Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. -Luke 15:1-7
Lost sheep. I was the lost sheep that Jesus talks about in the parable. I remember the very day when I wanted to be redeemed. I’ll have to save some of the details for when I eventually write my book (total plug), but I was in my bed at Penn State University. My “boy-friend” at the time just left after a weekend of total sin. He wasn’t really my boyfriend but we were together for two years. He strung me along and claimed he wasn’t ready for a relationship. In all actuality he was ready for a relationship, he just wasn’t ready for one with me. My soul was spent. I felt dirty. I felt like I was sleeping with a demon. I felt low, unworthy, soiled, and disgusting. I can’t describe the feeling but I had the weight of sin all over me. I cried from day to night. I felt so alone in that empty room in Pennsylvania. The feeling was indescribable. I called on God. Help me, lord. Get me out of this situation. Get the pain that I am feeling in my heart and chest out. Make me whole again. Nothing changed, I felt the same. I eventually went in the shower to try and wash off all remnants of him. I was with a man who wouldn’t even give me a title, yet I just spent the weekend giving him all of me. I would do anything for him. I was like the girl in Coming to America, who barked on Prince Zamunda’s command. If I noticed he was going to the strip club too often, I turned into the stripper. When he demeaned me, I tried to change myself so I could be more acceptable in his eyes. Every day that we spent not in a relationship but doing relationship things weighed on my confidence. I knew I deserved someone to respect me enough to claim me but I couldn’t break the shackles of this soul tie. It was a strong soul tie indeed.
I was a young and naive sophomore in college when we met. He was staying at a mutual friend’s house during a big weekend at Penn State. Out of all his friends, he was the quiet one. He had a certain mystery to him that immediately attracted me. He also had a really nice car. Once I found out he was from Brooklyn, I fantasized about how perfect our relationship would be. I barely knew him but had plans for us. He was older, 22 and since I was only 19, I assumed he had his life together; possibly his own apartment and he would be my first adult relationship. That night, he approached me and we began to flirt a little. I also noticed he was flirting with another girl staying in the apartment. I chose to ignore it. We all went to a party and me and him danced with each other. The chemistry was there. After the party, there was supposed to be an after-party that everyone went to, but we decided to stay in. We talked and watched movies until one thing led to another. By Monday, I was writing love poems about him. I was sprung, and this strong feeling towards him would last for years to come. It was immediate.
When I returned to Brooklyn for the thanksgiving holiday, all the fantasies I created for him, for us, were not real. He didn’t live in his own place, he lived on a blow-up bed in his aunt’s living room. He didn’t have a job or a degree. He spent most of his days smoking weed and hanging out with friends. You would think I would run, but this made me empathize with him. I wanted to help get him on his feet. Maybe I would be the girl that changed his life. Honestly, looking back, these were probably the worst years of my life. I remember looking in the mirror one day and not recognizing who I was. I allowed him to disrespect me time and time again. He didn’t want me, he just used me.
When I was laying in my bed, lost, like a sheep, after giving him my all, the only thing I could do was call on God. No one would ever believe I demeaned myself so much in this relationship. No one would understand. No one cared. No one wanted to listen. God listened. My heart would hurt for about another year but God slowly and gradually reconstructed my life. He made me whole again. He answered my prayers on that faithful day. When I graduated from college, I also let this guy go. I started going to church every Sunday. I was a work-in-progress but God delivered me. He forgave me of all my terrible sins. He helped me to build my standards. He helped me to see my worth. He helped me to see my beauty. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this situation. So in a sense, I am not angry anymore. All is forgiven. God knows exactly what he’s doing when he puts us in such storms, at the end of the storm there’s always light and my relationship with God was my light. I am sure the heavens rejoiced when I was redeemed. For him to pick me up from the lowest of lows and exalt me to high peaks is truly a blessing. Thank You, Jesus, for finding your lost sheep.