It was something like a fairytale, a girl who knew no other life but captivity was rescued. I had spent many years believing that I was not loved, and not enough. Not enough for my mother to stay out of prison as everytime she got out she went back, I wasn’t enough for my father to stop selling drugs which eventually landed him in prison and I wasn’t enough for some family members who seemed to have an arrow aiming at me as if I was a target.
At 18, I went off to college broken but hopeful for a new life. It didn’t take long for God to get a hold of me, my roommate at the time was a Christian, and she was apart of a college ministry, she would invite me to their events, so I began hanging around them. In a few weeks of hanging out with them, feeling the presence of God for the first time, and understanding the truth I decided to follow Jesus. I don’t know what it’s like to be in love, but I imagine it felt something like this, I was sprung.
I changed, everything about me changed. The voids in my heart were filled with Gods love. The lies I believed were slowly and carefully dismantled and the truth about who I was being taught to me every day in a secret place. God showed me how to forgive my family, and to heal from the trauma I experienced growing up.
Life Was Good, but Everything Changed
At that time, I joined the ministry and quickly became a leader. I was holding Bible studies, discipling young women and organizing events. It was a blast. I spent a lot of time with these people; we did EVERYTHING together. They were my family. We were a diverse group of believers who came from different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds and we loved each other fiercely. They provided me with a sense of belonging that I didn’t feel growing up.
I adored them, but like every family no family is perfect. At some point, things began to shift, and things felt off . Our ministry wasn’t growing, and people started leaving. Services at our church began to feel dry and uncomfortable, and for the life of me, I could not put my finger on it. Until one Sunday our church (the college ministry was connected to this church) announced that our church was splitting due to theology. Our pastors and members were divided on how the bible should be taught and interpreted. One group considered themselves Calvinist while the other considered themselves Arminians.
In a short amount of time, everything fell apart, I felt like a child in the middle of a divorce. It was a disaster. A whole group (including lead and college pastor) from our church moved to Arizona to join a church, and the rest of us stayed in Tx. I felt like I was cemented in confusion and pain. The emotions of betrayal, abandonment, and fear took its place in my life.
Carrying Baggage From One Season to Another
Just as I left home with a broken heart, I left that church with a broken heart. For the first time, I felt loved, accepted and fought for and all of that seemed to be ripped from me. My faith in God was still in tack, but things between us weren’t the same.
It wasn’t until I graduated and decided to move to a whole other state (Maryland) that all of the brokenness from that season manifested itself. I unknowingly moved to Maryland in pursuit of a season similar to the one I had when I was in Tx. I wanted to be busy doing the things of God again. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to minister, prophesy to, and disciple people. But when I got here, that’s not what happened. I asked God what He wanted me to do and He was silent.
God seemed far away, so I made it my business to get back into ministry. I found a new church plant and was so excited because that was my domain. I was accustomed to church plants, and I thought this was my way back into the life I longed to return to. I started serving trying to get into the groove of things, but my heart wasn’t connecting. Spiritually I wasn’t growing, and I never felt further from God. I thought maybe time would do the trick, so I kept serving, but it didn’t work out. I had a situation with the pastor of that church, and once again I was wounded.
I Ran Away
What do you do when you feel like you can’t connect to God and you’re broken hearted? You run and go looking for healing and comfort in all the wrong places. I quickly spiraled out of control; I returned to things before I became a Christian and found myself battling sin I once overcame. I knew who I was and who I belonged to yet my choices were contrary to that. Brokenness can alter your reality and almost put you in a trans; I wasn’t thinking right. Every decision I made and every emotion I was feeling was filtered through my pain.
The spirit of unbelief entered my life, and I began to struggle with the validity of the bible. Was it telling the truth when it said God is near the broken hearted? Does God have hope and a future for me? Why should I believe this book written by imperfect humans? I began cringing when I would hear scriptures read out loud or quickly scroll past Christian related post on social media. I substituted the word of God for feel-good messages that feed my ego rather than my spirit. Talking about God and the things of God had become a foreign thing to me, and soon enough I found myself in depression.
Love Will Always Come Looking
One Sunday, love came looking for me I know because I was sitting in church and everything that was being preached was relevant to what was happening in my life. I sat in my seat with my head down sobbing. I was deep in sin, and I knew if I didn’t repent I would soon find myself in some situations I wouldn’t be able to get out of. I woke up somehow and saw what a mess I was making of my life. So there I sat shaking in my seat with bloodshot eyes as I mourned over the decisions I had made and asked God to forgive me.
I’m not sure all of what was happening spiritually at that moment but one thing I am sure of is that love was fighting for me, doing whatever it could to have my heart again. I could feel the mercy of God, and because of that, I repented. I turned away from what was keeping me bound and made a promise to walk back to the Lord.
Leave the Old and Embrace the New
Looking back, I knew I was carrying baggage from Tx into my new season in Maryland but what I didn’t know is because of that baggage I was trying to force my new season to be something God never attended it to be. I did not appropriately deal with my baggage, and it weighed me down and kept me from moving forward to a new place. What would’ve happened if God did give me the green light to get back into ministry? I would be moving a million miles per hour serving and would never realize that my heart needed service. I believe God was silent because what was festering on the inside of me needed to rear its ugly head. I needed to come face to face with the pain of that season and the sin of that season.
I had to deal with the pain of losing people I loved dearly (still do) but more than that I had to deal with the sin of idolatry. Some part of me found my identity in ministry; I learned a lot about who I was and what I was good at through ministry. Without it, who was I? I felt valued and loved because of how well I could pray, prophesy and disciple.
I am loved because I am created by God.
I am enough because I am created by God.
I have a purpose because I am created by God.
I needed to understand that Gods word stands true whether I’m in ministry or not. That’s the truth whether I bring one person to Christ or one thousand. It’s the truth whether I prophesy or I don’t. In and out of season, I am enough and not a single praise from people, accomplishment or choices I make will change that.
My past has been full of goodness and sadness, but God has BETTER. It’s time I move on and embrace the new life God has for me. If my story resonates with you, and you find yourself unable to move on this is your push. Its time honey, its been time.
my name is Passion’e (pash-uh-nay), I currently live in Baltimore, Md where I have become a professional dream chaser and failure (not a bad thing but it shol dont feel good). I am a writer, teacher and facilitator of generational freedom. I have a heart for racial reconciliation, restorative justice and healing for people who are marginalized, oppressed and overlooked.
I love laughing, dancing (twerking tbh, judge me idc), spending quality time with friends and eating good food.
If you’re on your healing journey, passionate about the disenfranchised or want to seriously laugh I’m your girl.
Website : passioneshantel.com