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 I will call on the name of the Lord. 

     In this day and age, I find it hard to ignore the fact that there is a higher power. I also find it hard to connect with people who are not of faith. That conflict has been due to the fact that I was introduced to God very early in life. I could easily say it was my grandparents who raised me in the church that introduced me to God, but I would only be crediting man. It is God alone who affirmed my faith.

      Growing up being raised by southern baptist grandparents, we would attend church every Sunday faithfully. My grandfather served as a Deacon. My grandmother on the other hand wore many hats. She served as a deaconess, missionary and youth leader. Her deep involvement made the family devoted members. At 9 A.M. we attended Sunday school. That led into the service that began at 11 A.M. and ran through to 2, occasionally 3 P.M. After service all the grandkids would rush to catch a ride with another relative because if not, you were stuck there for at least an additional half hour waiting for my grandmother to finish catching up with the members of the church. Thankfully, kids move quick so needless to say we didn’t spend too much time hanging around waiting to get home to Sunday dinner! 

     At eight years old I was officially baptized and after that I joined the youth choir where just about every child was a family member. Praising God with my cousins was always a good time. Through that simple act of serving God at such a young age is where I received my anointing. There is an old song we were taught that is simply a reminder, “when the praises go up, the blessings come down.” I believe children enter the world as pure vessels and I’m thankful that before I began to feel the weight of the world, I had the perfect coping mechanism embedded in my spirit. Praise the Lord! 


   Our church had many elders and obviously with life comes death. So, growing up I became familiar with the concept of passing on. As a family we had lost many members before, but it wasn’t until my middle school years when we experienced our first real test of faith collectively. My grandfather, Robert Lee Evans II made his transition suddenly on March 10th, 2007. He was found in his bedroom on his knees in praying position. 

The night of his passing I was staying over an aunts house. It was a Saturday night and I remember being sick with a fever. Knowing what I know now, I realize my vessel was being prepared for grievance. The following morning, my aunt came into the house where my cousins and I had been getting ready for our regular Sunday routine. She sat us down and informed us that our grandpa wouldn’t be picking us up for Sunday school because he was no longer with us. That was one of the first Sundays I can recall not attending church. 

   The days leading up to the funeral were filled with heavy emotions. Our home was occupied by visiting family members yet it still felt so empty. I humbly admit this is where my faith began to dwindle. I thought I was strong but the challenges of life had influenced me in a way that made me question everything I had been taught in my religious upbringing. My mind was saying, “you got this!” The reality was I was crumbling inside. Cognitive dissonance had made its way into my spirit. As time moved so did we. My family went on with life because that’s just what’s supposed to happen, right? 

   Fast forward two and a half years. Kids are returning back to school from Thanksgiving break. It’s my favorite time of the year because my birthday is always the week of the holiday, sometimes falling on the exact day. The excitement that was drummed up by the holiday season was short lived because on December 5th, 2009 my father, Lance Edward Evans Sr. made his transition. That day still replays in my head. I was in the same place I received the news about my grandfather; my aunts house. Only this time us kids were getting ready for a Chris Brown concert. We were sitting around in the family room chatting and preparing for the eventful day ahead of us when my aunt came in the house and with a stern monotone, called out my name. I don’t remember the exact way she delivered the news to me but I can still feel the heat that rushed through my body as if it just happened. I don’t even remember crying much and yes we still went to the concert. Actually, we carried on with the day as if nothing happened. When we returned that night I was back in my new reality. 

   The following Monday my grandma sent me to school. At the time I guess my family thought that’s what was best. A couple of my close friends already knew what had happened so by the time I had arrived at school they were waiting by our usual morning meeting place to console me. I had been conditioned to just shake things off and not express the anguish I felt internally therefore we didn’t waste time discussing the situation. I made my way to first period wishing for someone to pull me out of what seemed to be a nightmare. 

   An angel met me in English class. Her name is Ms. Whalen. I wasn’t the ideal student but she always seemed to take interest in me. On this particular day she stepped out of her regular role as teacher and into the embodiment of God’s saving grace. My passive aggressive attitude was read and immediately met with genuine concern. She pulled me into the hallway and began to question me. I was hesitant to tell the truth because in my culture we do not discuss family matters with anyone other than family. That made the idea of therapy feel taboo. Anyway I managed to find the courage to let the cat out the bag. With a blank stare I mumbled, “My dads dead.” She then turned to tell the class to sit quietly and let them know she would be back shortly. I was still wishing I could just be home. Little did I know God was carrying me through. She brought me down to the guidance office where she introduced me her sister and told her what was going on. There was no time wasted in making decisions for me. I was directed to collect my belongings and they brought me home where I belonged. I am forever grateful to have had people step in and stand up for my emotional well-being. It taught me that taking time to process and mentally decompress is extremely vital. 

   Time passed although not much. Three months later on the third year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing our family lost yet another. The theory of death coming in threes proved itself to be true for us. On March 10th 2010, my great grandmother Addie Lee Adams transitioned after completing one hundred years along life’s journey. Death had found us again but this time the energy surrounding the loss was something that presented new insight. This particular experience with death is something I do pray people are blessed enough to witness. A true home going celebration where there is not a moment of sadness. The tears shed during her funeral were of gratitude. Everyone was uplifting and thanking God for granting us the blessing of experiencing an elder with a complete century of wisdom. 

  This celebration of a new ancestor taught me something very important about my great grandmother’s legacy. The power of Manifestation. Remember, we are talking about the woman who raised the woman who raised me. One of this God fearing woman’s most favored sayings was, “ninety nine and a half won’t do,” and she would eagerly wait for us to continue in unison, “you got to get the full one hundred!” I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words reiterated throughout the celebration. In fact we still say it til this day. 

   Now arriving at an epiphany I grew to understand death doesn’t have to hurt. Perception plays an enormous role in everything. Death in particular can be a monumental experience for those who choose to view the concept from a spiritual standpoint. It is extremely challenging because our flesh can be attached to the physical and we forget that you can not possess people. We are not in control of the amount of time we will share with our loved ones. We forget that God is the creator of all things and from earth we came to earth we must return. We forget that we are simply vessels here for the masters use. 

   After our series of unfortunate events we settled into our new normal, one without much light. As the years went by we made desperate attempts to avoid the pain behind the lack of love. Don’t get me wrong we all love each other very much. By lack in this case I mean the missing links. No one knew what to do about the fact that even though we have the memories to hold on to, we still felt incomplete without the love of the ones that were no longer present in the physical. 

   The emptiness that lingered on is something I realize many people today share and are struggling to fill. You don’t necessarily have to lose someone to feel empty. Voids come in many forms and it is easy to allow our flesh to be bound by burdens. After all we are human beings and being mindful of our human nature is crucial. Through my interactions with peers I have observed a pattern of inner child trauma and I believe that’s where majority of our affliction is rooted.

  Before I came into a more meditative state I was buckled in tight on the rollercoaster of depression. I was failing each test life threw at me. Fear took over where faith once resided. I let the devil steal my joy. I had forgotten who I was, where I come from, what I’ve been through. 

   It took me a while but I eventually connected with individuals that reminded me of all the things I had forgotten about myself. Through these new found connections I was not only reminded of who I am but also led to understanding many of life’s lessons. Now who I am, who I have always been is a child of God. One thing about God is he loves his children.      

    On the days the devil wasn’t busy playing games with me I would make the effort to seek God amid the worldly chaos. One day at work a friend had introduced me to the practice of Reiki while explaining the concept of chakras. At first I was a bit taken back because it was unfamiliar and I didn’t hear her mention God at all. The idea of practicing something that was not a part of my religion was worrisome. I remember thinking, “will God be ashamed of me? Will he think I am putting something before him?” Then it dawned on me. God is the creator of all things. God also sees and knows all. God knows the desires of our hearts, so he knows what I am exploring is solely for the purpose of seeking a closer connection to him. 

   Feeling at ease with the conclusion I came to, I made my way to a local crystal shop to dive into this new world of metaphysics. To my surprise the store was filled with spiritual artifacts from all walks of faith. I couldn’t help but notice the chemistry between the patrons of the store. I felt a sense of unity and respect for each individuals practice of choice while being inspired by the ability to coexist. The store radiated peace and harmony. The feeling felt familiar. After researching the items I chose to purchase I realized why they made me feel content. They were tools to utilize and aide in mediation. Meditation is where manifestation begins because according to Proverbs 18:21, “death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” In that moment I recollected thoughts my great grandmothers spirit and legacy. I remembered the importance of speaking positive to make room for that positive attitude to manifest. As I allowed myself to have a little faith in the energy these tools brought forth I thanked God for showing me one of his many creations that had began to open many doors for me. God showed me a new life. The only thing I had to do was change my mind. I know first hand that it’s not as easy as it sounds but according to Matthew 17:20 it simply takes the faith of a mustard seed to be able to move mountains. We have the ability to accomplish anything we set our minds to. Also Deuteronomy 30:19 expresses the duality within the challenge of finding balance in life. It reminds us that we are all faced with decisions and we have to “choose life” so that we may live. 

  There are many people in my life that question my decisions and beliefs these days which has shown to be yet another challenge I’ve come to face. I can only speak for myself and share the ways God has show me his grace and mercy with hopes that it inspires someone else to allow themselves to be seated in transparency with the understanding that when you surrender to the higher power and allow God to use you, true healing happens within the mind, body and soul that our vessels are composed of. If you or anyone you know is struggling with this journey through life I encourage you to hold onto God’s unchanging hand. Meditate on the things that you have been through and how many times you may have wanted to give up but didn’t. You will realize that you are divinely protected. Those thoughts should serve as a reminder that the weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Make the decision to choose gratitude, love and life even on your worst days because this battle is not yours it’s the Lords. I will leave you with Matthew 7:7-8 that says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” 

---Candace's testimony: About
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