I wanted to sell my body…but Jesus saved my soul.

Have you ever gotten so tired of telling the same story over and over? No matter how true the story was, or how bad you wanted it to be heard, it just seemed to lose its importance somewhere down the line? I can honestly say that no matter how many times I share my story, it never gets old. It makes me love Jesus more and more every single time.
I grew up as the only child in my household. My mother spoiled me and my father lived hours away. In my eyes, I had only one parent. She was my provider, my protector and I always figured that my dad didn’t call much because he didn’t know what to say to me. I just so happen to be the only sister to five brothers. Anyway, being the only child had its perks. I got everything that I asked for. Every pointless toy, a puppy, every outfit, etc. You name it, I had it. But may I be honest with you? Being the only child in my household was lonely. I would’ve given anything to have someone to fight over toys and clothes with. I would’ve loved to get in trouble for another siblings’ stupid mistakes. I was the epitome of lonely.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school in 2009: I went to my fair share of parties. By senior year, I’d bounced around to four different high schools because of fighting and fed up principals. But I decided that senior year would be my year to get my act together. I graduated with a 4.0, got accepted into at least 6 different universities of my choice, was pretty convinced that the relationship that I was in was going to last forever and I felt like my life was finally on track. I remember praying with my pastor before I left. My mindset was “Eboni, don’t get caught up in the hype as a freshmen.” I was going to try and “live right.” Or so I thought
My freshmen year of college started off pretty smooth. I’d joined a church on campus, somewhat enjoyed my roommate and managed to stay away from several parties. The plan was to live for God my freshmen year. While my roommate constantly left our dorm to go party with friends, I decided to stay in and read my Bible. I was doing the right thing. I mean, wasn’t I? I sat on the edge of my bed one evening and received a phone call from my mom that would change everything for me…
Mom: “Eboni, what are you doing? We need to talk.”
Me: “I’m just in my room Ma. What’s going on?”
Mom: “Well, you know I’m paying most of your tuition out of pocket.”
Me: “Yes ma’am. I know.”
Mom: “I don’t want to have to tell you this, but you have to come home. I can’t afford for you to stay there.”
Me: …..
Mom: “Hello?”
Me: “Yeah Ma, I hear you. It’s alright. I gotta go. I’ll call you later.”
Was she serious? Was God serious? He allowed her to get me in this university, but He won’t help her out so I can stay here? “God, I HATE YOU! Living for You is lonely! And You aren’t even providing!” I changed after that conversation…
After weeks of partying, alcohol poisoning (twice) and passing all of my classes, I couldn’t help but think about the financial burden that I was on my mom. I decided that the only way out was suicide. I felt empty. I had absolutely nothing to live for. My mom was working two jobs, I never heard from my dad that year and I was just over it. I ran to my dorm after class, removed my shoes and pulled out some pain pills that I had. “God, please take my life. Please. I don’t want to wake up.” I took six 800mg pain pills. I called my mom, but she didn’t answer. She probably would’ve talked me out of it anyway, so I’m glad she didn’t. This was rock bottom for me…
“Ms. Armstrong! Ms. Armstrong! Do you know where you are? Can you tell me the last thing you remember?”
I finally opened my eyes after hours of being knocked out from the pills. IT DIDN’T WORK! Did God REALLY have the nerve to wake me up? I prayed and asked Him to let me die. Why am I still here? After being on suicide watch in the hospital, that had given me enough time to think of a way to get money. My new lifestyle of partying and drinking brought me “new friends.” I knew plenty of girls that were paying for their tuition on their own. “Eboni, I know you’re a virgin but if you wanna get this money, I know how you can get it.” I decided that selling my body…something that had never been seen or touched by any man…was going to be sold. I was the reason my mom had to work two jobs. I was the reason she was stressed out. I decided that I would put an end to all of that…
I’d already been in touch for a few days with the guy that I was going to “work for.” He assured me that I would be okay…that all the money I made would go to my tuition…and that I would be okay. I said that twice didn’t I? The night that I was supposed to go meet him, I made sure that I was out-of-my-mind-I’m-about-to-lose-my-virginity-in-order-to-pay-for-school drunk. Remy. Vodka. Tequila. Alcohol was my best friend that night. I had on the tightest jeans that I had ever worn in my life. My shirt was so low that I didn’t even need one on. Surprisingly, I was able to walk across campus to tell a friend that I was about to make some good money. I didn’t know that my life would change that night…
My friend: “Eboni, girl! Where are you going dressed like that? And why do you smell like you bathed in alcohol?”
Me: “Look, I just wanted to tell you that I’m about to go make some money. My mom won’t have to stress anymore. I didn’t come here to argue or to get your approval. I’m going to sell my body.”
My friend: “Eboni, can we pray? You like to pray, remember? Just sit down really quick.”
Me: “PRAY? PRAY? You can’t be serious! Pray for what? God didn’t hear me and He’s not going to hear You!”
As I turned to leave her dorm, she started to cry and played “Bow Down” by Bishop Paul Morton. That was my favorite song. I fell to my knees in the middle of her room. I screamed! I screamed so much that people were banging on the door to get in. I screamed because I was hurting. Not only was I hurting, but I was tired. I was tired of hurting. In that moment, I felt something that I’d never felt before. Someone was taking the time to FIGHT for me. I felt like the enemy and God were at war for my soul in that very moment. After almost being raped twice and not having anyone to run to, Jesus came in that room and rescued me. He rescued me from all the hurt and pain that I’d ever felt in my life. In that room, on that floor, I repented of my sins. I cried out for Jesus…and He came.
It’s been almost 5 years now and I’m still IN LOVE WITH JESUS:) He’s kept my mind, my body and my soul. No man has ever “known” me. My husband will be the first and last man to “know” me. I want to leave you with two verses:
Hosea 6:1-3*
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”

And my favorite:
*Luke 13:13* “Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”

This entry was posted on September 24, 2013. 13 Comments

Safe Love

My brothers & I went out to eat this weekend (several times). But, in front of one of the restaurants, there was a huge magnolia tree! If you’ve been a follower of my blog long enough, or if you just know me personally, you know that the magnolia has been my favorite flower since I was a little girl. I climbed magnolia trees growing up. As I was walking towards the car, one of my brothers opened the car door for me (they always do). As soon as I got in, he walked to the tree, grabbed one of the magnolias & brought it back to the car. “Here sissy. I know they’re your favorite.” I couldn’t stop crying.

I need y’all to understand that even though I absolutely love magnolias, it wasn’t about the flower in that moment. It was about the fact that my dad & my brothers have literally set a standard for me.When I’m with the men who love me, pray for me, protect me, etc., it’s as though the Lord uses that time with them to remind me to never settle. I even have nephews that don’t allow me to touch doors, because they literally get excited to hold the door for me. No matter how much of a mess I look when I wake up, my brothers have always done this thing where they’ll hype me up in the morning! “Good morning, sissy. You look beautiful!”

There was a moment when I was getting dressed this weekend that convicted me. When I travel, I pack at least 10 outfits & have more than one bag (y’all, pray for me 🥴🤣). While I was getting dressed, I felt like nothing looked as pretty as it originally did when I first packed my clothes. One of my brothers said, “Eb, you look beautiful! I don’t know why you’re still looking for something else to wear.” I began to get a little emotional, because I wasn’t feeling what I had on🤣 I told that very same brother of mine, “I don’t look cute, yet! Give me a minute!” He stopped me, grabbed my hands & said, “If you can’t believe when your own brothers tell you that you’re beautiful, how will you believe it when the man who God has for you tells you that you’re beautiful? Stop that.” I couldn’t do anything but cry, apologize & agree with what he said.

Jesus constantly uses my time, with the men who love me, to say, “If your own father & brothers treat you this way, just imagine what your husband will do.” And I need y’all to understand something. I’m not walking around, expecting my brothers to throw flowers at my feet when I walk. That’s not my attitude, personality or even the position of my heart. I enjoy serving the men in my life! As a matter of fact, they have to make me sit down, because I will literally serve them all day (if they would allow me).

Ultimately, I understand that God shows His love for me through the men in my life. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelmingly beautiful, that I just cry when I think about them. I know what safe love is. And I won’t settle until that’s what I have❤️ My second oldest brother prayed for me during church yesterday. He came to, put his arm around me & began to weep. He said, “Lord, I thank You for keeping my sister. I thank You for not allowing just any man to have her heart. I thank You for keeping her mind, her body & her soul. I thank You for preparing her for a husband that will exceed her expectations.” He kissed my cheek, wiped my tears & held me as I cried.

I remember asking the Lord, “How will I know when a man is from You?” I’ll know when I am able to experience that “safe love” with that man. God is faithful, y’all❤️

Don’t settle.

Grace & peace,

Eb❤️

Intimacy

When you hear the word “intimacy”, what comes to mind? If all you think of is sex, hopefully that’ll change by the time you’re done reading this. I remember dating one particular guy for a few years. I was sure that this man was going to be my husband one day. We knew one another’s likes & dislikes. He knew what I was thinking, even when I didn’t express those thoughts in words. When you genuinely spend time with someone you love, it literally excites you to know more about them! After years of knowing that person & then, after years of dating, I remember the day something changed. It was as though his attention was somewhere else. I was able to pinpoint the exact day & time that something felt different. He tried to convince me that everything was okay. But, again, when you’ve built a certain level of intimacy with someone, you just know when something isn’t right.

When something has interrupted the intimacy between you & someone you love, it doesn’t feel good. But, when you really love that person, you’re willing to do whatever you can to make it work. You’ll try to figure out ways to effectively communicate, involve a third party (counseling), cut off negative influences, etc. When you want a relationship to work, it’s not a game! It’s literally all or nothing. Period. Now, do me a favor. I want you to consider everything that I just said. Now, for a moment, consider your relationship (or the lack thereof) with Christ. If you have Jesus on speed dial, y’all talk nonstop all day, you’re studying the Word from sun up to sundown, that’s cool. But, if you’re working a full time job, a part time job, serving at a nonprofit, traveling, going to church, spending time with family & trying to find a moment to even rest (I just gave y’all this upcoming season of my life in a nutshell), you have to fight for your intimacy with God! I remember a season (just a year or so ago) when I quit a second job, because I felt like it was negatively impacting my relationship with God. The money was good. But, my relationship with God was slowly, but surely, making its way down my list of priorities.

When I think of intimacy with God, I automatically think of two verses:

  1. Luke 12:7 says, “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” That’s top tier intimacy, okay! He knows the number of hairs on our head. Our Creator knows more than your favorite color, movie, food, etc. That alone should make you feel loved!
  2. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This verse clearly lets us know that when we intentionally seek God (for intimacy), we will undoubtedly find Him. He is literally promising us intimacy, with only one condition: That we do it with our whole heart.

We all know the story of Judas. If you aren’t familiar with that story, I will try my best to paraphrase for you. Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve disciples that literally walked with Jesus. Although it may come as a surprise to us, Jesus already knew that Judas would betray Him (read John 6:64). Matthew 26:14-16 says, “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.  And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” People can be with you & not for you. Was there ever a time that you claimed to be a Christian, but your fruit did not represent Him at all? No? Okay, I guess that was just the old me & some of you can’t even relate. The point that I’m trying to make is that Jesus Christ makes Himself available to us. I need anyone & everyone to understand that Christ doesn’t need us! We need Him. James 4:8 gives us another promise: “Draw near to God & He will draw near to you…” When there is proximity, intimacy is sure to follow…when we intentionally desire to be near Him.

How many of y’all are familiar with Jonah? He had an intimate relationship with God. But, as soon as God told Jonah to do something that he didn’t want to do (Jonah 1:1-2), Jonah literally fled to get away from the presence of God! Read Jonah 1:1-17 if you don’t believe me. How many of us are going to act like we haven’t responded like Jonah before? I want you to think of a time that you knew God was telling you to do something. But, because you didn’t like what (or who) He was telling you to let go of, you chose to run away from Him (instead of to Him)? I need y’all to read this next line twice: When you want to runaway from God, the enemy always has a getaway (trap) for you! Always. This isn’t the only example. But, for the sake of intimacy, I will refer to a relationship. I remember hearing the testimony of a married man, who chose to step outside of his marriage. He shared, “My wife was amazing to me. She literally made sure that I had everything that I needed. We were often intimate. Sometimes, several times in a day. That was more than my other married friends could say. But, one day, my receptionist asked me if I needed her to stay late one night. We laughed for hours, until I realized that I missed a few calls from my wife. The next morning, the Lord told me to be honest with my wife. Not only did He tell me to be honest with my wife about what happened, but He also told me to tell my receptionist that we would need someone else to take her position in the office (fire her). But, I didn’t like what God was instructing me to do. Before I knew it, that one night turned into a year of infidelity. I lost my wife & contracted HIV. If I’d only been obedient…”

1 Samuel 15:22 says, “…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” When we are obedient to God & His Word, it can save us from a dangerous road that we don’t even have to go down. I don’t know what the Lord is commanding you to do. But, my prayer is that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be obedient. Delayed obedience is still disobedience. Tighten up. Remember that I said when you want to run from God, the enemy always has a getaway? Well, I’ve noticed that sometimes, in order to get to what God has for you, you may have to go through some very uncomfortable situations. It’s not always as convenient as the getaway (trap) that the enemy would have waiting for you. One of my favorite individuals in the Bible is the woman with the issue of blood (read Luke 8:43-48). This woman bled for 12 years, spent all of her money on physicians (who could not help her) & pushed her way through a crowd to get to Jesus! Do you know how embarrassing that may have been for her? She was willing to do whatever it took (by faith) to be healed! And that’s exactly what happened. In Luke 8:48, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

What about the paralytic in Mark 2? For the sake of time, I will paraphrase. Jesus was preaching to the people in Capernaum. There were so many people who came to hear Him, that this paralyzed man could not get to Jesus (because of the crowd). His homeboys literally took the roof off of where Jesus was preaching at & “they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay (Mark 2:4).” Imagine how people were looking at them! Jesus literally healed the paralyzed man, because of the faith that he & his friends had!

What’s blocking your intimacy with Christ? In Scripture, it was an unrepentant heart (Judas), a crowd (the woman with the issue of blood) & even a roof (the paralytic). But, I’m asking about you. In my past, my own hardened heart was blocking my intimacy with Him. At some point, years ago, the Lord even told me to let go of a relationship. Guess what I chose to do? I ran the other way. I chose to continue in that relationship & it literally almost killed me (spiritually). The Lord literally allowed that guy to break my heart, in order to save my soul. I’ve been there, y’all. I know what it’s like to want to surrender something…but, out of fear, you’re afraid to lay it down. I pray that you guys can understand my heart when I say this: There is absolutely nothing in this world worth losing your intimacy with Christ for. Nothing! It’s okay if you’re not sure where to start. I want to encourage you to repent. And just like the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), Jesus has the authority to say to you, “Go & sin no more.” Your intimacy with Christ starts with repentance.

I love y’all so much! Praying for you guys.

Grace & peace,

Eboni

eboni.armstrong@yahoo.com

Proverbs 20:21 says, “An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.” Anything sent by the Lord is literally worth the wait! You’ll appreciate it more when it finally arrives 😉☺️

Hidden, Not Forgotten

I was getting dressed yesterday & I felt so beautiful, y’all! My skin was glowing, my locs were falling in my face just right, my dress was pretty & I couldn’t help but to smile when I looked in the mirror. If you often feel that way about yourself every single day, kudos to you! But, for those of us, who often forget that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)”, days like those are just…special. Anyway, I told the Lord, “I want my husband to see this!” I suddenly felt sadness trying to creep in. Due to the area of marriage no longer being an idol (just a desire), when I do find myself feeling sad (even if it’s just for a moment), I immediately give it to the Lord. When that happened yesterday, the Lord reminded me of something!

Don’t laugh at me…

When I was a little girl, I had a habit of doing something. I would ask my mom for an outfit. If she told me that I couldn’t have something, I would do the most ridiculous thing! But, in my mind, it made sense. I would take the outfit that I wanted off the hanger, ball it up & hide it in the back of a clothing rack! I told you it was ridiculous. But, I wanted what I saw so bad, that I would attempt to hide it from other people. If anyone saw me, they would’ve probably been confused as to why I would ball the item up & literally throw it in the back! In my mind, if I kept what I loved hidden, no one would find it! And the only time that it would be found, would be by someone special (me lol)!

When the Lord reminded me of that yesterday, I couldn’t stop laughing! I couldn’t imagine someone balling me up, throwing me to the back of a rack to be hidden & then claiming to love me…or could I? Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Have you ever seen a potter handle clay? It can get messy! And if you want me to be honest, when you are the clay, being molded can hurt sometimes. But, when you trust the Potter, you just know that everything is working together for your good & for His glory. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

He “balls us up” for a purpose.

And He hides us for a purpose, too.

Don’t believe me?

Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.”

I want you to even consider Hebrews 11:23, which says, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”

I don’t care if you feel hidden from being found by the “right person” (that’s a different post for another day lol). I don’t care if you feel like you are being overlooked on your job, in your church or even in life in general! When you are being hidden by the God who created you, there’s a purpose! And I pray that you will be encouraged by that. I was hiding the outfits that I loved. But, 9 times out of 10 (because I wasn’t in control of driving back to the store, finding the item again, etc.), I rarely went back for what I hid.

But, guess what? The Lord will always come back for you. Not only will He come back, but the reason He hid you will finally be revealed at some point.

Being molded is a privilege. Being hidden is a privilege. Enjoy it.

Grace & peace,

Eboni Armstrong

eboni.armstrong@yahoo.com

The Christian Response

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” -Psalm 130 ESV

Hey y’all…

I hope you guys have been doing well. I’ve been extremely quiet lately. Tomorrow, Lord willing, will make it one month since I moved to Charlotte, NC. I’ve experienced the peace that comes along with walking through the doors that God strategically opens (this doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any hardships). The Lord has allowed me to do what I love: minister to & serve young women, who have been & are still being rescued from human trafficking. Also, my desire for marriage has no longer been an idol. To God be all the glory.

But, even when God is doing a work through us, please remember that He is also doing a work in us at the same time. Can I be honest about something? Y’all know I like to tell on myself. The work that He has been doing in me hasn’t felt good…at all. The Lord snatched me up in December of 2009. I’m not new to this. I’ve experienced my share of suffering. But, this past month had me wanting to tell the Lord, “Take me out the game, Coach! Let me ride the bench! PLEASE!” At one point, I told the Lord, “I don’t trust You.”

Before you guys attempt to mentally throw stones at me, keep reading. For years now, I have failed at permitting myself to be human. When I say that, I need everyone to understand that I am not referring to allowing myself to freely sin (I don’t play those type of games- Hebrews 10:26 ESV). I am referring to allowing myself to feel things, without rushing to have the “Christian response.”

This is what my walk with the Lord has looked like over the years:

“Lord, I’m tired.” But, Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

“Lord, I’m angry.” But, Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

“Lord, I’m sad.” But, James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”

“Lord, I’m disappointed.” But, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

By the power of the Holy Spirit alone, I have been able to combat my feelings with the Word. But, sometimes, I feel like I have also been using Scripture to hide. God is not afraid of our emotions. It’s okay to be honest with God when you’ve felt betrayed, hurt, disappointed & abandoned…even when you feel like He is the cause of it. Sit with that for a moment.

After my first day of sitting with the young women, who have been trafficked ever since they could walk, I rushed home. I remember throwing my things down in my living room, falling to my knees & letting out this extremely loud cry. I was hurting, y’all. I immediately said, “Lord, I need an answer from You. How can I tell these young girls that You love them, see their worth & have been with them all along? How do I tell these girls that You love them, even though they’ve been broken so deeply? I need You to answer me! It doesn’t make sense! What could I possibly say to them?” I was angry. I was confused. I was hurt.

But, even with everything that I was in that moment…even with everything that I felt…I was reminded of Matthew 26:38-39, which says, “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.'” Jesus was able to fully understand sorrow! Not only did He experience sorrow, but He was able to be honest about how He felt! He knew what the will of the Father was. But, He was also willing to say, in so many words, “If it’s possible for You to stop what’s about to take place, let it be done. But, even if I have to experience the pain that I know is coming, let Your will be done.”

Jesus was able to feel on our behalf! So, after I cried out in my living room, it turned into me just thanking Him. I want to remind you that God is not shaken, thrown off or even surprised by our feelings. As long as you remember that your feelings are only temporary, not your God & can bring you closer to the Lord (if you allow it), I believe that the “Christian response” will eventually come when you are experiencing suffering.

If you’re struggling with your response to anything, I want to encourage you to do 3 things:

Wait for God…

Wait in God…

Wait with God…

Grace & peace,

Eboni

eboni.armstrong@yahoo.com