OCTOBER 2, 2014, average day for a young adult like myself. I woke up, got dressed for work, stopped and got breakfast and made my way to work. As soon as I got in the office I began to pay bills. Then on my lunch break I went to the bank to pay and send more money. Again I say, average day.
Arriving to church close to 6 pm, I come into the sanctuary and I see my brothers Martravis and Kemmoy playing on the instruments. I talk and laugh with them. I also had the back thought that I may not be staying for Bible Study because my brother Joseph had hurt his ankle at school and may have needed to be taken to urgent care (by me because my mom was at work). Eventually around 6:30, I went to the altar and began to pray (I had already received the call that I did not need to go home). God really began to deal with me. As I laid before The Lord, I laid myself before The Lord. The Lord began to show me, me! Things I dealt with. Things I needed to fix. I began to cry out to The Lord with a pure heart. Determining to know nothing. About 30 minutes passed then I got up and went back to my seat. Pastor Hinds entered the sanctuary shortly after.
He began to speak about “Rescue Mission.” He and the congregation began to speak about the terrible things that were going around us in this city and in this world. The whole focus of this bible study was for us to think outside of ourselves and consider people who have much worse than we do for a change.
Here is the part I never shared. During this bible study, I was in a weird state. Very few words and very few expressions which is not normal for me. I’m usually the most expressive one in these type of settings. Something had me lock-jawed. Remember I just said I just cried out before The Lord, so my problem was not with God. I believe it was something in the atmosphere. I can still retain the discussion and was very much so connected to the bible study, yet lacking outward expressions. I took notes and everything.
By the end of bible study, I became very anxious. I wanted to hang around, but couldn’t for some reason. So I left the sanctuary immediately to go home as soon as possible.
Walking outside, here is what I saw. It was dark. I remember looking back to see if one of the gentlemen were coming to assist, but they weren’t. I looked further down the street and I saw two young men. They were venturing off into the parking lot, looked back and saw me and began to steer in the opposite direction before they were busted. Knowing they were up to no good, still anxiously I proceeded to my car to leave. I got in my car. Looked back to see if someone had followed me out the church, still they hadn’t. I started my car, plugged my phone in and turned my windshield wipers on and as soon as I did so, there was a loud tapping at my driver window. I naively turned thinking it was a member trying to tell me bye or something, but No! There stood a dark-skinned young man banging at my window with a gun! His partner at my passenger side window. Immediately I panicked and began to blow my horn, but then suddenly realizing that no one could hear me. They were yelling at me telling me to get out the car. He then opened the door and demanded I get out the car, while holding a gun up to me the whole time. I was screaming, they were telling me to shut up! I began to back up and finally I lifted my hands and said “just take it”. That’s exactly what they did. I had been carjacked!
As the car reversed, I ran swiftly back towards the church, it was raining so I slipped and fell at the entrance of the door. I quickly got back up and ran in screaming trying to tell Pastor Ralph and Bro. Shamarr what had happened, but they just couldn’t seem to understand. So I ran into sanctuary looking for Pastor Hinds and ended up running right into him! Screaming and hollering, I told them what happened and he and Minstrel took off after them!
Eventually I collapsed in the arms of someone and all of the women of the ministry began to pray until I had calmed down.
Within 20-25 minutes, the police were contacted and my car had been found. The suspects had hopped out of the car and ran, leaving my car without my keys or my phone.
I could not retrieve my car immediately for investigation purposes as ordered by the police. After dealing with all the madness with the authorities, I eventually went home; Pastor Hinds had driven me. We pull up and I see my mom. I tell her what happened. She was in disbelief as she proceeded to contact family members to tell them what happened. And so on…
I could not sleep for days. Having anxiety attacks off and on. My life had just took a sharp turn. I had never experienced something so traumatic in my life!
The detective for the case then calls the next day, explaining procedures on how he would be a help to find my victimizers. Meanwhile, car still held up. I was tripping because my whole life was still in my car (purse, phone, license, bank cards, etc). I did not realize that they had my phone until they were calling people playing on their phones. This stressed me out all the more.
On October 4, 2014, the detective calls me to tell me that they had found my phone and that all my belongings were still in the car!! I was ecstatic! This could be nothing, but God with His hand in the midst. Pastor and I immediately rush down to detective office to retrieve my things and the notice to release my car.
Over the course of October and November, I had a few court dates and appointments. ANNOYING! I really did not like the idea of constantly reliving this oh so traumatic situation. It was horrific! Later down the line, they found one of the suspects and locked him up. Bittersweet for me because I agree with justice, but I also plea for mercy on everyone’s behalf.
AS TIME MOVED ON…
Let’s visit John 9. I’ve been meditating on this scripture, it’s meaning and how does it pertain to me. Check this verse from “The Message” translation:
“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
This scripture was brought to me regarding the carjacking that happened to me. The details in this story are not necessarily the same, but it still has relevance. The thing that is sticking out to me regarding this story is not the “miracle” that happened, but the SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION that was introduced here by Jesus. He was teaching His disciples how to perceive differently. If they had the right perception, they would have never asked that question.
The Holy Spirit has cautioned me that I have to deal carefully with the incident that happened to me. What that mean is my actions and my perception can either give God the Glory or get me to be pitied by others. I can come from the standpoint of “why this have to happen to me?” or I can see how God protected me in the midst of the entire situation, let alone me receiving everything back in a very fast pace.
I’m sure many thoughts, worries and concerns traveled through the minds of those who heard what happened or whom was there. That’s not my concern. Some may even think they have an equation as to why it happened or why I needed to learn my lesson, however my focus is on what God is saying about this situation. I do believe whole-heartedly that this situation was a situation that He allowed to happen to me for a specific purposes whether it unfolds now or later.
I’d like to highlight the part of the scripture when Jesus says “You’re looking for someone to blame.” Why? Because such traumatic situations can cause anyone to take on a victim mentality for pity sake. Truth is I would be a fool to have a knowledge of today’s evil, let alone in this very city and think that I am exempt from harm because I’m a “Christian”. I believe that is a very naïve way to live. People lose their lives and their things on day to day basis and I don’t believe that they are expected, so why am I exempt? I’m not! No i’m not going to start a “STOP THE CARJACKING” riot JUST BECAUSE it happened to ME this time. It has happened before and after my situation. Many times we hide our selfish intentions behind “good acts” or “good deeds”.
I am a victim of a carjacking, NOT THE VICTIM. I like to reflect on how God had His Angels dispatched around me when this incident occurred. I am glad it happened to me as opposed to someone else. Just think about it, these young men were obviously up to no good; they were planning to steal someone’s car off of that lot. Now imagine if I hadn’t come out at the time that I did, they could have possibly run off with someone’s car and would have not had a clue as to which way they went or what they looked like. They probably could have gotten much further with the car than they did with my car. Also, I could have been killed, shot, injured, raped and/or kidnapped, BUT God! I didn’t have to get my car back, BUT GOD! Not to mention, I had just finished paying the car off that very same day, just to get it stolen from me that very same day. I mean I don’t know about anyone else, but I have numerous things to be grateful for! I still have my mind in one peace! I am still alive. And everything that was stolen was either returned or replaced. I can only give God the Glory from this situation. In knowing that situations like this are the reason many have lost their way, their faith and/or their minds!
It is my understanding that a Testimony is supposed to reflect God’s Goodness to us in spite of us! I never understood ‘sad testimonies” because they contradict themselves. I’m learning to accept what God allows. I understand that everything that happened to me had to first pass through the hands of God. They can take things, but they couldn’t take my life if they wanted to unless God had permitted. So I dare not question God as to why this happened. I trust Him and I know the truth of why this situation happened will unfold, but even if it doesn’t. I’m still alive. That thing has passed from me.
The whole point I believe God was trying to get across to me was having spiritual perception. Not only in this situation, but in all. I can use this story to win souls. I can use this story to snatch souls from the grip of fear. I’ve prayed for those lost young men who are obviously deceived in their ways of life. Why? Because The Bible tells me to. I prayed that God would encounter them like He encountered Paul on the road to Damascus. It is not my desire to have people worship this traumatic situation. When I compare this situation with the story of Jesus Christ, I am of no comparison! I’d rather everyone worship Jesus for His saving grace. For His Love and Mercy that He expressed to me because whether I like it or not, whether it was a crime or not, I deserve nothing but death anyways.
So yes, this story in the Holy Bible encouraged me to ask myself the question of “How Can God Get The Glory From This?” I think that it is a very powerful text overall! I just believe the perception piece that was introduced was for me in this season.
As I was typing this email, a song came to my remembrance. The words are:
Accept what God allows
You’re better off anyways
Face the facts
And you will never stray
Turn your faith loose
He’ll bring you out
And give you all the proof
So don’t question God!
Just accept what God allows.
Accept what God allows
Even when you don’t understand
It is working for your good
Accept every trial
Accept it even now
He’ll give you a smile
Put it in His Hands
He has the Master Plan
Your trial is but stepping stone
It will lead you heavenly home.
GOD IS NOT DONE YET!
November 29, 2014, i was down at the church just buying time until it was time for praise and worship rehearsal. Pastor aramis had planned to go and visit elder charles & mother hayes, who have been I’ll for some time now. They were located a few blocks away from the church at their daughters house on blaine street. The lord laid it on pastor’s heart to ask me if I wanted to join him in visiting them; I agreed. A few moments later, he also asked brother shamarr to come as well. Uncomfortably, I insisted that just them two go and I’ll just hang back at the church. Then I decided to go anyways out of obedience to what my pastor asked me to do. As we traveled, pastor is reminded of the trail they took to find my car a few months ago when i was carjacked. So he began to show us how it all went down. The last thing he showed us was where he and pastor kwame had come to search for my keys (which was the only thing I did not receive back from the carjacking). I observed, but quietly because of how sensitive the situation as a whole is to me still. However, we pull up to the apartment complex and get out. We enter the building and immediately we are walking pass the mailbox in the hall. There were keys laying on top of the mailbox, we didn’t really focus there because we thought they were the keys for residents to get their mail. I then see a “I love jesus” key chain exactly the same as the one i had on my stolen keys. I did a double take and lo and behold, those were my keys that had been missing for 2 months in an apartment building I had never been in ever!! I was speechless! We proceeded to see the hayes’. We sang praises and prayed for them. As we were about to leave, pastor begins to tell them of the testimony of me finding my keys (they had no knowledge of the carjacking). Their daughter then blurts out “those were your keys? We found them in the alley a few months ago. We just set them on the mailbox thinking someone in the complex had lost them!” Everyone is amazed at this point. This was nothing, but the goodness and favor of our god! He loves us so much that he’ll even give us what may seem to be insignificant! Everything that was taken from me that night of the carjacking was returned to me. I’m ever grateful for his love. This is a miraculous story from beginning to end! I can’t tell it all in this email, but please know i am overwhelmed! God is so good! No one can do what he does for his children! I had let the keys go and had gotten most of them remade, but god did not let this situation go without it being sealed. I thank god for my pastor who was sensitive to the voice of the lord. Oh how I love jesus because he first loved me!!! Thanks for reading—chantel monique hicks