Last week I heard God say "Start sharing your story" and to be quite honest this is truly the last thing I wanted to do. I have been holding back from being obedient because the shame I have felt and still hold tightly to about my past. Not only that but it would be a lengthy piece of writing hence the book I am still working on. So after wrestling with this for some time I have decided to follow through. Well, here it goes...
I was one of those children who learned to be obedient to my parents at a young age. To be quite honest, I did not like conflict so I figured out early on that things would work better in my favor if I would just get in line and follow their lead. This character trait was also reinforced by my mom making my sister, and I attend church every Sunday. While in church, I learned about all of the famous Bible stories, and of course, Jesus which looking back helped provide me with a great foundation in life. I realized God would hold me accountable for my words and actions that I would try very hard to make sure I pleased Him. Now when I would slip up or fall short, I was quick to repent and ask for forgiveness. As I transitioned into high school, something inside of me started to change.
This growing desire to live life my way began to stir up. These feelings of rebellion became more amplified when I got a boyfriend who did not believe in God. I will never forget this one night during my senior year I attended a party where my boyfriend drank a beer, like he had been doing it for years, and asked me if I wanted a taste. I remember thinking to myself say, "No, I should not," but I looked around the room and saw many others doing the same thing. So I took a sip and quickly handed it back to him. I did not like the taste but did not want to feel left out. At the time, I did not know this would not be my last drink.
So let's fast forward to my years in college, I was finally out of my parent's house and making decisions on my own. On campus, the allure of many weekend parties was so tempting that I could not resist. Those parties were a breeding ground for easy access to underage drinking, so I quickly found myself joining in. The more I partied and drank the harder it became to get the same buzz I was able to get so quickly before. The saying, "If you give the Devil an inch, he will take a mile" was experienced in my life when I made the decision to begin smoking cigarettes and marijuana.
When I became a mother, I continued to smoke and drink off and on but started to feel convicted not to do it in front of my daughter. I did not want her to pick up my destructive habits all because she learned from my actions. I can recall sitting in my garage while smoking and hearing God say "If you want to change, you have to stop." So from that day forward, I declared to myself whenever the opportunity presented itself I will say no. Each time the question came up, "Do you want to smoke?" My mind would say no, but my mouth would say yes. One day I got so frustrated with myself because I could not stop but God showed me that I was trying to save myself by using my strength to resist the temptations that came to me. It took for me to finally stop trying to fight on my own that I cried out to God in prayer and asked for victory over these spirits I had given access to in my life.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would stray from the straight and narrow path but God reminded me that I had a choice. He told me that He would have made a way of escape! The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." If I had just prayed or called out to Him in those moments of weakness, God would have saved me. I am happy to share with you the day I cried out to God was the same day that He removed the chains I was bound to for years!
So I may not look like someone who has been through anything, but I can tell you that is only by the grace of God! If you are struggling with oppressive spirits or feeling weighed down by the chains in your life, I challenge you to call out to God and seek His help. Please know that He loves and cares for you! He wants to see you set free from all bondage!
Lastly, I want to pray for you!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray for all who read this post and are secretly or openly struggling with something they want to be set free from today. I pray that you give them the strength to cry out to you so they can lay all of their burdens down at your feet. I pray they stop trying to save themselves and give you full access to their lives so they can finally be set free.
In Jesus name, I pray