I was raised in Brooklyn. I was the youngest of four girls. My mother was very, very strict. We weren’t very religious, but she wanted us to go to catholic school, so I went to catholic school for 8 years of my life. Everything was going fine except, I remember my mother kept saying if only I make it till your 16. I didn’t understand what she meant at that time. It turned out she had Parkinson’s disease so she was kind of checking out mentally. My sisters were all older than me and they were getting married, having boyfriends. Everyone thought I was in good shape with my mom and no one realized that she was checking out, mentally.
I was emotionally abandoned when I was 15 or 16 so I took it as my moment of freedom from my strict upbringing. I was very sheltered but now no one was telling me anything so in my wonderful wisdom I went out there and got into all kinds of trouble. I had this longing feeling. I was lost and no one knew anything about me, where I was. I thought it was okay to go and hang out in abandoned buildings with my friends. The one saving grace was that I had a girlfriend, my best friend, Sherry whose grandfather was a pastor of a Baptist church. Sherry was bad, just like I was, but she couldn’t go out to play until she went to church. So I went to church with her. I always think of the verse, I love the verse, where it says when your mother and father forsake you I will take you up. So in hindsight I know that God had his hand on me.
I’m still out there getting into all kinds of trouble and someone gave me a bible, the little green new testament copy. For some reason I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. I just kept reading and reading and I didn’t understand what I was reading. I was just going through life but I had this longing, that I was going through life and I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. That was my underlying theme. Here I am going through life and I don’t know what to do and I’m on my own.
So eventually I went to Brooklyn Tabernacle and I love music so I fell in love with God just by singing songs, but I didn’t know anything and I was still doing my own thing. So then eventually someone took me to a home bible study in Brooklyn. I sat on that man’s couch and he had to kick me out of his house; I wouldn’t leave. I was starving. I was like so thankful to know that God had a plan for my life, because I sure didn’t have a plan and I was messing up big time, so it was just awesome.
Since then, it has been amazing—the confidence that I have can only be from God. I feel like there is nothing that I can’t do now within those parameters. (I needed those parameters.) So now Ephesians 5:19 says that we are supposed to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody to the Lord and this is how I live now.
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