How I’m Strengthening My Relationship With God
For most of my life, I thought I could live a peaceful and successful life without a deep belief or understanding of religion. Sure, I went to church with my parents and grandparents as a child. I even participated in the obligatory Easter plays but the events of my teenage years left my spiritual connection broken. By the time I was old enough to decide what I believed in, I only had faith in my resentment of God.
I was 17 years old when my younger sister died at the age of 1 in 2014. I had lost both of my grandmothers right before Christmas in 2012 and 2013. I hadn’t even had a chance to process or heal from those losses before my sister passed in May 2014. It was just a few days before my prom. I was completely numb and all I could ask was “What kind of God would be so cruel?” I was young…too young to know I needed to lean even more on God during that very painful time. Instead, I wrote God off and never sought him again until the day my life changed forever in the bathroom of a Walmart…yeah, a freaking Walmart!
I remember thinking “This moment is wayyy too heavy to handle on my own. My life might change forever in the next 3 minutes. What the hell did I get myself into? How will I tell my family that I g pregnant by a man they don’t even know I am dating. I’m freaking out! I need to breathe. I can’t breathe! God, I know I don’t call on you….I know we don’t talk….like, um ever…but I think I need you on this. I don’t know if I am ready for this but if this is the plan for my life, I’ll need you. Be with me please.”
My phone alarm went off. I took a deep breath and turned the test over….two solid lines. I was pregnant.
Being a good mom takes courage, strength, and a wholeness you constantly have to work at.
From that day, I would have deep conversations with God off and on during my pregnancy and my relationship with my ex…but it was mostly when my ex was breaking my heart and I COULD. NOT. DEAL! When my ex ghosted me during the early part of my pregnancy, I called on God and He told me I could do this alone BUT I took my ex back when he re-entered my life. When my intuition told me I wasn’t the only one in my ex’s DMs and I was feeling low, I would ask God to send me a sign about what I should do. The next day or so, I’d get a random girl messaging me or emailing me about her relationship with him BUT I loved him so I took him back every time.
In January 2017, my ex had broken my heart and to be honest, my spirit. I will spare you all the bloody details but just know…it was NASTY. I decided his half-assed attempt at being a father to my daughter would no longer cut it, especially if I was not around to pick up the slack. I asked him to be better for her and he basically ghosted us. After a custody battle and the birth of his new child, I found myself reeling from the last year of my life and the pain of betrayal.
As single moms, we don’t have the option to take a day off. We are on 24/7! Being a good mom takes courage, strength, and a wholeness you constantly have to work at. Being a single mom is like that times two because you’re legit mom and dad….good cop and bad cop. When my ex left us, I didn’t know how the heck I was going to do any of this. All of my plans for our future included him. However, I knew I couldn’t be anything less than everything my daughter needed… especially as her dad was popping in and out of her life.
I had to pick myself up off the floor (literally!) and work on being whole again…maybe for the first time in my adult life. Pastor Michael Todd once said that our children can only drink from the well at home. If my well was dry, what was I going to give Malia? It was literally thrive or die…at least that’s how it felt. When you open yourself up to fully love someone, you allow them into your deep and dark hiding places. You share secrets and intimate moments that require you to give them a piece of your soul….and when they leave, you feel as if those pieces leave too. You wonder how you will ever be whole again when you are so used to being someone’s “other half”. Well, you have a come to Jesus meeting!
Finding Your Way Back to God
1. Start Dating God
Instead of trying to date other men to get over my ex, I started dating God. I started listening to books on spirituality and religion. I didn’t pick any specific religion or domination. I just read the summaries of different audiobooks in that section on Audible and if it resonated with me, I listened to it. My favorites were books by Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson and Jerry and Esther Hicks. I’ve learned so much from them…like how love is the only real thing that exists….that God loves everyone, including me even during my resentment of Him. He even loves your idiot ex because to God, he isn’t an idiot…he’s a child hurting. Seeing my ex that way really helped me release SOME of my anger towards him.
2. Find Speakers Who Speak Your Language
I started to find…or rather I started being led to pastors who could speak the Word to me in a way that really spoke to my soul. When I listen to any sermon by Sarah Jakes Roberts, I can literally feel God moving in me. I get chills and most times I start crying! Let me listen to Mrs. Jakes Roberts on the way to work and you’re going to find me crying on somebody’s freeway. I also enjoy her husband Toure’s sermons. Together they are a powerhouse! Steven Furtick is another favorite of mine.
3. Know That YOUR Relationship with God is Unique
Whenever I shared that I was working to get closer to God with someone close to me, I would usually get unsolicited advice about how I should be doing it. They would tell me if I was serious about it, I should go to church….and that maybe I shouldn’t curse so much because it wasn’t Christian. If I have learned anything from this journey, I’ve learned that my relationship with God is MINE. No one can or even should tell me how my walk with God needs to look. Every person is different. I’m an introvert. Throwing myself into a huge crowd of strangers while I am embarking on this very intimate journey doesn’t work for me. I also don’t believe God loves me any less because I have a potty mouth! While my mouth could most definitely use a little soap, I don’t believe it makes me any less beautiful or any less loved in God’s eyes. Like I tell anyone who tries to tell me different, “God knows my heart!”