Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Written by Gabrielle Jones
I have to start off with the back drop of how I was raised. It will help make sense of that influence of my many transitions. I grew up in a Catholic household raised by a single mother. I would see my father every other weekend when he lived in state. My father went through a period of Zen Buddhism and had many books on religion. His father (my grandpa) was a Southern Baptist pastor. I attended mass every Sunday and received most of my sacraments growing up. I was baptized as a baby, received first communion in the second grade, and was confirmed sophomore year of high school. I didn’t have much choice participating in these; it was tradition.
I would have to go to Confession if I got in trouble and at least every year around Easter. When I was in high school I started to question why I needed to tell a priest my sins and how he could “resolve” them for me and never liked going. My mom made me go to church and Confession until I graduated high school. I tried everything I could to figure out my questions and one time was told by a priest that I asked too many questions and to just have faith. When I attended college I decided not to attend church with my mom anymore. I wanted to see what Protestant churches were like and went with a boyfriend I had at the time. When he broke up with me I was heart broken and went to my best friend’s church for awhile. The pastor there liked me and wanted me to be a deaconess since I enjoyed helping others. Excited I called my grandpa to tell him I was going to be a deaconess. My grandpa told me it was unbiblical for an unsaved woman to be a deacon and that I needed to attend another church and decline the offer. Respecting my grandpa I declined the offer and continued on attending the church. The church members, however, didn’t seem to like me near as much as the pastor and I felt outcasted and hurt. I decided I was finished with Christianity because it just seemed like a bunch of self righteous people with rules, no love and no answers.
I started looking into other religions and taking classes on religion in college. I became very attracted to Islam and the discipline behind it. I thought I could share my struggle with my father who seemed to have similar interests in religion. He wasn’t the most supportive and told me it would break my Catholic mother’s heart and that I wouldn’t be supported vocally as a woman within Islam. I enjoyed it though so I would read my Quran and abstained from pork. Islam however didn’t give me a real answer to how I could be certain of a positive afterlife. It didn’t change my heart or make me happy so I moved on but continued the diet.
I enjoyed meditation and especially liked Tibetan meditation. Buddhism didn’t have a deity and I believed in God so I figured I’d just string along the meditation practice on my all-you-can-eat spirituality buffet.
Music always made me happy. Being a reggae music lover for a long time I started looking into Bob Marley and his loving, peaceful lifestyle seemed very appealing to me. I started reading books by Marcus Garvey and looking more and more into the Rastafarian movement. It seemed like a perfect fit. Rastas being very tolerant of other’s beliefs and finding your own way and loving others and being peaceful to others meant that I could be under one label of beliefs while practicing all the others. I started dating a guy who was atheist and into new age spiritual forms like tarot. Being told I was gifted in tarot reading and having a gifted soul I proceeded to include tarot within my spirituality and read cards for people often. I was a mix mash of things but mostly Rasta. He didn’t support my belief in God and eventually that relationship ended. I felt like I needed to be single for some time and to figure out more about my spirituality--mainly my connection with God--so I continued to take theology and religious classes. I had an excellent theology professor who encouraged me on my journey. I started to research many religions and found out that Christianity was the only one to give a solid answer as to how you can be certain of a positive afterlife. Belief in Jesus meant I could have a secured place in heaven. So I figured okay I believe in Jesus I’ll be a Christian Rastafarian. I ran with that for awhile.
I continued to read various religious books and just esteemed the Bible to be higher. I met my now husband who had just converted to Christianity. He began to challenge a lot of my beliefs and practices which I didn’t particularly like. He began discipling me, teaching me the scriptures and the real gospel as to who Jesus was and what it really meant to be saved. I wasn’t hearing it and would often get into arguments with him about him being “judgmental” (Which he wasn’t). Eventually, though, the gospel pricked by heart (about a year and 1/2 after he started discipling me).
I was convicted about how I sinned towards God. I wasn’t a good person. Here, all this time, I thought I was and arrogantly thought I was gifted spiritually. It broke my heart that I sinned toward God and that I didn’t actually have a relationship with him how I thought I would. I gave my life to Christ and got baptized shortly thereafter. We started attending Solid Word Bible Church not to long after and I found a church community there where I was accepted and I could ask questions and there were answers. An elder there and the pastor would always answer my questions and were very instrumental in shaping my theology as well as my husband of course. Lyndon (my husband) would teach me and show me books to read to help build as solid foundation of true biblical Christianity. I’m grateful The Lord used various people to help bring me to Him and more so I’m grateful for the grace He gave me to save me solely for His glory alone.
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