This weekend is the 10th anniversary for Elevation Church, my church. During the week, all of the members of the church have been posting all over social media about the moments at church that memorable for them and how much this church has meant to them. My life has also been changed by this amazing church. First of all, the fact that I am even describing a church as amazing is a big deal. I never used that description for my mother’s church. Out of respect, I’m not going to talk bad about it, however, the older I got, the more life I experienced, the more I came to realize this was not the church for me and hadn’t been for a really long time. When I moved out on my own, I kept looking for the right church for me.
I had been to Elevation church a few times before, but because I had a busy and demanding work schedule, I couldn’t go as often as I would have liked, and eventually, I ended up not going at all. While at work, during a Toastmasters meeting, I discovered that there was a lady there that went to Elevation as well. I told her it had been a long time since I’d been there and she invited me to come that Saturday because the Pastor had started a new series from his book. I told her I would try to come but I didn’t know if I would be able to make it because I had to work that weekend at my part time job. The next morning when I got to work, there was a gift laying on my desk. It was a book entitled “Crash the Chatterbox” by Steven Furtick. I send her an IM to tell her thank you for the gift, and she simply said “Your Welcome, See you Saturday!” Something told me that I needed to go to church this weekend. If someone had gone out of their way to buy a book for me about this series, I needed to see what it was all about. Luckily, I got a call from my grandmother (who’s jazz club I working at the time) saying that the even was cancelled that weekend and she didn’t need me. That was all I needed. I was meant to be in service that Saturday. Everyone says that you will “just know” when you have found the right church for you and that was so true. I can remember the exact date that I KNEW God had placed me in the right church.
The date was February 15, 2014 and the name of the sermon was “I Know That I Am” from the Crash the Chatterbox series. It was about how, through the life of Moses, we can overcome our insecurities by turning the negative “I can’t” or “I’m not” into a positive “I can” or “I am”. As I listened to the sermon, I could relate to every word Pastor Steven spoke that day. I might as well have been the only person on that auditorium that day. Insecurities have always been my “Achilles Heel,” so it struck me hard. I cried real tears that day. No preacher has ever been able to reach me like that, nor have I been able to relate to the things that a preacher was saying. For the first time I raised my hands to the Lord in praise. I wasn’t afraid I what anyone else thought of me, or what they would think, I just knew that message was for me. One my way home, I was excited. I stopped by Target and picked up some Dry-Erase markers. When I got home, after posting up my notes from the sermon, I immediately wrote on my bathroom mirror accolades to say to myself every day. Replacing the negative “I’m not ____” with a positive “I am ____.” I wrote on my mirror:
“I am Strong
I am Beautiful
I am Worthy
I am Successful I am Happy
I will Overcome
I will be Loved”
From that day on, I’ve been a different person, and slowly becoming a better me. I began to understand what it was like to want to have a relationship with the Lord, and to want to read the bible, learn scriptures and how they can help you with your situations. I was so excited about this new epiphany and wrote a letter to the church about how much the series changed my life. A few days later, I got a call from an intern saying that they wanted me to share my story at the end of the series. I was thrilled! It was so cool to be able to get up in front of the church and Pastor Furtick and see the smile on his face. It was the greatest feeling. I finally began to pray, and understand what that conversation with Lord can do. It was enlightening. I’ve never had that kind of fire inside me for being a Christian. It was a relief to know that to be a Christian, you don’t have to be judgmental. God isn’t going to turn his back on you if you have tattoos, or if you listen to R&B or if you like jazz clubs, or like to dance. You can be yourself and still love God. Elevation is the first church to make me feel that way. No judgement, no guidelines, no prerequisites, I felt welcomed and a part of a church family even from the first time I walked in the door.
I feel a love for Elevation that I have never felt for a church, and that says a lot. I fell in love at first sight. A church has changed me and my life for the better. I’ve learned so much its insane. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get through the hardest year in my life the word I’ve gotten from Pastor Furtick, or the music I’ve gotten from Elevation Worship. All because of a message entitled “I know that I am,” was I able to deal with the insecurities that have been holding on to me for most of my life. Because of that message I’ve overcame some things that have controlled the way I thought of myself. Since then I’ve been able to tell myself “I know that I am.”
I know that I am happy at this church. I know that I am a different person. I know that I am not done growing. I know that I am healed. I know that I am a conqueror. I know that I am more than grateful for this amazing place that I can call church home