I don’t know about you but when I was younger growing up in D.C., I barely went to church nor did I have a relationship with the Father. I knew there was a God but I didn’t know Him personally. It wasn’t until college that I came to know who He truly was and accepted him into my heart.
Before He entered my life I was a different person. I wasn’t whiling out like that but hey, we all have our vices. For me, I had a mouth like a sailor – I mean E-V-E-R-Y O-T-H-E-R W-O-R-D. Popeye ain’t have nothing on me. On occasion, I would go clubbing and have some drinks. Not many because even wine coolers had me laid out on the floor. SMH. And there were just bad habits that did not serve me.
Normally on Sundays, I would sleep in late. I just never understood the importance of “going to church” and not doing what I wanted to do with my time. I remember having “lively” conversations with those that did go to church, trying to understand why they went and what this was all about. God bless my best friends. They were very patient with me. Let me tell you the Father knows what you need and when. If it wasn’t for the women He placed in my life I would not be who I am today. He knew exactly what to do and who to use to bring me closer to Him. That’s one of the many things I love about the Father. He loves us so much that He will do whatever is necessary to get our attention and draw us closer. He is always calling but in most cases we are not paying attention.
Now I can look back over my life and see where the Father was guiding and protecting, unbeknownst to me. Through the challenging moments in life, the darkness and valleys, the tears and the heartbreaks, He was right there loving me.
I can remember it like yesterday, the day I gave my life to God. I was at my friend’s Church cookout and I heard this small voice ask, “Are you ready?” So I answered, “Ready for what?” “To give your life to me,” the voice replied.
Honestly, I was very hesitant because everyone I met my age who gave their life to the Father, all had one thing in common—they broke up with their boyfriends. I wasn’t ready to let my man go because I was so in love with him! Have you ever been in that situation, when you are being asked to give up something you love, for something that is far greater but you just can’t perceive it that way?
Side note – you have to know our story to understand. I met him when I was 15 on the Marta train at 5 points. You would have thought it was straight out of a movie! The train pulled up and as I looked up there was this beautiful, tall, chocolate man on the other side of the door looking at me or should I say into me. Never in my life had I felt like this. I watched that train pull off and was left speechless, which is very unusual for me. See, I grew up with all boys and had learned a game or two. I was flirtatious and was never scared to approach someone until I met him.
After meeting him, I was at a lost for words. Everyday I would do the same routine in hopes of seeing him again. We did this for a couple of months before we started talking. Then after two weeks, we made it official. Even when I moved to D.C. for college, we were still together.
He was my first love, first real relationship, first long distance relations, first time I was truly treated like a queen, first in everything and I just had a feeling I would have to let him go because at the time, he was not living for God.
Ok, now back to the story. And there I was with a decision to make. So, I stood up and walked over to a tree, knelt and surrendered my life to the Father. What I felt during the process was liberating. I literally felt a weight leave my shoulders. A weight that I didn’t know existed till that moment. Now my journey had begun.
Not too long after my experience with the Father, I was at work alone and I heard Him say clear as day “Let him go. Through you he shall come through.” This was a hard pill to swallow because not only was I in love with this man, I could see children, old age and death with this man. However, I understood I had to let him go because I had made him my God. From the moment I woke up each day until I went to bed, my life revolved around him. So what did I do, I choose the Father and let him go. The hardest decision I ever had to make. But what did the Father do – he restored me, changed his heart and brought us back together again 9 months later and we have been together ever since.
That was over 22 years ago and, since that day, I have grown so much in my relationship with God. First, I had to learn that it was about relationship and not religion. I had to learn how to allow Him into every area of my life, even the dark places, and not just the convenient ones.
I learned there were areas that needed healing and people I needed to forgive. I learned what it meant to depend solely on Him, what It meant to come short of the mark, and what grace is. I learned that I didn’t have to do anything to earn His love because He is love.
I learned that there were times I had lack of faith and there were times when my faith survived the years. I learned how to have a genuine connection with Him. To be vulnerable in His presence.
So, who am I? My name is Janna B. – I am a wife (married to the chocolate man), mother, entrepreneur, sister, aunt, great dancer and friend, mentor, leader, deaconess, coach, encourager, intercessor and a servant, but above all the titles I am a child of the Most High God. I look forward to sharing my journey with you as we grow together in faith in the Father.