It would not make sense to ever brag on myself. Everything I have and everything that’s been given to me has been as a result of God’s favor on my life.
It must be some generational thing.
My granny often tells me of the dreams she had as a child. Her all white that she once chose ready to take her post in the Baptist church. Things happen. the devil always trying to get people away from relationship with God.
Since the beginning.
God had some plans in my lineage.
My grandmother often speaks on her mother my grandmother who had a voice that was comparable to Mahalia Jackson’s. And how one of my favorite great aunties won a city wide singing contest. We had destiny.
And here comes me down this tree, of favor and God’s mercy and grace. A singing voice that never gets exercised, molded, trained or developed. I never was good enough. Grammy dreams. I’ll just write.
Placed, like the bubble boy, in a religion. A religion that teaches us not to have outside associations. Not even with our family members. If they don’t choose their version of truth. No outside understanding of the world I would be required to live and function in. Just stay close to us they said.
Maybe leaving Lane Tech to be home schooled wasn’t such a good idea. In our region. Some chose to. Some did not. I wasn’t prepared to deal with the outside of Jehovah’s Witnesses world.
The world they described as wicked. The church world which they called Babylon the great. They would speak on the church people who partied on Saturday nights and was up acting holy on Sunday. The church people who fornicated throughout the week with their live in boyfriends then got placed in their church assignments on Sundays as Sunday School teachers. Not us though. We were good. We followed the bibles rules to a T, they said. well maybe not the one about caring for orphans and widows. That scripture where it says that’s the only religion acceptable to God, our Father. We have the truth they told me. We were to be no part of the world they said.
Baby Rae-Rae. My mother left the baptist church pregnant with me to begin this life. And oh how they loved on us. I was baby Rae-Rae. With plenty of love in the organization. It was safe and comfortable.
Everybody knew my name, and like my homesickness for Boston where my mother moved us to when I was seventeen, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name.
I didn’t always want to follow rules. Being exposed to some things early in life, by worldly people, opened doors that were never supposed to be opened. So my mother stayed extra close to the Jehovah’s Witness organization. I didn’t always do good things. But oh when I did.
I’d read and study the word of God. Young. Early teens. While other kids were at rinks and bowling alleys, I’d be in my aunts kitchen learning how to study that watchtower for Sunday, so I’d be prepared to raise my hand during the bible teaching portion of the meeting. Deep study from the research books. Dictionaries to help me understand unfamiliar words. It got deep.
For the call and response. It was a classroom environment type thing. Only really being able to answer what they’d give us. Regurgitating the knowledge they pressed up on us. Not being able to go outside their religious books to find answers.
My mother moved around a lot. Maybe she couldn’t find stability because the spirit of God couldn’t give her peace.
Maybe she was in the wrong place.
I wanted to follow the rules. I spent a lot of time with the pioneers. The people that dedicate their lives to pushing Jehovah’s Witness literature around. Many were young. Choosing homeschooling so they could focus on that ministry work.
I joined the crowd.
And then some in that same group started doing the things they told us only the people in the world did. Drinking, smoking, fornicating. I knew it was wrong, but oh well. I’m still following the crowd.
But I told, and when people do those types of things they get disciplined sometimes for the entire congregation to hear. A name being called out. Privileges being taken away. And then I lost the crowd.
I could never get with this paradise on earth thing.
When I finally started seeking answers I found 2 Corinthians. Make sure you say two and not second, because like Trump I’m not all that deep. I just read a little word. Anyway. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
Huh? What?? Paradise is not on earth like I was taught all those 31 freaking years of my life, wasted. Not going to school to be away from the world. Which made me have a late start after my best friend encouraged me, and walking Harvard’s yard with her. And spending too much time in her dorm room which made me long for college life. In Chicago, the brothers in the congregations we were a part of taught us to look for a trade, not going to college cause you know the world was going to end soon. No need to. Gotta be prepared for Armageddon.
I’ve been bamboozled. Spike Lee style.
How did I get free?
It all started with me seeking God. I thought I was going on a forty day fast to free me up from a girl I was told was doing black magic on me, maybe so and God disentangled me up from the binds of that religion was a plus.
Some things aren’t broken except by prayer AND fasting.
I went back to that religion after the fast, and began asking questions I never thought to ask before. Like who is the Holy Spirit? And how do you blaspheme Him? And they kept telling me it was like a force like the wind. Taking personification away from Him. And the lady i asked never could answer my question about the blaspheming. She kept having to get back to me.
I stopped believing.
My inner self wasn’t settled by that response.
See the fruits of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me are the things that help me do right even when I want to do bad. Maybe that’s why I kept getting disfellowshipped. I couldn’t stop doing, what only the Spirit of God could keep me from.
No I am not looking for a mate to quench a fire. I can wait. God is sustaining me. He will. Even when I want to do bad. I can’t seem to keep on doing it.
I went to get my stuff from my most recent former relationships house. Every time i call about my stuff i have to hear i love yous and i miss yous and if so and so wasn’t concerned about our relationship, I would, so on and so forth. I know the complications. But some people can choose abstinence because no one they desire is desiring them, and they brag on their abilities. It was the strength of God keeping me from going down the path i once did. Staring into green eyes that sometimes turn blue, sometimes turn brown but I stayed the course. Of no goodness of my own. God kept me.
We chatted a little bit about him getting back to church, but I cant save who don’t want to be saved. Only Jesus can come through and help those who call on him.
Longest story short. I stopped asking man. They couldn’t have had it right. I started asking God. Order my steps. Guide me. Lead me. Help me find you.
And I did. In the walls of the UIC forum. Speaking through a man who has become the first Pastor to shepard me. God uses him. He takes no credit. Constantly teaching us how to develop our own relationship with God through Jesus.
I speak up on this small scale afraid of the names I’ll be called. Being disfellowshipped I can still see my aunt,who did more raising of me than my own mother, on occasions when I need a place for my baby to be. Always business. Only business.
But if they call me that apostate word. Will she still? The burden and stress of losing everything, not just the stuff i gave up when i began my walk with Christ, but my people. The people i cant seem to stop loving no matter how bad they treat me. the religion teaches that messed up type of loyalty. But I’m getting better at letting go. But this fear got me eating like forty going north.
My longest friendship is with a man who once rode my back ad a baby like I was a horsey and asked me a few years ago as adults, when I told him of all I’d discovered, Rae-Rae, have you forgotten all we were taught?
No, but I’m trying to.
And who is this man that is doing this to you, telling you these things.
No man. I ask God. Then all of a sudden I’m opening my bible. And there is my answer. Like two Corinthians. My pastor just helps me stay connected to the one who has all the answers by teaching me the word, teaching me how to tap into prayer, and letting the message God is sending come through loud and clear.
Being in this church not knowing the first thing about it, no one to help me navigate its been all God. I just introduced myself, really met my pastor for the first time last October. 2015. Nervous about meeting a man who allows God to use him to change so many lives through the word of God he speaks and teaches on faithfully. A man of one wife. A man who constantly attests to his faithfulness to her. A man who needs two signatures to get money out the bank.
A man of integrity.
I didn’t always see that in the men I grew up around, often hearing these stories they swept under the rug. The elders didn’t get disciplined all the time for the same things that other people did. And as much as they judged. Looking down on others they and their children did and got away with some of the worst things!
This is not a bitter rant. I’m thankful. I’m finally free. I know the truth. From the bible not books man wrote. Not just this. But Hebrews 1 telling me Jesus is not Michael the archangel, because to which?? Which?? Not one of the angels can compare to Jesus. Jesus is God. There is no infinite article such as, a, in the Greek language.
Y’all know. Ms. Kentros at that young language academy taught me that much in the Greek classroom I sat in for one period every day for five years.
So. I’m done. I eat, overeat, rejecting the beauty that is hidden under the fat so afraid the people I love the most are going to reject the message and the messenger. And I’ll have to continue walking alone. But God.
I kept praying for Him to bring my people to me. The people who were going to love me for me. With nothing to give, just me. And its happening. Day by day.
A funny man came up to me in all seriousness one day speaking. I felt God, and he explained something about being planted on fertile ground, and sometimes you need to be replanted around whats going to cause growth.
This thing. My new Life. My walk with Christ. My understanding of God I get by the scriptures that are given to me is causing a major shift of growth in my life.
I know the truth now. So I live in truth and walk in truth. And no one can tell me otherwise, because God did it. Man is not trustworthy. But God never changes.
He never changes end of the world dates. He doesn’t make mistakes by putting the wrong people in place to tell people things and theories that change. He is the word. His word is truth and he never changes.
I thought I wasted my time and life. But, all that living according to God’s Holy standards, without the help of the Holy Spirit who we were never taught to invite into our lives, has made this new walk and walking according to God’s standards much easier. No. They were wrong. Everyone in church is not living according to their own desires. We all fall short of the glory of God. But some truly live according to and desire to walk a walk, and live a life pleasing to God. They really do. I see them. And I feel a love I never once felt in the organization of my youth. And now I’m in a place that feels like home, as my preacher preaches some things that are going on in my life right now. And speaks directly to my situation.
I was designed and molded into a lie, which makes it so difficult for me to let anyone in these days. Trust issues need deliverance too.
This isn’t about being right, though. I’m open for discussion. I know how to listen and not give a rebuttal. I know I was once trained to listen to reply. You know those scripts we had memorized ready to give a response to every thing we felt contradicted our truth. But now I listen to learn and understand. I’ve prayed for humility.
Anyway. I’m done. It is what it is. But most importantly as my cousin says, it ain’t what it ain’t. And, the Jehovah’s Witness religion, that ain’t my truth. A religion cant be placed above the word of God. Above Jesus who is called the word of God. Above truth. Jesus, who is the way the truth and the life.
Nope. I don’t have any answers. I just have Jesus, and as long as I have him, I have the peace, love, comfort, family, restoration, abundant life, joy, and kindness that I’ve always thought was impossible to find. I have his word, that tells me how to receive these things.
Now I’m gathering. I’m getting everything God has had for me and my family in our lineage.
So who do you believe in?