Life was exhausting before. I allowed myself to enjoy the pleasures the world had to offer. But it was exhausting. Lonely. Empty. After flirting with almost everyone I laid my eyes on at the club and drinking myself to an unbelievable stupor, I’d wake up on the bed on yet another stranger who’d introduce himself awkwardly with a subtle suggestion that I leave since he had to get ready for work. Or worse still, be woken to be told to leave since he didn’t want anyone sleeping over. What was the fun in that?
I was lazy; I’d admit that. I didn’t see why I should subject myself to a torturous 9 to 5 routine when flaunting my goodies and being ‘serviceable’ earned me more than the ‘decent’ worker. But it was never enough. Even when I would resolve to clean up my act after the last one, I found myself back in another pot-bellied man’s bed. Why, the money just seemed to fly away! To survive, I had to go back…like a dog going back to its vomit.
I was tired. The life I knew it wasn’t working. I needed a magical way to straighten myself up and get me right on track. And I’d organize a pity party for myself with bottle of vodka. With every belch, I’d promise myself I’d find a way. It was during one of my pity parties when I heard a knock on my door. I knew it had to be one of those “Jesus crusaders” so I thought to ignore it but the persistence of the knock got me off the couch and to the door with a reply ready to roll off my tongue the second I opened the door.
But the cute face and dashing smile made me lose my thoughts for a moment so I wasn’t able to give him my usual ‘I’m busy’ excuse in time.
“May I come in?” My intoxicated mind was trying to figure out why a clean looking guy was at my door. My head nodded without my permission. He entered and asked if he could sit. Again, I nodded; this time with partial consent from my mental faculty. I almost tripped as I attempted to sit. He held me and helped me sit.
“I’m James and I want to share the love of Jesus with you,” he began. I had my chin in my palm and my mind quickly went to work cooking up images of how it’d look like if we ended up in bed together. He kept talking, occasionally flashing me his charming smiles, revealing white clean teeth. He asked to pray with me before sharing his message. I agreed. As he prayed, I pried my eyes open and stole a glance at him. Gosh, he looked…beautiful! Where has he been? He looked like he had been hidden from the world. He seemed different. Maybe he didn’t go out often. If he did, the likes of me would have corrupted him by now. But here he was…praying for me. He said ‘Amen’ and opened his eyes and caught me looking at him. I quickly said ‘Amen.’
When he started, something strange happened. All the dirty images vanished from my mind and so did the voices. It was like my whole mind and body had been captivated by the words of the gentleman in front of me. How he did it, I don’t know. Later, I’d find out it was presence of God he had invoked into my room.
His words stirred my soul and I found myself crying. It was if he had read my life story before knocking on my door. I was broken and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t fix me by myself. I needed someone bigger, someone greater, someone divine. I nodded when he asked if I’d like to give my life to Christ. He held my hands and he prayed again, asking me to repeat the words after him.
“Welcome to God’s family,” he said excitedly and I know at the moment that something had changed.
James introduced me to his church and would check up on me regularly, sometimes coming over to pick me to church. I enjoyed the church services; I felt so liberated and my heart was filled with peace.
Then came the hard part. I had become a new creation and I had to get my life together. First, I had to find myself a decent job to support myself. I applied to a number of them and I was called upon for an interview. I was nervous since I didn’t feel qualified enough. Then uneasy thoughts started to creep into my head. “You don’t have to work so hard for this job. Use what you have to get what you want.”
I recalled how ‘easy’ it was to get whatever I wanted by being a ‘bad girl.’ I shrugged the thoughts away.
I was called in and there sat a middle-aged man who was going to interview me. From his lingering looks, I instantly knew the kind of man he was. I had dealt with countless number of them. But surprisingly, I found myself feeling uncomfortable contrary to how special and wanted I used to feel when I was my old self. After asking a few questions, he cleared his throat and bluntly told me he had the power to grant me the position right there and then with a handsome salary with other benefits if I’d agree to continue the meet at the hotel not so far from the premises.
I was perplexed and conflicted. I could hear a voice telling me to reject the offer and just walk out. Another voice was urging me to take it. After all, it wasn’t like I was a virgin. What was the big deal anyway? Use what I have to get I want, it whispered. The conflicting reactions inside me brought tears to my eyes.
“This is no crying matter, young lady. You know how this goes. You look familiar though. You look like a regular face at one of the clubs in town. Am I right?” He asked.
“If you cooperate, I’ll make it worth your while.” I closed my eyes and silently prayed for control. I suddenly found strength in my legs and stood up.
“Thank you for your offer but I’m afraid I can’t accept it.”
“Are you sure?” He asked, not convinced by my reply.
“I am.” He shrugged.
“Your loss. I wish you luck or should I be honest, not so much.” I nodded and left the office.
I cried all the way home. James came over to comfort me. He encouraged me things would be fine and God would soon turn things around in my favor. I tried some other offices but I received no reply. I began to feel frustrated. I thought by accepting Christ into my life and choosing to believe God to take care of me, my life would somehow turn around swiftly. This waiting period wasn’t going down well with me.
Whenever I subjected worrying about my situation, I’d be tempted to go back to the bottle. My rent was almost due and this would be the first time I didn’t have the money ready. Before, just two or three days of ‘work’ would sort that out for me. My colleagues used to come by, trying to persuade me to come back and join them since a new set of clientele had joined the pool and there was so much money to extract from them. After refusing them on a number of occasions, they stopped passing by.
I was all by myself and the voices would get so loud I was afraid I was going to lose it. I’d run to church just to pour out my heart to God and my troubled heart would be filled with peace.
A few weeks later, James introduced me to a nice lady in the church was who in need of an assistant at a church. I gladly accepted the job and my life gradually got better.
What am I driving at? Although I could get whatever I craved for through crooked ways, I never felt fulfilled with them and each poor decision I took widened the vacuum I felt inside. I initially accepted God into my life because I wanted Him to fix my mess so I would be comfortable. When things didn’t play out the way I expected, I thought I made a mistake trusting God. I needed an instant changeover but God was working on me.
I realized that when I got saved, it was my spirit which was liberated but not my flesh. And that brought the conflict. And with the waiting came the testing of my new-found faith which grew steadily. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to go back to my ways. But God was gracious enough to see me through those trying moments.
When I look back, I now see all the things I used to boast of possessing as vanity compared to the new life I’ve found in Jesus. I’m not perfect…but I keep striving towards it. But I know I’m better off where I am now compared to where I was before.
Jesus is the sweetest name I know and in His arms is the safest refuge I dwell. Nothing in the world can compare to knowing Him and that is why I want to lead others who are lost to Him just as James led me to Him. Good news are never kept secret and shared, right? That’s exactly what I’m doing and I’ve never been happier.
Will you join me spread the Good News?
© Josephine Amoako 2016