Growing up every Sunday my Mother would rally up all five of her children together and we would head to Church. I hated going to church. I would grumble argue, and complain the entire way.
We would listen to worship songs for about an hour and then preaching for another hour. The Baptist preacher would sweat and shout, and I would fall in and out of sleep through out the service.
I grew up in church but did not truly believe in God. When I was 18 and living on my own, I cut church out of my life all together.
I started chasing Women.
I Started trying to find satisfaction in life through women. I would chase woman after woman hoping to fill a void inside, but each time they left me more and more empty.
I needed women to validate what I was worth. I was really insecure and so I needed people to constantly affirm my worth. I had no idea who I was. I found dignity in what other people thought about me.
Needless to say with that philosophy I was tossed around with the wind.
When I was eleven years old I remember my Mother and Father decided to end there relationship. My heart broke in a million and one pieces that day.
What I remember most about that day, is My Father pulling all the children into one room and telling us that, " Your Mother is leaving because you never cleaned the house. You always had the house dirty and so she is leaving."
Because of that conversation I thought I was the one that ruined my Mother and Father's marriage and I never felt good enough. I developed really strong insecurities. I wanted the approval of people desperately.
Mix that with the fact that I was bullied all through out elementary school and you can understand how much of a mess I was. I Became really quiet and distant. Afraid to be myself because I feared rejection, so hid behind the comfort of all my insecurities.
The Pressures of life:
The pressure's of life began to overwhelm me. I was living in a 2 bed room apartment with a friend of mine Jordan, and we were having a difficult time paying the rent each month.
My friend ends up losing his job and we were financially incapable of paying the rent. I remember the lights being out for a week straight, and the fridge being completely empty.
While all this is happening I find out the Woman I was dating has been involved with other men, and I find myself in a really dark place. Lonely, depressed, empty.
Here I am sitting in this dark apartment, stomach grumbling trying to figure what is the point of life. I did not believe in God, but my life was in shambles. I remember nights I would wake up hyperventilating because I could not answer this question, What is my purpose? Or Why was I born.
I decided to pray:
I Had no clue how to pray, I'd never prayed on my own before but I decided to give it a shot. I bowed on the side of my bed, and I remember telling God, " Lord if you are truly real, lead me to the right Church".
That's all I said to God. It was a desperate cry for help. And one week later a man named Myl Mcneal invited me to his church.
I do not believe this was just coincidence, no one has ever come up to me in the past and invited me to Church. I've had Muslims come up to me and share there faith but never Christians. So I was blown away.
I Went to the Church and I loved it:
I started to attend the Church every service, and my life began to make quick improvements. I stopped having sex outside of marriage, I stopped going clubs, and parties, I even deleted my Facebook.
Also after about 6 months in the Church I moved in with the Young man that invited me to church Myl. After being in the church for about 6 months I started to feel the same gnawing emptiness again.
I became depressed once again, and soon realized that I never was truly saved I had simply become a religious man. Religion is not salvation. I came to understand that I had never had a revelation of Christ.
The church had given me confidence in my flesh unintentionally, and I noticed that I had become a very self righteousness man. I was attending every service, laboring with the brothers to build Gods house, but all the while I was unsaved.
I was miserable. I began to fill the coming wrath of God. The unsettling fear of sudden judgment, that it could come at any moment. I knew If I died I would go to hell.
God stirred my heart to seek after him:
"When you seek after me with all your heart you shall find me". I began to seek after God with all of my heart. Each Morning I would pray for an hour or more. And every night I would go on the side of this dumpster near my apartments and pray for 2 hours each night.
I lived in a studio apartment at this time with my roommate, and I could not stand him by this point. Try living in a studio apartment with Gandhi and after 6 months he will be the most annoying man you have ever met.
So for privacy I would slip out into the cold winter night, and into this ally next to a dumpster and I would pray. I would pray in this dark and filthy place. That dumpster and the night sky was really symbolic of where I was at in life.
Depressed, wicked, wretched, lost without God. I would pray the same thing almost the entire night, " God reveal yourself to me! God reveal yourself to me!"
I would pray all night, and be reminded that this was not Beverly hills, we were living in the Ghetto!
There was one night while I was praying this gang member pulled up in a black SUV and parked right in front me so that I would have nowhere to run if I decided too. He cornered me in, and jumped out the car.
He assumed I was out here selling drugs in his territory. He jumps out the car and says, "What you doin' out here!". Nervously I replied, " I just come out here to Pray." And by the grace of God he got back into his car and drove away.
My salvation almost cost my life and by this time I was prepared to die!
After a few months of praying every night, He came! Gloriously the Lord Came! I was praying like any other night and I remember the presence of God came down and touched my life.
My eyes filled up with tears, and I remember standing there awe struck for the next hour or so weeping. I was in awe of God. It was like I could see Christ risen on his throne! I understood the cross " That is foolishness to those who are perishing but the Power of Christ unto salvation for those being saved!"
My heart which prior to this moment was as hard as stone became a heart of flesh. My depression was swept away, my loneliness was swept away, and I was filled with the Joy of the Lord.
A joy so powerful I thought my body might burst. I could hear almost in my sprit the angels rejoicing. He that was dead has been made alive in Christ! I was adopted into the family of Christ.
I learned that it was not based on my works, how much I prayed, or read my bible but Christ who saves!
For next several moths all I could do in prayer was weep, I could not even get one word out. I felt like the Woman with the alabaster flax who wept and worshipped Jesus. Washing his feet with her tears, and drying them with the hair on her head.
Many morning and nights I washed Jesus feet with my tears. I fell in love with God like never before. Church which had become a burden to me became a joyous celebration! Reading my bible which was drudgery for me had me become a most gracious privilege! Prayer which had before been such hard work became a pleasant joy.
I was changed from one moment to the next. I was not perfect but I was truly changed by the power of God!
That is how I met Jesus on the side of a dumpster. share your testimony in the comment section I would love to hear it.
Elise on April 27, 2019:
Thank you for sharing this. This really touched my heart! I love that you said religion is not salvation. So true. My family is caught in a false religion and I pray their eyes are opened. Religion doesn't give you a new heart!
I was deceived by a false prophet for nearly 30 years of my life but felt so confused about who God is. One night I asked Him who He is and I stumbled upon a church that taught me who He really is, completely different than the lies I had been told. But it wasn't until years later, when I finally gave Him my whole heart and control that He saved me.
Josh on August 17, 2018:
Hi I was saved by our Father on May 20th of this year. I share a similar experience with u. Joy and a new heart is what I felt. Amazing!
Stefen Beasley (author) from Glendale on March 20, 2018:
Thanks for taking the time to read my article and for leaving a comment.
And yes your right I had to seek God with all my heart and the glory of God shined fourth!
Tamarajo on March 20, 2018:
What a powerful moving testimony! Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. "When you seek me with all your heart" you didn't give up until you found Him. That's what He wanted. He already proved through His Son that He wants us. He needs to know we sincerely want Him. Wow! Love this life story and the glory of God in it!