“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seem me with all your heart”
Jeremiah 29:11 – 13
As a young child, I did not really care for the church. I went because I was told to, not because I enjoyed it. I would grow up to resent this church for two reasons. The first was because I felt like my mother devoted all her time to ministry and none to me. I did not resent God, but I grew to resent the primary occupant of my mother’s time. It was because of this resentment that I made it my mission to be the most rebellious child in the congregation. I thought this was the only way to get her attention. As more years dragged on, I started to realize how the people in the church behaved and that it wasn’t consistent with what they were preaching. It was by this point that I decided that church was not for me.
As a young child, I didn’t care much for my life. I was bullied at school and ridiculed at home. I was bullied at school because of my appearance, and my awkwardness. I was ridiculed at home because I allowed myself to be bullied at school. I did not feel like I belonged and often had suicidal thoughts. I felt very alone and spent most of my time looking through a window while I dreamt of better days. I used to dream of a future where I had friends to hang out with and where people actually liked me.
I don’t know when it started but I started to use lies to create the dreams that I had for myself. I realized that my peers placed their sexual relations with women on a very high pedestal, so I started to lie about my interactions with women. I became a pathological liar in order to find my place in society. I could feel a piece of my soul rot away with each lie that I told to get and maintain my social standing. I became good at lying and I always had people around me, but I nearly lost myself in the process. It would eventually go beyond women, I almost joined a gang because I thought that being affiliated with such a group would increase my status. I did not know it at the time, but I was treading a dangerous path.
My family chose to send me to America in 2012, but they had no idea what they were really saving me from. When I came to America, I promised myself that I would not get caught up in another web of lies. I thought everything would be better. The only thing that I didn’t anticipate was actually living the life that I dreamt about as a child and lied about as a teen.
Freshman year, I had the freedom, ability and potential to mess around with women like I always wanted. That year, my dad moved to Florida despite telling me that he would wait until I graduated from college so I would not be alone. That same year, my mom got married to a man that I didn’t know and that she never told me about until a month before they were married. And while I understand that my parents deserved their happiness and the reasoning behind their decisions, it was and still is painful. This pain was further expounded upon by the fact that I was in New Jersey without my parents; this reality was something that I was reminded of during holidays, final exam periods and when I had to move into to school by myself every year.
As I was going through this, I coped in the best way that I knew how by having sex and people pleasing. For the first two years of college, I used women and other people to cope with my own struggles. To the normal eye, I seemed great, but I was crumbling on the inside. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it felt so good at the time. I didn’t know the full extent of the damage that I was doing to others and myself. I lived by my impulses and they controlled me. Last year in February, I wrote a blog post that detailed the struggles that I was enduring at the time. It was these series events that jolted me awake and allowed me to see the devastation I was leaving as I moved through life. More importantly, it was through these events that the Lord was able to reach me, and I would not be the person who I am today if I did not endure the things that I did.
I was stubborn and God needed to bring me to my knees for me to acknowledge that I need him and for him to allow me to see that he was the only one who could fill the void in my soul. I used to think that all my achievements in life were because of me but now I know the true source of my joy. When I felt like I was at rock bottom, God was the only one I could count on and the reason why I am here today. He has shown the damage that I have done to myself and to others, but he has also shown me that I am not beyond the point of redemption. God has given me the strength to perserve and the ability to learn from my mistakes.
I will be 22 years old on February 16 and this is the first time that I can ever say in my life that I am at peace. It is the first time in my life when I can say that it is well with my soul. The first time in my life where I know my purpose and I have the confidence to achieve it because I know who my provider is, and I know that he will never leave me. Whatever you are going through or have been through, it will all come to an end and you will be better for it. This is I know because this is my testimony and this, I know for you as well because God loves all his children.