Ch. 1 . A Season for Change, A World Turned Upside Down.
If you are like me, then I know you are wondering where is Mr. Right? Each day, as you get older, life gets lonelier, and you wonder day in and day out if today is the day you are going to meet your prince charming? You see all of your friends getting married, you watch person after person be happy, live happily ever after, get pregnant, and post all of their happy memories on Facebook! It seems like I have been like this for years. For longer than I can remember I have been praying, hoping, and wishing; only to be let down with one disappointment after another. With every year and day that passes by, with what seems like no change in my personal life whatsoever. For God to give me what I really longed for seem so out of reach.
As I have matured, I look back now, and I feel that I am getting closer. I know this because I reflect on what God has done in my life, why He has done it, and where He is leading me. This is something I never did before. Before; I just made demands on God; and thought that as long as I followed Him, He would…no that He should give me what I wanted. As a matter of fact, I still struggle with this sometimes. I think the only difference now is that deep down I know better, and I am able to quickly see and recognize God’s plan for my life, despite my own selfish desires.
It is quite funny, because through all my desires in getting married, I followed God. I know you may be asking yourself what is so funny about this. Well, it is funny because all I wanted was a husband. I would do every little thing that I felt God was telling me to do, thinking that it would please God and He would bring me my man. It wasn’t until one day I looked up and I was changed. I was no longer the woman, or should I say the girl, I once was. I became an educated and sophisticated, woman of God. I had been through hardships, pain, and everything else under the sun. Sometimes I didn’t think I would make it and I even felt as though God abandoned me during those times. But yet here I stood, exactly where God wanted me to be.
I think I will start from the beginning of the end, which is what I call “the eye of the storm.” The eye is in the middle of the storm and is considered to be the calmest part. But even though I was in the calmest part, there were storms raging all around me, and the only way to get out of the eye was to go directly into the storm.
During that time, I worked for a mental health organization. The place where I worked was headed by a couple that used Pastor a Church. The husband was asked to step down from the church after getting a woman other than his wife, pregnant. His wife opted to leave him, and the Pastor married his mistress. He and his new wife started the mental health agency, I found myself working at.
You can change the environment but you cannot change the man, because even as a leader of a mental health agency, many rumors circulated about the way things were done, and the way their people were treated. I learned that there are people who say they are Christians, but do not seemingly follow God’s ways. Instead they follow the religion and call themselves Christians. This organization and some of the people in it were prime examples of that.
I can say at that time, although I wanted to be married I was not ready to be married; I know that now. This was just one of many preparation phases for me, the beginning of my world being transformed. As I mentioned the organization in which I worked was bad but I also have to be honest and say that I was not without my own sin. I had just turned 28 and had been having relations with a man, Gary, for the past two years. He was much older than I was, 12 years to be exact. I had been growing in my spiritual growth with God. I can say that because of this, Gary, was not really on my radar as much as he used to be. Throughout our two year affair, things were finally fading with him. I attribute this to all of the things that we had been through in relation to the job and all the drama I felt he was somewhat responsible for. Needless to say, I was ready to move on.
You see, he was someone that I had known for a while, about 5 years. Two and a half years at our past job and two and a half years at the new agency. However, it was not until I switched positions to this new agency that we really connected. At that time, I think I wanted to believe his story of being single even though he lived with a woman for 6 years! And I knew this! I think women tend to believe what we want all for the sake of thinking it might work; even though all the evidence is saying that this man is a dog. At the time I thought he was my friend; I thought I could trust him. There was no doubt in my mind of this. But in the three years I was there, things started to get very REAL for me, as my world started crumbling down. I had been having an encounter with what I believe was the Jezebel spirit, and she was my supervisor. She had her sights on Gary and since I was associated with him this meant that she and I were destined to not get along.
For those who are not familiar with the Jezebel spirit in the Bible. Revelations 2:20 says that she calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads God’s servants astray.
You may think that I am being dramatic. But you must understand that spirits dwell in people and their head does not have to spin around and they do not have to spit vomit for a spirit to be in them. For the Jezebel spirit, I feel this sprit causes one to be jealous, controlling, even when unreasonably so (Read 1 Kings Chapters 9 – 22 for more depiction on the Jezebel Spirit). I could not explain her personality in the fullness in writing; that would take up nearly half the book. Like the Jezebel in the Bible, people seem to fear her and allow her to do what she wanted, often times at the expense of others.
When I saw that she liked Gary, I knew her, and I knew that it could get bad for me if she even found out I knew him; let alone had anything deeper. I was in the parking lot one day at our workplace and she was looking out of the window. I was coming into work and Gary stopped his car to talk to me. Little did I know that this is one of many minor events that would come back to haunt me. Another was when an employee, who lived in the same apartment complex, observed Gary, leaving my apartment early hours of the morning. He, for some reason, decided to share it with my supervisor. This is when all hell hit the fan.
It, first, became concerning when she would go up to other employees and ask them if they knew the nature of our relationship. It really became concerning when in her late 30’s she became a Facebook stalker on his page and began to regulate what I posted on his wall and demanded he “unfriend” me. Over time it got progressively worse. In the beginning I told him not to tell her that we communicated. I knew that she would set to get me fired, because anytime she was jealous or uneasy about someone (mainly women), this is what happened. I was not the first woman that she had an issue with, and I know that now that I am gone I am not the last. She would plot against them, bully them, and they would leave or be fired.
I thought she was crazy. Just to give you an example of how I drew this conclusion, one day after I got my tattoo on my back and she saw it, a day later she went to the same tattoo artist and tried to get the SAME EXACT TATTOO. We were not even friends, as a matter fact she hated me. There were times that she chased me down in the hallway, literally, stating that I refused to speak to her. I did wave, but she felt that this was not good enough. I will be honest that I never really felt comfortable around her, and it showed. I felt as if something repelled me from her. Call it discernment or whatever, but I never was drawn to be close to her.
At one point it came a time for me to be obedient to God. At my church, I must make mention that there is a deep belief in prophetic ministry. On this particular night there was a prophetic ministry which we called “Impact Night.” During “Impact Night,” we all prayed and seek to receive a personal message from the Lord, through trained prophetic ministers. I wanted her to come, well not really, but God told me that I needed to invite her. Not so that they can tell her about her spirit (because my church is never mean) but so that she could receive a word of revelation and direction. I believed in my church, and if I was a Christian, I needed to try to make things right. So I invited her to church and she attended.
For the past few years her daughter had been struggling with a serious illness. She would get so ill that she would on occasion need hospitalization. After receiving her prophecy that night, my supervisor stated that she had intentionally not brought her daughter’s medication nor did she give her food so that she could be healed….by God! The members of my church explained how this could be very dangerous and can be seen as a way into tempting God. I feel what my church meant by this, was praying for a healing is one thing, but to actually deny your child of medication in attempts to force God to heal your child is another. But my supervisor did not seem to care. This was her nature, somewhat irrational.
I received a prophesy that night about how God was proud of me. For months prior to that night I had been fasting periodically (no food only water), praying, and really trying to be one with God. The women giving my prophetic word spoke about how God was soon bringing me a king (I found out soon really meant 1-3 years in a prophetic training I attended). I think my supervisor felt like the message was about, Gary; I knew that it wasn’t. I had already made up my mind to leave him alone; he was so far from what I wanted that I had let that situation go. Also, if God was giving me a word about him, I do not know what in her right mind would think that she could stop it. But that didn’t stop her jealously, and it did not stop her from trying. Also unbeknownst to me, in my prophetic word was a hidden message about hardship to come and how God had my back and he was not going to let me down.
I wondered then what that was about, because everything had been going so well. A week later, I found out. After my three years several months and never being written up I was told that due to having no clients to assign me, I would be laid off. As I stood before the owner’s wife and she told me nonsense upon nonsense, for the justification of doing this. But the nature of the Jezebel spirit; causes chaos and influences those around it. I was an angry, seeing how I had never received a negative review, that I would be one of the first to be laid off. But I knew that I had to say God bless her, out loud, to her. Not for her, but for me, I was taught that when you do this to those who persecute you, the blessing returns if the one you blessed is not deserving of it. As I left, as stated in Matthew 10:14 I literally stood at the front door of the building“wiped the dust from my feet” never to return again.
Although I wondered why God had done this, I knew that He was still with me. I was supposed to close on my home in less than a week. A brand new townhome that I had built and I had no job. Once the mortgage company found out, I almost lost my home. I asked my mother to co-sign for me, which she never does for anyone not even her own daughter. But I prayed so hard. I knew what was meant for me was going to be for me, and that God was true and let everyman be a liar (Romans 3:4). I prayed that over and over. I knew the devil was not going to steal my joy and what I worked so hard for. I got a call saying that my mother had decided to co-sign on the home.
During the time I was praying my mother received a call from my first step father (they are divorced but later on in life became friends). He owned many homes, and told my mother he had loaned his nephew a substantial amount of money. He told my mother that he could not tell her what to do; but that he hoped after he told his story she would change her mind. And she did!!! Praise GOD!!! I closed on my home a month and a half later, and my mother received a $10,000 salary increase on her job less than a week after she made that choice.
With this I knew that God had not given up on me even though it felt like it. I was used to working so much, going to school full time for my Masters, that I could not see that God was giving me a break. I prayed several months before this incident that God could make a way for me to work and begin my internship in which I was required to do 700 hours in 9 months. I did not know how I could do this on my own, with a full time job, a son, and internship but this was God’s answer, to take away my job.
After I was laid off, I applied for over 20 jobs a week and went to interview after interview and received no job. But God had it under control. I started my new job the last day of internship, exactly.
I think God made me lose my job before I closed on my house not only so I can see the power of prayer, but so that my mom had to co-sign and be responsible for paying my mortgage. This may sound too cocky but I will let you know all was not all “peaches and cream” and God was not done with me yet. No where near. During my unemployment I went to Department of Social Service to get food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid. I was told I did not qualify because I had too much money saved up and because my job offered me insurance when I left (for $600 a month). I hold the belief that the system does not help people who try, but enables people to fail. I was upset at the fact that I was rejected from assistance after so many years of putting in, but I think God made it this way, so I could lean on Him and so it would make me stronger.
The hardest time was when I needed to get my son shots for preschool with no insurance. We chased down the medical van that gave free immunizations. My son thought it was a tour bus. I was so happy that they provided this service until I was told that I, a regular tax paying citizen, who always held a job, needed come back the next week, wait in line outside at 5a.m, with my son, until the door opened at 8 a.m. Then I would be allowed to register my son to get shots. I would then have to return hours later to actually get the shots. As I told my son that we needed to leave, he asked me if we were getting on the tour bus. When I said no, he clenched my leg, and he began to cry. I wanted to cry right along with him, as we left. Things were so hard. There was always a glimmer of hope, but then the hope would be taken away. Eventually my son did get the required shots through assistance of the health department. I didn’t even have to come at 5 a.m. to register for it either. It was embarrassing and difficult, but a humbling experience nonetheless.
When I lost my job I attempted to file for unemployment, but the owner’s wife said that she would see to it that I did not get it. When I filed, she held true to her word and I did not get it. I was so bitter I thought to file an Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO) complaint. I actually got quite far in it, and had a good case. I asked God for confirmation if I should go through with the complaint. I opened the Bible to see if I was doing the right thing.
When I seek God’s advice, I often pray for God to reveal the answer and then I open the Bible and pick a random spot to get it. This time the answer I received was
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” Romans 12:19.
It was so hard, but I let it go. People did not understand how I let go of the EEO complaint and why I did not revisit DSS to get on public assistance. I felt that this is what God wanted. God told me the money was cursed and I wanted no parts in it (because the company in which I worked would pay for both unemployment and the EEO had I succeeded). God told me that He would deal with them, and I had to trust that.
Since I have left that place, Medicaid has visited the company and fined them because of their practices, an extensive amount of money. The children centers they had, have since been shut down, along with their school program. They have fired and laid off many more people since me, and the employees left they have given pay cuts. So it looks like God got me out of this environment at the right time, before everything crumbled to the ground. Because I know there is more judgment to come. Not just for me, but for all of God’s servants they have done wrong.
I gained 30 pounds during this time from being stressed and the lack of money to buy healthy food. It was so bad that when I went shopping for food, I would look at the net weight of the items and try to get the most bang for my buck. I shopped at the Dollar Tree and would buy the most off brand nasty soda that I could drink. It was over a 1 liter for a dollar, and as far as I was concerned, you could not beat that. It did make me want to cry though, every time I thought about eating the same thing from the Dollar Tree every night. It made me angry that this was happening to me.
I wondered day in and day out, why? I asked God, “had I not been faithful?” I wanted to eat the food that I wanted to eat, and I couldn’t. I could not really go grocery shopping for me and my son. When I did, my son’s needs for food and school lunch always came first, and I was stuck with whatever was left. As my son went to the summer child care program, I bought a large bag of chicken nuggets that I would pack for his lunch. The bag was so big that it lasted for nearly the whole summer. My son got tired of eating them. His teacher would send notes home telling me to pack something else. But she didn’t understand. I couldn’t. I didn’t have any money to afford anything else. You really never know what people go through. This was a Christian school, but you have to be wary placing yourselves in other people’s situations. You never know what they do just to get what they have.
On Sunday, I continued to go to church. Church for me was a battle in my mind, literally. I wanted to believe. I wanted to get where I was. But I couldn’t. My mind would not allow me to believe. I sat in the fourth row, trying to connect with the words. At first when I lost my job I remained faithful. But as time went on and things did not get better…..I couldn’t. There were times I went in church and people would speak about their jobs, how great their lives were, how great their marriages were, and I would want to cry. I would sit in the chair and try to fight the tears. Here it was just me and my son and it was hard. I didn’t have any of that. I didn’t have a man, husband, job, money, nothing. I knew the only person that I had to fall back on was me. I didn’t even feel like I had God at that point. My mother helped me with some things, but I was the only person in my home taking care of my son, and whatever job I got had to fit into the hours of his childcare. I became angry. I didn’t know why God was not helping me. I felt like He was flaunting these things in my face. Time and time again, I would vow not to return next Sunday, because it hurt. But I always returned.
God did provide for me during my unemployment though. I received a refund check from school twice while I was unemployed. I also became a Just Answer relationship and parenting expert where I got paid to answer questions online. I was approved based on my mental health verified experience and Master’s degree, once making almost $1000 in a month.
After church, my church always had Panera bread. This became a blessing to me, because I could get all the bread I could eat. Even though it was not real food at least I would never run out of bread. I packed my plastic bag with bread every Sunday and took it home, to freeze it. The thing about Panera bread was that it was so fresh that it could not last more than a few days at room temperature or it would mold. So I had to freeze it so that it would last. More bread and more weight I gained! One day as I drove home, God spoke to me and reminded me about the manna. As he took the Hebrews from Egypt, they were in the wilderness. It was there that God gave them manna (which was bread to eat, so that they would not starve, read Exodus 16). They could never keep it over to the next day, because if they did it would mold. At first this was okay to them but then they were tired of it, eating the same thing. When God first revealed this story to me, I gave it consideration, thinking that at least I had bread to eat if not anything else. But like the Hebrews. I got tired of eating bread; I gained weight from eating bread, and I longed for more. Not just of food, but a more fulfilled life, at this point I felt my life was at an all-time low.
Life was hard and it was hard to trust God. He told me that He made me to be a survivor, to always get things done and not to depend so heavily on others. It taught me to trust God and not my own understanding, even though I had some angry conversations with God during that time. He was always there, even when I didn’t think He was. I think He revealed that these are the attributes I am going to need when I am married. For whatever purpose He has for my husband and I, I know I will need that same drive and mentality, to just get things done, and trust that God will see us through. I think that this trust even goes beyond that, but trusting that after a wait or hardship, God has a husband for me.
As for Gary, that was a situation that I needed to let go. I felt like it was more time wasted on a man that was really not good for me. I believe he was messing with two women and whoever else at the time. It taught me that men or people in general could be manipulative, and that not letting someone go despite the evidence around you telling you to, could cause great consequences. For him, he received promotion after promotion from our supervisor and favorable evaluations that I were followed by raises. But for me it caused me to lose my job.
I was let go 4 days before I was supposed to close on my brand new home, and it almost caused me to lose my home. It caused my reputation to be tarnished, and in my sin, it caused me to move away from God. I think the biggest lesson I learned, is just because someone says they are Christian and says they are from God, does not mean they are. I saw so many bad things in that company, things done to other Christians by those who claimed to be godly and ordained. When I am wrong, I know it and God condemns me. It taught me to understand, that not everyone stands condemned, not everyone is truly in the body of Christ, and that jealousy, greed, and other carnal things can lead almost anyone to the path of damnation. I know what I needed to learn there, I did, and as I pity most of them now I also pray for them. Most importantly, I have a testimonial because of it.
I am, also fortunate to see the way that God works. I got the experience I needed from that job. I was able to buy my home, and I feel that the experience moved me where I needed to go in life. I learned a lot about the mental health field and I learned how to humble myself and deal with difficult people. The connections I made at the time also allowed me to meet a licensed marriage and family therapist (which are hard to find). Which I later asked to be my clinical supervisor for licensure, and he is now helping me to obtain licensure as a therapist. At the end of the day, we know that for those who love God “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” Roman 8:28. AMEN!!!