Have you ever felt stuck? Lost? Hopeless? Alone? Often wondered why Is God allowing you to go through a certain trial? God, are you there? Do you hear me? Why aren’t you answering me? Why do you feel far away? God, I can’t hear you. God I need you. Please, don’t leave me here. I am scared. God save me. Please…
There was a time in my life when I chose to walk away from God and live in sin. These questions above and cries out to God were my own as I slowly drifted away from truth and allowed the lies of Satan to blind me. But God rescued me, healed me and enabled me to see again. This is my Journey.
In September of 2002, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. As a popular 14 year old who often convinced her friends to skip school, ditch church or smoke marijuana behind the church’s gates, God began to convict me of my sin. As I yearned to live a life that pleased God, I no longer desired to hurt and mislead other people. God was changing my heart. Months after giving my life to Christ, I started to see a major difference in my life. I noticed that I had peace, I was more joyful, my anger was leaving and I was genuinely happy. I was a new person. I was excited to grow, study the word of God and serve in my local church. God was always speaking to me and I loved being near Him and being led by His voice.
In 2006, I was a senior in high school and began to pray “God lead me, where do you want me to go?” I desired to be a missionary in the Philippines and always tried to figure out a way to move there, even though God never said, “Yes.” A couple of months after I graduated from high school, I felt the Lord leading me to leave my church. “I thought to myself, “Where am I going to go God? I’ve been here for 18 years.” As I continued to seek the Lord for guidance, He lead me to a little church on the West Side of Chicago. The more I began to visit this church, I knew this is where God wanted me to be. Through prayer and counsel from my mentors and one of my Pastors, it was obvious that the Lord was calling me to this church. I said yes to the Lord and decided to transfer my church membership over and move into the community to serve and to be closer to the church.
God was doing an awesome work in this community and in my heart, He was saving men, women and children. God was transforming this community and my heart as he was exposing sin that was there. Speaking of sin, in 2009, I began to struggle with homosexuality. As a leader in the church, I was afraid to ask for guidance from my pastor or from anyone else, because I was afraid of being judged or hurt, although my pastor did neither of these things. As I began to talk to my pastor about these feelings I was having, he kept saying,
“Erica I will walk with you through these things, just continue to trust God.”
What do you mean, trust God? How can I trust Him if He’s allowing me to go through this? This is too much, I thought to myself. Days went by, months passed and I was still struggling with these desires and feelings. I would spend hours crying out to God asking Him to take away my desire for women, but they only seemed to grow stronger. I began to lose sight and lose faith in God. As I took my eyes off of God and focused on my sin, I became extremely depressed and discouraged and decided to step down from ministry.
Shortly after stepping down from ministry, I chose to leave the church and move to another state. It was there that I turned completely away from God and pursued a homosexual lifestyle. I thought, “Well maybe God did create me this way, since He hasn’t changed me after all of this time.” I spent years running from God and trying to find my comfort in alcohol, sex, and drugs, but none of these things satisfied my soul because Jesus is the only satisfier of our souls. Tired of living in sin and drowning myself in drugs and alcohol, I cried out to God once again.
“God, I need You, give me the faith to believe. BOOM!”
God began to speak to me in various ways even through random people who never knew me. God was present and I felt His presence. God was healing me of my past hurts and freeing me from bondages that kept me imprisoned. God was removing people from my life that were stumbling blocks. God was drawing me near and showing me the way back to Him. One day as I was sitting on a bus, I became irritated because the sun was shining so bright that I was unable to see. So as I sat there thinking about my life and my mistakes, there was an interruption in my thoughts.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I wept as I knew the Lord was speaking to me and was comforting me. It was there in that moment that I felt a weight being lifted off of my shoulders. As time passed, I noticed my desires for women were gone, I no longer consumed drugs or alcohol or even thought about suicide. I no longer tried to change myself, I allowed God to do it all. It is finished. And I am free.
So here I am, nearly 2 years later, walking and living in my new identity ,owning who Jesus Christ is and who I am in Him. In Christ I am accepted, I am forgiven, I am loved, I am redeemed, I am significant, I have been justified, I have been freed, I have value, I am complete. After God delivered me from homosexuality, He led me back to that little church on the West Side of Chicago, now known as Reborn Community Church. “Why back here, God? This community is much more dangerous than what it used to be, drug dealers and prostitutes are on every corner, abandoned buildings are everywhere, broken glasses and needles used for heroin cover the empty lots. The news said there was another shooting, gun shots scare me. Violence is all around me. People are running down the middle of the street, because it’s free drug day. Why here, God? Why?” God brought me back here to be a mouthpiece, to testify about His unconditional love, His unlimited power, His forgiveness, His amazing grace, His healing, His peace. He brought me back here to share with a lost community that He is the Way and that life is only through Him, hope is only through him, peace is only through Him and happiness is only found in Him.