The Butler’s Story
My grandmothers were praying grandmothers and my mom grew up in church. I‘m the oldest of four girls and we were always instructed on how to live, how to treat people and how to carry ourselves in a
Christ-like manner. Looking back at my upbringing, and the woman I am now, you’d never guess that I did not grow up fellowshipping in church with others who believed in Jesus because he has made me whole.
My parents were middle-class, good people who made sure that me and my sisters were cared for. They taught us to be kind, respectful, and the value of a good name. Our Sundays were not spent in church. Yet growing up, I frequently read the Bible and was familiar with the word of God. Thus, I had some kind of knowledge and a fundamental understanding of the Bible. But did I have a relationship with Jesus?
Many people talk about how they are spiritual and how God knows their heart but it’s only a one sided relationship. Am I using God for what benefits me or am I actually in relationship with God? These are the kind of questions we need to ask and stop taking God for granted. I was taking God for granted yet he was not a significant part of my life. Like many people, prayer was not new to me and I even thought that I had a relationship with God. Does that sound familiar to you? Throughout my life, I would never say that I was “bad” or even “ignorant” concerning God but listen to this. I preferred to do things ‘my way.’ Does that sound familiar to you too?
There’s a scripture in the Bible that Jesus said about himself and who he is to me but at that juncture in my life, I did not have this experience with God because I really did not have intimacy with him. This scripture now has so much more relevance to me. I hope you can see it too as you continue to read my story. Jesus says in St John 14:6— "I am the way and the truth and the life…”
Because I desired to do things my way there was conflict at home pretty much because I did not regard the significance of my parents’ rules. So, when I became a legal adult and felt independent in my thinking excluding not only my parents but also God, I started dating older guys and hanging out in older crowds of people that did not have my best intentions in mind. Listen— this was immensely different than the structure and discipline that I came up with. As I no longer desired to respect the rules of my family, I moved out at 20 years old. This was not good for me, but I was doing things my way. Like a lot of ladies who have lost or have never known their true identity, greatness, dignity and beauty of what God has made them to be, I too thought, it was no big deal since I was financially able to support myself independent of a man. On the surface, I carried a tough exterior and thought I was ‘a strong woman’ all by myself (without God), able to handle anything that I was presented with. Yet, on the inside, I wanted what most of us desire: Love, Security, Trust. In the back of my mind, in my subconscious, I absolutely knew that I was not living right even for myself. I knew in my heart that there was something ‘better for me.’ To get to the ‘better’ I needed to connect with God and so do you.
Every man and woman was made to walk with God.
God will work with you from right where you are. That is what our Pastor teaches that is in the word of God and I have found that to be correct.
When you connect with the wrong people, they have negative influences on your life. This leaves the door open for violence, dysfunction, and creates a toxic environment. How are you being treated and disregarded in ways that you know aren't good for your life? How are you treating others? God has a better plan for you. As this serious pattern of violence, control and disrespectful behavior escalated, circumstances got even more negative. At one point, two males attempted to rob the house at gunpoint and I was there alone. They tied me up, I could hear one speaking of his plan to ‘rape me.’ Oh my God what was I to do. I then, remembered God in my thoughts and I begin to pray to God. It was strong and more like a command for God to intervene “right now”. God gave me a vision of what I would need to do. When I prayed to God and obeyed him, God came and saved me. Through me following his directions, he protected me. It was at that moment that I realized that I had separated from God and I was headed in the wrong direction. My way wasn’t working.
I can not say that my life changed overnight and yours may not either but if you will pray God will begin to direct you. You do need a really good church—-and to surround yourself with "like-minded" people. I entered into a better relationship, and being a parent demanded higher expectations for the family I was responsible for. I begin to attend Revival Fellowship Church. Coming to this church was a turning point in my life. This is where God led me, and this is where I begin my journey to repentance and rediscovering a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I found that aligning my life to the Word and a trust within God that I had previously taken for granted. Instead of relying on “Grandma’s prayers”, I was diligently seeking to have a relationship with Jesus Christ on my own and now I wanted to be more aligned with his teachings. Why? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I realized I needed to do it his way. I have learned that because he loves me perfectly, I can trust him to care for me so I wanted to free myself in him.
At Revival Fellowship Church, we are… focused on building intimacy with God for ourselves so that we can find peace, love and blessings. We want to get our dreams back and we know that God has a real good plan for us. But we must make the decision to align ourselves. Furthermore, we are taught that God’s word carries absolute integrity, so we need to respect his promises and word to us. If the Bible says it, it is the Truth. The bible is taught in a practical way that is relevant to my everyday life. I am learning to hear his voice in my heart. This is what Jeremiah 29:11 says about me and my husband’s life. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I found, ‘religion’ to be confusing with many rules and demands put on people but I have come to learn that having intimacy with God is not a religion. It is through the acceptance of Jesus taking our place to deal with the sin issue that we can find love, peace and security in Jesus and through Jesus.
It is not about what I can do with my sin, it is about what Jesus has already done with it. I am learning through being a member of Revival Fellowship Church to learn to focus on Jesus and not myself.
The biggest trick of Satan (the great deceiver) is to “keep people in sin” (that is not believing in Jesus that he paid for every sin you will ever commit) until they die without ever having an opportunity to truly ‘LIVE’. One of biggest lessons that I have learned is not to wait for ‘the right time’ but understand that lifestyle changes are a process. Learning how much God loves you adds a layer of protection and awareness that will keep you from settling for less than his best too.
For me it began with a decision to change my mind and start right where I was without being afraid, proud or ashamed. Since that time, I also learned “there is no such thing as a perfect person” but we are perfected by the love of Jesus Christ that lives on the inside of us. Christianity is not about the action of ‘going to church’ perfection or pretending to have it ‘all together’. But if you have a real relationship with God, you will go to church—and want more for yourself and the people you love. Our lives are focused on a spirit that is God-conscious and not sin conscious. There are no gray areas in life and if you do not use your own free-will to follow Christ, it gives a place for Satan to devour you. That is the ‘real you’ & not the outside of you that everyone sees. It sounds ‘cliché’, but Satan will come packaged as “exactly what you think you want” and if it is outside of the will of God, your ego and pride will set you up for “the fall” and destruction of decisions made that are self-centered. Many people appear to have a wonderful life outwardly but on the inside it’s all ‘dead bones’. Don’t fool yourself by that. The real you is on the inside. That one decision to develop a relationship with LOVE & LIFE— that is God, was the most significant decision of my life because it was a life changing decision that has led me to a life more in line with my dreams and hearts desires.
God made me and my family one of dignity, beauty and greatness. Not because of us but because of what Jesus as done. We are still journeying and learning. We do not claim perfection by any means but all it’s all about Jesus and what he had done. As a result of discovering a growing intimacy with God I am living a satisfying life. My decisions are not coming from a selfish point of view. I am now married. I and
my husband are both in relationship with Jesus. When we started coming to church, we were not married but still living as a family unit, but I knew that was not God’s good plan for me.
When you begin to understand how much God loves you, and how valuable you are, your decisions reflect God’s best and you won’t settle for anything less than what is good for you and those around you that you love. Only God knows what is best. This comes from intimacy with God.
Only a relationship with Jesus can make you a truly “strong woman”. That strength comes from knowing God is your source and you are not subject to the stereotypes and labels the world gives you. I had a son and a blended family before I was ever married. I knew the vision in my heart for my family and as I heard the word I begin to desire the full blessings in my life. The desire for marriage was always in my heart. I had the vision on the inside. Anyone can have a wedding and a great reception party to celebrate their relationship, but I wanted a God-centered marriage because I desired the blessing on my life. Marriage can, just be a piece of paper. When we (my now husband and I) came to Revival Fellowship, we were not married but as we heard the desires of God for our lives our dreams begin to be restored concerning home and family. My husband and I made a conscious decision as it related to what was best for our family. My husband had a discussion one day all alone with our Pastor about love, marriage and God’s dream for us.
My husband and I made the decision together to get married. We wanted God’s best and used our faith. We have learned that it is not about our perfection. We still have things that we are working through, but God wants us to enjoy the process and so can you. Having a relationship with Jesus is the ultimate freedom and removes any and all barriers or bondages people encounter. God will meet you right where you are and accompany you as you decide to trust in him.