Promises, promises. I held on to them for dear life. They were my hope. They were my anchor. I hung on to them for dear life and I wasn’t going to let anyone take them from me. I held them close to my heart. In fact, for many of them, only me and God knew. That’s how I liked it. That’s how I wanted it. I never uttered a peep. That’s how I knew they were safe. Just between me and God.
As my daughter and I continued to live and grow, the Lord continued to show himself faithful. We had our valleys no doubt, but all in all, I could finally see God’s hand of favor on our lives and he constantly reaffirmed his promise to me for good and not harm, a future and a hope, and that is what kept me going through each valley. I felt a shift in our circumstances in that I saw my daughter smile when we were together. In fact, we finally started connecting in the simplicity of living day to day. Yet, there was still that “thing” inside me that wished I had made better choices. I wished I had never taken the wrong turn. I wished I had trusted God more to finish what he started in me so long ago. I wished so much…I wished with so much regret I wondered if I would ever realize the fullness of what I knew God called me to do.
Then it happened. That meeting. That encounter with God that changed me forever. It was a Tuesday night in October. The Fall air was beginning to set in but it was still plenty warm outside. Me and a friend was invited back to my “hometown church” where I served after my father was killed in the accident. It was one of those old fashioned tent revivals. A place where you could lift you hands to praise and shout “Halleluiah! Amen!” I got to see so many friends in a church where I once worshiped. It was a great night. I felt like I was walking on air.
I came home and the next night, I resumed service at my current church, which was also in revival. It was a Wednesday night. The service was powerful. The Holy Spirit was strong and the message was well-received. I found myself in tears and could not even speak to anyone at the end of service. I went home and could not make sense of the sudden shift in my emotions. I woke up the next morning (Thursday morning), still in a fog—still such a heaviness in my spirit. I knew I had to go to work. I prayed and prayed but could not find relief. Why were my emotions on such a roller coaster? Why had I gone from such a “high” to such a “low” in a matter of hours? It made no sense.
Finally, I pounded my fist on the kitchen table and said to God, “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” Like a movie playing in my mind, the Lord took me through memories of when I was at my hometown church after my dad died. I was one of the church pianists. God showed me how I had served as fill-in to a community church when they had no pianist and how God had used me to bring the music to my then pastor’s revival circuit. He reminded me of the connections he made for me through local quartets and the encouragement they gave me regarding the music ministry God had given me. Then the Lord showed me where I was at the present time. He showed me how even through the bad marriage we were in, the Lord gave me strength to step out and attend the current church I was currently attending as a “safe place,” and so they could start praying for us. He showed me how if it had not been for the prayers of the people at my current church, the Satan would have caused my ex-husband to be consumed with paranoia and we would have been killed. The Lord showed me how even though I took a wrong turn, he never left me and he caused me to be delivered and placed me at a church where once again, I was serving through the gift of music he gave me. The Lord then asked me, “Can’t you see? I’ve restored you.” I was stunned. Yes, once again, with a tear-soaked face, all I could do was worship my savior.
The Lord then spoke to me and said, “Many of my people are hurting. Tell my people that I love them and I want them to come to me so I can heal them. Time is running out and I need my people working. I will use your life to bring me glory.”
I was speechless. How could God love me so much that He would still choose to use someone like me after all I had done? I was so in love with my savior I could scarcely find the words to utter my praise to him. The Lord began to tell me some of the things he was preparing for me—really great things that I held deep in my heart and well within God’s keeping power. The date was October 19, 1996. God had already anointed me to write and earlier that year, I asked God to give me a song that I could give back to him, to bring him glory. The song, “You Love Even Me” would become prophetic for even me, as this year ended and the next year began to unfold.
I stayed on that “mountain top” for a long time. Our lives were becoming more settled and my direction clearer. Then it happened. In my normal course of daily living, I had another encounter—of the unholy kind. I had for most of my life walked with compassion in my heart for others—since I was a little girl. That’s how God made me. After God’s deliverance and healing in my life from certain destruction, I held deep reverence for God and for the commissioned call he had on my life. What I did not clearly understand was the enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. What I didn’t clearly understand was when God opens our ears to hear, we must learn to discern. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived while we walk in compassion for others. What I had not been fully prepared for was as much as I loved my savior, there was still work that needed to be done in me. I needed understanding that goes with knowledge. I needed wisdom that goes along with that new level of faith and upward movement from glory to glory. I needed to take God at his word and never waver from his truth. I needed to crucify my flesh and above all, I needed to guard my heart.
With my own life, I already knew how God’s grace was able to save a soul and change a life. My life was far from perfect, so for God to reach down and lift me out of a pit and set me on a firm foundation only confirmed to me that he could do it for anyone.
And the story continues…
©2017 Katrina Stanley
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