Hey guys welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast! So, last Friday I turned 11; it marked 11 years since I joined my sorority. Yeah, I know. What does that have to do with me finding God? Well, I don't know how old I am in Christ. I cannot tell you. Am I 31? No, I'm definitely not 31—I'm not even 31 in real life, what am I talking about? I’m only 30. 😂 My math is bad today guys, but I'm not 30 in Christ, that's for certain, because I didn't know anything as a child. But I've been a believer my whole life. There's never been a point in my life where I did not believe in God, where if you asked me if I believed in God I would say “No, I don't believe in God,” and there was never a point where I was quote-unquote turning away from God. There are points where I was less obedient, but that also has to do with my interpretation of scripture at the time versus my interpretation of scripture now. We won’t dive too deep into that, but in general, I've been a believer my whole life, which kind of poses the problem of how I define when I became a believer and how I identify a quote-unquote birthday or born again day that I would start counting from.
17 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. 18 I will even pour out my Spirit on my servants in those days, both men and women and they will prophesy. 19 I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17-21 CSB
But, you know, in general, most people would probably consider their date of baptism, I guess. And when you think about that, and I think about the amount of friends I have that are in sororities and fraternities that post year after year that it's their anniversary of joining their organization, I've never really seen people post like that about being baptized. I have seen people post that they were baptized—and to be honest only recently have I ever seen that—but I've never really seen people come back and be like “Yo it's been a year since I got baptized! I'm a year in Christ!” or you know, “Hey, it's been 5 years” or “10 years ago, on this day I joined the body of Christ and I'm loving it!” You know, like I never seen those same kinds of posts about joining Christ’s family, and I thought that was interesting—because I'm talking about myself as well. And the Holy Spirit kind of put a lot on my heart to speak about as I was thinking about this and realizing what was happening.
So, there are 3 things that I want to share with you guys and I think it's going to take 3 podcast episodes to do it, because sometimes I get along a little long-winded, and also because I think that they are heavy topics or topics that I want to go all the way in detail with. I want to let the Holy Spirit say what the Holy Spirit wants to say, and I also don't want you guys to have a 3 hour podcast episode! So, I'm going to break it down into 3 different episodes.
So the first episode is going to be on my testimony of how I came to be a believer and how I ended up where I am, I guess. The second episode is going to be on baptism, because believe it or not I am actually not baptized, and I want to talk about why I'm not baptized and how that kind of happened, and where I am in the journey of getting baptized and all of that stuff. So I went to do an episode on that. The third episode is actually going to come back to this concept of being in a sorority in Greek life, and what I've learned from being in my sorority that I feel like I should have learned from The Church, and as it pertains to how I walk in Christ and how I show my faith in Christ—and don't worry, that’ll make a lot more sense when I actually get to that episode. So those are the three topics that I want to talk about, and I would really like to get all three of those episodes out this week, as opposed to cutting into the other scheduled episodes that I was planning to do, but I know that time doesn't always permit that. So it may be, you know, 3 Monday episodes—but stay tuned, because there will definitely be 3 of them and I am going to do them back to back.
How I Became a Believer (00:06:46)
So without further ado, let's jump into how I became a believer.
Like I said in the beginning, I’ve been a believer basically my whole life, and I really cannot explain to you why that is or how that came to be. When I look back, I am actually pretty shocked that I am where I am or that I believe the way that I do, considering my upbringing and how God was presented to me. I don't... Only the Holy Spirit could have brought me to the point that I am now is what I'm trying to say. So, I grew up in a quote-unquote divided household. My mother's family is Methodist and my dad's family is Baptist. Growing up we kind of ping-ponged between the AME Church, which is an African Methodist Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Baptist Church or a Baptist Church, I should say.
Early Childhood (00:07:57)
Basically in South Carolina when I was born, the churches were basically all segregated—they're still pretty segregated but less so than they were then. So basically, black people did not attend the United Methodist Church, which is why my family attended the AME church, and I was christened at an AME Church. My grandparents on my mother's side were actually pretty instrumental in forming an interracial United Methodist Church. So as I got older we would attend that church sometimes. And my dad's family would attend this Baptist Church and the Baptist Church was actually across the street from my house—like literally across the street, like I used to walk to church.
And so, as I got older, I mean like 5ish, I actually started to attend church on my own. So my parents did not attend church regularly, they were kind of just went whenever they felt like going. And you know, when they went, I went to whichever church they went to, but if I wanted to go to church on my own, I pretty much always went to the Baptist church, because it was across the street and it was easy for me to get to. So what my childhood pretty much looks like was me going to Sunday school pretty much every week, maybe missing once a month or so, but you know, I went to Sunday school pretty much on a regular basis by myself. My mom or dad would walk me across the street and drop me off at the church, and somebody from the church would walk me back across the street and make sure I got home safely.
And I really cannot explain why I used to go to church by myself, what prompted me to go, because my parents were not the parents to make me do it. One of the things that I am extremely grateful for is that they didn't force me to go to church, they didn't force me to believe. There was no ultimatum. It wasn't like, “Get up. Get dressed. Go to church.” It was more like, “Hey, do you want breakfast? Are you going to church?” You know, “What's going on today?” It was pretty much up to me whether I was going to go to church each Sunday or not. And so at some point, when I was 5 or 6, the Baptist church asked me if I wanted to join the Sunday school. I really don't—to this day I don't really understand how you join the Sunday school without joining the church or I don't understand how those are separate entities or whatever, but that was a thing apparently, and I said yes. And I joined the youth choir, and I just kind of became involved in the church in that manner. And from then out, I was basically, a Baptist. So if you talk to me in person, you will hear me say that I grew up as a Baptist, even though technically I attended a Methodist church, as well off and on. This is why I guess I claim Baptist as what I grew up as.
Hearing God’s Voice (00:11:30)
Anyway, I kept attending church all the way throughout Elementary School, and why I was going on my own, and what was motivating me, I really cannot say. I can only speculate that that was the Holy Spirit drawing me to God. So when I was like 8 or 9, I was sitting in church—and I'm pretty sure it was one of the Sunday's that the youth choir performed, and I was sitting with all of the youth—and I distinctly heard a voice say “I am here.” And this was not the preacher, it was not anyone sitting beside me, it was nobody that I could see, saying that they were there. And I came to the conclusion that that was God speaking to me, and God telling me that He was there. And you know, 8-year-old me or 9-year-old me, however old I was, I was like “OK, if You're here, I'm here. I’m trying to be wherever You are.”
And I think is that is probably the moment where I became an outright believer on my own. You know, as kids we typically believe what those around us are telling us. And so our parents tell us, you know, this, that, and the other. The adults in our lives—our grandparents, our aunts, uncles, the people who are teaching at the church, whatever—they're telling you what they believe and you just believe them, because you believe the adults. That was the moment where I was like, “Yeah, God is real. I heard Him! He told me He was here!” And I think that's the moment that I became a believer in God in my own right.
The Hard Concepts (00:13:24)
However, I was still a child and so I still had a child’s mind. You know, kids these days learn things a little faster than we did back then. So for those who are younger than me listening, you might think I'm a little slow, but at that age, for instance, explaining Jesus... I could not process that, because when someone is saying, you know, “the virgin Mary gave birth to a child,” I don't know what the word “virgin” means when I’m 8. I don't understand this. This does not compute, because I don't understand the whole process of what this means, what it means for Mary to have a baby as a virgin. That doesn't mean anything to 8-year-old me. Like, I'm hearing people say this is a miracle, and the reason I think this is a miracle, is because people don't have babies until they're married or not supposed to have babies until they're married, and she wasn't married. But I don't understand the miraculousness of this, because I don't understand how things work, right?
And I also didn't understand the resurrection, the death and resurrection of Christ, because I didn't understand death. I had never experienced death. I didn't really process like, “Oh, people die and it's permanent,” and all of these things. You know, I knew but I didn't know, right? Because you're a child, you don't really think about these things. So my understanding of what it meant to be a believer in Christ, to be a believer in God and to follow God, was still very, very weak—or incomplete, I guess is a better word—at that age because I was so young, and I think this is where it comes in with the age of accountability, and what not. This, I think, was God's first tap on the shoulder, where he was like “Yo, I'm here. This is the time for you to start searching and start understanding what I'm calling you for.”
Teenage Years and The Dream (00:15:30)
The second point, I think. The second turning point in my relationship with Christ came when I was in middle school, and I think I was about 12. I had this dream... Y’all this dream! I can still see this dream in my head right now as I'm talking to you. It was a powerful dream, and it's only gotten more powerful over time and as I fully understand what exactly happened in this dream. So in the dream, I was looking for my mother. It was about sunrise, and I was running through the house looking for my mom, couldn't find her. Eventually found her outside on this screen porch that we had. In my dream, my mom kind of disappears into the background. Like, it's like I was looking for her, but once I get to the screen porch she’s basically non-existent, and the focal point becomes what's going on outside in the yard. And in my yard there is a white, lattice cross— so instead of the general plain symbol of the cross that you normally see that just looks like a lowercase T, it was actually made with like lattice. So there were like slats and stuff in it. And it was decorated with these purple flowers, and they were just kind of like draped over the sides of the cross. And there was singing. And the singing was coming from angels —and I don't know how I knew it was angels, but I knew it was angels, possibly because I couldn't see anybody, but I could hear the singing. And they were singing “Were You There.” I don't know if I already knew the song or not; I don't particularly remember knowing the song at the time but I may have heard it once or twice in church—I mean it's a pretty popular song, so I'm not fully convinced that I didn't know the song, but that's what they were singing in the dream. And then I looked up, and above this cross was a lightning bolt frozen in the sky, and the lighting bolt ended in a ball of fire. And this fire was just kind of hanging over the cross, but instead of it being like a menacing ball of fire, it actually looked like a child had drawn it with like colored pencils. It was very non-threatening, but it was there.
And so I woke up, and I was completely freaked out. I was anxious. I was nervous. I was scared. I was sad. I was happy. I was mad. I was upset. I don't know what I was, but I was freaking out. I could not take this dream. I told my parents. I told friends. I told family, and everybody thought I was pretty crazy. And the only thing that people thought was the least bit, you know, disturbing about the dream, was this lightning bolt/fireball thing, that of course became significantly less disturbing when I said it looked like colored pencil and that it's hanging above a cross. And so it really seemed like oh this was just a dream, you know, forget about it.
Interpretation and Fulfilment (00:19:00)
So about a month went by, and then we went to my grandparents’ church—the Methodist church—and they were having an Easter play. And when we walked in they had done the stage in the shape of a cross. So they took this cardboard, this white cardboard, and created a cross on top of the choir’s risers. And so the choir came out, in their white robes, and stood in this cross shaped structure, and it looked like a lattice, because you have the different bodies forming the cross. Then they decorated the cross with purple flowers draping over the sides of the cross, and they sang “Were You There.” So, of course you can see how this parallels to the dream that I had had, but this was also the moment that I came to understand what it meant for Christ to die for us, to suffer, and to take on the weight of our sins. So they did a reenactment or a retelling of the crucifixion and the resurrection, and it was at that moment that I really understood that He was beaten and abused and spat upon and separated from God and put in this pain, in this torture for me. For you. For everyone. That, my sins and when I do wrong, that is why He was beaten that is why He took that spear to the side. That's why He had to die like that, so that I don't have to die permanently.
And that's a very solemn and bittersweet understanding of what it means for Christ to have risen, to have died and risen, because I feel like the way people celebrate... So, they’re celebrating Easter and Easter is a pagan holiday. I don’t have time to get into all the details about it; I do have a post on the blog about it, and there are plenty of sources online that you can check out, but Easter itself is a pagan holiday. And we see this in how churches celebrate the resurrection, because they're actually celebrating Easter. And so you can see the spring dresses, the colorful, floral dresses and arrangements, and the colorful ties, and people spend a lot of time with Easter egg hunts and all these joyous things. Yes. I am so happy that Christ rose from the dead, and yes that is a joyous occasion, but it's also very bittersweet and solemn because He did suffer for us, and I think that aspects kind of gets lost when you look at how the church celebrates Easter, even though some of them are calling it Resurrection Sunday, or whatever have you. The focus is not really on what it should be—we're going to put it like that.
And so it makes it hard as a youth, as a child, to fully understand what it is that you're claiming to believe in. And that moment was the moment that I fully understood what it meant for Jesus to die for me, and I think that is the moment that I fully came into becoming a believer.
But the dream doesn't stop there. That's not the end of it. Like I said, I became a believer. I, you know, understood what I believed at that point, but you know you still have to grow in your relationship with Christ. And it wasn't until much later that I started to really pursue my relationship with Christ, and really started to dig into the Word of God. And it was during that time that I made the connection of why there was a lightning bolt in my dream and why there was a fireball hanging over the cross.
If you look back, if you want to think about examples in the Bible. When Moses meets God, when God called out to Moses, He called out from the burning bush. When they're going from Egypt to Israel, when He's taking them to the promised land, God leads them as a pillar of smoke in the day, and a pillar of fire at night. And there are several other passages where God reveals himself to his people as fire, and I realized that this ball of fire, this lightning bolt that was in my dream was God. God's presence was in that dream. I was thinking that I was looking for my mother, but really I was looking for my Creator, and because I was young and I didn't have a full understanding of God and of what it was that I believe in, I was thinking of Creator as Mother, my mother is my Earthly creator. But what I was really searching for, I was seeking for who I am, who I'm supposed to be, and God was revealing Himself. He was reiterating what He had already told me, that He was there—”I am here.” And He was there. He showed up in the dream to say, “I'm here. I'm ready to teach you, for you to accept and to come into the body of Christ.” And that is when I realized that that was such a powerful moment. It was like being born again all over again, because I was starting to realize that God took the time to call me personally. It's back to the He knew me before I was formed in the womb. He knows us. He knows what we're going to think. He's calling out for us, and you know, we love Him because He loved us first. And I realize that, I had no idea what was going on, but He was calling out to me, and He showed up in my dream to specifically call me out and say “I am here. Here I am.”
And that was like such a powerful revelation in my mind, to realize that He would want that relationship with me. And I think that is why I have such a strong faith in God today, because I realize that He is real and He's calling me. And I may not known exactly what it is that He's calling me to do, but I know that that call is there, and I know that I have to answer it. And that is how I got to where I am now. Basically just trying to answer that call, and to, you know, remember that He is here, and to follow His word wherever He may be.
Wrap Up (00:26:49)
So, that is my testimony of how I became a believer and why I'm a believer. Obviously there are more details, but we don't really have time to go into all of that. In any case, in the next episode I'm going to talk about baptism, and why despite everything that I just said I'm not baptized—I know, that’s confusing, so that's why you should listen to the next episode. Hopefully I will put it out this week, but you never know, it might be Monday. I don't really know what's going to happen, because I don't know what my work schedule is going to look like. That's why you should *tongue-tied*—😂sorry—that's why you should subscribe, so you can get notified as soon as the episode comes out. So go ahead and subscribe. In the meantime you can check out the blog. You can also find a transcript for this particular episode at www.psalmstogod.com/howifoundgod. Thank you for tuning in, and I hope this has been a blessing for you. And I will see you in the next episode. See ya.
References and Footnotes
- A lot of people (denominations) consider Christenings to be Baptisms but you cannot be Baptized if you cannot make the decision to believe and to follow Christ. I basically consider mine a dedication.
- Posts on Easter can be found under or underDenominations, Traditions, & Church HistoryTopics
- It would be so much better to relate Jesus’ death and resurrection to fulfillment of prophecies and fulfillment of the Old Testament feast days, but I digress.
- Exodus 3:1-17
- Actually it’s a pillar of cloud, I don’t know why I said smoke. See Exodus 13:21–22
- Jeremiah 1:5
- 1 John 4:19
- Obviously, this was before I began keeping the Sabbath.