Hiding in corners..
I was born in a loving home with ideal parents. Not too harsh and not ‘spoilers’ either. I grew up in a camp surrounded by a lot of children of other people living around. The earliest memory I remember of the devil taking advantage of my naivety was when I was as young as six years or so. I had a friends, mostly boys and some girls I used to play around with. I would fool around with about two of the boys around. I mean, what did we know about sexual matters? I didn’t even know how it started, but I just know that we would hide in corners to go and do that “sweet thing” as we used to call it. Thinking back now, it’s so horrible. I remember one of those times, my friend’s mom caught us, and said she would report us. She didn’t quite get round to it, because she died few years or months later. It was so sad.
Anyways, I used to be a sharp-mouthed child. I was sharp in school too. The next thing I got involved in growing up was lesbianism. This, to be honest, was due to ignorance and not rebellion on my part, because as soon as I heard someone talk about it, I decided to repent of it, and stop engaging in the practice. I thought “Well, since we aren’t supposed to commit fornication, maybe this isn’t so bad.” That was just ignorance and foolishness on my part. Looking back, I really thank God I stopped early because if I didn’t, I don’t know what kind of people I would have met or influenced that would have been on me right now. God is really good. Once, even my mom approached me on the matter and I denied it fervently. I think God told her, because my mom prays a lot. Life went on.
Growing up, I hated reading books. I felt they were a bore and bulky. My sister was the bookish one in the family. I started reading novels in secondary school, maybe my SS1. I read just so I would say that I could finish reading a novel to the end. But as I kept coming across more books, I kept reading little by little. Sooner than later, I was reading books as big as the Bible. Not that I had read the bible then much. I was a sunday to sunday bible reader.
I got born again properly in my SS1, I think. I had a tender conscience regarding godly things and would feel really guilty if I didn’t go to church or something. To be honest, the reason I really got serious about being born again was that I wanted to get good grades and pass my WAEC in one sitting. I never prayed as much as I did during that period. I remember saying things in secondary school like “It’s the day I stop following God that I would start failing academically.” Of course, when you make bold statements like that, you know you have to hold God tight. At some point in my born again life, I actually wanted to obey God and follow God, but I guess I just didn’t know how, or I was really blind.
Back to the thing on novels, soon I was known in my hostel that I could read any kind of book, from the interesting ones to even the boring ones, as long as they had a story line. I did come across a Christian novel by Francine Rivers, ‘Redeeming Love‘ and I read it. I was so sad when it ended, I wished there were more books like that, and actually, I did find more of her books. I did pass my WAEC in one sitting. I read a lot of romance novels, erotic things that messed with my mind and made me have lust issues. It was folly, because I kept deceiving my self that I was just reading it for the story line, but I would still read all the sexual parts, and that would create not-so-pure images in my mind. Now, when you have that kind of mind, the enemy can use you like bread. It’s a miracle that I didn’t go and commit immorality. God kept me from crossing the line. I’m eternally grateful. My advice to anybody reading this would be: Don’t want to experience the world first before coming to God. It’s not enjoyment at all. There are things I wish I could delete from my mind, things I wish I could ‘unknow’ (unlearn), but well, God has helped me. My point is that your struggle will be more, the more you get into the world. Just know God from the start.
Delivered from Fear:
Fear was a major stronghold in my life. And this is not just fear of the future, but the major fear I had was fear of the dark. From a very young age, I was so afraid of going outside in the night. Since I grew up with this fear, it had become normal to me. I watched a movie when I was young, and there was this scary man with boils on his face, it scared me to pieces. I think that’s when a spirit of fear jumped on me, and since then, I lived in fear, I hated going outside in the dark and it wasn’t funny at all. During the Psalm 139 prayers, I was prayed for, and the spirit of fear was cast out and for the first time in ages, I felt light. I felt like I was floating. Ever since that dear, I don’t have an excess fear of the dark. Infact, any time I feel tempted to be afraid of a dark place slightly, I just shrug it off and walk right in.
Kept by the Lord’s grace
Throughout my secondary school, now I look back, I know it’s definitely the hand of God that stopped me from having a boyfriend. It’s really weird when I think about it. I mean, I had a crush on a guy for four years and it’s not like I wasn’t fine or intelligent. It was almost like a mood swing thing. The guy would like me one day, and the next it would be as though we didn’t even talk. Trust me, I tried. But, of course God had other plans. Even as I came to school, I did make up my mind not to date in my year one, but as year two strolled by, I started considering the thing again. All this while, something in me just knew this dating thing was not okay. I was really uncomfortable with the idea, because I actually did want God, and I didn’t feel God would like it. As a Christian girl, I felt “How would I introduce the person I was ‘dating’ to someone who was maybe a leader in church or something? Would I be proud to say it or would I feel ashamed?” I used to feel embarrassed about dating generally. The first guy I dated, well, since I just regarded him as a friend, it was easy to leave the relationship. But when God saw that I entered a relationship where I actually had feelings for the person, God came for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was born again already (by this time). For maybe like four years and counting. I had desired the baptism of the Holy Spirit so much that I had gone for countless alter calls and such. I gave up at some point and just encouraged myself that God didn’t stop loving me because I couldn’t speak in tongues and when He wanted to give me, He would.
It began with a hunger…
Before God began to change my life and recruited me into His army and delivered me from a lot of things, it began with a hunger. I, suddenly, said to myself in my year two, first semester holiday. “Jane, you don’t read your Bible? What kind of Christan are you, sef(actually)?” And I determined in my heart that I would begin to read my Bible, that holiday. Of course, I struggled a lot at first. I’d read today, not read tomorrow, forget, since I wasn’t used to it, etc. What helped me the most and I hope it will help others too was having a to-do list. I was deliberate about this bible thing. I would put it in my daily to-do lists among the things I wanted to do for the day. At the end of the day most days, I would have done everything on the list and ticked it off, but the “Read my Bible” box would be staring at me unticked. I would read it most times, just so I could tick it off the list, but as time went on, I began to enjoy reading the Bible, I would see things I didn’t believe could be in the Bible and become so interested. I started from Psalms and Proverbs, the soft part. It helped me a lot.
When I resumed for second semester of my year two, I have a roommate who was a Christian too. But she was a different kind of Christian. She didn’t do the things everyone used to do, she was just different, and she would call me sometimes and discuss the Bible with me, teach me things. I listened because I believed she was a good Christian. Unconciously, I used her as a yardstick to measure what I should or shouldn’t do. When I saw her keep quiet during some room gist, I would feel I should keep quiet too, things like that happened. Now, that same thing she did for me, I do it for others too. Now, I can call people around me, speak the words of God to them, give them passages to read etc.
Growing up as a church person and knowing God quite early made me get very religious at some point. Maybe that’s not why, but I chose the right path generally quite early, so I didn’t experience so many things people have gone through. This made me proud and religious, so I was like a walking, breathing, criticizing machine. I know there is a balance now, to things, but then all I saw around me was what wrong someone did. It was so bad. I don’t think I had compassion really. But during the season where God said he was going to open fire to go through our house, I got delivered of this terrible thing. The time before it finally went, it was brought to the surface and was really bad. I saw the reality of what I was suffering.
God is good, that’s the bottom line of what I can say. He’s so good and He wants to deliver us from the power of Satan if we’d just let Him. He delivered me from pride, anger, and other vices.
God’s mighty works…
Now, I lay hands on sick people to get healed, I pray for people to get baptized in the Holy Spirit, I cast out demons, I can share the gospel boldly (That’s a big miracle because I used to be afraid of evangelism a whole lot. God is delivering me from that day by day, week by week..) I know what God says about me and I am resting in His love. I don’t doubt for a second that God loves me (I mean that!), because I’ve come to understand what God’s love is about, so I can’t believe the lie of the devil. I have so many brothers and sisters in Jesus, just an awesome church family. I pray for people and I’m growing in compassion evey day. I hear God. He can speak and I can hear and that’s the most beautiful thing that can happen to someone. That God can talk to you and you have ears to hear Him. He has given me eyes to see and is still giving me. I can read God’s words and have understanding. My Bible is a living book to me and not some boring old history book. I can read scripture and the Holy Spirit brings the words to life, giving me understanding and light. It’s a beautiful thing to live in God’s presence. I am still running the race and still keeping the faith. I’ve experienced God as my Father, as my Lord, as my Lover, as my Healer, as my Provider. He takes care of me everyday. I have peace of mind. I know that He accepts me and wouldn’t pursue me from His house because I broke a plate. He will discipline me sometimes, but that’s what Fathers do. That is what shows that you are not illegitimate like Hebrews 12 says.
Life is indeed beautiful with Jesus.