Jasmine Jackson: A Story of Providence

jasmine jacksonBy Jasmine Jackson

Having been raised in somewhat of a practicing Seventh-day Adventist home, when choir practice, pathfinders, A.Y.S. (advent youth service), etc., let out I left “church” at “church”. I kept the TV off from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday in observance of the Sabbath and knew precisely when I could be freed from what felt to me like solitary confinement, to turn it back on, or do whatever else my heart desired.

You see, if no one else appreciated that convenient section of the church bulletin that told us what time sunset was for Sabbath, I certainly did. I didn’t wear jewelry;  well at least in front of my family, I didn’t. I was always equipped so I could put myself together on the school bus. Though the dietary restrictions of the Seventh-day Adventist religion weren’t as strictly imposed on me as in other S.D.A. households, I eventually made my own choice not to eat “anything I wasn’t supposed to eat”.  I think I felt a little more spiritually “ok” as a result of my decision.

I went through the motions only as much as I needed to, as much as I saw those around me do. I gave of myself what they gave of themselves , was content where they were content, and didn’t really bother myself much with what God thought –that or I was convinced Seventh-day Adventism was what God thought. I had no real answers and as far as I was concerned it wasn’t in question. The law, without saying, ultimately was my assurance of salvation, I prided myself in it ignorant to the fact that I had never kept it a day of my life, not even the commandment I was conditioned to esteem highest.

From kindergarten to about the first semester in high school I attended a predominantly white public school. Though born and raised in an urban community, I wasn’t hip too much outside of the walls of my two story house on a road set apart from most of the action. The rearing of a tough hearted West Indian mother kept me sheltered so I had B.E.T. and my small circle at school to “keep me real”. I was “too white” for the black girls home, expected to be the mean black girl at school–and so I played the role set for me.

The remainders of my high school years were spent in a private Christian school following my expulsion from the school I had long attended. Though I didn’t initiate the fight that would be the end of my years there, I was far too cool to run. The plan now was to get in, do what I had to, and go on about my business. I had no intentions of getting comfortable in a “corny” Christian school. My family really didn’t seem to fear my going to a school that wouldn’t teach me Seventh- day Adventist doctrine.

God was so sovereign over it all, looking back. I suppose it was just assumed that it would just be school; that I would go to class, learn what was required of me and keep on moving, and certainly better this than an alternative school. To the naked eye it was just that, just school. Nevertheless I can look back today and see how intricately God had been preparing my heart for Himself. My teachers and classmates had become family, seeds were being planted, beliefs I thought were my own were being challenged at times. I hadn’t planned for that.

In August of 2008, God sent a group of His young servants of a ministry called His Glory Alone (H.G.A.) to my high school’s first Christian rap concert to draw me unto Himself. I’d never seen anything like it. Such young and zealous souls who only wanted Jesus! Why weren’t these guys at a club right now? Why did they only seem disturbed if anything by these girls that had just walked past them probably for about the third time? Why had I never heard of this God responsible for what I witnessed? Never like this. Like many, I had heard often Jesus died for me, for my sins but I don’t believe anyone ever told me what I did so wrong and certainly not that I had done everything wrong. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be the same girl I had been or that even if I wanted to I couldn’t be. Though I by no means “got it right” right away I knew I couldn’t look for love where or how I had before. I knew I couldn’t be the same as everyone else anymore.  It was different now and I didn’t even know the half of it. That same God made my heart his home that year.

A mother- daughter relationship that may never be reconciled is one of the things I believe our Lord meant for me when He warned “count the cost”. The pain that comes with being at odds with family members for the sake of the Gospel, it may not have been His plan for me to skip. Scriptures like Matthew 10:34-36 showed me that this was indeed what I signed up for. For every tear I’ve cried there’s a joy I’ve felt in Jesus. It’s not perfect here, but nothing I need has been withheld from me. As I grow in grace, in serving the Lord through serving my family, I see more and more where we aren’t on one accord but what love has done and is doing is undeniable.  God is conforming me to the image of His son through these struggles.

I’m so thankful for today and how he has made my heart sensitive to Scriptures like those found in Titus 2. I’ve learned so much. I have so much to learn.

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One Comment to “Jasmine Jackson: A Story of Providence”

  1. Honey Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your testimony. God is glorified through it!