“What are we doing?” That’s the first question I asked my Pastor as we unloaded boxes from cars. We were a small ministry with about twenty members. Boxes upon boxes of learning materials, cooking utensils, food, blankets and baby supplies. Again I asked, “What are we doing?” As we entered the side door leading to the stark fellowship hall, we were greeted by an elderly but stately usher. She smiled and said to us: “You did it!” I smiled back having no idea what we had “done” besides unload boxes. It wasn’t until after church that he explained how God spoke to him to begin preparing for a famine and an influx of outcasts. His wife stood with him and they asked me to sing a song that he loved: “Anointing Fall on Me.” With great hesitation, I stood up obediently and belted out above the soft piano… “ANOINTING… FALLLL on MEEEE!”
Towards the end of the year, during service, a man who was completely drunk staggered into the church and plopped down beside me. I scooted over a bit next to the Pastor’s wife to avoid the smell. Five minutes later he started getting closer and closer, his hand reaching to my knee, just below my hemline. I didn’t move. I was frozen, but not afraid. He looked at me and smiled a wicked smile and said, “Do you remember me?” I don’t know how I mustered the strength to reply: “I don’t remember you but yes, I remember that spirit.” The Pastor saw it from the pulpit and his wife was poised, but outraged as she grabbed me closer to her. He rebuked him from the pulpit and continued his sermon.
After church, the Pastor had everyone clear out and he spoke to the man, who was sitting in a slump crying out to God for forgiveness. He gave his life to Christ that same day.
As we were feeding others, I excused myself to the ladies’ room and splashed cold water on my face. I was only 24 years old. It struck me that when the spirit in him spoke, what I “remembered and recognized” was a time early in my childhood around the age of nine that a boy older than I, approached me after school, removed my playmates from around me and pinned me up against a wall and kissed me. Not a peck either. I fought him off and screamed and cried until help came. He didn’t give his life to Christ. He laughed as they carried him to the expulsion room.
Are you laughing at the blatant harassment you walk past every day in silence?
Gathering myself, I returned to serving the lost and the hungry. I spoke with my Pastors about what had happened after church and they explained to me it was a “familiar spirit.” My Pastor went on to say that the reason he had me, of all people, sing that song was because he saw in my future and knew I’d encounter some form of sexual harassment again in my life within the church and he wanted me protected. They prayed for me and he said, “We are preparing you for the places you will go, the things you will do and the people you’ll serve.”
Twenty years later, he was spot on. I can spot a lust filled heart 100 miles away. I am grateful for that foundation and the grace of God, that gives me the strength to deal with it. It’s lurking in the shadows of social media, it’s hiding behind lecterns, it’s preaching the Gospel and it’s aired on television. (Greenleaf, Scandal, etc..)
If you have ever been assaulted, abused or harassed, you aren’t alone and I want to share this quote with you brave and beautiful souls: “You won’t be TRAPPED by the TRAUMA, you’ll be TRAINED by it!” -Bishop Michael A. Blue.
You’re equipped for a battle you don’t have to fight.
If you do the standing, God will do the strengthening and you’re by no means done yet; you’re just getting started!
Love yourself as Christ loves the Church, forgive your offenders because one thing I’ve learned, they are in a worse hell than the day they even tried to harm you. Be strong and courageous for greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world or the church or the school or the office. Shine your light until one day the darkness decides to sit down and try to comprehend the majestic complexities of you. Beautiful Souls and Pure Hearts are no longer targets-we my sisters, are tools in the Arsenal of God.
To the men readers I ask in love: What are you doing and are you done yet?
Natasha Stevens was born in a two parent, loving home to an attorney and a teacher and has lived in several countries. From humanitarian efforts to education and speaking engagements, she enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life. An Executive Team Member of Pitch2Me, she is blessed to be able to offer film finance for aspiring filmmakers. Her best friend is Jesus and she has over 4000 children in the form of adult entrepreneurs. As an ambassador for Girl Rising having held two screenings and implemented curriculum in a school, Natasha hopes to awaken others to the wonderful opportunities of giving back.