As a child I fell in love with Jesus of the bible. Growing up in a non-denominational church, I heard all the stories in Sunday school. My mother wrote and directed plays about Him. My father, a minister, played the role of Jesus and was very evangelistic. My parents were divorced when I was a very young child and they were remarried shortly after. We were featured on a well known evangelical television program in the 80's as a story of the amazing healing power of Jesus in our life. Sadly, this reconciliation did not last and in my early teen years my parents once again divorced.
As a child I never understood why I didn't see the life and the love that I learned of in the bible, in the church or in my own family. As I grew older I began to see more clearly the hypocrisy, corruption and division in the church and in my own life. I stopped believing that God lived in the church and I stopped believing in Christianity. I learned that the name Jesus was false and the true name of this man was Yahshua. I began to call myself a truth seeker. I was drawn to reggae when I was 15 and I saw dreadlocks for the first time. After that I viewed all the ways that I was taught to look beautiful as vanity and I saw beauty in this natural hairstyle and the modest dress of the women in the roots of this culture. I saw this as a set apart way of looking for those who didn't give in to the vanity of the world and desired to live a spiritual life. I was a soul rebel and a life of higher consciousness and righteousness that went against the way of the world was what I was striving for. I didn't want to take the same path as my parents. I wanted to live a holistic life in every way, even though I was doing "natural" things that were destructive to my health. Hypocrisy made its way into my life. The corruption and division was in my heart. I was so blind to the iniquity deep within my soul.
I was just as blind when it came to love. I "fell in love" with a man whom I saw as righteous and clean. He had dreadlocks, read his bible, played in a reggae band singing songs of love and truth. We grew up in the same town, on the same path, turning the same direction off that path we grew up on. We were married when I was 19 and had our first child when I was 20. I grew my dreadlocks and he cut his off to get a job to provide for our family. I stayed home to raise our children and he spent most of his waking hours working a job that he hated, in the world, surrounded by the temptations of the flesh. The peaceful life of love and unity that we desired seemed unreachable.
At a very hard time in our life with three young children, we met a family in the parking lot of Trader Joe's in Fresno, CA. They gave us some free papers and told us they were going back to the community in southern California where they lived like the believers in the book of Acts. They were different and I was amazed that what I read that night seemed to be all that I had been longing for in my soul. I gave one of the papers to my younger sister and after phone calls and a visit we helped her move in with her two small children and newborn baby. She said that she found a place to belong where the widows and orphans find a home and she was going to be a disciple of Yahshua. I wanted this life that I saw but I wasn't willing to pay the price.
I had precious possessions that I was unwilling to give up. It wasn't material goods but like the rich young ruler I had so much to surrender and entrust to the one who could save me. I decided to do it my way. I would be a humble, submissive wife who would win my unbelieving husband over without a word-impossible! One day he would come and say, "Let's go to the community to be saved." It did not happen. In the meantime we tried many other spiritual paths and churches. There were some emotionally and intellectually stimulating experiences but no life of love and no true fellowship. I came to the end of any hope I had in the churches and became a follower of a band called Midnite. I heard in their music what seemed to me to be the true prophetic word and I had a deep desire to know the life they had to offer. I once again came up empty handed. I considered them to be prophets but true prophets lead people in the way of Yahweh. I was still a lost sheep with no one to lead me. I knew that I had seen where the Good Shepherd was gathering his sheep together into one flock. Here I was blind and trying to lead my children, even my husband in the way of my own righteousness. I saw how my own efforts were all in vain and left me empty and frustrated, pushing them further and further away from me. I needed to be saved from myself.
I knew that my time was running out. I had seen the clear fruits in my sisters' life. She had joy and a wonderful husband. I was now going on 9 years in my own way by my own strength and was truly at the end of myself. I had no more hope in the world. I finally surrendered all to follow Yahshua. I paid the price I could pay, my whole life, in order to gain this new life in His body of believers. He paid the price that we could never pay so that we could be set free from the bonds of sin-selfishness. He laid down His life as a free will offering and went into death for us. His pure sacrifice made a way for us to be forgiven and cleansed. Now we have entered into the painful process of purification, which is true salvation. We are disciples of Yahshua and we share all things in common. We do the will of our Father on this earth and we see the fruit of our labor from Sabbath to Sabbath. Our overcoming lives bear witness of His resurrection. We submit ourselves one to another as brothers and sisters in a covenant of love. We are training our children in the way of Yahweh, just as we are being trained by the Holy Spirit of Truth. This life must be a light that continues to grow brighter as the darkness only grows darker. That is the cry of our hearts, to come and see this radical life rooted in the heart of our creator. He needs a united people to fulfill their created purpose and be His twelve tribe nation.
Are you weary? I know a place of rest
where the needy dwell in loving kindness.
Listen to what I say, I know a faithful friend
whose steadfast love is a river without end.
When the sun goes down and the fire's burning low
there's a place I know where the homeless find a home.
When the evening falls and you cannot see the light
He'll be your refuge through the darkest night.
Lift up your voice and sing, "Yahshua is King"
I find my peace neath the shelter of His wing.
Come you weary, to that place of rest
where the needy dwell in lovingkindness.
Lift up your voice and sing, you have a faithful friend
Whose steadfast love is a river without end.
Turn your heart to Him, seek and you will find
His love goes on and on beyond the end of time.
Thankful to be dwelling in the light of His love--
Emunah Qavah (Sarah)