Rebellious children, her husband’s affair, and death in the family broke Taliba’s heart before a miraculous experience changed her perspective on life
Married at age 17 with five children by 26, Taliba Falaq-Lockhart had a few good years before her first husband was shot and killed. From there things slowly began to unravel.
She married her second husband months later and clung to her perfectionism, fearing that loss of control would cause her family to fall apart.
"I began to feel empty on the inside and dissatisfied with life; after I got off work at night I would stop by the nightclub seeking relief and satisfaction, but there was none," Taliba confesses.
Already in debt, when Taliba and her husband both lost their jobs, her car was repossessed and they were threatened with house foreclosure.
More painful and dark times quickly followed for her family after her oldest granddaughter ran away from home.
Added to her pain was her oldest son's addiction to drugs and booze and the news that her husband had been in an adulterous relationship.
The final straw was the unexpected death of her nine-month old grandson.
"Grief, sadness and darkness were all around me. I longed for peace and understanding; nevertheless, all the hurt, pain, disappointments and confusion at last overwhelmed me. I had suddenly come to the end of myself," she says.
Taliba finally broke down crying and pleading to God for help, knowing something in her life had to change.
"I did not know if God was truly real or not, but I hoped He was. I only knew my soul was desperate and my heart sincere."
A few months after her grandson's funeral God answered her prayers while on a visit to her sick mother.
"On that cold Friday afternoon in January 1995, my life changed forever," Taliba recalls.
"The experience was as though God came and pulled the veil from my eyes and said, 'Wake up my child, it's time to know the truth and be set free'."
Taliba distinctly remembers her encounter with the real and living God as she returned to the kitchen after bringing her mother something to eat. The heaviness left her as she felt uplifted and saw a visible presence in the room.
"He was just so real and alive; more real than anything I have ever known. I knew right away that it was God," she says.
She poured out her tears but felt engulfed by comfort and peace as God brought clarity to her mind and a deep understanding of who He was.
"I knew and understood at that moment that God was in full control, as my mind was totally at peace. It felt as if God literally reached down from heaven and wrapped me in Himself; took my heart in His powerful hand and transformed it," she explains.
"I could feel His deep overflowing unconditional love flow through me, in spite of all I had done. I also knew God loved my lying adulterous husband, my sons with their wayward and destructive behaviors as well as every other soul in the world."
Suddenly Taliba understood the weight of what Jesus had done on the cross for her, as she had learnt about at Sunday school as a child.
Having dealt with sin through his death and resurrection, Jesus was able to offer the free gift of forgiveness to all those who accept it.
"In that moment I felt His perfect peace and His unlimited forgiveness, His deep compassion, His great and tender mercy, His amazing kindness and His immense grace. I felt like I was finally at home where I belong for the first time in my life!"
"That day I bowed and confessed my sins to Jesus Christ repeatedly, saying, 'God, You are real! Your Word is true!'"
With confusion gone and a determination to turn away from her old ways and follow Jesus Christ, her yearning soul was satisfied by God, Taliba says.
Although her husband eventually left her for the other woman, she explains that God has "healed my broken heart and helped me to forgive those who hurt me."
"He has put the pieces of my life back together and He has given me rest for my soul."
"Today I have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and I know He is living on the inside of me in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Today, my life is meaningful and full of purpose."
Emboldened by God's transformation of her life, Taliba now wants to encourage other people, saying, "Jesus Christ is a friend you do not want to live and die without, for you will surely stand before Him one day. Don't wait until it is too late." •