There will be times in your life God will press on your heart to release things because you have not healed or you are still holding on to guilt and shame. He will ask you to tell your truth to help others. Even though you pray, go to church, may sing in the choir, head up prayer groups, women’s/ men’s ministry, youth and so on. There is that part of you that no one sees once you leave and return to your life outside of church. Well my time has come to lay it all down.
If you’ve read my other post (Being Strong In Broken Places) you will have read about my car being repossessed, and about being out of work for almost two years with a new baby. You will also read the turn around God granted me, but that was 2012. Let me speed you up to 2014. I was working my current job, steady income and by all on the outside life was great and things were going well. I mean I was making $43,000 a year in an entry level position and that was a huge increase from making $12 per hour working just 4 hours a day by the end of 2015 I was making close to 50,000 a year. All this is also in that blog post so I won’t go into it. I was making the money but all was not well. Work was stressing me, I was getting bad reviews and my boss asked me what was going on because it was not like me to not put 110% into my work. But the events in my life in 2014 were unraveling me at the seams. 2014 I would say was the year I left God. Yes me. The girl who is all over social media proclaiming God is Good, and giving encouraging words had turned her back on God. My family and I were living in a house which honestly if the state were to come in would have condemned it and probably taken my son from me. The first year and a half things were fine in the house. It was a great big house with lots of room and things were fine. At that time my uncle and his family lived with us and all seemed to be going well. Then a series of events took place and my uncle and his family left and got a place of their own. So life moved on. Then slowly things began to deteriorate at a rapid pace. My mother’s health started to decline due to years of dealing with diabetes. I was stressed by bills, and the fact that my mother was in the hospital just about every other week for a while tore me down.
Then the house we were in basically started to fall apart and the land lord couldn’t really afford the up keep. Now if you all remember 2014 was a harsh winter for those of us living on the north east, snow every other day, below freezing temperatures. So now imagine yourself living in a house without heat because the boiler broke down so often. The house was old but honestly the owners didn’t do well on the upkeep of the house. So pipes would bust, and the basement would flood so the boiler would go out. It started with the water heater being replaced, workers being called to fix the boiler all the while PSEG is sending us estimated bills with one to many digits attached because they wouldn’t go in the basement to read the meters. At one point it got so bad the people the landlord called wouldn’t take the job because of health and hazardous conditions in the basement. I remember setting up the appointment and making sure I was home in order for PSEG to get in the basement to read the meter and the guy who came looked at me. And I remember him saying ” Sis, it’s a hot mess down there ( you already know this was a brother). “
Then the boiler went out completely, soon the pipes started bursting because it was the dead of winter and no heat means freezing pipes, freezing pipes means no boiler. Now imagine yourself with a then three year old and looking in his face every night knowing the situation. Imagine filling up buckets of water and gallons of water from various places to bathe, make food, wash dishes, brush your teeth, using buckets of water to flush your toilet, yeah we did all that. Some may say Phara why the hell didn’t Y’all move! I’ll get to that in a minute. So I would get up in the morning, heat up some water from the many buckets and gallons we had. Then I would mix up the water and take it up to clean myself and my baby. As a mom a part of me died each day we were in that house. I remember calling out to God and saying help us get out. I remember apologizing to God and confessing every sin I thought I needed to confess if it meant getting us out of the house.
I knew my heart was beginning to get hard. For everyday that I picked up my son from daycare after work and rushed him into our room and turned on the space heater, I grew farther from God. Every time my son wanted to run around but couldn’t my heart broke some more. I would go to work plaster my smile on. I would talk to friends and say “All is well girl, God is Good, got the promotion.” Meanwhile in my heart I was angry. There were days I didn’t even see my mom because soon as everyone got in the house; everyone got their food and ran to their room and turn on their space heater and wouldn’t see each other again. So my mom and I talked on the phone a lot even though we LIVED IN THE SAME HOUSE! So no heat, no running water and oh did I mention the MICE. YEP MICE! You see old houses have holes. So when it gets cold all the little critters pack up their little uhauls and back it on up into you house and make themselves quite comfortable. We called exterminator after exterminator, and honey those bad boys just kept singing ” We aint, go-ing- nowhere, we ain’t going nowhere, we can’t be stopped now…”
Now I have always loved music. It’s how I talk to God. I can find a song to just about any and every situation. Someone once told me that’s a ministry gift ( maybe it is I wouldn’t know). But during that season my mouth was shut. I couldn’t pray, sing, praise, or listen to anything Christian or God related. BUT if a friend needed a verse, an encouraging word, I could give it all the while essentially cussing God out. I remember one night I had it out with God. I went full on tantrum. I was pulling every scripture I could think of and throwing in his face and asking why he wasn’t being true to his word. I begged, have you ever BEGGED GOD? I begged! I pleaded, said things like God please don’t take my sins out on my son and sister and Lord do it for my mother. The house was stressing her out so her blood pressure would rise and back to the hospital she would go. I didn’t know I could cry so much. After pain, anger, and begging came absolute disconnect. I didn’t want to hear a word about God would do it. I didn’t want to hear it. My girlfriend who is my son’s godmother would call me and she would tell me to let it out. And boy did I let it rip, I didn’t know I knew so much profanity. But she would always put that word seed in there after she let me vent. I promise at the time it was in one ear out the other. But still made sure she poured some scripture or prayer in me regardless of me taking it or not.( Thank You Lisa B.)
So I became such a perfect little lair. At work, I would smile and be bubbly go to lunch with my co workers, but soon as the clock hit 5:30 it was like a switch turned off. Many people think once you become a Christian life is all roses and cloud nine. And other Christians will condemn you for daring to say you are upset with God ( Keep your high and mighty thank you). It’s uncomfortable to say I have lost my faith, it’s even harder to acknowledged you are starting to doubt that God is real. Because in that moment I wasn’t thinking about all the million of times He was there. In that moment I was looking at my baby boy and thinking he is three and can’t move around in his own home because he will catch a cold indoors. I felt like the biggest failure as a mom. I remember sleeping under 4 comforters and holding his little body so close to mine praying that the cold I felt on the tip of my nose wasn’t hitting him. I hated God. I did, that was my reality. For the first time in my life I felt like there was no God. Because how could God who is my father allow my family to go through this. Because if the non working boiler, no heat, no running water, and the constant mice cleanup wasn’t enough; we couldn’t get a house anywhere to move out. Everything was either way above our budget or our credit wasn’t approved (nevermind having the income to cover the payments); but credit was now an enemy too. It felt like another punch and another reason to justify my about face to all things God.
After months of searching( yes months) I went to my mom and said it’s time to consider just getting an apartment until we clean our credit up. So that’s what we did. March 2015 we moved out. Six months of winter in that house. I had never been so uncomfortable in my own flesh before. I felt my soul clawing to get out because I was that dead and black inside. But no one knew I lost my way that year. I fought a lot of battles and most of them were with God. He stayed knocking on my heart but I was too battered to care or open up. After we moved out I thought it would get better, but it didn’t. Because I still couldn’t pray. My prayer life wasn’t just suffocated it was snuffed out and dead. Then some time during the summer of 2015 I watched Jesus Culture conference on live feed. I was still following inspiration people, like Heater Lindsey, And Hillsong Passion conferences occasionally but the connecting wasn’t there. I came up on the session held my Jentezen Franklin and it was titled “Breaking the Python Spirit.” And he talked about how Satan is a python that will suffocate your life of prayer and worship. Immediately I felt the goosebumps and prickles of my hairs. Remember how I said I felt as if my soul was clawing to get out of my black heart and dead insides. That’s exactly what it was. My prayer and worship life had been suffocated out of me by the circumstance of the previous year. After he gave the sermon he gave a call for those who needed to break the chains that were binding and holding prayer lives hostage. I was in my room and right there I raised my hands and sobbed. I cried because I missed the connection I once had with God but I didn’t know how to get it back. I didn’t know that God was still there waiting. I thought I had gone too far. So I sobbed in my room with my hands raised and soon my mouth opened and I began to pray and began to sing like I had never done before. I started shaking and literally I closed my eyes and saw the chains falling off as I sung and cried. For a year and a half I had been silent. July 2015 I opened my mouth to pray and sing and praise and I felt my heart wake up. The following month my mom would be in a hospital after a car accident, but because my chains had fallen off God woke me up to pray minutes before I got the call to come to the hospital. I prayed the whole way there. My mom walked away with just scratches from a car that flipped three times until it right it’s self.
So I share this with you, to tell you we all have a breaking points, we all have lies and truths we hide and tell ourselves and others. But we can’t hide from God. He will pull it out of you. I now enjoy music and conversations with God like I use to but on a deeper level. I left 2015 with a lot of hope and smiles and entered 2016 with even more songs and prayers. It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge when you are at odds with God. You will lie to others and to yourself until it all falls apart and you are forced to see who you are and how you get up when you have been knocked down. I didn’t get up quickly or gracefully. However, with Grace and Mercy I did get up and you will too. Take a listen to my favorite song right now. Grace Wins by Matthew West. Like I said, I can find a song to go with just about everything. I pray it ministers to you as it does to me.
I do not own this song or claim any rights to it Grace Wins By Matthew West (C)2015 Sparrow Records
Thank you for reading and please share. As always all mean spirited comments will be removed.
Be blessed, less stressed