I was talking to my sister, sometime last week, and she brought something very important to my attention. "Bri, you had all of these ladies share themselves at [Church Girl Confessions] The Monologues, but you did not share"... In so many words she was saying "SIS! You can't expect people to be comfortable with CGC when you haven't told your story!". ACCOUNTABILITY!!!! Get yourself a village that will be real with you. I didn't make any excuses because she was 100% correct. Why? Why did I not present a monologue to all of those beautiful faces that were there? Not that I've ever had a problem being open and honest. I just hadn't planned it with myself in mind. WHY, though? The only reason I did not include myself was because I didn't think I had a story worth telling. I was quickly reminded that my relationship with God alone, gave me stories for days.
So, I'll tell you how I know Him...you know God.
I've always been familiar with who God is. My maternal grandmother made SURE we knew the importance of knowing Jesus and following His word. I tried to do everything I knew to do in order to please God, but at the age of 19, I had gotten pregnant (that's a whole other story for me to tell). I devastated myself. I thought for sure God would be there, but my family, especially my grandmother, would be heartbroken. However, My family loved on me and I was embarrassed in church. I sang on the praise team and surprisingly had not been sat down (Oh because the saints will sit you down for the pregnancy but not the sin that caused it). Then, one Sunday, I was told to stand in front of the congregation like a living sacrifice, as an example of "what will no longer happen" in that church. I was the "last one" who would do this. I was told to pray for the young girls of the church and to not let anybody rub my stomach because it should not be celebrated....OH! I forgot to mention that I had someone praying with these girls alongside myself. I guess she was, to my pastor, the example of how to live as a saved young woman. I felt so ashamed. After laying hands and praying in obedience, I ran into the hallway and sobbed. My best friend came behind me and let me cry on her shoulder, encouraging me, and telling me not to let it break me. I felt better for the moment, but every time after that, when someone would reach to touch my belly and back up, it hurt. Each time I saw someone rub the bellies of the acceptably pregnant women of the church, it hurt. What hurt even more was that my prayer partner, who I found out was pregnant out of wedlock like me, did not endure the same ridicule as I did just months before. Not that I wanted her to feel the same way it made me feel, but I didn't understand what made her different. I was angry. I had grown annoyed with her and even had to apologize to her because I wasn't the nicest and I wasn't even mad at her (so glad she saw my heart).
It was in that moment when I learned to seek and KNOW God for myself. The "prophecy" of no more pregnancies out of wedlock, with me and my round gut as the focal point, was not the word of the Lord for the moment. It was the word of emotion. I realized What "thus saith The Lord" in that moment was a cover up for feelings. What God has to say will never come out of feelings, but it will instead be what God himself has laid on the heart of his servant to say. I began my own relationship with Jesus. I didn't let what could have broken me, push me away. I faced it head on. I sought God for Briana because I didn't want to make the mistake of trusting man's words before trusting the Holy Spirit. That situation birthed my relationship with Jesus, for sure. I haven't done everything "right", but I strive daily because I never want to be in a place where I can't hear God for myself. From that moment, I never took the word of man or emotion over what God had already told me.
We often hear "try the spirit, by the spirit". We do this by paying attention to what is right in front of us. God is a loving God. His love would not have left me feeling humiliated or embarrassed. His love wouldn't have left me feeling ashamed. God's love would have left me feeling protected. It would have left me knowing that I didn't have to hang my head down low because of my circumstance. I had to test the spirit of what had been said and done, by the spirit I knew to be of God & it didn't check out. Not saying the man of God had bad intentions or that he didn't want the best for me and everyone else....I'm not even saying that his prophetic gift is to be played with, but the delivery in that moment of me standing vulnerably before the entire church was not led my God because emotion clouded his judgment.
I am not perfect and I have made plenty of mistakes since then, but I know how to plug back into the source- GOD (shout out to Alexis Pendleton). You connect through fasting, praying, and studying The Word of God. Doing this will help you to hear His voice so clearly, that you won't be able to mistake it. Just like the homie, Bartimaeus , in the bible. He moved when he heard God's voice. If you do not hear God's voice, don't let it move you.
THAT is how I know Him.