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Introduction

“Who am I?”

       “What is my Purpose?”

If you’ve never asked your Self these questions, you have not yet begun your journey of Self discovery!

Why were you born?  Does your life have a purpose?  Do you know your ancestry?  Is this important to know, in order to move forward in life?

I was born and raised in the Christian faith, which laid a solid foundation for my spiritual life as an adult.  But not everything I’d been taught was serving me.  I still lacking financially, my life wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, and my prayers weren’t always answered.  On top of that, the more I studied the bible, the more questions I had.  My church didn’t seem to be able to answer them, so I went straight to my ‘Heavenly Father’ with a long letter, which I ended by asking for ‘the Truth!’ – This marked a turning-point in my life. I wanted to share everything I’ve learnt since asking God for ‘the Truth’ in 2007, so I’ve written it in story form; you could call this ‘a Self-help book, told in a novel way’!

My first task after asking for ‘the Truth’ was to go through the whole bible and look for all the scriptures that:

  • Made me feel good
  • Empowered me (especially as a woman) and
  • Set me free.

Throughout the whole process, the verse which continuously played in my mind was:

‘You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you FREE!’

From there, I was led to turn these scriptures into long declarations, and thus began my first use of Positive Affirmations!  While this story is loosely based on my own life, it depicts a true-life account of what many sisters – and brothers – go through.  The aim of this book is not to negate the faith, but to use it to build greater spiritual awareness upon.

You’ll notice that sometimes I capitalize the word ‘Self’.  This is when I’m referring to the Higher Self; we have an inner guidance system which gives us access to anything we need to know. Whether you call that source God or another title, it’s the part of you that is connected to your spiritual Source, or what I call ‘Infinite Intelligence.  Most of us haven’t been taught how to tap into this inner well.  I didn’t learn until I began this quest for truth!

I designed the front cover of this book using Photoshop.  My interpretation is that the woman is coming out of a dark place and stepping into ‘enlightenment’.  The woman looking down represents guidance from her Higher Self, the part of her that is in touch with her Creator.  The woman looking down on her could also represent Mother Nature, or Wisdom who is described in Proverbs as being a woman, and who was with God in the beginning.

As a writer, artist and poet, my work is simply a creative expression of my spiritual journey.  Some of my paintings and poems have been used to illustrate the story; you can listen to my poems which feature in the story in the Journey of a Sister YouTube Channel, or on my Soundcloud.

Start the journey…

 

Year One: The Truth!

Who am I?”  I ask my Self as I lay here, eyes closed, in deep contemplation.

       “Why am I here?”

I have always been a deep thinker.  I always seek to get to the bottom of things, instead of looking at them from a surface level.

Born in England of Jamaican parentage, I was raised in the Christian faith.  Ever since I was told there was a God who had created me and loved me, my deepest desire has always been to get to know Him, and to find out why He created me – to discover my ‘destiny’.  So as an adult, I continue to attend church, read my bible, pray, and deny myself of life’s pleasures, to the best of my abilities.

However, I could be described as a ‘non-conformist free spirit’, which makes it somewhat difficult for me to abide by all the rules and regulations. My biggest weakness is ‘fornication’ – sex before marriage.  I sincerely desire to serve God in spirit and in truth, but my natural desires do, every now and then, prevent me from keeping my vow of remaining celibate – my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.

I did have the opportunity to marry, but I wasn’t ready.  Besides, the principle of ‘marriage before children’ was never instilled into me by my mother, despite my Christian upbringing.  She never married.

Still, the bible makes it very clear that sex before marriage is wrong.  It’s like a taboo topic in my church; everyone appears to be so spiritual.

I remember the turmoil I went through when I found out I was pregnant with my first son nine years ago; what should I do?  What would church members think of me?  Now everyone would know I’d had sex!  Distraught, I confided in a church sister who advised me to have an abortion: “Loads of girls do it,” she had said.   But that seemed even worse than having the baby!  According to the bible ‘(all) children are a heritage from the Lord’.  My ‘friend’ informed me that many church sisters were sexually active but if they accidentally conceived, they would terminate the pregnancy so they stood a better chance of getting married. Thank God I didn’t listen to her. Instead, I went to God in prayer;

“What kind of a life will this child have?” I asked in distress; “I’m not married, I’ll have to give up my job, the father has done a runner, I’ve got nothing to offer a baby!”

That day God spoke to me so clearly, I remember his reply like it was yesterday:

“The same way you were born in sin and I have a plan for your life, is the same way I have a plan for your son’s life.”

I can’t begin to describe the peace that swept over me; every negative emotion I was feeling was erased as I felt God’s presence surrounding me, as if comforting me. From that moment on, I remained at peace with myself and with the world.  I had heard from God directly, and he had even informed me I was having a boy, which was confirmed at my first scan! I continued to attend church until I began to show at around 6 months – returning to a new, local church after my son’s birth.

When I fell pregnant with my second son two years later, I really thought I’d blown it this time!  Again distraught, I went into God’s presence, and this time he gave me a promise concerning both my sons, based on Isaiah 44:3-5;

“…I will pour out my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants; one will say ‘I belong to the LORD, and the other will write on his hand ‘the LORD’s’

So here I am aged 28, a single mum with two young sons on a low income. I have no man, no job and no savings.       Micah and Elijah are now aged six and eight.  My relationship with their father broke down when they were only three and five; it took over two years for me to heal emotionally from the break-up.  To be honest, we were never really a proper couple; when I told him I was pregnant with our first son, he’d done a disappearing act for months, only re-emerging when I was due to have the baby.  Suddenly, he wanted to play the proud father, but after a few short months the novelty of the new baby wore off, and he was off again.  I didn’t rely on him for anything, buying everything I needed for the baby myself.  Then just as I was getting my life back on track he came back, wanting to start over.  At the time I had a part-time job in the admin department of the Museums & Galleries Commission, and our year-old son went to private nursery.  Before I knew it, I was pregnant again.  On this occasion he tried to stay, but it wasn’t long before he started straying away.  This time, it was over for good.

What I do have though, is a dream.

*******************

The Bible and Sex

It was a warm spring evening in 2001; the boys were with their father for the weekend.

Suzanne was feeling more sensual than usual.

As she lay on the sofa with her eyes closed contemplating life, she slid her hand up her skirt, down into her panties, and began pleasuring herself.  She wondered why God had created the clitoris; ‘is it there for me to please myself, or for my husband to give me pleasure?’  According to her pastor, it was even a sin to masturbate, since the mind is likely to start conjuring up images of a sexual nature.  If you so much as think about having sex, it’s just as bad as doing the act. But how many men actually know how to stimulate the clitoris well enough to bring a woman to orgasm?

With all these thoughts running through her mind, Suzanne couldn’t help re-creating the outline of her imaginary lover, who visited her whenever she needed a release.  As she pictured him riding her silently back and forth, she increased the pressure and speed of her finger while simulating sex on the sofa.  With every withdrawal, she let out a sigh, and with every penetration, a deep moan.  Before long, she came to climax…and he had slipped away before she even opened her eyes.

It was only through having children of her own that Suzanne really began to understand God’s Unconditional Love for her.  There seemed to be nothing she could do to make God stop loving her.  No matter what she did, he always did something to prove that he still loved her, much like a spiritual Father.  As such, he would give her instructions on how to live her life, but if she chose to do her own thing and ‘fell’, he would just pick her up, dust her off, and stand her back on her feet again.  And that’s how she developed her relationship with God; his strength really was made perfect through her weakness.Suzanne felt like she was always sinning, which left her in a perpetual state of ‘unworthiness’.  She just couldn’t seem to stay on the straight and narrow path!  Her spirit was willing, but her flesh was weak.  Suzanne couldn’t understand why God would give her sexual urges then command her to ignore them until she got married; but what if she didn’t want to get married?  Or what if she ended up being one of the sisters in the church who didn’t get married, since there weren’t enough men to go around?

As their relationship developed, Suzanne was inspired to write ‘messages from God’ based on his word, which she thought were personal to her, but when she placed them on the walls around her home as a constant reminder, her visiting friends were so touched by them that they asked for copies.  Soon, she was printing them unto fancy paper and framing them for her friends as gifts.

However, the more Suzanne studied the bible, the more questions arose for her, and lately she had found her Self questioning a lot of what she had been taught to believe. She especially questioned the ‘no sex before marriage’ rule:

“Who created the institution of marriage, God or man?”

She couldn’t find any stories in the bible of a couple going to a church to get married, or signing a register.  In most instances, the man simply approached the father of the woman he wanted to marry, and if the father agreed to the union, he would pay him a dowry, or work for the father to pay the price of his bride.  A feast of ceremony would be held for family and friends to join in the celebration, and then the father would take him into the room (or tent) to get to ‘know’ his wife.  Sometimes it would be months between the time the marriage was agreed, to when he would actually get to consummate the marriage. And there was no honeymoon.

Suzanne wondered if, in God’s eyes, the very act of having sex with someone means you are married to them?  This didn’t appear to be the case, since having a strictly sexual relationship with someone didn’t mean you were experiencing ‘Yada’.  This type of Yada meant ‘total dedication to a person in order to engage them with love and affection’.Suzanne began with the first couple mentioned in the bible; how did Adam and Eve get married?  It simply stated that Adam ‘knew’ his wife, so what did the word ‘knew’ mean?  Suzanne dug deeper and discovered that the Hebrew word for ‘knew’ was ‘Yada’ which had several meanings, but in the context of ‘Adam knew his wife and she conceived…’ this seemed to indicate a very intimate type of knowledge – they had sex!  Was there a church or priest to marry them first?  Did churches or registry offices even exist in those days?

Suzanne found other instances in the bible where the word ‘Yada’ was used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse; in Genesis 4:17 Cain ‘knew’ his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch. Genesis 24:16 described a virgin who had not ‘known’ a man, and in the genocide of Numbers 31:17-18, all women who had ‘known’ a man were murdered, while the young virgins were captured and turned into sex slaves.  In Genesis 19: 5-8, even sodomy (anal sex) translated from Hebrew into the word ‘know’.  It was rumoured that King James, (who commissioned the King James Version of the bible) had gay lovers outside of his marriage, who he openly expressed ‘yada’ for.

King Solomon, a man renowned for his great wisdom and insight which led him to great riches, fell for the charms of the beautiful, dark-skinned Queen of Sheba and impregnated her before she returned to her native land.  They never married, but he also had 700 wives and ‘other women’.

The Old Testament had plenty of stories relating to sex outside of marriage.  Multiple wives, concubines and one-off sexual encounters, including sex with prostitutes appeared to be the norm, and wasn’t considered ‘immoral’.

Still, Suzanne accepted the teaching that fornication is a sin, so she decided to find out what the root meaning of the word ‘fornication’ was.

Suzanne suspected that this might also be where the term ‘porn’ originated from, since they both related to the sex industry. ‘Porneia’ was the activity of porné, or prostitutes, and literally meant ‘whoredom’.  Anyone who sold their body for money (or goods) was called a whore, or harlot.  But what did all this have to do with ‘sex before marriage’?Since the New Testament was originally written in Greek, her research led her to the Greek language. She was surprised to learn that the Greek word for fornication was ‘porneia’ which meant ‘to prostitute’.

Suzanne reminded herself what she was meant to be discovering; the root meaning of the word ‘fornication’.

She visited her local library to study Greek bible concordances in her search for ‘the Truth’.

She discovered that Greek-speaking Jews and the apostle Paul (who used the term ‘sexual immorality’ extensively) used porneia as a universal term for all sexual sin prohibited by the Law of God, as set out in Leviticus 18.  Incest was big on God’s list, as was adultery, sleeping with a woman while on her monthly cycle, idol worship (Molech was a fire god whose worship included child sacrifices, astrology and temple prostitution), blaspheming the name of God, homosexuality, and bestiality (sex with animals).

No mention of sex before marriage.

‘Sexual immorality’ in the New Testament also referred to cult prostitution in idolatry; in those days there were ‘sacred prostitutes’ who had devoted their life and body to a ‘god’. Some people believed that by having sex with a temple prostitute they could join with her god, which made sex with the prostitute a religious experience. This pagan worship is what Paul was warning against. This, he said, is the only sin that a believer can commit against his own body; no sin is as harmful as this, because sexual union with a temple prostitute invited demonic entrance which then had the potential to drive out the indwelling Holy Spirit; the person would then become possessed by an unclean spirit.

Suzanne concluded her research with the knowledge that ‘fornication’ did not mean ‘sex before marriage’.

Suzanne also learned that the word ‘woman’ translated into ‘wife’ in both Hebrew and Greek.  So when Jesus had said ‘any man who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart’, he was talking about married women. This made sense to her, since adultery is unfaithfulness in marriage.      ‘Does this mean sex before marriage is okay?’ she wondered; ‘In an ideal world we should marry young and spend the rest of our lives together, but the world hasn’t been ideal since Genesis chapter 3!’

Suzanne was shocked to discover that in some Old Testament customs, a woman’s virginity didn’t belong to her, it belonged to her father.  It was then transferred to her betrothed husband once he had paid the dowry.  She had no rights where her sexuality was concerned. If it was discovered that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night, she risked being stoned to death.  At the same time, men were permitted to have multiple wives (preferably virgins), sex outside of their marriage, and could write the woman a ‘certificate of divorce’ and send her out of the house, whereas she couldn’t divorce him.

Did Jesus come to liberate women?

He didn’t judge the Samaritan woman at the well who had five previous husbands, and the man she was now with wasn’t her husband.  He also forgave Mary Magdalene of her sins, who then went on to become his closest ‘disciple’, and one of a group of women who supported his ministry financially.

It was the apostle Paul, who in his quest to do away with sexual immorality, succeeded in repressing church folk’s sexual energy.  Sex before marriage now became ‘immoral’ in The Gospel According to Paul.  Suzanne believed that this repression of sexual energy had become the root cause of much sexual deviancy, including rape.

Suzanne wasn’t ready for marriage, so what was she supposed to do with her sexual energy?  Get married just so she could have sex?

The bible depicting Jesus as a celibate man who never married is supposed to show Christians that it can be done.  Yet wasn’t it God’s will for man and woman to unite, to be fruitful and multiply the earth? Ancient manuscripts even suggested Jesus and Mary Magdalene had married.  It was common knowledge that Jesus loved Mary more than any of his other disciples, which explains why she was the first person he showed himself to upon his resurrection.

She wondered how many couples in church were currently going through ‘hell’ in their marriage. There were many married couples who weren’t experiencing ‘yada’ in their relationship, but who stayed together out of religious obligation.  She didn’t want to be one of them.Suzanne concluded her research on marriage with the decision that the ‘white wedding’ was a contract with the government, not a covenant with God. Walking down the aisle with a ‘veil over your eyes’, exchanging rings, signing a register, the wedding reception and honeymoon were all creations of man, not ‘of God’.

She decided to find out what was God’s idea of marriage.

*******************

Potential

Despite becoming another statistic, Suzanne knew she had the potential to better her life.

When her boys had reached the ages of two and four, she had completed a part-time college course in Multi-Media.  She wanted to devote her time to raising her sons rather than an employer, so looked for things she could do that would fit around them.  Working from home was the best option, she thought.  But doing what?  The only thing she was really good at was writing poetry, but her friends and family were always telling her “writing poetry won’t pay the bills”, and that she should just think of it as a hobby.   But somewhere deep inside, Suzanne believed she could make a living doing what she loved – how she was going to achieve this goal though, she didn’t know.

She felt like a caterpillar, yet;

‘Even when crawling through life,

The caterpillar still has the HEART of a butterfly,

 and still aspires to fly…’

 …But they were right – writing poetry wasn’t paying the bills.  So Suzanne went back to work part-time, only to discover that she had joined the rat race of working to pay the bills.  She still couldn’t afford to buy a car, take the boys on holiday, or even save.

But she continued to write whenever she felt inspired, and was compiling her first collection.

*******************

The Rebellion

After a day at work and collecting the boys from school, Suzanne returned home and instructed the boys to change out of their uniform while she started dinner.  She took the chicken she had seasoned the night before out of the fridge, stuck it in the oven, and put the rice on to cook slowly.  Returning to the living room, she reclined in the sofa and switched on the T.V.  As usual, all the news reported were the bad things going on in the world.  As she watched images of starving children in Africa, listened to the latest report of another ‘black on black’ murder and the plummeting economy, fear and anxiety began to set in.  Feelings of helplessness overwhelmed her; what could she do to help heal the world? Suzanne often wondered what life was really all about; was it to live a meaningless existence, get saved, then spend the rest of her life waiting to go to heaven?

“There’s got to be more to life than this!” was the mantra that played over and over again in her mind.

Was there ‘more to life’?

On a conscious level, Suzanne believed that as a ‘child of the King’ she was entitled to the best of everything; ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’, the bible said.  So if the earth is abundant (which it is) what was stopping her from claiming her piece of the pie?

The devil.  That’s what the bible said; the ‘devil comes to kill, steal and destroy’ anything good that she was entitled to.  The only way to stop him from stealing her stuff was to fight him every day; ‘Put on the whole armor of God, so that you can withstand the fiery darts of the devil’.  That’s what she had been taught to do.  But she was tired of fighting.  She was tired of always having to be on guard against what the devil was going to do to her next.  Why wasn’t God, her ‘spiritual Father’ protecting her from the devil anyway?  And with all her bible study, going to church every week, paying her tithes, praying in Jesus’ name and even fasting sometimes, she still wasn’t any better off than a non-Christian!  The only believers she knew living the ‘abundant life’ she wanted were Pastors of the big churches.

That evening, feeling melancholic, Suzanne decided to confront her Heavenly Father with all the questions the church didn’t seem to be able to answer.  She believed that if it wasn’t for the devil, she would be living in ‘heaven on earth’.  So sitting up in bed with a heavy heart, she reached for her journal on the bedside table and wrote what some might call ‘an angry letter to God’.  She started off by informing Him that she was going to be open and honest, since He could see what was in her heart and thoughts anyway.  She was going to ‘tell it as it is’ regardless of the consequences.  Besides, she was sure many of her brothers and sisters in Christ wanted to ask these same questions, but were too scared for fear of His wrath, so she took it upon herself to stand in proxy for them. What was the point in being a Christian if she wasn’t going to live a better life here on earth than a non-Christian?  Why did she have to wait until she got to heaven?  How could she even be sure she was going to get into heaven?  What if she ended up being one of those who got to the pearly gates, only to be told “Depart from me, I never knew you”?

She started off with ‘The Fall of Lucifer’ story, which she believed was the root cause of all the world’s problems.  She re-told the bible story back to God as she understood it; that Lucifer, His ‘Lead Worshipper’ the most beautiful angel of them all, got a bit egotistical and decided that he was worthy of some of this praise too; “He obviously didn’t understand why You Alone should be worshipped, and why everyone else has to bow to You!  This is where all the trouble started…”

She continued with how Lucifer managed to get a third of the angels to join him in rebelling against God, resulting in Him kicking them out of heaven.  She asked why He hadn’t been banished them to one of the far distant planets in the galaxy, and put some kind of force-field around it.  Instead, they were allowed to come to earth to corrupt His creation, as if He had no control over what Lucifer and his posse did!

She questioned whether God really could kill Satan, because if He could, surely He would have done it by now? “…after all, you were quick to punish us when WE rebelled!”

Only after they were evicted did God place a Guardian Angel with a fiery sword at the entrance of the garden, to stop Adam and Eve from going back in to eat from the Tree of Life, which was situated right beside the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She then proceeded to examine ‘The Fall of Adam and Eve’ story, again trying to get to the root cause of all of the world’s (and her) problems.  She reminded God that he made Adam and Eve in his very own image and created a beautiful garden for them to inhabit.  He gave them free access to all the fruit of the garden – except the fruit from the tree right in the middle of the garden; the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’.  She pointed out that Lucifer also had free access to the Garden of Eden, and even though Eve should have been under the protection of God and her husband, Lucifer was successful in tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit.  Instead of God and Adam taking responsibility, Eve was blamed for the fall of humankind. God then cursed his creation, evicted them from their home, and sent them out into the Big Wide World only to be tempted and corrupted by the devil even more!

None of this made any sense to Suzanne; was the Tree of Life more important to God than the human race?

She then asked God why He had placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil right in the centre of the garden, if Adam and Eve weren’t supposed to eat of it.  Had they been deliberately set up to fail?

Suzanne believed that even if Adam and Eve hadn’t been tempted by the serpent, curiosity would have got the better of them sooner or later anyway;

‘…As a mother, I know that if I placed a handful of sweets on the table in the middle of the sitting room and then told my children “Don’t eat those sweets!” and just left them there for weeks and weeks, I guarantee that it would only be a matter of time before those sweets started disappearing down their throats!’ Suzanne knew her children would eventually take the risk of whatever punishment they would have to suffer later, just for that moment of pleasure.  She continued; ‘…Now what if I then said to my children “Right, because you ate those sweets I’m not going to give you any dinner for a week!” wouldn’t you think I was being a bit – harsh?’  Instead of making Adam and Eve feel as if it was their fault that Satan managed to trick them, Suzanne suggested that God should have apologized to them for putting them in such jeopardy in the first place! “But instead, You cursed the whole of the human race, and now generations later, we are still suffering because ‘Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit’.”Suzanne stood in defense of Adam and Eve saying that the punishment God served on His ‘children’ far outweighed their actions.  They were naïve, inexperienced, gullible, and didn’t stand a chance against the guile of His enemy.

The intensity of her Scorpio energy flowed unto the pages as she continued her critical examination of what she had learned from years of studying the bible.  She pointed out that the world has been in a state of anarchy literally since the beginning of time; “The bible has barely begun, when already there’s disobedience, damnation, murder, incest, war, famine and woe!  But who’s really to blame; man, the devil, or dare I say it – YOU?”

At this point she cringed as if waiting to be struck by a bolt of lightning………….when it didn’t happen, she continued more boldly;

Referring to another scripture, Suzanne asked God why He had instructed her not to react to people who acted wickedly towards her;  instead, she was to see ‘past’ the flesh and deal with it in the spiritual realm, since they were just ‘pawns in the devil’s game’.  She told God she had a problem with that, because from what she had read in the Old Testament, He had consistently reacted to flesh and blood people, destroying them when He could no longer stand their wicked ways!  She reminded Him of Sodom and Gomorrah and The Flood, two occasions where God, in His anger, had wiped out whole populations:        

‘…But you didn’t kill SATAN, the originator of the corruption, so when the earth became re-populated, the whole cycle just started all over again!’

Pausing to think about this, she wrote;

‘In fact, I doubt these stories, as I don’t think You would be so naïve as to believe that by wiping out the whole of humanity without destroying the root cause, you would ERADICATE the problem?  You are far too wise a God to not see that…’

‘What did you expect Satan to do?  Leave us alone, knowing we were made in the image of the person he hated the most – You?’ 

For a moment she appeared to come back to her senses as she watched the sun setting through her window, turning the sky a hazy blue-red.  But returning to her journal, her questions instantly re-surfaced; she asked God why He had allowed Himself to be portrayed as a Jekyll and Hyde character (loving us in one instance, then cursing us the next).  She especially wanted to know why God had allowed His adversary the devil to come to earth and corrupt His creation;

Suzanne needed to understand God’s thinking behind His decisions, so she implored ‘…I know Your ways are not my ways but please, help me to understand…’

After reminding God that the battle was in fact between Him and the devil and didn’t really have anything to do with us, His creation, she pointed out that the war was getting worse and worse:

‘People are being murdered, raped, tortured, beaten; children are starving, going missing, being abused, corrupted, killed!  The earth is dying from pollution, there’s famine, earthquakes, and polluted water and air everywhere, and there’s a big hole in the ozone layer!  This isn’t the world that You created for me to live in, I was meant to live in peace, and harmony, joy and happiness with You and my fellowmen…the fact that there’s some devil making my life a living hell isn’t my fault, I didn’t create him, You did!  So why don’t You take responsibility and protect me when You see him coming for me, like the Loving Father you’re meant to be?’

Suzanne paused for a moment to reflect on what she had just written.  She cringed at the thought of what would happen to her if she allowed her children to be abused by some crazy tyrant. Wouldn’t she be held accountable?  So why not God, the ultimate Heavenly Father?

And why wasn’t He supplying all her needs like He’d promised in His Word?

She again implored; ‘I want to know and understand You more; I want to understand Your ways.’Returning to her journal she continued to write; ‘We’re expected to ‘wait on You’ and we have no way of knowing when You’re going to come up with the goods!  So many times I’ve waited on You, believing and praying for my miracle, and when it doesn’t happen, we’re expected to resort to the conclusion that it was just ‘not God’s timing’.  You seem to play with us like we’re a chess game, only moving when it suits You!’

She recalled the times she walked closely with God, thinking they were the most beautiful; ‘…I mean, there’s nothing like waking up in the morning and feeling Your presence all around me, or being inspired to write a piece of poetry… But I want more: I want a big house!  I want nice clothes!  I want to be able to go on holiday yearly with my family, buy myself a decent car, have plastic surgery to correct all those things You got wrong with me…’

She acknowledged that it was probably due to her lack of the ‘fear of the Lord’ why she was not walking in His blessings.  Still, she wanted to know why she was expected to do God’s will without questioning His word;

‘…What good is a ‘free will’ when you command me to do things YOUR way?  What kind of a free will is that, anyway?’

She demanded the answers to her questions through her sheer will power.

In all honesty, Suzanne loved the Lord and really wanted to serve Him ‘in spirit and in truth’, but the truth was, she was finding it hard to put her trust in Him totally and follow His ways:

‘…I know Your Word; I’ve read it, spoken it, meditated upon it, memorized it, and I still have so many needs!  Is it because I didn’t BELIEVE enough, or perhaps I didn’t PRAY enough, or maybe I just didn’t have enough FAITH? …All I want to do is live the life of my dreams, is that asking too much?

Why can’t I just live in heaven – on EARTH?’ 

Feeling pleased with her Self, she entitled her letter to God ‘The Rebellion’.  Writing it had felt cathartic.  She had put it ‘out there’, and now she would wait for His response.Because she had experienced God’s pure, unconditional Love, Suzanne was finding it difficult to equate the character in the bible with the God she had built a relationship with.  When she thought everything through, she came to the conclusion that even though Lucifer had taken a third of the angels with him, there were still two thirds left in heaven with God!  She told God that she believed He was mightier than the devil, and since He also had twice as many angels, where was the battle, really?  So writing her last lines she ended;  ‘…You know, the more I think about all of this, the more  these stories just don’t sound true, nor do they reflect the character of You, so now what I really want is…the TRUTH!’

*******************

God’s Reply

      The following morning as soon as Suzanne woke up, she felt inspired to write.  So picking up her journal and pen still lying on the bed beside her, she turned over to a fresh page and wrote:

Think on My Love,

Think on My goodness,

Think on My grace,

And all the things I’ve done for you.

When you think on these things,

Your problems will become small

Your mountains will become molehills

And everything you aspire to WILL become reachable.

Don’t look at your situation,

Look to Me.

You can do all things, through Me.

I Am the Way that makes crooked paths straight

I Am the Key that unlocks the doors

I AM the Great I AM.

Do not fear when trials come your way

Do not bend when temptation is at your door

Always remember that in trials there are testimonies

And no testimony without a TEST.

So don’t be discouraged,

Don’t feel downhearted,

Be of good cheer,

And always remember that in Me

There is victory.

God responded to her promptly, and in a language that she could relate to – poetry!  As she was writing, she could feel God’s presence surrounding her, as if comforting her.  Tears rolled down her cheeks as she wrote a letter of apology back, for allowing herself to lose focus.

*******************

Synchronicity

 Later that morning as Suzanne was running water into the sink to wash the dishes, she had an inspired idea to design some backdrops for her poems.  She was proficient in Photoshop, so she had a go at creating layers of photographs, and adding her text on top.  She was pleasantly surprised with the results.  ‘I can sell these!’ she thought.

Quite by chance (or should we call it synchronicity?)  the next day she attended a community event where she met a local Councilor.  She told him about her new poster designs, and he informed her of an International Caribbean Trade Expo which would be taking place the following weekend. He gave her a number to call to find out if there were any stands left, and said to mention his name.

When she called, she was offered a stand at a reduced rate.  She called her sister Janice and asked if she wanted to share the stand; Janice travelled to places like Egypt, West Africa and the Caribbean to buy things of black interest to sell.

*******************

The Caribbean Expo

 The Expo was a much bigger occasion than Suzanne had anticipated; thousands of people flocked to the venue in the Docklands for the three day event.  She made over three times as much money as she had invested in the stand and printing her posters. But it was the third day that was to change her life forever…she spotted him in the distance; he seemed to stand out like a neon light, appearing head and shoulders above everyone else.  As he approached her stand, Suzanne began to get all excited, with butterflies in her stomach; did she know this man?

Now only a few feet away; she could see that she didn’t know him, and standing over six feet tall he really was head and shoulders above everyone else! She also realized he wasn’t heading towards her stand, but the stand opposite!  She just had to get his attention;

“EXCUSE ME!” she called out to him on impulse.

He turned, saw her waving at him, and began walking towards her.  She suddenly felt nervous; what was she doing? She wasn’t in the habit of pursuing men, plus, she was meant to be working!  But as their eyes met, she flashed him a huge, inviting smile. He accepted her invitation.

She knew he thought she was attractive, and she thought he was attractive too.

As he reached her stand she flicked her hair and said cheerfully “Hi! I thought you might be interested in my posters.”

“Hmmm….they’re nice, did you design them?” He asked, perusing them with his eyes.

“Yes, I wrote the poetry too.”

He stood silently, reading one.

“I can tell, you’re deep,” he commented when he had finished.

Suzanne laughed.

“Would you like one?” she asked.

“How much are they?” he enquired.

“Well you can buy one for £4.50, two for £8.00 or three for £10”

He chose three different designs, saying “My mum will appreciate these,” and paid her the £10.

“What made you come here today?” Suzanne asked, trying to prolong his stay as she rolled the posters up slowly before putting an elastic band around them.  Neat, heavy eyebrows adorned his sparkling dark brown eyes.  He was dressed casually but neatly in a pair of jeans, a shirt and polished shoes. As she handed him the posters he smiled with full, luscious lips revealing perfect teeth.  But it wasn’t his looks that had attracted her to him in the first place. In fact, she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was.

“My friend invited me,” he answered, pointing to another brother at the stand opposite.

“Oh sorry, I didn’t realize you were with someone!”

“It’s okay.  So how long have you been doing this?” he asked, indicating towards her posters with his tube.

“I’ve only just started actually – this is my first time selling them!” she smiled proudly.

“What were you doing before this?”

“I used to work in Admin, but I left my job two weeks ago so I could focus on starting my own business.”

“Wow, sounds pretty much like me…”

He proceeded to tell her how he had just left the job he had been working in for 7 years, as well as ending his long term relationship.  It sounded as if they were both at a turning-point in their lives.  In a weird kind of way, during the time they were talking, everything around them became like a blurred whirlwind, as if they were in some kind of time warp; time literally stood still. Suzanne forgot she was meant to be selling.  In that moment, nothing else existed in the room but the two of them.  For the two minutes or so that they conversed, they both shared personal information about themselves, as if they had known each other already.

“…I have to go – do you have a card?” he asked.

Suzanne picked up one of her home-made business cards and handed it to him.  He read it and smiled at her slogan; ‘Promoting LOVE through Creativity!’

“I’ll call you,” he said with promise in his eyes.

“I’ll look forward to it,” she smiled encouragingly.

“My name’s Charles, by the way,” he added, extending his hand.  His smile was as warm as a summer’s day, making her feel all hot and flustered.

As their hands made contact, what felt like an electrical current passed through Suzanne’s whole body; she wondered if he had felt it too.  They shook hands quite formally, but there was a lingering in the time they should have let go.

“Suzanne.”

As Charles walked away, Janice asked “Who was THAT?”

*******************

He Calls

 Two days later, true to his word, Charles called.  A number came up that wasn’t stored in Suzanne’s phone, and she instinctively knew it was him.   The boys hadn’t come up in their conversation at the Expo, and they were playing in the living room, making quite a lot of noise.

“BE QUIET!” she called out to them as she answered her mobile phone.

“Hello, Suzanne speaking” (in her business-voice).

“Hi Suzanne, its Charles – remember we met at the Expo on Sunday?”

“Oh hi Charles, of course I remember – lovely to hear from you!”

Charles sensed the genuine appreciation in her voice and responded to it;

“Well, I couldn’t wait to call, but I thought I should give you a day or two to rest after the weekend…how did it go?” he asked.

“It was great!  I was really surprised at the amount of people who turned up; I sold loads of posters and made lots of new contacts too – including you!” She answered excitedly.

“How many other ‘contacts’ did you make?” Charles asked, as if defending his territory.

Suzanne laughed.  “Not like that, I mean business contacts!”

“Oh, well that’s alright then – so I don’t have any competition?”  Charles pushed for confirmation.

Suzanne could see where this was heading so asked “Could you do me a favour and call back after eight please? I’ve got to put the boys to bed; once they’re asleep I’ll be free to talk.  Is that okay?”

“Oh!  I didn’t know you had children – how old are they?” he asked in a surprised tone.  Judging by her sylph-like figure, he’d figured she was childless.

“Six and eight” she responded tentatively.

“Okay no problem, I’ll call back after eight then.”

As Suzanne replaced her mobile on the armrest, she wondered whether he would call back.  He obviously hadn’t banked on her having children.

“Hi Charles! Thanks for calling back – and sorry about earlier.”After dinner, spending ‘Quality Time’ with the boys and tucking them into bed, she sat down to relax.  It was 8.30pm.  Just as she was about to think ‘I knew he wouldn’t call back’ her mobile phone started to ring.  It was him!

“Nothing to be sorry about, I understand.  Are you okay to talk now?”

“Sure, what would you like to talk about?”

“Well I’m not one to beat around the bush – are you single?”

She could hardly believe he was still interested even though she had two young ones!

“Yes I’m single but I’m not available, if that’s what you mean,” she said though.

“Why not?” he asked inquisitively.

“Well, I’m just starting my business, and I have to focus on getting it off the ground.”

“That’s all well and good, but…couldn’t you do with some help?” he asked again.

“Maybe, but I just feel this is something I have to do on my own.”

Out loud he said “Fair comment,” but in his head, he was thinking ‘Another Independent Black Woman!’

He decided to change the topic by asking “So what do you do for fun?”

“Oh, I love writing poetry, and occasionally, I go out and perform as well.”

“Hmmm….sounds interesting, maybe I’ll join you next time you go.”

Suzanne panicked at the thought – she wasn’t that good!  She was still building her confidence performing in front of a crowd.

“Okay…that would be nice!” she lied.

“What about you; what do you like to do?” she changed the subject.

She asked him if he had any children.Charles told her that he was an Accountant by profession, but he also liked to study Numerology in his spare time. There was a lot more to numbers than meets the eye, he informed her.  Suzanne told him about her fascination with the way people’s date and time of birth seemed to affect their personality.  They already had something in common.

“No, not yet.”

She thought this was unusual for a Black man of his age group.

“How old are you?” she asked.

“36, why, how old are you?”

“28”

The age gap didn’t seem to bother either of them.  They spent the next two hours getting to know each other over the phone that evening.  Suzanne told him she was a church-going Christian, and how much she loved the Lord.  Charles told her he loved God too, but didn’t go to church anymore, saying he’d outgrown it.  She was tempted to press the issue further, but decided to wait. She told him she liked going for early morning walks in the park to ‘breathe in the trees’ which helped clear her head.  He told her he went to the gym most mornings for a work-out which helped set him up for the day.  She said the only thing she liked to go to the gym for was a sauna and steam.  He asked about the boys, and she told him all about them.  He told her that he had joined the 100 Black Men of London to mentor young black boys, and that she should consider bringing them to the Saturday morning sessions, which she thought was a great idea.  Before ending the conversation Charles said, “It’s been really nice talking to you Suzanne; I’d like to carry on this conversation over dinner, if that’s alright with you – what are you doing on Saturday evening?”

It was Suzanne’s weekend to have the boys.

“I’m taking the boys to their cousins, but I’m free next Saturday,” she replied.

“Okay it’s a date!” Charles responded confidently. “But don’t think I won’t be calling you every day up until then,” he added.

Suzanne laughed.

“Yes, it’s been lovely talking with you too, I’ll look forward to it!”

“Goodnight then.”

“Goodnight Charles.”

*******************

Self-Esteem Demon

 Over the next two weeks, Suzanne and Charles spent every evening talking on the phone. They learnt of each other’s likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, past, and future plans. Despite not having children of his own, Charles always asked about the boys, which she appreciated.  They discussed any issues the boys were facing at school, and he offered whatever advice he could give.  Charles was single, owned his own home, had a good job, was polite and well-mannered, and to put the icing on the cake, was tall, dark and handsome.  Did I mention that he was Black?

But Suzanne wondered what he saw in her?  Instead of looking at the things she could bring to the table, she focused on the things she didn’t have.

During one of their conversations, Suzanne’s low Self-esteem demon reared its ugly head;

“What do you see in me?” she asked him.

“What do you mean, what do I see in you?”

“Well, I’m hardly on your level, am I?”

“I’m…not sure what you mean?”

“Well, look at you; you own your home, you drive, you’ve got a good job, you have no children…”

“Suzanne, do you really think having a house, car and job make me happy? Those are just thingsThings don’t make you happy; having someone to share them with can, though.”

“I see what you mean, but I still wouldn’t feel right joining myself to someone else right now, especially someone like you.”

“Why not?”

“I wouldn’t feel good enough.”

“Well how will you know when you’re ‘good enough’ for say, someone like me?”

“When I’ve achieved something.”

“Like what; what is your goal?”

“Well…I’d like to run a successful business doing what I love.”

“Which is?”

“Okay….so what steps are you taking towards your goal?” Charles asked in an interested tone.“Writing and performing my poetry.”

“Well, I’m working on my first poetry collection, and I also plan to record my poems to go with the book.”

“Good!” Charles commended her; “So how will you know when you’ve reached your goal?”

Suzanne closed her eyes and imagined holding her first book of poetry with its complimentary CD.  She thought about all the people that would benefit from listening to them, and the feedback she would receive, confirming that her poetry had an important message. She thought about how in turn, it would help her achieve financial independence.

“I’ll be financially free,” she answered.

“Okay…what does ‘financial freedom’ mean to you; what will it enable you to do?” Charles probed.

“I’ll be able to buy my own house, take my boys on holidays, buy a decent car, buy the clothes I like…”

“Alright stop there…how will achieving your goal make you feel?”

“I’d feel fulfilled, like I’ve achieved what I said I was going to do…I’d feel like I’m actually making a difference in this world doing something that I love.”

“That’s great Suzanne, really great.  So do you know anyone who’s already achieved your goal?”

“I do actually – I know someone who’s recorded three poetry collections and he travels all over the world performing his poetry!”

“Wow…so what resources do they have that you could possibly use?”

Up to that point, Suzanne hadn’t even considered asking that brother if she could use his recording equipment to record her CD, or for help guiding her through the process! She thanked Charles for helping her ‘see the light’.

“So are you ready for me now?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” She asked in a puzzled tone.

“You deserve the best, Charles.”“Well, you just made the necessary changes internally to help you attract the things you desire, so it’s only a matter of time before they show up.  Are you ready for me now?”

“Don’t you believe you are the best Suzanne?  Don’t put yourself down; I mean, where’s all this coming from?”

His question jolted Suzanne’s memory back to her childhood; visions flashed through her mind of her mother beating her mercilessly while telling her she was worthless and good for nothing.  She was labelled ‘the ugly duckling of the family’ because she was the darkest of the girls.  Her mother showed her no affection, but made her feel as if she didn’t even like her, let alone love her.  Nothing she did was ever ‘good enough’. Worse than the beatings were the negative words spoken to her, which had gone straight into her subconscious, and had festered there for years.  With Charles prompting her to uncover where her low self esteem issues were coming from, those memories were only now resurfacing.  When she explained this to him, he responded;

“I’m so sorry to hear that Suzanne; it sounds as if your mother was herself a victim of the slave mentality.  I’m sure growing up in church didn’t help either.  Most people I know who grew up in church have serious low self esteem issues.  Unfortunately, you had a double-whammy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, both at home and at church you were made to feel inferior. You had that going on at home, then you went to church where you were taught that you were a poor, wretched sinner, unworthy – it’s no wonder you developed low self esteem!”

“I see what you mean…what can I do to change the way I feel about myself?”

“That’s a very good question Suzanne, because until you change the way you feel, you’ll continue to attract things on the vibration of how you feel about yourself.”

“Well I attracted you, didn’t I?”  Suzanne answered cheekily.

“Yes, and you feel you don’t deserve me, so you’re trying to push me away.  See what I mean?”

“But surely I must be doing something right…I mean if I can attract someone like you, surely there must be something good going on internally.”

“Well, I really do believe I deserve the best God has for me.  I just feel something’s blocking it.”“Yes, what would you say that was?”

“And you really love God, right?”

“Yes, with all my heart!”

“Then that’s your answer; you attracted me because you love God wholeheartedly. The thing that’s blocking it is you Suzanne.  To really begin living the life you desire, you have to change the way you feel about yourself. It’s time to face your demons.”

“You’re right Charles, I never thought of low self esteem as a demon before, but when I think about all the opportunities I’ve missed because of it, it’s stolen from me time and time again.”

“Well thank God you didn’t let it to stop you from calling out to me!”

They both laughed.

Charles concluded the conversation;

“You ask me what I see in you so let me tell you; I see an attractive young woman with great ideas who lacks the knowledge to take things further at this time.  Still, you have the courage, strength and determination to pursue your dreams and care for your boys with limited resources.”

The other things didn’t matter to him, what mattered was the way he was beginning to feel about her.

*******************

First Date

 As she stepped outside and pulled her front door shut, Charles was already standing by her side of the car with the door open.  She kissed him lightly on the cheek before getting into the car.  After making sure her dress wouldn’t get caught, he shut the door firmly.The day of their date finally arrived.  Charles had said he would pick her up at 6.30pm, and sure enough, his black BMW pulled up at almost six-thirty on the dot.  Suzanne looked excitedly in the mirror one last time to make sure her wig was in exactly the right place and that her make-up was perfect.  It was a warm summer evening; she was wearing a red sleeveless dress that hugged her figure, dropping in folds just below her knees.  5-inch heeled red sandals, lipstick and nail varnish finished off the look, coupled with diamente drop earrings.  She carried a light jacket in case it got cold later.  Her clothes weren’t expensive, but she looked and felt like a million dollars.

‘A real gentleman!’ she thought.

All the way to the restaurant, they laughed and joked as they listened to music.  It was as if they had known each other for ages.  When they discovered they had the same taste in music, they agreed to do a compilation CD for each other.

Charles pulled up outside a Thai restaurant in Muswell Hill.  He had pre-booked a table, so they didn’t have to wait to be seated;   they followed a waitress to their table and sat down. Charles excused himself to use the men’s.  Suzanne looked around; the restaurant was nice; not overly posh, but pleasant surroundings with a warm atmosphere and soft piano music playing in the background.

When Charles returned, the waitress brought their menus. As Suzanne looked through hers, Charles made his recommendations;

“Do you want to try the mixed platter?  I always have it when I come here, I like the variety.”

“Alright then, I’ll try it!” Suzanne agreed.  She liked a man who knew how to take control in a situation without dominating, if you know what I mean.

“What would you like to drink?” he asked.

“Water for now.”

“Me too.”

Charles called the waitress over and ordered the meal and a bottle of spring water.

While they were waiting for their food to arrive, Suzanne took the opportunity to pose the question she had been waiting to ask him face to face:

“So tell me Charles, why don’t you go to church?”

“Well…”  Charles paused to think carefully before responding;

“God lives inside me, that’s why I don’t feel I need to go to church to find him. Plus, I don’t see anywhere in the bible that says you should go to church every Sunday.”

“Yes, well I’m more interested in relationship than religion.”“True, but it does say not to forsake the gathering of the brethren.”

“But how can you have a relationship with God if you refuse to mix with his people?”

“I don’t; his people are everywhere, not just in church – I serve God every day by serving my fellow human beings. I see God in every body…I see God in you.

Suzanne blushed, but he didn’t notice.

“Really?”

“Of course…I used to go to church, but I grew out of it.  I hope that answers your question.”

“It does…to a point, but what about when you die?  Aren’t you afraid of going to hell?”

Charles chuckled.

“See that’s the problem with religion, it’s fear-based.  Would you still be a Christian if you weren’t afraid of going to hell?”

Suzanne paused to think before replying;

“Yes of course I would!  I’m a Christian because God loved me so much that he sent his only son to die for me. I love God, that’s why I choose to serve him, not because I’m afraid of anything.”

Charles put his hand over hers on the table and looking her straight in the eyes smiled and replied, “Well I love God too, so we both have something in common.”

Just then, the waitress returned with their food.  As she served the various dishes, they smiled at each other from across the table.

Suzanne complimented the look of the food as they tucked in.  After a few mouthfuls, she continued probing:

“You didn’t answer my question…how do you know your life is right with God?”

Charles took a deep breath before continuing; “Well first of all I need to say, I don’t really feel comfortable with all this ‘God’ business, it just sounds so…impersonal.  I much prefer to call Him by His name, Jehovah.  Do you mind?”

“Not at all…are you a Jehovah’s Witness then?”

“Yes but we’re no longer under the old law, we’re under a new covenant,” Suzanne defended the move.

“No I’m not, so to answer your question, the reason I don’t go to church anymore is because I haven’t found one that aligns with my new way of thinking. For instance, most churches today meet on a Sunday, when the bible clearly states Saturday, the Sabbath, as His holy day.”

“That’s your belief, Suzanne, based upon what they told you in church – but is it scriptural? The day was changed by Roman Catholics in direct defiance of the Laws set in place by Jehovah.  I think we should just all learn to follow our own inner guidance, then we wouldn’t need religions and governments to impose their man-made laws on us.”

“But surely if there were no governments or religions the world would be in a state of anarchy?” Suzanne responded incredulously.

“Not necessarily; we all have an internal guidance system that lets us know right from wrong.  But when you take away people’s moral right to follow their own inner guidance, they either rebel, or turn into sheeple.”

“Sheeple?”

“Yeah, that’s what I call people who just go along with anything they’ve been told without asking any questions. I mean, what do you know about the history of Christianity?”

“Well, I know that 2000 years ago, a man named Jesus….”

Charles watched in amusement as Suzanne re-told the story of the virgin birth, Jesus’ ministry, and his death upon the cross.

“What if I told you that most of the main characters in the bible were Black – that Jesus was Black – would you believe me?”

“What difference does it make if he was Black or white?  Surely what matters is that you accept him as your Lord and Saviour?”

“It makes a big difference actually Suzanne – if it didn’t matter, why did they change his image from Black to white? It’s things like this that bother me; nobody asks any questions.  Considering most of the people who go to church look like you and me, don’t you think there’s something wrong with them worshipping a white saviour?”

“I don’t see it like that.”

“Ok, let’s conduct a little experiment; close your eyes.”

(Suzanne does as he says.)

“Now think of Jesus…what image do you see?”

Suzanne opened her eyes and stared at him blankly.

“Well?”

Suzanne’s mind ran back to her childhood; the main picture that had dominated the family’s living room was of a white Jesus hung on the cross.  And in her children’s bible, all the images were white too.

“You’re right, he’s white. But what’s most important to me is that I accept him as Lord and Saviour of my life, not what colour he is.”

Charles sighed; “It’s psychological warfare against my people, that’s how I see it…It’s okay, you follow your religion, and I’ll follow The Laws of Nature – that doesn’t mean we can’t get along.”

“What are the Laws of Nature?”

“There were certain Laws put in place during the Creation process.  I reckon if everybody lived by these Laws instead of man-made laws, we would all be living in peace and harmony.”

“That’s interesting; can you name some of these Laws?” Suzanne’s thirst for knowledge grew.

You Reap What You Sow is one of them,” he explained; “Scientifically they call it ‘Cause and Effect’, some people even call it Karma, meaning for every action you take, there has to be a reaction.  Everything you do produces a knock-on effect, or a harvest.  So if you do good deeds – or sow good seeds – you’ll reap a good harvest.  If you sow bad seeds, you’ll reap the results of your actions.”

Suzanne processed the information before responding;

“Oh, no wonder Jesus said to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ –

 if everyone treated others the way they wanted to be treated, this world would be a better place!”

She could now see why Charles always seemed to be calculating his movements.

“…But that still doesn’t answer the question about where your soul will end up when you die.  You can’t get to heaven by good deeds, you know.”

“I’ll worry about that when the time comes, okay?” Charles responded, taking another bite of food.

“Suzanne, if I was to go back to church, it would have to be based upon what I know, not what I believe.”Suzanne sat silently looking down at the table, making it clear to Charles she was unhappy with his response.  Not wanting to get on her bad side, he added;

“What do you mean?”

“Well I’d want to go to a church that acknowledges the Divine Mother as well as the Father, which meets on God’s holy day, Saturday, not Sunday.  They would call God by his name, Jehovah, and acknowledge that Jesus, or Yeshuah, looked more like me, not a white man. And some of the money collected every week would be shared with those members in need.”

“That sounds like a good church!  I don’t think it exists though.”

“And that’s why I don’t go!  Now can we enjoy our meal without all this church business please?”

“Ok…but can you tell me more about the Laws of Nature?”

“I can lend you some books on the subject, you’re welcome to come over to my place sometime and pick a few if you like.”

“I might just take you up on that!”

Charles went on to explain that his father, a Ghanaian, had been the spiritual head of their home, and made sure he was connected to his African roots.  He taught him all about the black leaders who had died in the process of trying to save their people from the system of white supremacy and oppression.  His mother on the other hand, who was Barbadian, was brought up in a Christian home, and had passed that down to her children.  She had often taken him and his two sisters to church with her, but religion had not played a key role in their household. Despite their opposing beliefs, his parents had focused on raising their children well. His father had never tried to stop his mother from taking them to church with her, but instead made sure they also knew their history. This, he believed, would help them make an informed decision when they came of age. Charles shared an African proverb his father used to say:

“THEY had the bible and WE had the land,

Now WE have the bible and THEY have the land!”

 Suzanne smiled at him apologetically. He re-told the story his father had told him as child, of how missionaries had arrived in Africa with thousands of bibles, under the guise of converting Africans to Christianity, but with a secret mission to steal the wealth-creating resources of their land.  They convinced the natives that they needed to be saved from their sins, and that they couldn’t do anything without Jesus, their new Lord and Master.  Charles explained that the white Jesus image, psychologically set Africans up to think that they couldn’t do anything without the white man. He called it the ‘white saviour syndrome’. This new religion taught them to be meek, humble servants,  not to covet earthly riches, but instead, to wait until they died and went to heaven to receive ‘riches untold’.  By tricking Africans into this new belief system, they were pacified enough give up wanting to create riches from their land. Europeans were then able to help themselves to the land, gold, diamonds, oil, and other natural resources, which they used to build up the economies of their own countries.

“You seem to know more about my religion that I do…maybe I should do some research of my own.”

“You should.”

Even though they were talking about church and God, they were both aware of the underlying current; they were inches away from each other across the table and the heat they both seemed to be generating was beginning to set invisible sparks flying.

Charles was wise and knowledgeable, and had standards, Suzanne thought.  He was a one-in-a-million kinda guy; good-looking, well-mannered, well-spoken, loving, spiritual, respectful, intelligent, financially astute, and…Black!   What more could she ask for?

“HE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!”

She could already hear the voice of her Pastor booming from the pulpit.

If the brother hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his life, she would be ‘unequally yoked to an unbeliever’. But Charles was perfect, she argued within herself; she was sure they had met by some kind of Divine Order – he was everything she had hoped and prayed for, God’s best promise; Faith, Hope and Love all rolled into one.  There was only one problem…he wasn’t a born again Christian.  Did it matter?  Her conscience wouldn’t allow her to say ‘no’. ‘If we’re going to carry on this relationship’ she thought, ‘he has to get saved, and we’re going to have to get married.

After their meal, Charles took her for a drive; they ended up on the Embankment where he showed her a huge Sphinx carving, which had apparently been given to the British by the Head of State of Egypt in the 1800’s.  He informed her that the original name for Egypt was ‘Ancient Kemet’ which meant ‘Land of the Blacks’.   Suzanne was intrigued, and asked Charles if he knew what the significance of the animal body and human head was?  Charles explained that it symbolized the ability to rise above the lower animal nature. They took photos of each other with the silhouetted Sphinx in the background.

As they crossed the bridge, Charles put a protective arm around her shoulder and asked “Will you go out with me?”

“We are out!” Suzanne joked with him.

“You know what I mean.”

“We’ll see…”

Suzanne would have loved to have said “Yes!” but she was still thinking about being ‘unequally yoked to an unbeliever’.

The evening went even better than they had both anticipated; they felt comfortable in each other’s company, and conversation flowed easily.  Because they had spent the past two weeks talking over the phone, they already felt like they knew each other intimately.  They both had a good feeling about this.

It was getting late, and cold.  Charles offered to drop her home, although neither of them wanted the evening to end.  They had waited nearly two weeks to see each other again, and weren’t in a hurry to part company so easily.

Although Suzanne was a practicing Christian, her weakness was strong Black men.  It had been two years since she’d had sex, but she knew she didn’t want to sleep with Charles, especially on the first date.

As they pulled up outside her house, she invited him in for a cup of tea.

They spent the next few hours talking, drinking herbal tea and listening to music in the living room.  As they sat on the sofa, Suzanne was still trying to think of a way to get him to agree to go to church with her.

“Don’t you think going to church and having a belief in something is good?” she couldn’t help asking him.

“Let me put it like this; religion in its purest form was good – it was created by us; the ancient manuscripts that the bible and other holy books were created from did show us how to get the best out of life. But somewhere along the line religion was hijacked, and now, it’s just a form of control to mentally enslave the masses.  I still read my bible, there’s still a lot of Truth in it, but you have to be able to discern the Truth from the lies.”

With that, he pulled her close to him in a warm embrace, changing the subject.  He didn’t want to fall out with her over her beliefs.  They continued to talk as they sat huddled on the sofa.

By 1.30am it became apparent than he didn’t want to leave, and she didn’t want him to go either.  She was determined not to fall into temptation though.  Still, he managed to convince her that they could just lie on the bed together and cuddle; they didn’t have to take their clothes off, they could just lie on top of the bed – after all, they both had will-power, didn’t they?  So they moved to her bedroom, and talked and talked into the early hours of the morning, until finally falling asleep in each other’s arms, fully clothed.

*******************

But what happens the Following Morning??

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