Trusting in God’s Timing
Tawanda Cochrane: I went to probably, like, four lessons and then I stopped. Sister Rose, she’s like, “Don’t let life get in your way. God gave you twenty-four hours in a day and you can give Him back at least an hour or two hours for Him, to serve Him.”
My name is Tawanda Cochrane. I was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia on February 27, 1979 at 3:22 p.m. My mom’s biggest blessing that day. I have one sister who is older than me, so it’s three girls. Growing up, most of my childhood as I got older, about ten or eleven my mom and dad separated due to some domestic violence issues.
“Standing Up For My Mom”
It was hard for me to live [with] the domestic violence. I felt deep down inside, I had to stand up for [my mom] because she wasn’t going to stand up for herself. All she wanted to do was to protect us. Us kids. After a while my dad got help and eventually came back until I [was] old enough to stand up to him. Like I told him, I was like, “I shouldn’t have to stand up to you like this, you should know better.”
“Honor The Father and Mother”
It was hard. But [my mom] always taught me one of God’s commandments: honor thy mother, honor thy father. And she was like, “Even though he’s doing this, you still need to honor him and respect him.” And that’s something she taught until the day she passed away. “You’re going to honor him.”
Now our relationship is way better. We talk, I want to say at least once a week.
“I Didn’t Blame God”
My mom always taught us the Ten Commandments and to make sure we knew [them]. She would get us dressed every Sunday, send us to church even though she didn’t go.
What I knew about God when I was a kid, [is] that you pray to Him. He’s the Almighty Father. Let Him know what’s bothering you. As a child, I didn’t blame God about what was going on at home, I had just—I found that the church [or chapel] was my safe place. There was something always going on at the church [or chapel].
“Standing On My Own Two Feet”
My senior year in high school, I had a lot of recruiters asking me, “Would you like to join the Army?” “Would you like to join the Navy?” I was like, “I know, I’m already eighteen, I can sign my own documents.” I was like, “Yeah, I’ll be ready Wednesday morning to go do my physical.”
When I joined the military, in boot camp they had church service [and[ I went every Sunday. That was in boot camp. But once I left boot camp, church kind of [fell] to the side.
“Bouncing From Church To Church”
But when I transferred from Norfolk, to Lemoore, California, out here, I would go to church every once in a while. I met my husband here on the base. He seemed very [religious] at the time. Then he got shipped out and something about that deployment was different, because when he came back he wasn’t the same person that left. It seemed like I was just being sadder and sadder and sadder instead of [being] happy.
And I just started bouncing from church to church to church to find—I guess, a family [feeling] that I fit in because my family was so far away. And I was living a reckless life, drinking and partying like it was the thing to do but deep down inside I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do.
“God Give 24 Hours In A Day”
God introduced Sister Sally into my life—I was working at the Fresno VA Hospital and I met her ] [there] and she seemed [like] such a nice lady. She’s like “Hi, I’m Rose.” And I’m like, “Hi, I’m Tawanda.” And she’s like, “Oh okay, yeah this and this…” And she was going so fast and I was like, “How do people understand what she’s saying?” And she’s like, “We’re having a Bible study tonight, would you like to come?” And I was like, “No, thank you but I’ll keep that thought in mind.” And I met her a couple more times [when I came] down and she’s like, “Hey, we’re having a Bible study tonight, would you like to come?” And I was like, “I have no babysitter.” And she’s like, “If you’re worried about a babysitter, don’t worry about that. There [are] a lot of mothers that are going to be at the Bible study where you can—they’ll take care of him.” And she’s like, “My two daughters are going to be there so you can have them watch your son.” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll come.” And I started going to the Bible studies. I went to probably—I signed up for Bible study to be a Bible student that night. I went to probably, like, four lessons and then I stopped. And [Sister Rose] was like, “Don’t let life get in your way. God gave you twenty-four hours in a day and you can give Him back at least an hour or two hours for Him, to serve Him.” And that kind of stuck with me.
When I first met Sister Rose, my mom had passed away and I was still—I wanted that mother figure. I wanted a mother and my mom was gone and Sister Rose being that mother figure, she took care of everybody in the clinic. Then when I started going to the Church Of Christ and going to the Bible study and everybody’s like, “Hi Sally!” and I’m like looking at her, and she’s like, “Oh, that’s my name.” And I was like, “Oh…” So I’m thinking her name is Rose, but she’s like, “No, they [called] me Sally [ever] since I was little.” I was like, “Oh okay.” Her name at work is Rose, Rosalina. But everybody that knows her in the Church Of Christ calls her Ka Sally and she made me feel comfortable. I talk to her about anything and everything like I would with my mom. And with the life battles that I was having [and] not understanding why my son’s father didn’t want to be a part of his life. And Sister Rose told me, she’s like, “He got a way better father—the Almighty Father. God, God is going to be his Father. He’s going to provide everything that little mad needs.” She said, “You just got to have faith.” And that’s what really got me going to every Bible study, every evangelical mission.
Interviewer: What can you say about the timing, God’s timing of putting Sister Rose in your life at a time when you had just lost your mom?
Tawanda: I needed Him to answer me with that because He knew how close me and mom [were] and because after she passed, I was back on that downward spiral. And I knew if I’m—and I just kept praying, “God help me, help me.”
That’s my answer to my prayer, that I get to have a second chance with another mother. From every Bible study, I felt like in the Church Of Christ, I’m always with family and [there was] always a hug waiting for you, you know? And I was like, “I need to be part of the true Church, not just any church but the true Church. And in the Church Of Christ, I’m there. I’m happy to be here.
From that Bible lesson, it says it right there in the Bible. The Church Of Christ, the one true Church.
And that’s what I’ll always believe. What was said in the Bible is what’s true. This is God’s Holy Scripture. And that’s—I always will believe that.
The difference between the Baptist [church] and the Church Of Christ: In the Baptist worship service, there’s a lot of loud singing and a lot of jumping around, screaming—the minister would put the Bible verse in their [own] version. How—their interpretation. But in the Church Of Christ, from the time I walked in the door, I felt the calmness, the peace and the serenity of the chapel.
“My Biggest Fear”
I’m so amazed by it, you know. I’m a part of this, I’m a part of the Church Of Christ. I’ll be telling my friend, “Hey, let’s—come join us [in] Bible study.” And they’ll be like, “No, not tonight.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” Now I know how Sister Rose felt about inviting people. But I still go, “Hey, okay!” And then I wait a week and go like, “Hey! We’re having Bible study again.”
Interviewer: So are you Sister Rose now?
Tawanda: Yes, I’m Sister Rose now and I keep going and right now my best friend, she’s like, “You weren’t going to give up until I went to Bible study.” And I was like, “No, I wasn’t.” I said, “I’m going to keep going until I can get your older kids in to coming to Bible study with you, you know?”
Interviewer: Why do you not give up even though people have said “No” to you?
Tawanda: [Because] it’s one of God’s commandments. I don’t want anyone to have that second death in the lake of fire. My biggest fear is that I won’t save enough souls, I won’t get enough people to hear God’s message, you know? Because I feel every soul should be saved but they need to hear the message to be saved.
“My Favorite Answered Prayer”
I feel [that] having the Church, the Church Of Christ, helped [in] raising my son. I know he’s on a good path for his salvation and with all the brothers in the Church I know he won’t lack any male leadership roles that he might need. With this pandemic, it’s hard for him to understand why we’re not at the chapel and why we’re not—
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Joined the Church Of Christ in 2018
—why he can’t see Brother Isaiah, or Brother Ron or Brother Ray or Brother Rolly as often as he used to. Coming out of his shell more than he used to. Because when he first—when we first started he wouldn’t talk. Now once he sees them he’s—”Bye Mom! Going with Brother such and such!” “Okay! See you in a little bit.”
“He’s Driving My Life”
My story of faith is encouraging. No matter how hard life is, God is going to be there to get you through. And I want my story of faith to encourage someone else and believe God will take them through whatever they’re going through. No matter how bad the world is getting, I see my future is a bright one because I’m not going to let go of my membership in the Church Of Christ and keep God first and my Lord Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat. And as long as He’s driving my life, it’s going to be a really bright future.
Stories of Faith
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