I was a liar, an extremely good one. But my salvation story isn’t about how Jesus saved me from lies. It’s more about how He took the life I once had and gave me an entirely new one. This change was all-encompassing. I lost my biological family at the time; they rejected me because I accepted Jesus. But I wouldn’t deny Him. I couldn’t deny Jesus. It wasn’t about what anybody said, I hadn’t even learned a lot from church yet. A change simply occurred, and I found something I wouldn’t let go of, for anything.
Christians don’t do so well at telling people what Jesus really accomplishes in a soul He acquires. We say He does lots of beautiful and safe things, but we never really tell people how Jesus makes you mad. Or maybe this madness was peculiar to me. I hope not. I really hope not. The form of experience I had in meeting Jesus, is something I would wish for anyone who meets Him. Jesus made me mad. But in a very good way.Jesus made me mad. But in a very good way.Click To Tweet
I was born to parents from separate religious backgrounds. My father was a Muslim, and my mother a Christian; but I couldn’t be gladder that I was brought up by my grandmother till I was about ten. She presented a near-perfect template of the Christlike life which I only benefited from as a youth after I had given my life to Jesus, which was long after I had stopped to stay with her.
As a child, her life appeared to have minimal influence on mine. Yes, we prayed together the Christian way, went to church together, but I was still as far from God as anyone could be. I was as abusive as any other child I knew, also had the reputation of being a most notorious liar – I turned situations around by telling a few simple lies. I was also exposed to sexual immorality early, not even knowing what I was getting into. I remember almost consummating a sexual act with a neighbor friend, still as a child. Now I look back at the incident and marvel at how God stopped that from happening just at the exact moment it would have. I realize how much He was involved in my life even when I knew so little of Him.
While at my grandmother’s, my father was strongly against my practicing Christianity, and made sure I stopped attending church with her. So I started taking Arabic lessons as a result which I continued when I finally left my grandmother’s place for my parent’s. I learned the Quran and came to the point of learning the “Itumo” as we called it in the Yoruba language. We were even preparing for my graduation when I met Jesus and crumbled the whole plan.
Related Story: Jesus’ Patience Broke Down My Defenses – Lawal
Reading Brought Me To Jesus
While still at Grandma’s, I had the privilege of learning the Beatitudes. I was supposed to participate in some recitation competition in primary school, which later didn’t hold. So the assumption was that my effort at memorizing the Beatitudes while practicing for the competition had been wasted. Until much later in life, now away from my grandma’s, when I got access to the Gideon’s New Testament Bible, which led to a series of happenings, did I come to understand that learning the Beatitudes, which were taught by Jesus Himself had been part of God’s elaborate plan to win me to Himself.
When I found the Gideon’s Bible, I thought, okay, let’s have a look at these Beatitudes I once memorized. And this, dear friend, was the beginning of my journey into Christ. That day, I ended up falling to my knees I prayers to God and asking to be saved. I did not realize the import of the gesture I made that day. All I knew was I had stumbled on some idea about God in the Bible and followed the instructions typed out in its concluding pages. I even felt I had to fill the form attached at the end of the Gideon’s Bible to complete my salvation, but I couldn’t. I feared for the trouble I’d get into if my dad were to discover what I had done. So I forsook filling the form. But despite thinking my salvation was incomplete, I knew something had changed as I began picking interest in things that concerned God.
My maternal part of the family was a Christian one, and I had an uncle who was studying to be a pastor. I started borrowing books from him to read. And at some point Word For Today and The Gideon’s Bible became my go-to books. As a teenager, I consistently read them at my parents’ place but ensured I wasn’t found doing so. And as I did, I noticed a steady rise in my desire to know more about this God.
There was this saying some of the Muslims around me used when they noticed a change in someone. Say you became more sober, gentler etc. they’d often append sentences with “…or are you planning on becoming a Christian?” I realized how much I had changed when my father addressed me with this same question. Of course, I denied. I lacked the boldness to confront him, so I kept whatever Christian thing I did a secret.
But the change was evident even to me. I still did a few wrong things but even when I did, I was very uncomfortable doing those things. I would sometimes have vivid inner convictions: “Dami, what you did was wrong, go and rectify it.” This God became that real to me.
Related Story: The Church Failed Me When I Needed Them Most – Pat
The Dreams Began
As I sought to know more about Jesus, I began having dreams. Vivid dreams. And although I had troubles understanding them I believe they helped form my belief in Jesus.
I once had an encounter where after a few happenings, a very tall being in off-white clothes walked up to me and said, “if you give me all you have, I’ll give you all you want.”
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Click To Tweet
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
In another instance, I was being chased by a beast because I had a key in my hand which I wasn’t willing to and wasn’t meant to let go of. I ran for a while till I stumbled and fell. This beast caught up with me and near strangulated me and all I knew to do was shout Jesus, and when I did, the beast immediately dropped dead.
Maybe this was God’s way of showing me how real Jesus was.
I Finally Gave Myself Over To Jesus
I finally decided to give myself over to Jesus when I got into the University. I began regularly attending church while I quit attending meetings at the mosques. I was even quite particular about the kind of church I wanted to attend, I wanted a place with as little distraction as possible so I could focus on learning this life of Christ.
I still kept my family in the dark about these things, but not for long.
My elder brother called me on a certain day. And after asking about my welfare, he asked if I had had my Salat – Muslim prayers. I answered in the negative and forth came the life-changing question: “or you’ve started attending church?” At this point, I’d come to accept I could no longer hide under the lies, so I confirmed I’d finally become a Christian. My distress began the moment my response left my lips. It wasn’t any bit interesting having him lose his earlier calm. He rained abuses on me over the phone, called me all sorts of name and then hung up. A short while after, my dad called and after going off on me asked that I immediately return home from school – which was in a different state.
I had a test the following day and requested that I be allowed to write the test, then I’d return home. I think it’d have been best if I just returned home without writing the test because I lacked every form of mental coordination whilst writing that test. How do you keep your thoughts together in such situations? I just, well, wrote the test.
Jesus Brought Me So Much Suffering But I Still Wouldn’t Deny Him
Everyone stood against me when I got home. I realized in that moment that what I’d found in Jesus was way different from the Christianity my mum practiced. Even she didn’t stand by me.
Not knowing how long I’d be asked to stay home, I had gone with my bible and about three of my school books. All these were seized the moment I got home. My phones were also ceased so I wouldn’t call anyone. My stepbrother stated that I wasn’t returning to school anymore until things were set right.
In the midst of all this, I found that God had a plan. A cousin of mine came visiting the same period I was asked to come home. He is the eldest of my paternal cousins and consequently commands respect from his other cousins, and even my father. He became the mouthpiece of God during these times. While everyone else scolded me for my decision, he who stood by me. He kept asking them to cease from treating me like they did, and that even if they wanted me to return to Islam, they were applying the wrong approach. He asked that they treat me with love. I recognized, through all this, how God worked through him to reduce my pain, and I was glad for it. During this period at home, I still joined my family in prayers, but deep within my heart I always prayed to Jesus.Jesus Brought Me So Much Suffering But I Still Wouldn't Deny HimClick To Tweet
The next time I returned home from school, I stopped visiting the mosque. I could no longer pray the Muslim way. And I suffered for this. I may not fully recount the many times I was beaten, maltreated, dragged over the coals; the many nights I slept outside my home with different families from church just to escape the beatings; the time the church organized a 24-hour prayer chain on my behalf.
These times were hard. But for some reason, I wouldn’t deny Jesus. I just couldn’t. Eventually, I was asked to leave home, if I wouldn’t let go of Him. This was a most painful moment. You know, having to watch your younger siblings cry and ask to yield and stay home. But something had changed. It wasn’t really about what the church told me to do. Even I couldn’t explain this strength I had found. Denying Jesus was never an option for me. I pleaded with them to stay. They disagreed. And I had to leave.
After attending a crusade in Church that night, I was placed in the care of a family with which I stayed a few nights before leaving for school. My family stopped paying my fees – they later repented of this – and the church paid for me and accommodated me.
My mother has a school. I once paid her a visit while I was still at home, where she cried and begged me to shift my stance and obey my father since the Bible asks children to obey their parents. She believed I could pretend just to make my father happy and cause peace to reign in the home. But I couldn’t pretend. How could I? With the kind of conviction that had been formed in me?
I still don’t know how I got the wisdom and courage to offer her a sufficient response to this request of hers. I told her, “Say my elder brother sends me on an errand, and while getting to it, you call me and ask me to get something done for you. Would I be wrong if I left my responsibility towards my brother for a bit and responded to you first? Of course, I wouldn’t because you hold a higher place between you two and it’ll only be right to honor you first. We’ve been experiencing this same thing all this while. God’s desires supersede yours. How then do I forsake His to attend to yours?” My mother was from a Christian background, but I realized that she hadn’t found what I had found in Christ. We remained close after all this, mum and I. And I am glad that I can see God carrying out His working on her too, even now.God’s desires supersede yours. How then do I forsake His to attend to yours?Click To Tweet
Grandma’s Perfect Example
My story would be incomplete if I don’t speak again of the influence of my grandmother. At the early stages of my growth in Christ, I met many Christians who were so far from representing the perfect life of Jesus. This is why I am most appreciative of my old illiterate grandmother who has greatly influenced the life I now have. I often looked at her and thought, even if I know no other Christian who resembles Christ, I know you. Moses was declared by God to be the meekest man alive in his time. I know no one as meek as my grandmother in her time. She was a near-perfect reflection of Jesus who claimed to have one regret in life: missing out on the opportunity to learn to read the Bible in English. She believes she’d have had a more fulfilling Christian walk if she were able to read the Bible in English. But even with the Yoruba Bible, she’s done amazing things for Christ.
I’m glad about how far God’s brought me and the trials He’s brought me through. They’ve only contributed to making me stronger.
I do hope that this brief account of my journey in Jesus will help encourage someone out there to depend more on the inner strength and truth they find in Him to withstand as much external pressure as they are served. The end always pays off. It’s been six years since I publicly declared my allegiance to Jesus, and here I am, alive, well and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
God bless you.
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