• Dawn Ali

My Spiritual Journey

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Discovering A Relationship With My Maker

I was born into brokenness. My dad was addicted to drugs and alcohol and was extremely abusive. He would physically and sexually abuse my mom. He also would sexually abuse my sisters.

My mom was in and out of hospitals due to depression. Sometimes she was coherent; other times she was not. She never gave up on her faith through this time.

When my mom was with us, she always had us in church. At a young age, I discovered that the Bible were living breathing voices, and I had a relationship with God through it. I would often see the stories in it come alive.

I remember not understanding religion as a child. I didn't understand why people thought they had to perform for God. At the age of 10, I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In elementary school, I lived with my mother, sister and brother. Both my mother and sister in and out of hospitals due to abuse. My sister attempted to commit suicide multiple times, so she was eventually taken away from our home.

Every time my mom was away in a hospital, my brother and I stayed with different church members until she was well enough to return home. I would feel so alone and abandoned like I had nobody there with me. Very quickly, God showed me I am never alone. He showed me that he was there in the midst of everything that was happening, and all I needed to do was to trust in Him, and He would carry me through.

I began to live in my imagination. I would think of all that I wanted my life to be outside of what it was. I would think of having a “normal” family and what it would be like to be financially stable.

We didn't have much money growing up and poverty was definitely in our home. I remember as a child we would go around looking for pennies so we could go down to the corner store and buy something to eat. There were times we went without gas, electricity, and food. My mother did everything she could to provide for us even in the midst of all the hurt she was experiencing.

Somehow, my mother would pull through and work extremely hard to keep a roof over our heads. I remember one day my mom worked from about 4am to 8pm, and we were driving home after she picked my brother and I up from our grandmother’s house. She was so tired, but knew she needed to get us home and ready for bed so we could go to school the next day, and she could return to work. She asked for us to shake her chair back and forth in order to keep her awake. I felt so bad that my mother worked so hard. She loved God, and yet, we were going through all of these difficulties.

In my young mind, this life was about suffering, and I was taught that everyone is hurting and we just need to love them through what they are facing.

Faith On My Own

We lived in Ohio. When I was 17 years old, due to my brother’s swimming talent, my mom was moving to an area I did not want to go to. He was a really good swimmer, so lots of high schools, promising scholarships for his attendance, wanted him to attend their school. I asked my mother if I could move to Georgia since my sister had moved here, and it could be a new start for me. She agreed, so I moved down and had a fresh start on my own. At this time, my faith was strong I was involved in the high school ministry and was actively seeking God.

I lived with my sister for about a month. Then, I asked people in my new high school if anyone had a place I could stay. There were two people that came back and said their parents said I could live with them. There was a boy and a girl who lived in completely different areas. I chose to stay with the girl since she was in an area were I could walk to a job and school. At the time, I didn't have any transportation.

I went through my last year of high school working, while paying rent and not really into the high school things. I only went to classes, and I was always dating guys that were out of high school. I started to spend a lot of my time doing things with them.

At the end of high school, my friend, the girl I was living with, was moving, and I needed to find somewhere else to stay. My boyfriend at the time said I could move in with him, so I did. Very quickly I thought, this is the person I want to be with forever, and we wanted to get married and have a family together. The marriage could not happen for various reasons, so we decided we wanted to start a family together anyway. At the age of 18, I was pregnant. I was extremely happy that I was going to be a mother.

During pregnancy, I did not want to continue living the life I was living, and I wanted to work on my relationship with God. I started going back to church even though I was embarrassed at times for being pregnant and not being married. I knew there would be a lot of judgement, yet I knew God was calling me back to Him.

Things became really different in my relationship as I began to be closer to God, and my boyfriend was not wanting that. He became physically abusive as frustration arose. I was pregnant and feeling hopeless. When my daughter was about a year and a half, I decided I could not let her grow up in that environment. I left in the middle of the night. I was scared that I would get caught, and hiding behind bushes with her, I called a friend to pick us up.

I was devastated at what my life had become. I decided at that point I was not going to continue living that life.

Slippery Slope Of Temptation

I started going to school, and things were looking upwards. I was back to my relationship with God, and I was trusting that he was there with me and that he would help me through. As money was very tight, I started working in the nightlife. There was a time when I had 3 different jobs, and I was a full time student on track to finish my Bachelors degree in 3 years. Some nights, between working and studying, I would only get 2 hours of sleep. I was determined to make something out of my life for my daughter. I did not want her to have the life I had growing up, and I wanted to make sure she had all she needed.

I started dating a guy that was Muslim while I was working in the nightlife. He would treat me like a queen, and everything I wanted, he made sure I had. My relationship with my Father began to fade. This guy asked me to marry him, but I couldn't.

While working in the nightlife, I began to disappear into it. I began to live the “Hotlanta” lifestyle. I had the beauty, and guys loved my personality. I began to make a lot of money and didn’t need as many jobs. I was partying all the time at work and after work. We were in the strip clubs having a good old time. Guys would give me thousands of dollars to spend on a night when I was with them. It was such a shallow lifestyle. I began to not care about much around me and became very distant from God.

My view on marriage and on men was jaded. I didn’t trust any guys due to seeing so many married men hitting on me and wanting my attention. I thought if men did not care about how they treat women, then why should I.

Near the end of my college years, I began to not want this lifestyle anymore. It was becoming old. It was the same guys, the same drunkenness, and I felt so empty inside. I began to question everything. Where did my life end up? Is this the lifestyle that I would want for my daughter? I remember feeling such a heaviness over my life for where I was and what I had become.

I got on my knees and just started crying out to God for him to save me from myself. He did! To this day I give Him the Glory!

Spiritual Over Material

When I finally got a “real” job in the accounting world, I began seeking God with all of my heart and soul again. The temptation to go back to the easy money was there when I realized that with a real job there was a lot in taxes taken out and I spent more hours in a week to make less than what I was making in a weekend.

I had this burning desire for God again. I was sneaking and reading my Bible every chance I got. He began to fill me with his love again, and that was all I wanted. I was involved in my church, and things were on the up and up. My heart began to want to go into the world and share the love he had given me. I started doing mission trips, and I knew I wanted to devote my life to Him, rather than material things.

About 3 years after my first job, I was offered another position with a salary increase and was told it was a really chill place where I would have a lot of flexibility. After starting that position, I began to love how much input I had and began to love all the increases in responsibility and finances. I remained close to God and everything felt as if I were exactly where I was meant to be.

Not So Equally Yoked

While having a successful career, I began to notice many of my friends and coworkers marrying. I decided I would like to have a relationship of my own. I ended up meeting another Muslim guy who was really sweet to me and said all the right things that made me quickly fall in love with him. Only after 6 months of dating, we decided to get married. This was not something I consulted God about it was an action I took out of self.

In the beginning of our relationship, we spent time going to church with our new family. Somehow, in the midst of our relationship, I began to drift away from my relationship with my Maker and into my marriage. My marriage had become my idol. I was so focused on making my husband happy that I left my true marriage to God.

In March of this year, God intervened and took me into this space where I saw how far I had gone from Him. The following month, I was also given lots of visions about things to come. I was scared and began to repent for putting my marriage with a man above my marriage with my Maker.

Through discovering this hidden pattern of leaving God when I was in these physical relationships, I discovered the importance of being equally yoked.

Radically Dependent

There has been a lot of ups and downs in my life. At times I was close to God, and at times, I fell away. Through it all, God has carried me through and has never left me alone. Realizing what was causing me to fall was important, so I don’t fall into the same temptation. If you don’t know the door that leads to your temptation, how can you avoid opening it?

My faith has carried me through everything I have experienced in life, and I know that it will continue to do so. My hope and mission is to openly share what God has done in my life for His Glory. I am planting seeds of hope and trusting that He will grow them.

Everyday, I am leaning in and choosing to be radically dependent on Him and to fulfill His will through me. Through dependence on my Maker I AM Free and I have peace of mind!

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