Reclaiming the Past
(Please listen to EJ’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
I saw that religion, what it did to my parents, and it separated them. And I remember that at a very young age. And so my sister and I, we never wanted to…we were “those” kids. We never wanted to go to church, we were kicking and screaming. There were times where I remember going to church but it was so long ago that I don’t remember. I didn’t do the word studies and stuff. And so Romans 5:3 came through the Bible that my wife’s mother had. “Rejoice in all suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope doesn’t put you to shame because of the love that God poured out through His Spirit. The hope is translated expectation. I guess I got to a point where [I was] like, “Something’s got to give here, man, my life sucks.”
I think when my sister died, that was kind of a tipping point [for] me to question everything. Like, I don’t have anything to believe in. So now what? So I think now the hope, the expectation, is that the return of glory is Jesus. My life turns; my sister just passed away, and I was just kind of asking a lot of life questions. At first, it wasn’t really Jesus. To me, it was just like, I was going off what I knew. I started meditating, started doing yoga, trying different things. Because I was hearing this…I was being pulled by this internal kind of, what I thought was my heart, essentially. This voice almost. Two weeks into that, I realized that it’s Jesus. And Jesus encounters me through a meditation, which was not prompted by anyone. There was no one really in my life, at the time yet, that was really trying to disciple me in the Word or speak to me about Jesus. So it was just a real unprompted thing that kind of took me by surprise. My wife would go to sleep, and I would stay up all night long. Literally, I would light candles and it was weird. It was New Age. But that’s all I knew, you know, I didn’t have framework for religion. So I just would sit in silence and thoughts would pop into my mind about my life. Like, things that had happened to me [in] my past. Typically, traumatic things. I would see those things, and I would see those memories, and then I would start getting almost like answers, [as to] why those things were happening. How they were portraying now in my life. It was like a story, really. It was [like] a movie.
So in that movie, probably about two weeks into it, there was a really foul thought. Not thought, but memory that I had of my sister being molested at a very young age. I saw this. I was 11 years old and she was 13 at the time. It was one of our neighbors [that] had molested my sister. I kept going back to this memory in my meditation, and I didn’t want to meditate. It was like, I was so scared of that thought that I just didn’t want to meditate anymore. So I kept trying to [think], I’m not gonna meditate anymore and make these [choices]. But I just kept feeling that draw, like, I have to [meditate]. I want to know what happened. I want to know the rest of that story. So I just remember the time that I did decide, I’m going to face this fear, because I was really scared of it.
I go, and I’m meditating. I’m seeing I’m at the door and I realized that I know what’s going to happen behind this door. I know what I’m going to see; I know that I’m going to see my sister and my neighbor. I opened the door this time and I see Jesus sitting on the bed. Behind Him is still going on what I’m talking about. And I got really upset that He was there. In this meditation, it was weird, because the times before I felt like I was just getting answers. This time, I felt like I had an awareness where I could actually speak. And it was strange, because I started yelling at Jesus. Wondering why He was there. I was like, I’m yelling at Him and then I say, “Better yet, where were You when this was going on? They say that You’re the Messiah. And they say…” And it was very, like, mocking Him. But, He just sat there. He had so much peace. And then all of a sudden, this tear rolls down His face. And it was weird, because that spoke to me [so much,] He didn’t even have to speak. It was like, I could look into His eyes and immediately I reverenced, “It’s You.” Because [for me] there was a lot of doubt around Him. So when that happened, it’s like, I could feel His pain for me. I could feel His hurt for my sister. I could feel what that meant to Him, this moment. And I immediately reverenced it was Him. Then He started speaking. He started showing me.
I saw my sister first. My sister, in this life, she had freckles; she was covered in freckles. When I saw her, she had no freckles. She was just white, like her skin was almost as white as this table. It was beautiful. And she was dancing. She was grown and she had this really short haircut that I remember, she always wanted. I would always tell her, -I’m a hairstylist- “that’s not going to be good for your face shape.” And, I would always just tell her, “please don’t get that haircut.” Well, she had that haircut and she was beautiful. I mean, the Lord was showing me that she was pure, you know? I used to think of her as like, she’s dirty, because that happened. I had all these weird thoughts. But I vowed my whole life, I’m going to grow up one day, and I’m gonna find this guy. (I was in the military and I just had this, this deep hurt from this guy; from what he did.) And I can never remember him. I can never remember his name. And in that moment, I remember his name and I saw a little boy waiting in a room, for what I think is a father. He was waiting for someone that he really trusted. Then I saw a man come in and sexually molest him. Then I saw him grow up a little bit and I saw that same thing to the point where he was probably an early teenager. He was now sitting in the room, expecting for that man to come in, not excited to see him, but expecting him to do what he had been doing to him. The Lord was showing me, this is what he had been carrying his whole life. Which then made me feel sorry for him and gave me compassion for him and empathy. I really felt like Jesus showed me a lot about the both of them and about myself, where I was able to forgive everyone, including myself.
I think fear will keep you from your destiny. But, I think that if you’re making your decisions in love, and you’re praying and processing with the Lord, then you’ll find yourself in a spot of like, “man, I am living out my dreams, how did I get here?”
That was a real shift for me after that point. Anytime that I meditated, He would show up and the answers started coming from Him, from His mouth. It wasn’t like I was just getting answers and clarity anymore. Now it’s like, He is giving me the answers. And [it’s like] I’m almost going on a walk with Him where He’s sharing with me about my life. To the point where I realized I was sort of asking, “why are You telling me these things?” And He was like, “because where you’re going you need a Savior.” He just kept telling me that, “Where you’re going, you need a Savior.” And even that, because I wasn’t praying and processing it, I just didn’t understand what that meant. So the end of that week, my wife was in Florida, and I just asked the Lord into my heart. I said, “Jesus, if this is real, I want to invite you in and I want to see how real You are.” And I said it just kind of nonchalantly like, ehhh, I don’t know. That night, I just remember being on the floor. I felt this heaviness on me, where I thought I was, I thought I was getting sick, sort of getting real hot…so I laid on our floor. We have hardwood floors and I laid on the floor because the floors are always cold. And then I just felt this weight, like pushing on me. Then I got superstar scared. I was all alone. I kept thinking, something really bad is happening to me, to the point where I start yelling for help. I start yelling real loud, then I start speaking in tongues. Which, was really weird for me and offensive. But I realized that, I think, I was being delivered from a lot of different things. I remember getting my phone and writing out, like, I just start writing on my phone uncontrollably in my note section. There were a couple of scriptures and one of them was Romans 5:3, which is my favorite scripture. It is kind of the Scripture that I live by. But, I just remember writing these scriptures out.
We have a big bookcase in our house, and I’m scurrying through these books trying to find a Bible and I can’t find a Bible anywhere. And I, I remember my wife’s parents had both passed away and her mom had left her a Bible, I clearly remember that. So I find that Bible, and the scripture that I wrote down, I would go to that passage and her mother, when she was I guess ill, she was having a word study in her Bible. She would highlight [scripture.] Those [very] scriptures were highlighted, which could have just been coincidence. But then there was like a, like a yellow post-it note right next to them. She would write what God was speaking to her and her struggle. Those little notes spoke to me in a way that was…it gave me a lot of context to what was happening and I just cried man. I remember that was the first time I cried since I was a little boy, probably. I didn’t even cry my sister’s funeral. I just cried and cried and cried and cried. I remember thinking, “This is amazing, I always wanted to cry.” You know? I realized that, that the Lord was pursuing me.
Every time that we’ve taken steps in business, or in my personal life, where it’s a little uncomfortable, the territory may seem a little newer, or there’s scary things in the new territory; I realized that those are the times where we’re blessed the most. Those are the times where I draw closer to the Lord, Jesus. It’s like, those are the times where you have to really be like, “God, I trust you.” I think fear will keep you from your destiny. But, I think that if you’re making your decisions in love, and you’re praying and processing with the Lord, then you’ll find yourself in a spot of [feeling] like, “Man, I am living out my dreams. How did I get here?” And so it makes it a little easier, knowing where we have come from, that we’ve taken these steps before and we can take those [steps] in confidence, knowing that God’s prepared the way for us. He’s never forsaken, the righteous. Those that choose righteousness and so I choose Jesus.