I Never Lost My Praise - Backslider
It's heart-wrenching when you hear the testimonies of some young people. Christina's* story is filed in the tightly packed section of those whose faiths endured hard blows, along with many other young women her age.
"I got baptised at the usual age they say that children become responsible for their sins, at 12. I grew up in a Christian home and went to church twice every Sunday and a few times during the week.
I stayed clear of boyfriends, even as I grew older. I wore the required skirt and tops with sleeve wherever I went. I didn't wear jewellery, except for a watch and I did not listen to secular songs. All that was fine, I was comfortable in my Christianity. God had been good. He sacrificed everything for me; staying away from a few things was the least I could do," she said.
The young woman told Family and Religion that her life was good and she was enjoying every minute of church, noting that after five years, she was finally filled with the Holy Spirit which she still marks as one of the happiest moments of her life. She also revealed that she was later appointed as a missionary and was put in charge of leading certain worship sessions.
"But then, my church let me down. People I looked up to began fading away until everything was gone. A scandal broke out that hit me to the core.
I hated church and Christians for a while. If I visited a church and saw people worshipping and crying out, the first thought I had was that they are all pretenders. Hypocrites in the days and devils behind closed doors," she said.
Christina admitted that whenever a pastor tried to encourage her, every word said would go straight out the other ear.
According to her: "I wasn't angry at God, I just didn't trust Christians and religious leaders. They made me sick to the stomach with their deceptiveness."
But though she had anger stored up, Christina says she never lost her praise.
"They say that God never takes back what He blessed you with and I agree. I still have my Holy Ghost. After a while, I began worshipping on my own. I pray non-stop and praise Him for his faithfulness. God didn't give up on me.
I now have a boyfriend, I wear and listen to whatever I want. I know that I am a backslider and that there are things I do that's not really godly, but when I close my eyes and lift my hands, I feel so close to HIM, it makes me wonder," she said.
The now 24-year-old woman said that though she has turned back on many of her promises to God, He has not given up on her.
"Never have I known such a faithful being. I can stand in my short shorts and pierced nose and witness to anyone! I can testify of His goodness and grace. I can attest to His patience and understanding. He doesn't hold grudges and for that I'm grateful," she said, as the tears trickled down.
Christina told Family and Religion that her praise and love for God never left her despite everything and that she now visits a church which she is considering becoming a part of.
"I don't want to lead anything. I don't even want to be asked to deliver a simple welcome. I just want to be in His presence one more time. I long for Him. I just want to go home," she sighed.