*The following content contains graphic language and touches on a sensitive topic. This is intended for a mature audience only*
When God saved me, He didn’t find me in a church giving my undivided attention to a sermon. He didn’t save me at the dinner table during family devotion. When God saved me, His hand reached down into my apartment closet where I locked myself in to commit suicide. He rescued me out of the darkness of my sins wherein I was drowning like quicksand. He got me out of the mud and muck and raised me to life from the dust. Literally.
I come from a rich Christian heritage of preachers, pastors, deacons, teachers, and ministers dating back to the mid-1800s so it is no surprise I was in church EVERY. SINGLE. SUNDAY. of my childhood. I grew up in a strict Christian household. Most weeks I was in church no less than three days a week. At the age of 8 I got baptized, for the first time, but remember God didn’t find me in the church nor did He save me at the dinner table. I got baptized because that was the prerequisite to get a cracker and juice snack on Sundays [communion] and to be in the children’s choir with all my friends. I regurgitated the Sunday school basics about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins however my heart wasn’t regenerated. I merely took a quick bath at church in a white robe, joined the choir and started getting that sacred snack, a Frosted Flake with grape juice.
Throughout the following years, my family attended different denominational churches including baptist, pentecostal, apostolic, first assemblies of God, and non-denominational. In those same years, I started to pay more attention to the ladies so my mom made me take a vow of purity, wear a purity ring, a pledge of abstinence, and promise her that I would be a virgin until my wedding day. Her persistent push for sexual purity only provoked my curiosity. By the age of 12, I was secretly into pornography and the day I got my first car at the age of 16, I exchanged my sexual purity for sexual experience. Having gotten a taste of everything my mom told me to stay away from, my appetite for sex and sensuality only intensified. With college only two years away I was focused on using my freedom to enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle.
August 2006 I arrive in Bloomington, Indiana to conquer Indiana University with the goal of having my Mitchell & Ness jersey retired in four years hanging in the rafters at Assembly Hall for being a legend on campus. Every day I woke up I had 3 goals: 1.) have sex with a new girl 2.) get high 3.) make money. And if I had time I’d study for class and actually do some homework. I had two girlfriends throughout college each relationship expired within ten months of dating. The emotional pain of opening myself up to someone only for it to dissipate hurt me to my core. In both relationships, in my mind, I was going to marry the woman I was dating. When that didn’t happen, I had several coping mechanisms I relied on. One was self-numbing. I’d take the pain that my ex caused me and take it out on as many other girls as possible in the form of sex. Thinking that the more women I have sex with the faster I’ll get over my ex and the quicker I’ll become emotionally numb to the pain. Another way I coped was by self-medicating. Of course, there was weed and alcohol but three to five blunts a day and Keystone Lite, jungle juice or Grey Goose can only get you so far gone. I needed something more, something different, something that would take me further from reality and into a new dimension. The influence of hip hop music led me to begin showing up at parties with double-stacked styrofoam cups filled with Sprite mixed with liquid codeine or promethazine…it could be purple or it could be pink depending on how you mix that..nevermind lol Another way I coped was by self-pleasure. Watching porn. Daily. All throughout the day. To the extent I would masturbate two, three, four, sometimes five times a day.
When senior year came around I was at the apex of my depravity. It was normal for my friends and I to describe our day/night as “diabolical”. By this point not only was I self-numbing, self-medicating, and self-pleasing but I was self-destructing. I started getting involved in Ouija boards, tarot cards, and astral projection. I was a conspiracy theory junkie and wasted hundreds of hours watching documentaries like “Zeitgeist”. Being intrigued by the influential minds of modern day psychology, I had moved beyond agnosticism and subscribed to practical atheism. I remember my mom evangelizing me and to her face, with my mouth, I denied the existence of God. I was “woke” having been educated in the sciences, enlighted by my ancestral heritage, and illuminated by my third eye. My beliefs aligned with the likes of Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Darwin, Dwayne Carter, Shawn Carter, and Christopher Wallace. I was persuaded that there was no God and therefore every person ought to “do as thou wilt”. It was as if the voice of a cunning serpent constantly whispered in my ear, “you will not die. You are like [a] God since you know good and evil.” I believed in the lie of antiquity.
The culmination of this lifestyle increasingly began to weigh on my conscience more and more the deeper I went into it. Halfway through the first semester of my senior year, my conscience became so weighed down with guilt that my heart became depressed to the point of being desperate for death. In my mind I was a failure, a disappointment to my parents, an embarrassment to my siblings, incapable of academic performance, an addict to sex, porn, and drugs, a God forsaken spec of dirt. I felt like I had no one in the world to talk to who would understand my plight. I felt alone, abandoned, and afraid. My predicament was distressed, my internal disposition was dilapidated, my soul was desolate. At this point in my life, every time I would turn to my coping mechanisms my conscience would burn with guilt to the extent I dreaded life itself. Each day was a burden and since sex, weed, codeine, ecstasy, porn, masturbation wouldn’t allow me to escape the torment, I was positive death would. I was a mere child planning to abort myself.
I devised a plan to kill myself having been deceived by my own heart. Chemical suicide. Late night on December 10, 2010, I grabbed my store bought household chemicals, a bucket, and a towel to tuck at the bottom of the door to trap the deadly gas in. While sitting in my tiny apartment closet, I began crying heavily while simultaneously trying to find the strength to die. Why was I crying? I was afraid to die honestly. I was afraid because the guilt that weighed so heavily on my conscience in those moments was alerting me to my innate sense of justice. I knew that what I had been doing was morally wrong and I knew to an equal degree that I would have to face the justice system in the most supreme court of law, with no legal representation. As much as I was trying to terminate my life in those moments, deep deep deep down in the furthest and smallest corner of my soul was a desire to live. A desire to truly live and not just be alive. My thoughts shifted to think about what was present in my life when I was a kid and actually felt alive? The first and only memory that came to mind in that claustrophobic closet was church. All my memories of feeling alive from a child to a teen included the people of God.
When I would play with the Ouija board I would open up my mind and body as a vessel for evil spirits to enter into me and guide my hands to spell out a message. When I came out of the closet (no pun intended) I recognized the spiritual pull within me however this Spirit was unspeakably more powerful and carried me in a different direction compared to the Ouija board. I was in real time, actively and actually being rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13). As I emerged from the closet I searched for the Bible my mom had left me when I first arrived at IU. I found it. An old black King James Version buried at the bottom of my desk drawer, dusty as ever, with the street name “L-Dizzle” etched on the exterior bottom pages. Still crying heavily my heart prompted me to pray with sincerity. My prayer almost verbatim went something like this: “Jesus, if you are real I need you to save me now. Amen” Nothing long because time was of the essence. Nothing deeply theological because I could only speak from my heart and not my mind. But the prayer was sincere. At that moment I believed Jesus was real hence why I cried out to Him. I had faith that Jesus was able to save me hence why that was my only request. Simply put, I trusted that Jesus was ready, willing, and able to save me even at my lowest, darkest, and filthiest point. After the amen, the next thing I thought was, I’m going to open my Bible at random and whatever page it lands on is the message God has for me. In the grace and wisdom of God, The Holy Spirit sent me to John 15. I had never read John 15 before, can’t recall anyone ever reading or teaching it to me, I was entirely unfamiliar with this passage. That night for the first time in my life I read the Bible for myself. I read it humbly with an open heart, mind, and spirit. I read it slowly. I read it carefully. As I read John 15 it was as if I knew the voice of the One talking in the passage. Imagine you were 2,000 miles away from home at a social event and in the distance you hear someone calling out your name. You recognize the voice and realize it’s your mom calling you. No matter where you are in the world we all recognize the voice of a loved one. That is how it was for me when I was reading John 15. No, I did not hear an audible voice from heaven. No, the ceiling didn’t open up and a cloud descend into my room. No visitation from angels. Just an open Bible, an open heart, and the Spirit of God working through the words of the Son of God in my heart. The same day that Satan would have me lay in a grave physically is the same day God raised me from the dead spiritually and legally declared me justified by faith in Christ.
Nowhere near a church and extremely far from perfect yet God being excessively rich in mercy saved me freely by His grace. Stretching out His hand from heaven, reaching down into the depths of everything filthy, muck and mire, and grabbing ahold of my life. Created as a new creature literally from the dust and actually breathing into my mortal slim fit frame the breath of life. As divine irony would have it, I did die on that December 10th night. Rather than killing myself I died to myself and my life is now hidden in Christ. Oh, what a Savior, isn’t He wonderful!
So often people submit to the rationale that they must get their life together prior to coming to Christ. Get back into the church, stop cussing, cease sexual immorality, wean themselves from their Newports and whatever else they’re into and then I’ll get right with God and He’ll save me. But here is the fallacy in such thinking: 1.) if you could get your life together you would have your life together. 2.) this saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15) History has the recorded words of Jesus saying “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Luke 5:32). Salvation is not like getting your dream job where you need all this good Christian experience to put on your religious resume to present to heaven’s HR rep when the opportunity presents itself at the church picnic. No. Come to the cross of Christ and do not bring your good works nor let your evil deeds stop you from coming. Come empty handed with the stains of your shame, the awkwardness of your nakedness, and all your detestable sins because God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but instead He takes pleasure when one turns from their ways and lives (Ezekiel 18:23). God truly desires to exercise mercy over judgment. He takes absolute pleasure in forgiving your sins, showering your shame with mercy, and clothing your nakedness in His righteous and royal garments. Today is the day of salvation so do not put off until tomorrow (which isn’t promised) what you can do today (Isaiah 55:6-7).
Lastly, you are created in God’s likeness and image. You are uniquely and wonderfully handmade by God. You are known by God and He cares for you. If you are struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts/tendencies, or just need someone to love on you, PLEASE seek proper and/or professional help. Find a biblical local church at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/churches/ . The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone # is 1.800.273.8255. Feel free to email me if you need prayer or help in any other way concerning mental and spiritual health.