Purifying the Altar of the Heart

Every Season Changes You

By Helen Gill-Smith

Three songs come to mind: “Getting to know you” by Julie Andrews from the movie “The King and I” one of my favorites, and “Turn Turn Turn” by The Byrds, who sing quotes from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. When it came out, I had no idea it was scriptural. Then, of course, the old classic “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook serenades my mind as I begin to share my story.

My grandfather was a Pastor, and my mother attended his church, so I was born and raised in the church. My mother stopped attending while my sister and I were pre-teens for unknown reasons, but she allowed us to make our own decision to continue or discontinue. We chose to proceed with our grandparents.

Soon after I turned 13, we moved to the other side of the City and could not get to the church on our own; and only attended if we could get a ride from our grandparents. Soon those rides faded, and not knowing if the area had churches, we stayed at home with our mom until an aunt who lived close asked our mom if we could attend church with her and her family, and she agreed.

A few years later, my family left that church for reasons unknown and attended a different church, as I stayed. Soon I would hear negative talk about my family and realized why they left, and then I became the target. I remained at the church for a short while before following my family but never joined that church as I did not feel I belonged. However, I was actively involved in ministry because my aunt was in leadership.

In High School, I met a girl who introduced me to others who made me feel like I belonged (even though I was involved in extracurricular activities because of my aunt); I transferred from another school due to an error. My mom and I chose a school with a trade, but it was also a “Special Ed” school unbeknownst to us. While waiting for the transfer, I was alone in the cafeteria with assigned work. However, the new school didn’t get the correct memo and placed me in Special Ed classes. While I waited for another correction, I was placed in the library alone with assigned work until courses opened with vacancies.

While growing up, my father was not around. Shortly after we moved and my mom went to court for child support, she informed us of a few details mentioning that he stated that we were not his children. Soon after I struggled with academics, it took me longer to get it, whatever IT was. Later teachers realized, I just learned differently. My mother had a hard time believing I could not get it and hired a tutor. Praise God that she took the time to understand my mind worked differently, and I needed things to be explained in full detail. I just required some things to be worded differently and understood my way; I’d often have to do the work over because it was not the teacher’s way, even if my method was correct.

It took me a while to get involved in academics; many of the students would bully me, talk about me, or not allow me to participate. To avoid the wrong kind of confrontation, I would ignore it or find another, just as I did at church. One day a friend invited me to her church two blocks from the church I was visiting. On my first visit, I fell in love with the sound of music coming from the choir stand. It was amazing and moved me in a way I’ve never felt; it filled me with much joy. Much later, I would discover an anointing on that choir and everyone upfront, no matter what their lifestyle was outside the four walls.

As I scanned the singers, I noticed I knew almost everyone. We all attended the same High School! A few Sundays later, I joined and jumped right into the choir because I was a singer. The pastor spoke about change, and I was looking and hungry for one. At this time in my life, I noticed the changes with every season of my life.

Along with noticing the changes, I also saw the toxicity of REJECTION and ABANDONMENT, a pattern and stronghold that traveled with me starting in my pre-teens to adulthood seasons. Still, I did not have the language for it at the time.

As I reviewed my life I noted as a pre-teen, a family member whom I loved as a brother molested me, family members talked about my weight fluctuating & not having a boyfriend, I was groped and grabbed by boys, locked in a pastor’s office who wanted sex, and approached for sex, held hostage by a bus driver in Jr. High which resulted in me walking home from school over 2 miles through what I called the woods because I wanted to hide. Never was I afraid; I felt safe and secure alone in the woods, not knowing my Heavenly Father covered me, not only in the woods but through every season. Once the news hit that women were getting raped and murdered in such woods, my walking stopped. Yet, years later, in those same woods, a trusted friend I loved as a brother forced me to perform a sexual act.

During my last year of High School, I started dating a guy reluctantly because I was not interested in dating. My goals were getting out of school {graduating} because I was not too fond of school due to what I went through. I would double up on classes, such as taking History 1 and 2 during the same semester when I could. It worked, and I completed high school and enrolled in college by February of my graduating year. My college allowed me to return to high school for graduation day and walk off stage with my class.

Dating became intense, and we planned to be together forever, unsure when we would marry until I became pregnant. We agreed that we were a great pair/couple and knew it would last and decided to get married after the child was born. Although my dream did not come in the order I wanted, it was still happening, and I was happy until it too would change.

After our child was born, I found out he was cheating, and eventually, he admitted it. I did not know how to handle such heartache at this age, and I snapped. For over a year, I would yell and attack every conversation with my words. After my mom took me aside, I took myself aside and assessed the situation for a change. I decided to be cordial so we could raise our child together. But there was significant damage inside me, and I had no idea. Promiscuity and the life of a mistress (known or unknown) took form, and for the most part, hidden. There was a profound disconnect not just from family and friends but from myself, and sex became my drug.

While pregnant, some members wanted me out of the choir, there were times they did not acknowledge me as a first-time mother, and some friends started to fade, all because I was not married. Little by little, I began to step away from church life. The pastor’s wife called me and encouraged me by saying I had no reason to be ashamed because I was not and will not be the only one pregnant and not married. Even though I returned to service with a baby and my head held high with her backing me up, it was not enough, and eventually, I left, but mainly because of my awareness of my drug.

The men were from all walks of my life. Even in this state of mind, I was picky and mindful of care for my child, finding a full-time job with benefits, and being where I needed on time, faithful, and dependable. It was as if I was on autopilot as two different women, which worsened. I knew who to call for whatever I wanted and primarily for conversation, not intercourse; and for some men, there was never sex. I was blind by the need to please and be loved by men, unaware it was a need for my father, a male leader, a big brother, or a spiritual father.

When I left the church, I condemned myself, questioning, “What kind of a leader was I? If I can’t get control of myself, how can I teach others to do so?” They don’t need me, so I’ll stay at home with my destructive self. Even though I wasn’t the only one, I could only focus on myself and change. Some men knew exactly what to say to sway and manipulate to get what they wanted, and I would get caught up in sexual sin. They drew me in with talk and the attention I desired and possibly noticed the naive little girl looking for her father. And in my twisted mind and broken, REJECTED, and ABANDONED heart, I felt I owed them sex.

One night as I slept, I encountered Father God Himself. It felt like an earthquake, but it was a personal one that woke me out of my sleep. The voice was sweet and quiet but stern. He said, “child, get up, and not just from the bed.” He showed me my life, and I cried and cried with conviction and no more condemnation, got on my knees, and asked for forgiveness and a way out of the mess I was in and how to get on a journey for a clean heart and a renewed mind. His love and compassion filled the room; I felt warmth around me and on the inside of me. He assured me that I would be accepted into the church and become more than I ever thought I would be; my life is not over, and he and others loved me. 

It was a Saturday evening, and on Sunday morning, I returned to open arms just as He said. However, some of the people I no longer remembered. I did not realize that I had blockages of my memories regarding trauma. It would be discovered after my second divorce, almost identical to the break up of my first love and seeing a spiritual and anointed counselor.

Here is where the prompting of the Holy Spirit and many prayers revealed the beginning of blockages over my life span that started with my father leaving. Revealing a conversation with my sister about our father taking us places and buying us things, and I remember nothing of him. There was also memory loss in relationships that ended in trauma, and not remembering sex with men in my brokenness, only knowing it happened. Even forms of trauma in both marriages of abuse and REJECTION came to memory. Also, while attending one of the Signature Coaching Programs of Character 4 Life Global, Inc., in RECOVER IT ALL, I discovered more about why I gravitated to men, it was a desire to connect and build a relationship with my father and Father God.

As I Spiritually grew, my heart began to mend and understand the anointing on my life. Father God’s unconditional love for me and accepting He was my forever love, has always been, and will always be, and I was looking for love and acceptance in the wrong places. As I grew my relationship with Father God, I understood why I chose the roads along my journey.

Through every season, I was not just growing up; I was changing and noticing the changes; mind, heart, and spirit. Assessing the changes according to the Word of God, whether I realized it or not, the Word has been in me since childhood. It was how I could function in my dysfunction, not knowing I was being led in and out of some situations by the Holy Spirit.

The most remarkable season of change has been getting to know Father God and growing our relationship. Taking time out to build and cultivate that relationship has saved my life. Being brought up in the church was a blessing; it fed my spirit, and I didn’t even know it. It gave me a foundation before I ever knew there was one. My mother also raised us, to be honest with ourselves and others; she taught us how to think for ourselves and be independent, ask questions to get a better understanding; but to ask the right questions, you had to pay attention and assess the situation.

As you cultivate honesty with yourself, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and others, it will bless your life! Learn what makes you tick, know your weaknesses and strengths, and assess yourself through your seasons of change. Spend time with yourself to assess and evaluate yourself during and after every season, ask the hard questions, and answer them. If you do not have the answer spend time with the Holy Spirit seeking insight to know and understand yourself will help you in your next season of change.

Recognize the growth and changes, celebrate every victory, know yourself better than the enemy so you can fight his lies, partner with the Holy Spirit, and get control over things that are out of control. If you don’t know yourself, you are open to being destroyed, manipulated, and controlled by the enemy who will toy with you until he has all of you, and then he will drop you like a hot potato stranded somewhere. Surrendered to The Father and build the relationship, let Him be your strength where you are weak. Understanding and knowing who you are helps you get control of your life, thoughts, and actions. It helps you live righteous and holy, and you can take constructive criticism, not be ashamed by your past where it cannot hold you hostage or in bondage.

Every season will change you, accept it, and do the right thing with it; grow.

Helen is a Daughter of the King. She is a retired City worker, a mother of grown men, a grandmother, the firstborn of two women. Helen has worked in ministry for almost her entire life, starting as a child singing in the choir and acting. She currently ministers as a singer and actor for CJ Productions, an intercessor and encourager writer of the Daughters of Zion, a leader of the Freedom Community, a Healing Coach for her coaching ministry Dare To Heal Experience, a recording artist singing background, including lead, and an entrepreneur.

Contact Helen: dthexperience@gmail.com

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