Being a Christian is something I learned about early in life. Being the daughter of a radio minister and the granddaughter of a pastor, it was something that I was, essentially, born into! As we know, the journey is almost never linier, however the path is just as important as the glory and the testimony.
As a child growing up in my grandfather’s church, I went to church every Sunday—sometimes two or three services! Naturally, it was not my favorite thing to do, as I was missing Rugrats and Hey Arnold (two of my favorite childhood shows!) I also simply missed playing with my older cousins, although, they were in church with me (most times.) My mother was a stickler for secular music, so most of the time, we were jamming out to The Canton Spirituals or Dorothy Norwood! We grew to know and love these songs and its quite nostalgic hearing some of those beautiful hymns today.
When I was 8, my mom decided it was time to switch to a different church, as my grandfather had passed away and the new leadership at his church was shifting—so she, my brothers and I, joined a larger church in the city. It was amazing! I got baptized and genuinely began loving and enjoying church, however, I was still too young to understand the difference between going to church and being the church.
My brothers and I became junior ushers and had weekly meetings/practice, on top of multiple services, and now, we were often in church on Saturday, too, because my mom was often the guest emcee for musicals! Needless to say, I was in church quite a bit and I was not very moved or excited about it.
Fast forward to high school, I began enjoying gospel music as much as I enjoyed my secular tunes. Church was a bit more exciting and I could not wait to hear the choir sing–that became my favorite part of church. I joined the choir in school and at church and loved every bit of it!
My true test of faith began when I left home for college. I was excited to be away from home and away from church 3 times a week. After a few months away, oddly enough, I missed it! When I went home for the weekend, I would look forward to church and musicals! It was the perfect escape and very reminiscent of a simpler time! When I started graduate school, I feel as though that is when the real shift occurred.
In church, the music was amazing—but that was just the surface. I noticed how I craved the word of God more than the melodic keys and the angelic voices. So that year, I found a church home in my new home away from home. I went to church every Sunday eager to hear from the shepherd of the house, in the hope that God would send a message directly to me through him.
One thing I knew for sure was school was hard and work was challenging—balancing both was trying and seemed unmanageable. Usually, I would go to my mother and she would know just what to say to make things better, but that changed as I got older.
Most of my life, I saw my mother as a 10-foot giant that was not to be messed with, but there were times when my problems surpassed her height. These were 12 ft. problems and her soothing words still left room in my mind for unsettling thoughts.
Ten times out of ten, she would answer me with confidence and reassurance, but there were occasions when I noticed her tone shifted, and she would say: “sometimes, we don’t win every fight. What’s most important is, you didn’t give up.”
Those words haunted the overachiever in me. Possible defeat? Me? How? I found myself fighting hard for things that used to come easy. Because of this, my relationship with Jesus grew and flourished more than I could have imagined.
I feel I spent most of my life living off my mother and grandmothers’ prayers—and I still do, but now, I had to add my prayers into the mix. Sometimes, it was just me and my tears in my room holding on to my unwavering faith and a hope in victories unseen. Things definitely changed for me—and for the better. I was learning to stand on my own two feet and relish in self-sufficiency and my blooming faith.
I still feel the enemy testing me regularly, however, I now know my help comes from the Lord. There is only so much my mother can say to sooth the pain of agonizing struggles that I sometimes face, and that is okay! Her prayers still cover me and availeth much, however—I have to trust in God’s plan and believe it myself. This journey is not easy; however it has birthed a person I never knew existed.
Someday, it will be my prayers covering my children and grandchildren and I do not take that lightly. Being a pillar of faith and strength is in me—always has been, always will be.