- Ashy Akakpo
Finding the Father Again
Today, I thought I’d share my testimony. Now, I have a few… but today I figured I’d tell my story of how I found the Father again. Pretty much it all kind of happened because of the pandemic. Spoiler alert, like most of my stories, this one is about to be juicy. In fact, it involves colliding with a cult & then nearly joining them. Oop. So, go grab some snacks, a bottle of your favourite beverage and let’s get into this baby!!
Let’s start my story with this scripture. Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.’ A very fitting pair of verses, for a very fitting story.
I remember entering 2020 and feeling hopeful. See, I had plans. I was going to move out, get into a relationship, graduate, and finally live my very best life. Had it all worked out, and the best part was – I hadn’t gotten God involved in any of my plans. I mean, why would I? He wasn’t that important to me.
Then March came around and I turned 21. Whoop whoop! I remember having this deep feeling in the pit of my stomach, like something was about to go horribly wrong. Suddenly, the pandemic hit and the entire world was in lockdown. I remember thinking that this wasn’t going to be that deep. Things would soon go back to normal, and I could make the moves I wanted to make.
Then tragedy stroked and my granddad passed away, and whilst I grieved that loss, my childhood best friend took his life. This was all getting too much. Why was I losing so many people? But I kept telling myself it couldn’t get any worse. Could it?
A few weeks later, the young man I thought I’d get into a relationship with, left the church and joined another church (turns out they weren’t even a church – they were a cult – but we’ll get to that later). I had completely lost it. I just remember feeling so broken, empty and alone. Now, it’s usually during these moments God shows up, right? Well, for me the opposite happened. See, the devil realised I was in a very vulnerable place, and he knew this was the perfect opportunity to step in, so – he did just that.
Remember the young man I mentioned? Yeah – he ended up inviting me to a few Bible discussions his church was running and, of course, I happily went. Then more close friends left, and I became even more vulnerable. So, what do you think happened? The devil swooped in and got the young man to invite me to attend a (and I quote), “women’s support group.” I accepted the invitation; I mean, I definitely needed a group of Christian ladies to speak to and share my pain with. However, turns out that this support group wasn’t a support group at all. This women’s support group was in actuality, a personal bible study tailored just for me. Red flag? Yes. I think so too.
Hennywayssss, I remember attending two of these studies and feeling like something was a little – well – off. That was when God dropped in. See, that Monday evening was camp meeting, and I decided after the study with this church, I was going to watch the sermon for that evening. Dr Charles Wesley Knight was the one preaching and I remember whilst listening to the sermon, I could feel the Holy Spirit convicting me. Dr Knight said, ‘In this day and age we need to become agitators for Christ.’ Words that have stuck with me.
After the sermon, I remember sitting at my desk and feeling this deep urge to pour out my heart to the Lord, so I did just that. That night, I went on my knees and spoke to the Father. So there I was, crying so hard that my eyes started getting fuzzy and I had to keep stopping my prayer to go blow my nose. I told the Father how lost and how lonely I had become. And instead of directing myself, I asked Him to direct me and to tell me what I should do. I suddenly got exhausted, so decided it was time to go to bed and I remember switching my light off and climbing into my bed.
Now, I really wish I could tell you I closed my eyes and fell asleep, but that simply wouldn’t be true. See, that night I experienced something that would change my life – forever. I remember lying in bed and still sobbing. I remember thinking about the young man and asking God to give me peace. It was at that moment; my room went pitch black. Now, initially I thought, well it’s dark already – I mean I had already turned the light off, but – something didn’t feel right about this darkness.
Swiftly, I jumped out of bed and staggered to my phone on my desk to give my room some light, but before I could reach my phone – the room went back to normal. I remember glancing at my phone and seeing the time, 12:15am. At that point I thought, mehhh – maybe my eyes are still a little fuzzy.
A couple of minutes later, it happened again. Then this uneasy feeling came over me. I leapt out of my bed. What was going on? I remember looking outside my door and seeing that the light in the passage outside my room was still on. But if that was the case, why wasn’t the light illuminating my room? My door was wide open. As soon as that thought passed through my mind, my room went back to normal, so I went back to bed feeling very confused and troubled.
This time, as soon as I had settled my nerves, my room went completely black yet again and this time I felt someone, or should I say something, enter my room. I don’t have the words to describe the fear I felt at that moment. I just remember lying there, too afraid to speak or move. All I knew was that, it wasn’t my brother or my sister that had entered my room. It wasn’t my mum or my dad. See, whatever had walked into my room wasn’t here to play games.
As I laid there, I felt this presence walk over to the opposite side of my room and then I heard a voice. It was a male’s voice, but it wasn’t a voice I had heard before. The voice was distinct, and it was quick. I wasn’t able to understand everything it was saying, but what I did catch was it referencing keeping Sunday. Now, I knew this wasn’t in my head because I hadn’t even thought about Sunday – I was asking God in my mind to give me peace.
I remember replying to the voice, out loud, “No, I won’t let go of the truth. The Sabbath means so much to me.” I quickly rolled over on my side to face my wall and as soon as I did, the voice seemed to enter my head and the thick darkness around me seemed to grow thicker and thicker. I remember the voice telling me all the things that were happening to me were my fault. It kept emphasising how I would never be enough, how the young man had left because of me and that, unless I did what it wanted me to do, I’d never be happy.
At that point, Proverbs 3:5-6 came to my mind, and I started sobbing. I realised it was the Father reminding me to trust Him, reminding me He can see the bigger picture, and all I needed to do was trust Him. I remember repeating it over, repeatedly to myself, until my room finally went back to normal.
The next day, I remember waking up and telling my dad all that had happened. “What time did this happen Ashy?” He had asked. I wasn’t too sure where he was going with this, but I went along with it, anyway. “It was around 12:15. Why?” I remember my dad looking at me and then saying, “I woke up last night, around 12:20, because I thought your brother had walked into your room.” At that point, I knew for a fact what had happened the night before was real and I immediately felt convicted to stop the Bible studies as soon as possible.
So, I did just that. They weren’t too happy with my decision, but I made it very clear to them that, when God tells me to do something, I do it. After that, I started going through the gospels and studying God’s Word for myself. I started learning so much and began falling deeply in love with Jesus. I learnt so much about who He is and about who I am in Him. I started finding answers for everything!! It was actually then I got hold of a Greek and Hebrew lexicon and fell deeply in love with Greek and Hebrew. I couldn’t believe the things I was discovering and couldn’t help myself but share it with everyone I could.
It was like there was this fire inside of me and if I didn’t speak, it would burn me up.
This included the church my friend had joined. See, they were still trying to convince me to join them. But unfortunately for them, every time they’d speak to me, I couldn’t help myself but share with them Bible truth. It was then I became a HUGE problem for the devil, because see, now – I knew too much. And because of that, the church got that young man to turn against me and then in 2021 on July 15th at 3:45pm, I got ambushed and terrorised by this church in a public space (but that’s a testimony of God’s protection for another day).
All I know is, 2020 was the year that changed my life. I am so grateful to the Father for removing certain distractions from my life, to refocus me and redirect me. I honestly don’t recognise the woman I was at the beginning of 2020 and the woman I am now.
I know my journey is far from over, but as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, I know I’ll be okay. If it wasn’t for the experiences I had in 2020, I wouldn’t have started ‘The Awake Ministries‘, I wouldn’t be so fearless and open about my faith as I am now and I sure wouldn’t be walking in the direction God is calling me to. I am so excited about where He’ll lead me to next.
I pray this testimony encouraged you and reminded you that even when you don’t understand why you’re in the situation you might be in, just hold on to the hand of the Father. Even when you’re unsure of the plan He has for you, trust in the Lord.
Know that He’s got everything under control and know that whatever is in store for you, will blow your mind.
Stay blessed family!