This excerpt from The Big Block Goes on Top is from during my teenage years. Seek first the kingdom of God, I should have heard that verse much earlier in life.
My cousin, Ceola was a bishop. She told me that when I learned not to focus on a man so much God was going to use me. Ceola told me she had run from God for a long time. She also told me one of my grandparents was doing to die. Paul, my grandfather died a few years later from prostate cancer.
We had attended church for a few years, when I decided to be baptized. I was baptized at a Baptist Church, in the summer of 1988, so I could sing in the youth choir. I had wanted to join the youth choir because the kids in the choir seemed to be so happy. I thought God made them happy maybe it would rub off on me.
When I was baptized, I was wondering if I was pregnant. I wanted a fresh start, but I did not know how. I was the first person baptized that Sunday. A girl was younger than I was but she did not want to go first. The deaconess asked us what order we wanted to go in. There were 19 candidates for baptism. The girl suggested the oldest person go first. They decided to go by height. The girl was younger but I was the shortest. The pastor and the deacon held me up in the pool before they dunked me. I felt uncomfortable because they would not allow me stand in the pool but the congregation would not have been able to see me because of my height. That day my cousin Ophelia was baptized too.
Church was important to me there were many handsome young men there. I remembered few sermons. Jesus dying on the cross did not make sense to me at all. I enjoyed singing in the choir. My favorite sermons were about the fiery furnace from the book of Daniel and the untamable tongue. I could relate to that sermon because I was verbally abusive and very sarcastic.
My maternal grandma did not take communion and I struggled with communion too. I always felt I was not clean enough. I did not want to take it because of guilt. I never felt I was forgiven.
When I heard the choir sing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” and everyone stood up. I thought if Jesus is here, I am not ready. Later I learned that everyone stood up because of tradition when it was first performed in London in 1743. The King was so moved with emotion he stood and everyone else did because he did.
I decided to attend Vacational Bible School I had gone one time before with some neighborhood kids and I enjoyed it. Since I was going to church on a regular basis, I wanted to go. On the first night when they asked why did we come? Did not want to admit I wanted to come. I said I came for something to do.
During VBS I got into with one of the teenage girls (her grandma was a deaconess) in my class she had a baby. She was attracted to this guy. They were talking about having sex with him on the church bus. Since she already had a baby, I gave the guy some condoms, because I thought she did not need any more babies. Some body told the director of Vacation Bible School. The director wanted to know where I got the condoms from, I told her my Dad gave them to me. The girl wanted to fight me and I was scared of her. The other people on the church bus had to hold her back as I got off the church bus. The next night I took a forty-ounce bottle with me, nothing happen. After everything that happen, I was too embarrassed to continue going.
After being sober for a couple of years. I realized my spirituality needed to improve so I started going to church trying to improve my relationship with God. But as I set in worship services I feared the holy spirit.
As an adult I continued to go to church but my focus was still off. For years I wondered as the pastor preached was I really suppose to be married to Moses or what ever man I was “dating” at the time. It was not until I was homeless in Atlanta did I began to start really listening the sermons again. While in Atlanta God provided for me . He gave me daily manna but as soon as I got back to St. Louis. Just like the Isarelites I forgot how God had provided for me.
I went through a period of reading Christian self help books and learning about the bible. I thought okay God. I am working on my relationship with me so now you can give me a man.