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So I went ahead and had my “spiritual bath.” September 16, 2012. 1:00PM (somewhere around that time) Water was so cold but warmed up so fast. I felt amazing. Still do honestly. That was something I kept postponing for a long time. Never really knew why though. “What is keeping you”- Candess would ask me this and I never had a reason. That is because whatever words you form to come out of your mouth will never be a good enough reason. There is NO reason. But of course, it took me to the age of 22 to finally figure it out that I was ready to live for God. “Alana, what made you give your life over”- Well I’m glad you asked! Lets see how brief I can keep this testimony.

Growing up, I never had a church home. My mother tried attending different churches and the one I could remember was a Jehovah Witness church. We were there for a little while and I remember my mom would have bible studies sometimes at the house. I was so young so learning about God and the Bible never stuck. Never paid attention. Fell asleep in the pews at church. You know…what kids usually do during church (there wasn’t a children’s church in the back of the church back then). That slowly but surely fizzled away and my Sunday morning routines were spent at home. Wake up, breakfast, sports, play, homework, bed. Every single Sunday. We were too comfortable on Sunday’s. Never really spoke about church either. As I got older, to appease my grandmother, we would go on holidays. Mother’s Day, Easter. Those were the main two. If I would spend the night at a friend’s house and their parents went to church, then I would go. I would always hope that the parents over slept and didn’t want to go anymore. After all, I still never understood what the Preacher was saying and it always put me to sleep.

It was that way for a very long time. Growing into my later teens, it was all about me. No cares in the world. I always had good grades in school so I had a lot of leisure time. Family, friends, parties, fun. What worldly teenagers do. Around 16 years old, I met this one boy. Every girl has that “one” guy. The role that relationship played on my life weighed so heavy on me. Along with taking my virginity, he took my mind. I was only 16 and felt several emotions in one day. The epitome of a teenage girl. My every thought surrounded him. Every text message and phone call I received, I wanted it to be him. I had a life outside of him. I was always involved in something with school and with friends but when all that was over, I just wanted him. You can just imagine how the course of my relationship went. Break up to make up. Verbal disrespect. Immaturity. Careless intercourse, which of course, led to a planned pregnancy.

My pregnancy in 2009 was the result of a conversation her father and I had prior to leaving for college. It made so much sense when conversing….at the age of 18. We would have a baby so we could always be together-simple. Smacks my own forehead. Downward slope. We got exactly what we asked for. A child and we always have to be in each other’s lives as long as we live. Argument after argument after argument. Continuing to break up and constant tears. Most of this is explained in another blog a posted a few months back,  so I won’t go in too deep with this blog. 2009 was a hard year for me. Gave birth to my child and shortly became postpartum. I cried all the time and never wanted to be around Addyson. I resented her father and just wanted my old life back. I prayed everyday asking God to take to the pain away-assuming it was supposed to be an instantaneous process. God doesn’t work that way. I didn’t know that back then. I didn’t have a relationship with Christ or a Godly foundation in my life. I was just calling on him when it was convenient for me.

As months passed, I grew out my depression. I went back to school and keep my credits up and was working. A lot of my mind was occupied for the most part but my heart was still with her father. I was in bondage. Anger, bitterness, resentment…all still rested in me. Even when I came back to MU in January of 2011, I still had those feelings in me. My only solution to help get rid of these feelings was to involve myself with other guys. Regular dating and sexual intercourse. It made perfect sense. In order to get over her father, I would seek interest in other guys-simple. Of course that didn’t work. I kept trying to convince myself that it would. You couldn’t tell me anything.

August 2011, I began my senior semester of college (the first of 3 semesters). It was a new me. I had once again decided that I was over her father so I did what society tells single young females to do. I had cut off all my hair, changed my number, and moved into a new apartment. It was supposed to be my new season. All about me. I was thankful that God had delivered me from previous pain and hatred over her father but reacted in a negative way. My attention diverted from God to myself. “I’m 21 and single. Do me” was my motto. Weekends of partying, smoking, drinking, occasionally sex (another blog coming soon) and it became a routine. Addy was still taken care of and schoolwork was still done, but my mind was all on me. The more I would partake in these things, when I would go home with no one but my thoughts, I felt conviction. I knew it was wrong. I always felt guilty when I would do those things. Conviction was never heavy enough to keep me from doing those things but I definitely felt guilt afterwards. More and more. I would go to the club and in the back of my mind I would think, “Alana you have no business here. This doesn’t feel right.” I would have sex and afterwards I would feel disgusted. I felt like God was looking down on me in utter disgust and disappointment. The thought would always make my eyes well.

I fell to my knees one afternoon listening to Praise is What I Do. I was tired. God I was so tired. I was tired of temporary satisfaction. I was tired of my arrogant, narcissistic attitude. I was tired of my selfishness. I was tired of my worldly ways. I was tired of being out of his will and I never wanted to feel that way again. Just like in 2009, I prayed for God to take this pain away but this time, it would be to grow into him. I wanted Him. Church became the regular for me. Sex was completely cut off. Drinking slowly dwindled and so did partying. I was stepping into a new season.

More into 2012, my relationship with Christ continued (and still continues) to grow. The desires of the world began to fade (they never really went away. I am just strong enough to resist temptation a lot more than I used to be).

Here I am today. On fire for God, which was my hope for this blog (name change coming soon.) I was ready. No pressure. No force. No judgment. I was ready. I was keeping me from this season. Fearing that I would have to give up so much to live for God and granted, I did. Those things don’t matter. Everything God takes out of your life he provides so much more. 2x better. It’s not about me. Everything I go through isn’t for me. People here my story about past relationships and say, “Thank you, I needed that.” It is not about me. I’m so glad God has gotten me to see that. I am still learning.

If there is one thing I can say that can encourage everyone who is reading this is to pray for the desires of the world to fade. Don’t be afraid to let go. These things in the world that we seek pleasure in hold no weight to the things God wants to give us. Restoration, peace, patience, grace, love, the desires of our hearts. All of the riches of his glory that he promised. It feels amazing y’all! It really does!

To conclude: What I can say about my “new beginning” is that I am still human. I am still subject to fall and make mistakes. Only difference now is that my intentions are whole-heartedly to please him. Repentance for the times that I mess up. I am not perfect. Do not put me on a pedestal nor view me in a judgmental eye now that I am “saved.” Continue to pray for me. This is the time that the enemy is really going to try to throw his hardest punches at me…. but I am not moved. Thank you God for continuing to pull on my heartstrings and get my attention. I am excited to see where you are taking me. Love you pops! Muah!


 
 
“I don’t think anything is wr…. my flesh tells me their isn’t anything wrong with having sex if you are in a committed relationship”…. if you are going to take anything from this statement (NO JUDGMENT), it is the correction made mid sentence. The “my flesh tells me” part. I was having a conversation with my friend earlier this week about her entering in a new relationship and of course, knowing me, I asked was she sexually active. She seemed hesitant to answer and that was the statement that came out. No judgment this way. That is not my job. Her salvation does not rest in my hands. The only thing I can do and I will do, is pray for her.

Back to the “my flesh tells me” part. This is a daily struggle for me. My flesh constantly wants the driver seat and attempts to persuade my spiritual side to pop a squat in the back seat (not even the passenger side), trying to convince my spiritual self that their time will come. “Sit back and enjoy the ride. Your time to drive will come shortly”- says my flesh. EVERYDAY! When it comes to the thoughts I have, words I speak, music I listen to, places I go, people I entertain…and the list goes on.

Not trying to over exaggerate or be dramatic, but it’s real. With me on my spiritual walk and my words are slowly but surely starting to become actions, the enemy is steady plotting against me. Throwing curveballs here and there, with hints of temptations that, back in the day, would have caught my full attention. He doesn’t like me turning away from him so he is trying everything in his power to strengthen my flesh, my desires, my lusts, my (fill space here).

Its not a good feeling y’all- but very necessary. I want Christ to know that because he gave me free will, that I am CHOOSING to follow him. I am not hitting every corner perfectly, I stumble, but I am trying. I love him so much and always acknowledge his works that I don’t want to disappoint him. As much as my flesh wants to fulfill its own desires, it is not pleasing to God.

I just recently finished a book called Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman (GREAT read by the way !!!) He gives several examples in the bible of persons that claimed they wanted to follow Jesus but weren’t 100% all in. Meaning “I will follow Jesus when it is convenient for me” type of ordeal. He constantly applied it to current life and how everyday people “half-way” follow Jesus when it benefits us. In order for us to constantly remain in his will is to die to SELF; EVERYDAY!

(1) I have sex but I am in a committed relationship. We are only with each other so it is fine.

(2) I go to parties and drink but its not like I am getting drunk.

(3) I go out every Saturday but I make sure I am up every Sunday for church. Front row. Bible in hand.

(4) I listen to gospel music every Sunday but Monday through Saturday, and after church on Sunday, I listen to project pat (GUILTY)

You catch my drift. Loving God is great! Worshipping and praising and developing a relationship are all wonderful. But he wants our flesh to die, otherwise we will constantly be battling with both sides based on how we “feel” at that point and time

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME LORD. WHAT I WANNA DO..WHAT I FEEL LIKE DOING..WHAT I DON’T FEEL LIKE DOING. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME OH FATHER! I WANT MY LIFE TO REFLECT YOU! I KNOW ALL THE THINGS I PLACE IN MY PLANNER FOR ME TO COMPLETE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS BUT WHAT TRULY MATTERS ARE THE THINGS YOU HAVE SET BEFORE ME TO COMPLETE. REMAIN IN THE FOREFRONT OF MY MIND EACH DAY LORD. THAT I DIE TO SELF AND MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELL IN ME EVERYDAY LORD. RID ME OF MYSELF OH FATHER AND REST IN ME. KILL MY FLESH LORD. MAKE MY PURPOSE TO HELP BUILD THE KINGDOM. ITS NOT ABOUT SELF ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AGENDAS, RECOGNITIONS. WHEN I DIE, ALL THAT MATTERS IS HOW MANY SEEDS I PLANTED IN PEOPLE TO KNOW AND FOLLOW YOU….AS I AM ON MY JOURNEY TO FOLLOW YOU LORD. –AMEN

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”- Matthew 16:24

 
 
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Debi Kirkendoll-Gay(left) works in the building next to me at the University of Missouri. Less than a year ago, she lost her husband and now she is facing another trying time. Her daughter, Shauna (right) is suffering from liver and kidney failure. The family is raising money to help out with expenses. If you would like to help this family out with their expenses, email me at alanapr.marie@gmail.com. Even those who have a heart to give but can’t, keep this family in your prayers as they are in deep need of them. God is thee ultimate healer. Doesn’t matter what the doctor says. God has the final say so. I am praying for Debi and her family.