Something Was Missing in My Life
Searching for a connection to God, Emani had biblical questions no one could seem to answer. In college, an old friend helps her find her way to the truth.
Emani Thornton: In elementary school I used to go to the library and pick out Bibles and just read them on my own. Inside the Baptist churches, they will usually tell you a scripture and then give you a story that will go along with it, a personal story that doesn’t really connect or resonate with my life. I mean, I know I [was] just six but I tried to find meaning in it myself because I couldn’t understand what preachers were talking about.
My name is Emani Thornton. I’m 24 years old. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky. I was raised by a single mother. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my mom because she worked. Because of that, I guess I would be known as a latchkey kid. It was my responsibility to take care of my brother, bring him home from school, cook us meals, make sure our homework [was] done.
We didn’t really go to church. My mom, though, she was born African American Methodist. So that was definitely influenced in our household. But nothing really that stuck. I would ask my mom to take me to church every other Sunday. I kept going back so much when I was younger. And to someone else, it may sound like, “Oh she was really into it.” No, I couldn’t really find the answers that I was looking for. It just felt like I was being told a story. Nothing felt genuine and more of all, I didn’t feel a connection to God.
Even while I was going from church to church, I used to go to the library and pick out Bibles and just read them on my own. Inside the Baptist churches, they will usually tell you a scripture and then give you a story that will go along with it, a personal story, that doesn’t really connect or resonate with my life. I [tried] to find meaning in it myself, because I couldn’t understand what preachers were talking about. I would ask what a verse meant. And I would just keep getting another story about everyday life. Nothing that was really biblical.
Even at a young age, I could feel that I was missing something in my spirit. And I knew I was missing a connection to God. And I was searching already for a way to reconnect.
I met my friend, JL, in 8th grade Civics class. There was a project coming up and the teacher paired us together. And we just instantly hit it off. We actually went to separate high schools and saw each other again in college where we reconnected. He introduced me to a lot of his friends who were from [the] Church. And I thought they were really cool. And ultimately, after a while, he invited me to an evangelical mission, where I just got to listen.
At that time, I would have considered myself agnostic. I know God was out there. And I didn’t want to be considered Christian by the standards of the people who were around me because I didn’t agree with them. I didn’t want to be associated with a church that didn’t truly praise God the way that He was meant to be praised.
Inside the Church Of Christ nothing was answered with a personal anecdote. If there was ever a question it was read in the next verse. So I don’t think I ever asked a question because it was always answered right away.
When I learned about the Apostasy, and how that separated a lot of people from the true Church, that gave me the answer I was looking for of what I felt that there was a disconnect in my life.
Being a part of the Church Of Christ was something that I was meant to do. I started out in Virginia Beach, and my baptism was going to be in Maryland. That was probably the closest that I felt to God during my entire journey and during my entire search.
The Church Of Christ offered love [and] support. I just found a meaning to my life. It wasn’t until I found the Church Of Christ where I felt like, my life has a direction and a purpose. And it’s to serve God.
I hold a lot of responsibilities in the Church. It continues to push me to work harder. And honestly, it gives me a lot of happiness and fulfillment. I just hope that I can continue to make my God proud because when I am successful, I make it known that it wasn’t me, I always return the glory to Him. I never boast about anything that I do. I just hope it inspires people to open up their heart and to let God work through that like He has for me.