For our final week of transitioning into a Woman of God. We have the honor of hearing the story of Sheveze Anderson. I know, it’s my mother and I’m not biased but her testimony is so real and so relatable!! Please read below as she is totally transparent about her journey on becoming a Woman of God!!!
Transitioning to a woman of God is an everyday, all day process.
Wear the full armor of God. Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks. That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist, and on your chest wear the protection of right living. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows that come from the Evil One. Accept God’s salvation as your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.
Ephesians 6:11, 13-18 ERV
I can tell you that this transition has not been easy. I can remember starting to build a life at 17, a newborn, a high school diploma and my man. I always knew there would be things to get over but I never imagined the things that would come against me. I had a very defined sense of the things that I would and would not accept in a relationship. I had been through a pretty rough childhood so I was street smart, book smart and mean. I declared I would never be homeless, I would not put up with anyone that used or sold drugs and I would not take any man back that cheated on me. You can laugh now, you can image that when I turned my life over to Christ, the devil said watch and see.
It was me, Michael and Tawanna against the world. Michael and I hussled hard to make end meets. At 20 we decided to have another baby so our children would be close in age. I got pregnant with no problems but at 5 months I was in labor and the doctor told me the child would not survive childbirth. I thought it was a miracle when our daughter Krystal took her next breath and kept on taking them. She weighed 1lb 13ozs and had 3 complete blood transfusions the first week of her life. The next 8 months were emotionally draining on her and our family. She was shipped to Detroit Children’s hospital where she had heart surgery and 16 shunt surgeries on her brain in 8 months. She went blind from the oxygen and eventually had no real chance at life. We worked with the doctors and made the decision to end medical treatment. I was 21 and spent most of the 8 months of her life alone sitting in the Ronald McDonald House terrified. I had no formal relationship with God but he still kept me. Michael was working full time and caring for a toddler with the help of my cousin Tony Brown and some of the family. It was horrible. Krystal died within 15 minutes of being removed from life support, in her father’s arms smiling for the first time in her life. I was shattered in my spirit, but it was still us against the world.
Fast forward to the 90’s, I found out Michael was cheating on me , I was devastated in a whole new way. Of course I know men cheat but he was ignorant with it and disrespectful so I grabbed ahold of my bootstraps and walked away from the only real family I had known. I had no idea how I was going to make it and I still had no formal relationship with God.
I keep reminding you I had no formal relationship with God because I did not like church in any way. I had seen church folk who were mean and hateful and I believed if that is what church does for you, I’m good. This is the part where I will remind each one of you to encourage your brothers and sisters who are not in christ; speak to them with love. I worked with a woman named Joyce Skillman who ministered to me without trying, she always shared with me how good God was, she encouraged me to seek him. I always loved God but I was angry about the things God had allowed to happen to me so I was reluctant to reach out to him. She always spoke to me about God’s love. My best friend Vincent Evans was another one, he encouraged me to come to Ebenezer I was like oh no. ..no church for me.
I was a mess, my marriage was in shambles, I tried shopping my depression away and ended up deep in debt. I made terrible financial and emotional decisions. My daughter was lost, she was used to the three of us being against the world and now we were against each other. Everything was falling apart. One night I had a nightmare and God told me I would never get anywhere until I did what he said. I woke up shaking. I could not wait to get to work to see this lady name Patty Lane, she knew God. I told her my nightmare and she looked at me and said “What more do you need, a burning bush? ” I said wow, I think it’s time to find a church. Of course I never even tried but God knew what to do, he sent Vincent Evans to invite us to friends and family day at Ebenezer. I packed up my shattered family and we dragged into Ebenezer . I can tell you it was a different experience. People hugged us, spoke to us and made us feel welcome. The next week Michael got up got dressed and we went back. We have been there ever since.
I love Ebenezer because Jesus found me sitting there, broken. Bishop Knox taught me to have a relationship with God, not the church. He taught me to take my problems to God and wait on an answer. Guess what happened, you know it. ..the devil was pissed. He attacked my family again.
Michael took a left turn back to the streets. Getting high, gambling, selling drugs, women, the whole nine. I kept trying to figure out how to end my marriage but keep my relationship with God. I prayed and cried and prayed and cried and cried and cried. There was a move of God inside reminding me to be still. I keep wanting to act a fool but I couldnt. I realized if I did what God said, he made a way. I was humiliated so often by the women he was screwing. They called me and people told me but I kept it moving. I held my head up and reminded myself that God said he would he fight my battles if I trusted him. Bishop Knox preached a sermon on being OK in the middle of a mess. I knew he was talking to me. I cried for two days but I held my peace. I’m still hood ya’ll so there was some bad days, oh yeah but I knew who to act a fool with. There were crazy days ahead.
Michael went to prison, I lost my house and my daughter moved to Atlanta. The three Amigos were officially seperated. In the meantime my mother died and then 5 months later Michael’s grandmother died. I felt like everyone turned against me. Shirley Martin and Rejene Lewis, they held me down. I had God, Rej and Shirley, my family and my sisters by choice. God kept me, he kept reminding me to be obedient and all would be restored. It was hard and it was scary but I trusted him. I trusted God when I wanted to quit, I trusted God when I wanted to scream and cry, I trusted God when I was broke and broken. I trusted God.
Did you notice what happened? The three things that I declared at 17 I would never put up with, I had to deal with? But God.
My transition to a woman of God came with great sacrifice. I had to learn to leave my pride at the door. I had to learn to trust God no matter what the situation looks like. I had to believe even when I wanted to quit; it was worth it.
Now I understand the old southern hymnal you will understand it better by and by. I had an unnatural attachment to Michael. Every struggle brought us closer and closer and God needed me to understand who I was individually. Michael’s infidelity and all the terror we went through broke the attachment and I became a person in my own right. I was no longer Michael’s wife, Tawanna’s mother and Menia’s daughter, I became Sheveze. I learned who I was as a person apart from the roles I was given. Once I learned to put God first and to love Michael unconditionally my life began to realign and now our attachment includes God.
God restored my family, he made a way for me to have a new home, he restored me and healed me in places I forgot was broken. I had to humble myself and trust God in every situation. The work he is doing in me is worth every heartbreak, every trial and every tribulation.
My transformation is still happening but I’m stronger with every tear.
My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be.
James 1:2-4 ERV