‘I think I am Jesus’.

This sentence is a classic sign of schizophrenia. How many times have you watched movies where someone is locked in a mental hospital because they feel that they ‘have spiritual powers’ or ‘hear the voice of God whispering to them in the night’.

Three years ago that person was me. I was screaming in hospital rooms, stopping time, writing notes in a frenzy, feeling as though I was God Himself and as if nobody understood me. To an extent, they didn’t – but there was also a lot at that time that I myself did not understand.

After a dose of medications, I came out of that experience with the understanding that what had happened to me was medically known as, psychosis. Psychosis is the experience of seeing things that other people don’t, hearing things that others don’t, feeling as though people are putting thoughts into your head, and feeling as though you are so powerful that you must be God incarnate. I had had enough psychology training to know that this is what happens to you when you are broken because things have not gone well in your life. I was determined at one point to just forget the whole thing and continue on with normal life, going to work and completing my exams as if nothing had happened.

However, I found that regardless of how delusional I had been, there was some things I could not forget. I had had grand visions of spirits descending to earth, I had discoursed with Eve in Eden and ran with Adam, I had had the experience of being washed and cleansed by a transcendent unconditional love that I could not explain away. I had never thought much of religion or spirituality or Christianity before my psychosis experience. I did not even believe in God – so it was incredibly strange to me that I could have told someone that I felt like I was Jesus. I didn’t even believe in Jesus. So what did I mean when I said that? To feel like Jesus, what does that mean?

I realized I could not answer that question until I knew about Jesus. Deciding to explore, I ventured off with a friend of mine to God’s house. I found myself in a black Pentecostal church complete with loud screams and flying chairs. A lively congregation of souls that I felt like I had no right to be a part of. Expressed with joy, I heard stories of people who had heard the unheard throughout time, who had seen the unseen and who knew by that grace, that God walked with them. I found it difficult to accept at the time. I was constantly bothered by the feeling that if I tried to identify with my new spiritual understanding, I would be self-deluding myself. If I let myself believe that God was real and that my experience of psychosis was a spiritual purging and emerging, I would be embracing my own pathology. However, I continued to attend, walking apprehensively along the thin line of mysticism and madness hoping that one day I would have the clarity and assurance, that I was not actually mad. Not entirely anyway.

The assurance came gradually. The more I read and talked to people from different paths of life, I began to accept that during my experience of psychosis I had been exposed to a spiritual reality I had not known before. I realized that when in a moment of mania, I had proclaimed that I felt like Jesus, I was connecting to the truth – but only a part of it.

What I had discovered at the time was that I was powerful, spiritual, I had a purpose, I mattered. That was overwhelming for me. Imagine living your whole life feeling as though you are nothing and then one-day discovering that the whole power of the universe is sitting inside of your stomach – that you are the daughter of that power that created the planets. The joy of that recognition flooded my heart and I could think of nothing else except how powerful and strong I was. It is the same feeling as being intoxicated and feeling that you can fly, until you leap off the side of the building and realize, you are not a bird.

As I got to know Jesus I came to know a man who was fearless, care-full and care-free, spirit led, and unbound by the ruling hypocrisy of the world. Here was a man who wept when he was sad, who spoke truth at all costs, knew where he came from, understood his power and his strengths and loved with all the fullness of justice and mercy that a love for self and God and people can bring. I found a man of compassion and wisdom and hope. A man that walked in the fullness of God and that I hadn’t known when I had said I felt I was him when I was in psychosis, but who I found that I wanted to be like.

I wanted to live with the wholeness of Spirit and humanity that He showed. I came to understand that the problem during my psychosis was not that my idea of feeling grand was wrong, but that I had gotten drunk on it.  There was no balance. I had not learnt yet that being a Son of God means being humble in your power. That it means feeling worthy enough to have your feet washed by your friends, but also being humble enough to get on your knees to wash theirs. That it means being centered in who you are and in your gifts, but not being boastful in them. That it means knowing that yes you are a child of God and you are part and parcel of the glory, but that ultimately you are not God and you can do nothing without Him.

What I came to understand is that the true goal of our spiritual lives is to reveal the Christ natures within ourselves and to be fully transformed into a reflection of the most high. That we may be mirrors in the way that Jesus is. In my psychosis I caught a glimpse of God within myself and ran with it. I saw the power and magnified my own importance, and minimized true love, humility, and meekness. It is only that balance however, that can bring us into fullness. The balance that lets your right hand correct your left and vice versa.  It is that balance that separates mysticism from madness.

Psychosis is one of those experiences that is highest in black female populations and I do wonder how much of that is tied to women discovering and trying to reclaim their divine power after it has been buried for so long in this society. My advice to those women is, keep pressing on. There will come a day where you finally feel at one with your magic.

This brilliant post was written by Mica Montana . We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

Waiting on God can be tedious. You are praying about what you desperately want God to change but nothing is happening. You feel as though your prayers are falling on deaf ears or that God has forgotten all about you. We live in a time where we want God to do everything now and we want it our way. We forget that we are human and our desires are not always what is best. However, if God was to give us the things we wanted at the time we feel like we want it, would it really help us? Would it actually be good for us? Let’s be honest with ourselves.

The season of waiting is the moment we prepare our hearts for what is to come; it is the time where you grow up and become stronger, learning from your mistakes and becoming mature enough to be able to handle what God will give you. It is also a time where you tend to become more intimate with Him and allow the Holy Spirit to settle in your heart and work in it.

The aim of the game is simple:

Wait patiently for the Lord;
Be brave and courageous.
(Psalms 27:14)

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. No one loses in this game, apart from the enemy.

I have played the waiting game before. I’ve waited for God to answer my questions, why some opportunities fell through, why I’m doing a degree I’m most likely not going to use in the future. I’ve waited for God to make things work. I’ve waited for God to provide for me. I’ve waited for His direction. I’ve pleaded. I’ve cried. I’ve vented but I remind myself that God is my strength, he gives it to me when I need it the most (Isaiah 40:28-31) and reminds me to take each day as it comes (Matthew 6:34). It is okay to have moments where you feel to open your heart to God and pour out your frustration. God wants us to be honest with Him. It is okay to be weak for when we are weak, we are made strong.

It is through this waiting period I have come to know how God can provide for me emotionally, one thing we tend to forget. I’ve been told and reminded throughout my whole walk with God that emotions change and that we should never act upon them. However, it should never be something to hide and ignore. During my season of waiting, there was a point where I neglected myself emotionally because I was way too eager with trying to let God’s will be done in the physical – I wanted to see God come through with the blessings coming from left, right and centre: job offers here, functional relationships there, financial stability everywhere. It was by force, then I’d get angry with God’s lack of cooperation then try again.

The key is patience. When you don’t have it, it is a hard thing to grasp. You will be asking God to a point where you are demanding Him. The desire is now no longer on God’s will to be done but for his will to be done your way. Your focus is so on that particular thing to a point where it may have become an idol and you may not know it. When you let go and let God do His job, pray that the Holy Spirit takes a hold of your heart, cleanses and changes it. As you do this, the fruits of the spirit will be produced and will become evident in your actions and thoughts.

When you start to see this through God’s eyes, you will learn to appreciate the beauty within something that occasionally seems lonely and empty. You tend to learn about yourself and you are able to witness your desires change as you communicate with God more. It is without a doubt a moment where you feel your faith is tested but stand firm; remember, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

God will deliver in the timing that suits Him. What you may think is a delay to you is not a delay to God (Habakkuk 2:3). While you wait for the Lord, take delight in Him. Praise His name in advance, become closer with Him. He is your rock, your comforter, your healer and your provider. Do not feel discouraged, God can hear you. God sees your heart. He understands and He is preparing the thing you are praying for His way and will give it to you in His time.

Do not underestimate what God is doing in your time of waiting but praise Him in advance.

This brilliant post was written by Simone Ziel. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

I am 23 years old and I’ve never been in a relationship. For many years I felt confused as to why this was the case. I’ve said, “I can’t believe I’m 21 and I’ve never been in a relationship!” more times than I could count. Season after season, singleness after singleness; the statement never changed only my age increased.

Not only was I confused, I was embarrassed by it. I could deal with the question, “are you seeing someone?” I could say no and keep it moving. But, if a person asked “How long have you been single?” Cut the cameras! How do I answer that without looking like I’m from Mars?

God is from Mars. As Christians, we are from Mars as well. Let me explain: God is unconventional. His ways are out of this world (Isaiah 55:9). If He is at work in our lives, won’t our lives be different from what is normal or human? The lives we live won’t follow the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2) because of our non-conforming Orchestrator. With this in mind, is it strange that I’ve never been in a relationship?

As much as I know who God is, I still wanted to be like everyone else. Most people have been in at least 1 or 2 relationships in the past. You know what they say, “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” and naïvely I believed this.

A few years ago, I took matters into my own hands in a quest to meet someone. My efforts worked. I met a guy, let’s call him Dean. He was all I wanted—our yoke was equal (tick). He was tall (tick). He was dark (tick). He was handsome (double tick). He liked me. I liked him. The door was opening slightly. Bang! God slams the door. Noooooo, how could you do this to me God?

Our phone conversations weren’t going anywhere, so when he stopped calling I knew it was over. Dean did not have the confidence to take the next step. So he dashed out of my life as quickly as he came. I accept blame too because I lacked the courage to ask him what his intentions were. God ended it to stop us from wasting each other’s time.

Even though it was my fault for starting the whole thing I resented and avoided God instead of praying and laying my feelings out before Him. The anger I felt for being single for so long stopped me. How did I move from this place to being content in God?Well, it dawned on me that it didn’t make sense to fight the only person who could help me understand why I had never been in a relationship. My sour self went to Him; His love was the sweetest thing.

This was my journal entry at the time:

 “I am still single but I don’t see it as a negative thing. My renewed relationship with God has made me ecstatic. It’s the most important relationship of all…In desiring a relationship more than anything else, I behaved as though a relationship meant more to me than Jesus. Was I crazy?”

Was this the last of my discontentment? No. But I had to embark on an unhurried journey of delving into His word, pouring my real emotions onto Him. And ultimately, learning that I cannot change His timing by proactiveness or sulking. Two years later, this popular scripture resided deep in my heart:

“I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me”—Philippians 4:12-13 (GNT)

Whether I am single or in a relationship; I have the strength to live through any relationship status by the power that Christ gives me. I had discovered what I call the gift of contentment. We cannot get the gift if we do not go to God. It is possible to be satisfied in your singleness even if you’ve always been single. I am and so can you. Contentment calmed the raging storm of wanting to be someone’s girlfriend. Now my desire to be in a relationship remains but does not run wild. I had to be still in singleness and know that He is God.

This brilliant post was written by Toju Brown. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

Do we really forgive people for having a rough past? Women are judged harder than men for making a few mistakes in their teens/early twenties and I want to know why.

When the crowd wanted Jesus to persecute the adulterous woman, he said “let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). We must remember that the man and the woman committed the sin. Double standards means that only the woman’s sin was looked at. Society bestows the condemnation onto the woman alone, shame is sexist.

As a woman who grew up in Nigeria, we were taught to be upright, pure and meek. This idea was subconsciously imbedded in us. Men were allowed the freedom to have all the ‘fun’ they wanted in their teens and twenties, they could be as promiscuous as they wanted. If a woman was promiscuous? She wasn’t ready for marriage; it was as simple as that.

Therefore, my motto was to ignore boys and be the pure and chaste girl who will eventually marry and have a happily ever after. Sounds simple, right? However, to my dismay, my life changed, dramatically.

I was dating Jeremy* for a few years, in my eyes he wasn’t like other men, he was well educated, loving and mature. My life changed when I eventually became pregnant at 18. Thankfully, I still managed to finish my degree, get a job and somewhat fit into society. Shockingly, the man who I thought was perfect delved into infidelity, I tried my best fix our relationship, knowing full well that if not, I would now be tainted. Jeremy also knew this, the advantage he had as a man from our culture means that it was hard to leave him. As woman who has had a child, this would be deemed social suicide. After many years of trying to hold our relationship together, I eventually walked away, I became that twenty-something year old, struggling single mother. Not what I would’ve planned for my life.

Alas, I did not fit into the Nigerian family stereotype, I had done the despicable, had a child out of wedlock, thus not fit for marriage, not fit to marry a well brought up decent Nigerian man from a Nigerian home.  This is not the case for men, a child out of marriage can simply be put down to some sort of youthful exuberance. Again, shame is sexist.

I would be described as a stereotypically ‘good girl’, I do not smoke, drink, party and have only slept with one man. In the eyes of a Nigerian family, because of my child, I became a jezebel, a prostitute and not worthy of a ‘good man’. I became very depressed, I tried my best to be perfect. On many occasions, I wanted to be run over by a car, I didn’t see the point of living if I could not get married. I had tried my hardest to not to fit into a stereotype but now I am the stereotype.

Flash-forward to today, I am thankful for Godly women, a strong mother, amazing sisters and awesome friends who encouraged me in the Lord. Although there was condemnation, I am thankful for a mother who pulled me up when I was down, who did not care when tried to bring us down and make her embarrassed.

My story is not finished, I will come back and write a sequel. I write this today thanking God for my life and your life, my pastor always used to reference Genesis 50:20, which says-  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. As a Christian, I must tell you this, do not commit sexual immorality as it is despicable in the eyes of God as with all sins. However, if you do fall, we are thankful for the grace we have in the Lord Jesus, even though we are not worthy, he is willing to pick us up and give us a fresh start.

Today, I write this to encourage the young woman who is going through this, to remind her that you are treasured by God. Never forget that.

*Name changed for privacy purposes

This brilliant post was written by Tilda M-O. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.

Sabrina EpouI grew up hating my body. Most people would have guessed this was a result of the images in the magazines, TV, or other cultural mediums but that wasn’t the case for me. I grew up hating my body because of the place where I spent time the most – the Church. The hate of myself as a black woman originated in the church.

I grew up in the church. Church on Wednesday nights, church on Sundays. It was all good until I began experiencing shame and disesteem for my womanhood.

For me, middle school was the time where my body was figuring itself out, literally. During that time attending youth group and church, there was a woman within the church that was out for me and my emerging cleavage. Constantly telling me, in front of others, to pull up my shirt. I was embarrassed. I started walking around with my hands on my chest, I eliminated V-necks from my wardrobe, even turtle-necks didn’t seem to cover me up enough in my eyes. I felt so much shame from this woman, from the others she pointed my cleavage out to, and from the church. My mother started noticing that every shirt that I wore, no matter how “decent” it seemed to be in her eyes, my hands were always in that position to cover up my chest, and remained a tendency of mine to keep hiking my shirts up.

My shame translated to the worry that my relationship with Christ was going to be in turmoil as long as my cleavage was visible. I felt that as long as I was a woman with these parts, my main focus would be on hiding them. Shame moved from my cleavage to my whole body. I thought maybe if I was skinnier this wouldn’t be an issue, maybe if I was of a lighter skin tone this fact wouldn’t stand out as much.

I kept wondering which comes first my womanhood or my Christianity and if these two things could even coexist. When my view of womanhood was filled with insecurities, so was my relationship with God. Instead of letting my personal relationship with Christ influence the way that I dressed and being confident in that, my insecurities and my personal relationship with Christ suffered. Through these incidents I believed that in order for my relationship with Christ to be a certain way or at a certain level that I needed to dress a certain way to please him.

It took some time to delve into what womanhood and Christianity is and looks like for me. A woman may constantly wear turtle necks but still have a heart that is far from God or she can be in love with her body, the way that God created it to be, reflecting confidence and strong relationship with Christ. In this way, she looks at herself through Christ’s eyes DESPITE her cleavage. It is possible for the church to address womanhood without shaming women and causing them to drift from God and His love. I see aspects of the church nowadays that shame all that womanhood is and all that God has created it to be, that shame is directly correlated to women in the church who have diminished dreams and have taken a back seat to the power embedded in them.

Draw closer to God and every aspect of your life will reflect that, you, yes you, are a beautifully and wonderfully made woman of God.

This brilliant post was written by Sabrina Epou. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here

Views expressed by guest writers do not reflect that of Black Sisters Network.