Friday, July 12, 2013

Searching for God

Her search for love led her to the love of the true and living God

By Latasha Williamson

When I was a little girl, I truly loved the Lord. I would pray every night and every day. I was raised in the church.

 I also genuinely loved people. I can remember meeting people and they would ask me, what do you want to be when you grow up and I would say with a big smile, “Me and my husband are going to go to Africa to save all the starving people.” I was very serious because I believed with all my heart that was my purpose.

As I began to grow, I was very much in tune with the feelings of others. Somehow, I would always know what someone was thinking and if they were sad or happy. It was as if something from the inside of them was speaking to my mind. For a long time, I didn’t know how to handle others feelings and emotions, especially when they were sad, distraught or troubled.

 I had to grow up fast. My parents divorced. My mother found herself a single mother with five children to raise. I was the oldest. At an early age, I had to help raise my sisters, which I felt took away from my childhood. There was a void inside of me that I tried to fill by looking for love in all the wrong places. I tried to fill the void with promiscuity and partying.

 My issues were spiraling out of control. I was having sexual relationships with different men, drinking excessively and partying. My mother and I stayed at odds. My junior year of high school, she sent me to live with my father. My father, who was an ordained pastor,  supported me and began teaching me about God. My deepest desire was to know the one and only living God.

I began a search to find this God that led me down a dangerous road to New Age religion.

When I went to college for my undergraduate degree, I attended church sporadically. Things in my life continued to get worse. By the time I was in graduate school, I stopped attending church all together.  I had decided to forget about Christianity and Jesus. I wanted a new way of life. I wanted to know the one and only living God. I had a big void in my life and I was searching for fulfillment. I just assumed that I tried Jesus and He wasn’t enough.

 
A spiritual journey

I was introduced to a series of New Age books titled, “Conversations with God.”  The New Age religion does not believe that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. The New Age religion believes that Jesus is on the same level with Buddha, Krishna and Muhammad, that He is just one of the prophets. They also believe that the devil is a man-made creature and intellectually he just doesn’t exist. When I received my first book, I was very excited and scared all at the same time, but I truly believed all of the above.

In addition to receiving my first book, I packed all of my bibles and study guides and delivered them right to the garbage. I walked away thinking that I was making a fresh start, that I was making a spiritual journey, only to find that I was making a fresh start to death, destruction, heart ache and pain. The next two years of my life would be the most devastating. I was broken physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially.

I met my son’s father while in graduate school. I moved with him from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri in 2004 and we bought a home. The first month we were in Kansas City, I conceived my son.  My dream quickly became a nightmare. I realized that I was sleeping with the enemy. Every day we were verbally sparring, cussing and fussing. Daily, every bit of life was slipping from me. All of the hurt and pain I experienced in my youth was now manifesting in my adult life.

I decided to see a clinical therapist and she diagnosed me with depression. I declined to take anti-depressants because I was this, "Strong Black Woman.” But I did participate in therapy sessions. By the grace of God, it helped.

 I knew I had to leave Kansas City. I was trapped, I was depressed, I was unhappy. I could move back home, but I didn’t want to move back to southeast Missouri and southern Illinois after living the city life. I also didn’t want to be another statistic—black, single mother. My flesh wanted to stay because of the material wealth, but my spirit wanted to leave.

In my spirit I knew my son’s father was sleeping with another woman, but I didn't have any proof. I just knew. One Friday in July, two years after moving to Kansas City, I received a package in the mail with pictures of my son’s father’s wedding. And I was not the bride.

In addition to the photos I received a nice little hand-written note from the new bride that said they had been married for two weeks. I immediately made a call to my son’s father and asked him if he had gotten married because I had received his wedding pictures in the mail. His response: "Why did you open my mail?" Enough said. I made the decision to leave everything I had and go home right that moment. I left all of my clothes, boots, shoes. I received the letter at 5:30 p.m. By 8:30 p.m. I was packed on my way home to southern Illinois.

I had reached an all-time low and literally wanted to die. I was never suicidal; I just wanted something to take me out. Can you imagine who I cried out to at this point,? You got it.

“Jesus!”

When I cried out to Jesus, I made a vow to never leave him again. I made a vow to always love him. I asked Him to forgive me. I started attending church with a new expectancy, a new hunger, a new thirst. I started to read the Word, dissect the Word, eat the Word and digest the Word.

This time, I wanted to truly try Jesus. I wanted to know him for myself. Jesus restored our relationship, as if nothing happened. I started to develop a personal relationship with him, believing and trusting him. He became my Savior, my healer, my deliverer, my hope, my joy, my peace, my love, my everything.

At this time in my life Jesus was the only one willing to give me what I longed for and that was unadulterated unconditional love,—the real thing. All my life I had chased after things that I thought were love or associated with love. All of my life I thought that I needed a man to live, to love, to survive, and to rescue me. Jesus healed me and delivered me from “needing a man” syndrome. I had no desire for sex, dating, marriage. My greatest desire was to know more about Jesus and to spend time with Jesus.  I fell in love with Jesus and my life has not been the same. Yes, I still have down days and even seasons, but I don’t ever have to worry about anyone not loving me because I’ve found someone who always will.

He lives in me

Jesus cleaned me up and gave me a new start. I am a true testimony of His grace and mercy. My life has been transformed and it has never been the same. In 2008 I accepted my call to preach and teach the gospel and it is truly an honor.

When I look in hindsight, I think about how Jesus spared my life. He could have taken me out when I decided to leave him, persecute him, and persuade others from him.

I can identify with the apostle Paul. I also persecuted other believers and every chance I had I would try to persuade them to follow the New Age religion. One of my closest friends was a young preacher who was struggling in the ministry and I tried with all of my might to persuade him to turn his back on the gospel. There were many others that I tried to persuade.

Sometimes I look at myself in disgust, wondering, “Why, Jesus? Why would you save me?” But then I remember that’s the kind of God, the kind of Christ we serve.

I believe without a shadow of doubt, I believe with every fiber of my being, I believe with my whole heart and I believe with my life that if you try Jesus and allow Him to enter your heart, your mind, and your soul, your life will be transformed forever.

I have finally found the one and only living God and He lives in me.
 
This story appears in the Spring 2013 issue of The Well Magazine.
Click the magazine cover to read this story and other testimonies in The Well Spring 2013
 
 

 

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