asked why, he said he felt lonely and realized I was someone he could really talk to and spend time with. You know how such words do women. I felt wanted. We went out for a lovely dinner. We talked and laughed till midnight. Then he decided to drop me at home (I was staying alone, in the BQ of my landlord then). He said he would like to spend the night over since it was quite late to drive back to his house. I said it was okay, as long as he sleeps in the parlor and not interrupt my sleep in the bedroom.
The next morning, after bidding him goodbye (for good), I told God it was over between me and Him. The guilt, shame, disgust, and low esteem I felt was nothing compared to the transient 5 minutes pleasure that ensued during the night. I concluded that I was not cut out for Christianity. I told God I was not going to bother myself about it, because I had fallen many times, and this was the worst of all. If what happened that night was with my boyfriend, maybe it would have been better. But with a guy that just appeared – that was worse that adultery, I told myself.
So I found myself at that decision point – “To follow or not to follow” God. I could see the path I was trying to run away from, but I knew my attempts had resulted in failure. I did not want to deceive myself so I chose “not to follow”. I watched my life deteriorate. I fell more into sin, I killed my conscience, my life was filled with pain and dissatisfaction masked by a charade. I was not happy and I knew the path I had chosen did not have good in store for me. I left church and fellowship (nobody cared) and entered a world of my own. I felt trapped, but said I will stick to what I had chosen though wondering if there could there more to life.
In retrospect, I think God was “dying for me” for in my sinful state, He gave me a dream about an acquaintance – a guy I knew, respected, but did not want to get close to lest he contaminates me with his good nature. I felt compelled to share that dream with him, only to realize that it was actually a message from God. So he opened up to me, we got talking, and with time, I felt relaxed in his peaceful and godly presence. Like Mary at the feet of Jesus, I enjoyed listening to his stories and teachings of God. As he talked about God, I began falling in love with God. 2 things he did that turned my life around – he told me he believed God has a plan and a purpose for my life, and he bought me a study book “Because of Jesus” by Connie Witter. Only a man sensitive to the spirit could have done such because I love anything exam-like (which was how the study book was designed). That study book made me realize I was already a virtuous woman, the proverbs 31 woman, not by my works or efforts, but because of what Jesus had done, and God was seeing me as righteous not the way I saw myself.
Small by small, I started liking God, but I was not rushing into a relationship with Him. You know how it is when a person is coming around you and you are gradually having affections for him/her? As my likeness for Him increased, I started disliking the things I used to do (though I had not stopped doing them). One day, I found myself at that point, “To follow or not to follow”. After thinking long and hard, and hearing His loving words, "Come to me, my daughter who is weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" [Matthew 11:28], I decided “to follow”, to try God, and see if indeed there could be more to life. That was in February 2007.
I am telling you, the sum of joy, pleasures, and happiness I have had before 2007 are nothing compared to what I experience as I decided to follow God and stay with Him. Life with God is beautiful. Only Him could fill a huge void in me, and make me whole. Despite the steep learning curve with Him, I cannot deny His unfailing love, His graciousness, His mercy and loving-kindness. Indeed there is more to life - with God.
I do not know if you ever have to stand at that junction to make a choice between “To follow or not to follow” God. If you decide “to follow”, you will never regret it (even if the enemy tries to make you regret). It does not matter where you are coming from or where you have been. When the Master Molder, the Artist that knows intricacies, the God who knew you before you were conceived, the One who made you a masterpiece, when you allow Him work on you, you will be amazed at what He can do with you and what can become of you.
For me, this I believe – Even if it is only 1 person whose life I touch, whom I shine the light and love of God to, or whom I help to stay with God, it is better that 2 of us are saved than we perish. For I do not know if that 1 person will become a Joseph Prince, a Creflo Dollar, a Juanita Bynum or a great man of God tomorrow, who will touch the lives of many others. I will be so delighted to sleep over at his/her mansions in Heaven.
Looking back at 2004 when I rededicated my life to Christ, I realize that I was working so hard to be righteous. It is not by power, might or works, but by the Spirit and grace of God. It is something Jesus Christ has already done for us. Remaining in Him is also not by power, might or works, but by His Spirit and realizing that it is a walk of faith. You may fall many times, but by His grace, You will stand up and walk with heads high.
Lest I forget, the acquaintance eventually became my adorable king, Mr. Rita as I call him on my blog. Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?
Have a blessed week ahead…