I was raised in the church and introduced to the Lord at an early age. You see, I come from a family of worshippers and preachers; a family who has been blessed with hearts for the Lord. This has been manifested through preaching, teaching, and singing. My entire life, my mother has been the choir director, which means, the whole family sang in the choir regardless if you had the gift of singing or not. And BIG surprise, I was not given that gift. Many times I remind myself that the Bible says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:1-2). So I sing joyfully, but not always beautifully or even in the right key.
Many of my earliest memories are in the church, sitting right next to my sister, in front of our nana, as she belted out this bigger than life voice. My mother would be on the piano, and my granddaddy would be in the front pew along with the other deacons of the church. Occasionally, my dad would join us, and he too would be in the choir stand with us. We never missed a Sunday at church. Growing up in a black Baptist church meant their was always something going on: Sunday service, second service, Wednesday bible study, choir practice, visiting neighboring churches for evening service, pastor appreciation day, vacation bible school, summer revival, and the list can go on and on. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at church hearing about the Lord.
When I was 12, my nana told me it was time for me to “join” the church and get baptized. See, in our church, once you turned 12, if you weren’t baptized you could no longer serve in the church ministries. I remember, I cried because I was scared and did not feel I was “ready” to take the big plunge in the baptismal pool. At 34 I understand what my 12 year old self did not, and that is where that fear came from. It was a lack of understanding exactly what it meant to be baptized and accept the Lord as my personal savior; to enter into a true relationship with Him. However, when the “doors of the church were opened,” and the invitation was extended to come forward if you felt like the Lord was calling you into a personal relationship, I hesitantly walked forward next to my sister and sat in the chairs, and we joined the church together officially. We did it because it was what expected of us. It has taken almost 20 years for me to actually understand what it means to have a true relationship with the Lord. What it actually means to know and accept Him as my personal savior.Walking up to the alter, sitting in a chair and finally being baptized is not what make you saved; yes it is an outward confession, or part of the process, but if you don’t know that the Lord died for our sins and confess that He is Lord, then all it is is an outward show.
I was a teenager when I actually learned what it meant to have a relationship with God; what it truly means to accept Him into my life, and I was in my 20s when I spent hours pleading to the Lord to hold my hand and to heal my broken body and spirit and I gave him 100% trust into the Lord to take control because I no longer could make it on my own. And, praise the Lord, He brought me through. Here’s the thing, at this point in my life, I know the Lord, I’ve accepted Him into my heart, I trust that He is good, but I’ve held back a little bit of me from Him because of some irrational fear that I would lose something. I know it sounds ridiculous, just writing this it seems so irrational. As a follower of Christ, my identity is in God. I have lived just enough in the world that I have had fun without losing my salvation, but if I’m perfectly honest I’ve lived in shades of gray, and the Lord ask us to be black or white, hot or cold. Revelation 3:16 tells us very clearly that the Lord doesn’t want some of us, He wants all of us. For the past two months I’ve felt the Lord making moves inside of me, changing my heart and calling me to stop living in the gray area. I’ve been vocal about feeling like I’m in my season and that I’m ready for whatever the Lord has in store for me, but in order to receive His many blessing, I have to see black or white. I have to stop living for myself and start living 100% for the Lord. I need to feed my spirit and walk in faith. Today I choose to walk in faith!
Continue to be blessed!!!!