Life….And Then There’s Two–Part One

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…

Life…..And Then There’s Two–Part Two

It was a day like any other day. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was changing out the pump signs with our new specials and making sure our gassing stations were clean and tidy. I had committed to the Lord to use my business as a lighthouse in the community for his glory, which we did every day. People began to seek out our convenience store for a place to shop, noting that the scrolling sign on the pump telling them that “Jesus Loves You” brought them great encouragement. I offered customers hope through a smile, word of encouragement and a gospel tract anyone could pick up free of charge. I also offered local ministries and churches the opportunity to make extra money by having a car wash on my lot. I was cautioned against doing this due to the cost, since we were already experiencing financial difficulties, but I knew the cost was low compared to the change in the atmosphere of our community that was bearing the existence of two active gangs. I knew I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing and for as long as God allowed me to be there, I would continue forward.

One of the men in a local ministry I was helping came up to me and asked me a question. It was as if he had been painted on from head to toe. I mean, the man loved tattoos. But who was I to judge. Then the man added, “When God saved me, I looked in the mirror and I had doubts.” He went on to say, “God told me he saw my heart and change would start there.” I knew what he meant. God’s grace. Then I heard it. “The Voice.” You know—that soft voice. That whisper. It said, “Will you consider him?” In my heart, I knew what it meant. God already told me he was preparing to bring me a husband and together we would spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. At first, I didn’t think much of it. But it was persistent.

As the days and weeks went on, me and this man would have more conversations. Before you know it, we began to pray for one another. Even though there were obvious differences, I knew what God was able to do—after all, I knew what God did for me. I was cautioned by those who knew me. I was cautioned by those who knew him. This is what is called being surrounded by Godly counsel, as God says there is safety in the counsel of many. Here’s where a person is supposed to “heed to Godly counsel.” I might add, this is not a time for the righteousness of God to become prideful. After all, I knew it was God’s voice I heard. Right?? Time went on and we eventually became engaged to be married. The rings were bought. The date was set. Now, here’s where many people may have their own opinions, but I’ve learned, there is a reason God sets certain boundaries for us to follow—not so we can have a boring life, but for our own good, safety and well being.

What happened next shook me to the core on the foundation God had so painstakingly built for me to be planted on. A person’s true character is seen not when things are good or events are running smoothly. A person’s true character is seen when the fire is the hottest, and the fire that was set ablaze against us was burning hotter and hotter. It was only weeks before we were to be married. Plans were being made and it seemed things were coming together as planned. I had not been feeling well but was at a loss to understand why—probably just because I was making another one of the biggest life-changing decisions of my life. Then the final straw was placed on what became known as the pile of sinking sand. I found out I was pregnant.

In an instant, I felt myself spiral into a place of utter aloneness. One could best describe it as a place of complete darkness. Thoughts of myself as the minister God called me to be were suddenly thrown into a heap of “you failed” and “you’re worthless” all over again. To add fuel to the fire, I remembered him growing anxious because I kept putting off the wedding. I had that “stinging feeling within me” and I voiced my concerns to him. I said, “What’s wrong with waiting? If its meant to be, it will be.” He reluctantly agreed, so we waited—a little while longer. My mind began racing from thoughts of his voicing his restlessness for waiting to get married to “what is everyone going to think.” I didn’t have the feelings of security of “Well, we’re almost married. It’s going to be all right.” There was nothing all right about what I was going through, what I was feeling and what I was thinking. My barometer of grace seemed to be sucked dry and I was at a loss to process it all.

Truth came in a matter of days. I met with him and told him I was pregnant. Quite frankly, his reaction came of no complete surprise to me. However, I was hopeful this was all just a bad dream and deep inside, I hoped we would get married and everything would be okay. Not. He became angry and threw the papers in his hand and said, “This is just great. How far along are you?” The conversation ended with, “I need to be alone for a while.” We met only a few more times after that. I finally accepted the fact he simply was not ready to be married, nor was he ready to be a father. He became quite relieved to hear me admit to it and with that, he left. He tucked himself away in the company of those who provided for all his needs. A place for him to become a stronger man to deal with his life.

As for me, I was left alone to handle everything. I had been down the road of taking responsibility before. I took responsibility for myself and my daughter after the abusive marriage. I would take responsibility for this too—even though it was certainly not all of my own doing. I was silent for a time. My secret was still my own for a while. I tried to sit down to the piano and find solace. It didn’t work. I tried to read God’s word. I couldn’t take it in. I tried to pray. I felt as if I was talking to the walls. Thoughts of losing all God promised me once again plagued my thoughts. My heart was broken. My soul was vexed. All I could hear was “you’re no good.” I finally stormed through the house crying and yelling at the top of my lungs, “Is this it? Have it done it now? Have I gone too far this time? Have I exhausted my grace account?” After what seems like forever, the Lord spoke, “It’s just going to be harder.”

The next day, I was standing at my kitchen sink looking into the front yard. I heard it again. The Voice. That whisper. “You know how to take care of this problem. It doesn’t have to be a problem for you.” Instantly, I felt the power of God come upon me and I said out loud, “Satan! You’re a liar! And you’re defeated by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony! I will have this baby!”

I was finally able to gather the courage to speak to the pastor of the church who had supported us until the time I became engaged. As difficult as all of this had been to process, he said something that set me free, at least enough to see it with a little clearer perspective. He said, “Having a baby out of wedlock is not the sin. It’s what you did to get pregnant that’s the sin.” We had a good conversation. In a stately manner, he said “You know abortion is out of the question.” I was then able to tell him “the rest of the story” about that morning he read from Jeremiah—that morning God chose to meet with me by divine intervention and face having had two abortions while I was previously married. It was also in that conversation with him I was able to tell him how Satan had tried to tempt me to do just that—abort another precious gift from God—the child I was pregnant with. No. Satan would not win this time. Not again.

I made a vow to God that day. I told God I wanted his best for my life and if I needed to stay single in order to get it, that was okay with me—and I meant it. The years ahead would prove to be very challenging to say the least. Some of our greatest challenges can become some of our greatest losses. Sometimes, those losses can bring some of our greatest blessings. The Lord prepared me though. He knows I remind him often enough that he tells us he will not keep us in the dark. He told me to prepare to go back to school and that if I would pursue a career in medical transcription, I would be able to work and provide for my kids all while being able to stay at home with them and not have to depend on someone else to care for them. This is something I longed for. God knows the desires of our hearts and whatever those may be, he will work things together to get us where we need to be to receive them. He certainly did for me.

God also knows the plans he has for us and in that he will also work all things together for our own good. I knew my business was struggling financially but I always reminded God that his word said I should owe no one anything but to walk in his love, so I expected a miracle. I was not opposed to leaving the business—I just didn’t want to leave it while being in debt. Sometimes, the Lord’s grace will deliver us so we do not have to walk through the fire. Sometimes, the Lord’s grace will carry us so we are not overtaken by the floods. Sometimes, God’s grace will rise within us and make us stronger than we could ever imagine, enough to walk through the fire and the flood. I knew God was faithful and I knew he had always been good to me. So, I knew he would see me and my two children through the yet another devastating season when I would be forced to close my business (by reason of inability to become financially soluble).

I started at the business as manager with low sales and increased a small kiosk business to more zeros per year than I had ever seen with my own eyes in my life. It was my livelihood. It was my baby. It was my identity. I felt lost and the rejection I encountered was more than I could bear. I had been trying to sell my home so I could downgrade, but time would prove it was not on my side. I lost everything. I withdrew. I couldn’t fathom what was next for us. Unknowns. Uncertainties. But all eyes were on me to provide and “fix it.”

But God… and Only God… His plan is perfect. His timing is perfect. When I finally conceded to that, I was finally able to breath. Through my family’s suggestion, I found my way into school. Amazingly, I remembered the word God spoke to me a year earlier. Indeed, this school had a medical transcription course. My heart was overjoyed! My daughter was eight years old and my son was four months old. Talk about a new beginning. It would take three years, but I did it. I made it through school—not with just one, but with two degrees. And, I made it through with honors, a 4.0 GPA. I achieved the highest honor as the overall outstanding student and was the keynote speaker of my class. I saw the glory of the Lord pierce through the darkness of every negative word I had ever heard about myself. God never ceases to amaze me with what he can do with willingness and effort. Amazing Grace—God’s love for us.

I’ve known for quite some time that my life is not my own. God has called me to something greater than I can fathom and through it all, he has never changed his mind with what that will be.

We all meet at the crossroads of “life” and “convenience,” “trust and obey” and “do it my own way.” Each choice brings its own set of circumstances, ups and downs, goods and bads. No, life is not a crapshoot. God has a plan. He has a perfect plan, a perfect will. God also gives us a choice. God tells us to choose life. Not because he a “stick in the mud” with a bunch of rules and regulations to make our lives boring, and deem our lives insignificant. And, no. God does not sit on his throne with a scepter in his hand ready and waiting to knock us over the head when we make a mistake. God loves us. All of us. Is life hard? Yes. Is life fair? No. But even so, God is good and He wants his best for us.

A friend of mine told me once, “God will pull you through if you can stand the pull.” She was right, of course. I was eventually able to forgive him for walking out on us. Just like I was able to forgive my ex-husband for all he did to us. I also came to forgive myself for what I had done. Because of God’s grace. Choose life. Choose his way. Choose his plan. His way is not always the easiest, but it is always the best. He wants us to have his best along the way. Seek him and you will find him. And, wherever life may find you today, just know, God loves you even when you make mistakes. I know his love is what keeps me going. Yes, Lord, I know “You Love Even Me.”

Pray Even If You’re Outnumbered

The Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly, “Pray, even when it seems like you’re out numbered.”
Could something so simple make a difference?

That word was so profound and so timely. He reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. He made unhealthy alliances, which was not God’s choice for him. He thought he was doing a good thing, but it turns out it wasn’t. He thought those alliances could help protect him from enemy attack, but he instead ended up going through great attacks from the enemy because of it.
Jehoshaphat turned away from this alliance and began once again to rely completely on God and trust him with the decisions and choices he made.

Sometime later, a vast army set out to attack the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Through a prophet, The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but belongs to God.” Jehoshaphat was given further instructions to go out and face the enemy and that the Lord would be with him.

The next morning Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and said, “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” They began to sing praises to God. As they began to sing in praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the army and the army was defeated–all without Jehoshaphat or his army having to fight.

This is what the Lord is telling us all. Pray. Talk to God. Rely on him to give you the answers, directions you need. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt or fear. TRUST GOD that HIS WORD will do what He sends it to do–even if it seems like the enemy is gaining ground or if you don’t see the answer right away–and watch God defeat the enemy sent to attack you.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The devil is a liar and he’s working overtime on the minds of his people trying to steal your faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the one who is all powerful and able to turn things around for good for you!!!

Be Still My Child–Story behind the song


It seems there is a moment in everyone’s life they encounter “that defining moment.” That moment when we thought we were in tune with our lives and circumstances and understood at least enough to handle situations as they arose.  One might think…

At this point in my life, it was just me and my daughter, who was at that time five years old. We had just survived a very difficult separation and divorce from a man who, let’s just say, had a lot of issues of his own that desperately needed tending to. My daughter and I were learning how to live life day to day on our own, and I was determined we would live with peace in our home.  Peace.  Peace and quiet.  Peace and sense of well-being.  Peace in our little, miniscule piece of the world.  Peace, which neither of us had known for a very long time and we were on the journey of learning how to achieve it.

Then it happened. That one moment in time that changes everything. It changes time as we would always remember it.  It marks the realization of what I wondered for quite some time, and in retrospect, God was trying to reveal to me. That one moment that compounds my already over-burdened sense of failing as a mother to protect her child.

It didn’t start out bad. There was actually a moment in time I believe we really loved each other. At least for a moment in the beginning. After a period of time, I found myself searching for me. As a wife, finding myself nurturing and supporting my husband, I found more and more there was little time for me. He was committed to his views and desires and I learned quickly mine were not as important. If I disagreed, I was sure to be shown how I was wrong. If I chose not to comment, I was a pacifist. If I chose to accept the invitation to spend time with him on an outing with a friend, instead of staying home to clean house and do the laundry, then my moment of enjoyment quickly faded after being verbally thrashed for being lazy and not keeping our home tidy.  Never mind the fact he was unemployed half of our marriage and I was working more than full-time hours at the business (that I began as a manager before we were married and ultimately became sole owner) trying to make ends meet. And, if I my daughter acted up, it was because she wasn’t whipped enough. This, compounded with my daughter sitting on the side of her bed at bedtime asking me, “Why does daddy always hurt me?” And my feeble, inexcusable answer of “I don’t know.”  I understood he had issues and needed help, but he refused to do so, even at my pleading. You get the picture.

The day started good. It was a Sunday in the Spring, not long before Easter. The sun was shining and the weather was warming up, enough to keep the windows open.  The breeze flowed through the house and the air was crisp with life. It was beautiful. My daughter had been at her dad’s regularly scheduled weekend visit and I resolved I was going to finally shampoo my carpets before she got home. I almost made it too!

As always, when she came home, I met her at his vehicle to receive her and her things. When I went out to meet her, I saw her dad lifting her up with her feet on the arm rest of the open door, and he was talking very softly to her. I didn’t think a whole lot of it at the time, just that it was “different.” As I walked her to the house, she was unusually quiet and somber. I told her to go ahead and get into the bath while I finished up the carpets. She got out of the bath and I gave her a bag of candy that had been put up for her, while she waited for me to get her clothes. What I saw next would change our lives forever and would map out some of the most difficult months we had faced since the divorce—my daughter revealed how her dad had been inappropriate with her.

I was in shock. I acted like everything was okay, but I was certainly not okay. I called the ER and was advised to wait and take her to her pediatrician the next day, since I had already given her a bath.  After I put my daughter to bed, I sat down at my kitchen table and began crying out to God. I was grieved beyond description and felt an array of emotions beyond comprehension. I asked, “Where was I?  As hard as I tried to protect her, how could this have happened?” Then I turned my anger towards God and said, “And where were you?  You’re everywhere we are!  Why did you let this happen!!” I tossed the memories back and forth, trying to make sense of anything. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. Finally, well after midnight, when everything was dark and everything was still and quiet, I heard the Lord speak.  All He said was, “Be still and know that I am God. I will never leave you or forsake you.”

The next day, I did as I was advised and took my daughter to her pediatrician who confirmed my suspicion. We were sent to Children’s Hospital for my daughter to be completely evaluated. She even told the social worker the same thing she told me. It seemed time stood still. Phone calls were made and over the next weeks, and even months came the flood of phone calls of “You’re a liar.” “You have no right to involve us in something like this.” “It’s just a yeast infection.”

After meeting with my attorney and paying fees that wiped out all the money I had, we were able to get restricted supervision, within the parameters of his normal weekend visitations—even so, he was NEVER to be alone with her, he couldn’t spend the night in the same house with her, and the “supervisor” is supposed to monitor every conversation. And one more thing—we were all on gag order.  Hmmm—at least I know I won’t have to face not abiding to the law that required this. Yep.  At any rate, the entity that handles this through the courts were too short-handed to help us (or so I was told) and it was insisted that a family member is used. Turns out, the only family member willing and able was one of HIS family members.  No surprise there. “Why did she have to go at all,” I asked! There was no concrete evidence. The DNA was washed away in the bath. Or so I was told. Nevertheless, my faith was in God, not anyone else.

Next, came the barrage of “My daughter is a psych major. There’s no way he abused her. If he abused her, she wouldn’t want to be around him.” Oh my. Maybe a psych major but with no clinical experience. This is too often the case. I’ve found that kids have an incredible ability to “do” what they have to do in order to get through something. Kids naturally want to please. They naturally want to be loved and accepted as well. According to all the therapists my daughter saw, it is absolutely true that kids will often times protect their abusers, for various reasons. All of this played into his family’s unwillingness to accept that their “family” was capable to doing this. Then there was the confirmation that brought another mighty blow. He sought out a former employee of mine who interacted with us when we were married and said, “I know I had an affair on Katrina, but I didn’t do what she accused me of.” Wow. Like a ton of bricks fell on me. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.

Not only did I have to hold myself together for my daughter, I had to process what I deep down inside knew was true as well. He was unfaithful in keeping his marital vows to me. I thought back to a time when my daughter was still in a high chair. My sister-in-law had just had her son and was having medical issues and needed help. I packed up me and my daughter to go help. I invited my husband, but he refused to go. When we came home, the house was spotless and the bed sheets were changed. My first thought was wow, he has had a change of heart.  He has finally realized I need help and has turned over a new leaf.  Good times were finally on their way. I quickly realized my romantic notions were, let’s just say—wrong, when I went into the back bathroom to find my daughter’s high chair sitting in the tub from when I was cleaning it—exactly the way I left it when I went to help my sister-in-law. I questioned him about it, he just shrugged his shoulder’s. In my gut, I knew. I knew our marriage bed was no longer ours. But I didn’t have the courage to ask. I lived in fear of him and I had learned how to walk on those eggshells without cutting my feet. What would happen to me if I confronted him?  Another day.  Anyway…now it was out. I was right after all, and he finally admitted it.

I was literally a woman who had to be re-made. All while caring for my daughter and running my business. The DHS investigator smugly admitted to me he didn’t think my ex did what he was accused of and said he would file the appropriate report saying as much. He added he would forward his report to the local law enforcement of the county where the supposed incident of occurrence happened and “see what they come up with.” (It happened in another county from where we lived.) We were supposed to be interviewed by the sheriff’s office of that county and the DHS worker was supposed to set this up. Months went by. Somehow, (what a surprise) our case got lost in the shuffle and by the time it was straightened out, we lost restricted supervised visitation.  That’s when my daughter stopped talking.  We did have that interview with law enforcement, but without my daughter’s testimony, even though it had been given to people in authority at Children’s Hospital, there was nothing law enforcement could do. Too much time had gone by and my daughter had been put through the ringer—without ever going to court.

My daughter progressively became more angry after every weekend she had to see her dad. And I became more frustrated with a system that did not work for us–my ability to trust was more than shattered by this time. Then everything came to a head. My daughter came home one Sunday evening so angry she was out of control, yelling, crying, throwing things. I had to physically restrain her. Once I finally got her settled enough to stand still, I made her stand in front of me and told her to tell me what was wrong. Crying very hard she said, “Daddy lied to me. Daddy didn’t rub with me a pencil because I didn’t feel it. Daddy lied to me.”  Five. Years. Old. There was nothing I could do. We went to counseling. I was asked to come into session with her one day. The counselor said my daughter wanted to ask me something.  My daughter looked at me with cold, dark brown eyes and said, “Why did you let him hurt me?” All I could say was, “I tried to stop him. I tried. I’m so sorry.” There’s something in a mother’s heart that breaks and never really mends when they know their efforts to protect their child was not enough to rescue them from the forces of nature around them. It’s indescribable and oftentimes unbearable. But God…

Through the many years and seasons that have come and gone since that time, I’ve learned to depend on God more than I ever thought I could. Through every season, every change and every new beginning, the Lord reminds me, “Be still and know I am God. I will never leave you or forsake you.” During that season, that’s all I had to hold on to.  With everything and everyone who was against me, it was God, my family and the few who stood by me during that season that got us through it. My daughter weathered the storm and has had many storms to overcome as a result of the insecurities besetting her due to the abuse she was subjected to. But through the grace of God and the love we share in the bond of mother and daughter, I know we will overcome. I learned to trust that God will always work things out for our good, and so He does without fail. I also learned to pray for my ex. Even through it all, he is also God’s child. I leave the details to God to work out. I truly do want him set free for himself and for others.

Peace. Peace. Wonderful peace. I have peace now. Every day. I live in His peace knowing He will never leave me or forsake me. I have proven God to be faithful over and over and over again. From those very words God gave me that dark, weary night so long ago, came this song. I hope you feel God’s presence and hear His voice say to you, “Be still and know I am God. I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Hope you enjoy.

God says….”The battle is mine!”

The Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly today, “Pray, even when it seems like you’re out numbered.”

Could something so simple make a difference?

That word was so profound and so timely. He reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat who was the king of Judah. He made unhealthy alliances, which was not God’s choice for him. He thought he was doing a good thing, but it turns out it wasn’t. He thought those alliances could help protect him from enemy attack, but he instead ended up going through great attacks from the enemy because of it.

Jehoshaphat turned away from this alliance and began once again to rely completely on God and trust him with the decisions and choices he made.

Sometime later, a vast army set out to attack the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Through a prophet, The Lord told Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but belongs to God.” Jehoshaphat was given further instructions to go out and face the enemy and that the Lord would be with him.

The next morning Jehoshaphat encouraged his people and said, “have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” They began to sing praises to God. As they began to sing in praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the army and the army was defeated–all without Jehoshaphat or his army having to fight.

This is what the Lord is telling us all. Pray. Talk to God. Rely on him to give you the answers, directions you need. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt or fear. TRUST GOD that HIS WORD will do what He sends it to do–even if it seems like the enemy is gaining ground or if you don’t see the answer right away–and watch God defeat the enemy sent to attack you.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. The devil is a liar and he’s working overtime on the minds of his people trying to steal your faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the one who is all powerful and able to turn things around for good for you!!!

The Lord’s Lullaby–Story behind the song

I’ve grown to the point in my life, I realize everything we go through in this life is an opportunity to give up and say “I’m done” or choose life and say “I’ll take one more step.” This is the story behind the song The Lord’s Lullaby.

In November 2009, I witnessed one of the greatest possible experiences I believe I’ve ever encountered. I was invited to witness my oldest grandson’s birth. Well…I was allowed to be in the room, anyway. Too exciting for words. To hold a tiny person who was not from you but still a part of you was more to take in than I have the ability or words to express. I was filled with awe and wonder. When he was a few weeks old, I was holding him while I was in my mother’s kitchen and I heard this tune playing over and over in my head. I found myself singing it to him over and over as a lullaby, which was soothing to him, and me.

It would be about two years later I would embark on one of the most difficult seasons of my life. A season ordained in time for me to face my own need for full disclosure. It was time for me to face what I had done 20 years earlier. I didn’t realize how much a choice I made 20 years ago not only affected me, but everyone in my family as well.

The year was 1991, August. I was married. Not a good marriage either. I found myself surviving, not thriving. My daughter was two years old and life was difficult. I found out I was pregnant again, eight weeks pregnant. I reasoned within myself it was not fair to bring a child into a situation like we were in, so I had an abortion. In December of the same year, I found out I was six weeks pregnant. Our situation was not better, so I had another abortion.

In February of the next year, I found myself unable to cope and planned suicide. I cried out to God and said, “Just take me home, I can’t handle anything anymore.”  He showed me a picture of my daughter’s face in my mind and told me if I couldn’t find the strength to go on for myself, I’d better find it for her because she needed me. So I tightened up the bootstraps and went forward. I buried everything.

Five years later I was at church and the first words out of my pastor’s mouth was, “I knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.”  I did not realize it was Sanctity of Life Sunday morning. I grabbed my Bible and my keys and said to myself, “When every head is bowed and every eye is closed, I’m outta hear. I can’t handle this.”  The Lord spoke to me and said “No, I want you to stay.  You need to hear this.” So I stayed. I can’t remember anything that was said. I never raised my head. I never stopped crying.

I then remembered each visit to the abortion clinic. I remembered seeing other women sitting in the waiting room.  I remembered being taken into a counseling room and a woman asked me, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” I remembered being on the table in the procedure room. I remembered seeing the doctor and the nurse.  I remembered hearing the sounds of the suction of the machine used to perform the abortion. I remembered the pain.

I left the church that morning as fast as I could. I got home and I cried for hours until I had no strength. I didn’t know I could cry so many tears. I couldn’t comprehend how I could have done such a thing, not only once, but twice. I said to God, “I should die for what I’ve done.” The Lord spoke to me, and He said “Just as I am here with you now, I was with you then and I still love you.” I knew by the end of the day that God had forgiven me. I promise to the Lord that if he ever blessed me to get pregnant again, I would never have another abortion–even if it meant me giving up my life for the sake of the child. And I meant it.

But it wouldn’t be until the summer of 2011 that I could forgive myself. By divine connections, I began volunteering at a pregnancy resource center who also sponsored an abortion recovery and healing program.  For several weeks, we went through layers and layers of reasons, ill-effects and processes of how to overcome knowing you are personally responsible for ending your own child’s life. Incomprehensible.

I went through memory after memory of that time in my life while I was married, of how I felt like I was dying inside and knowing my daughter was affected by my inability to give more of me. I thought of how much I loved her but struggled to show her more of the love I had for her. I realized for the first time that as my daughter got older and would tell me she felt I was smothering her and not allowing her to go to some places her friends could attend was deeply rooted in my fear of something bad happening to her–a form of PTSD, a very real after effect of having an abortion, which was complicated by our history of domestic abuse. I remembered if I saw a baby, I would smile but I did not want to be anywhere close to a baby, not realizing it was because of the loss I experienced but never grieved and an emptiness for which I never shed a tear.

Having the abortions caused depression and inability to trust others.  It affected my relationships and ability to get close to anyone.  Having the abortions caused me to doubt my ability to accomplish anything good, my ability to be a good mother to my daughter and moreover, I felt like I was a complete failure. Indeed, I never had a nightmare from giving birth, unlike the dozens of nightmares I had after having the abortions. I never spoke about having an abortion, even after that Sunday morning on Sanctity for Life. I couldn’t. I was sure I would be shunned as an outcast. It wasn’t that I didn’t have support at the church where I went. I was simply too broken to take a chance on being rejected by those who at the time were the only source of stability I had.

Through a series of divine appointments and TBN, the Lord, very patiently and lovingly took me by the hand and let me know he loved me and he would never let me go. It wouldn’t be until I saw a late night talk show on TBN who took phone calls on the topic of the night that I was finally able to briefly tell my abortion story–but only anonymously.

That summer of 2011 marked a new beginning in my life. My children now bear their rightful names and they were properly memorialized for the lives God gave them. And, I was able to put a voice to my grief in a poem, which continues to bring healing and strength to me. I not only faced my own brokenness and was able to finally place it in the hands of Jesus to heal me and restore my soul, I was able to tell my children, my mother, my brother and my sister there are two little ones they never met who they will one day meet when they get to heaven. I didn’t know how it would turn out. Would they get mad and disown me? Would they yell and scream? There was mixed emotions. But as my family has proven over and over, love endures all things.

Through the course of my ministry, I have encountered those who have had abortions and tell of the difficulties they too have endured as a result of making their choice to abort their pregnancies. I have met those who are determined we have a choice and I should just accept that fact and “get over it!” And of course, there are those who are complacent and indifferent. Complacent and indifferent I can never be. There are simply too many lives at stake.

I owe my life to Jesus Christ and the many people who have prayed for me and pray for those who have gone through abortions. Abortion is something we can stop. Not only does abortion end a human life, when a woman gets pregnant, her body and brain is forever imprinted with the physiological changes her body makes after conception. This cannot be denied and needs to be realized by all, before more damage is done to those left behind. Denial does not make this go away. Although having an abortion may seem to solve an immediate “problem,” the after effects will last for a lifetime.

I now have three beautiful grandchildren who I have the great delight in hearing them call me “granny.” “Children are a heritage from the Lord. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” 

Know that if you or someone you know has had an abortion, God loves you and wants you to come to him so he can heal you. Healing can be found through God’s forgiveness and love.

The poem I wrote for the memorial service of my two children in heaven became a song soon after. I remembered the tune that popped in my head when I held my infant grandson in my mother’s kitchen that evening in 2009. I placed it at the beginning and the end of the song, as it were, like a music box playing The Lord’s Lullaby.

 

 

Love Always, In My Heart–Story behind the song

There is a day in all our lives, after we’ve spent years being told what to do and when to do it, we want to live our lives that way WE want.  Sometimes, we grow into it gracefully.  Sometimes, it requires making a bold stand.  The latter was the case with my daughter–or so she thought.

The year was 2008.  My daughter was in her senior year of high school.  I was so proud of her. There was a time when she didn’t know if she would survive her struggles to make it this far. I never lost faith that she would indeed overcome the incredible odds set against her from years of abuse that led to self-abuse and a plethora of bad choices.

It was about 10:00 p.m. one cold night in early January, when came a knock on the door of my mother’s home (where we were living at the time and for whom I was caring for) by two deputy sheriff officers.  My first thought was of near panic to think what might be wrong and with whom. Those fears were quickly settled into sheer disbelief when it was announced that my daughter had brought her boyfriend, dad and dad’s girlfriend to collect her things.  She announced she was moving in with her dad.  With only four months left of high school before graduation.  Unbelievable.  On top of that, my mother was no less shaken by this impudent and downright rudely executed intrusion of her home.

As soon as I could finally collect myself, I asked my daughter.  “Why didn’t you just tell me you wanted to move out?  Why did you have to do this?”  Her answer was simple and short.  “Because you wouldn’t have let me.”  My response, “You’re 18.  I couldn’t have stopped you.”

Needless to say, that was a long night.  The next few days were a blur.  All I could think about was why?  And why now?  She was going to a place she said she never really wanted to go.  Was he promising her something she didn’t think I would or could give her?  So many questioned plagued my mind and my breaking heart. It took a couple of weeks before I could finally process enough to simply accept the fact, my baby girl wasn’t a baby anymore.  She was old enough to make her own decisions, and our relationship would never be the same. I must admit, that realization is what hurt the most. It seemed the tears wouldn’t stop.

Then time stood still. It would soon be February 14th.  Valentine’s Day.  It was a day I always made special for my kids. A day I purposed in my heart to set apart and let them know they were loved, more deeply than I could possibly ever express, but I sure tried. And this year, my baby girl wasn’t with me to share it. I heart was aching deeply.  But God…

God always knows what we need and when we need him the most. I had so many concerns. I found myself wondering if I taught her enough, would she remember what she needed to get her through, or would she even care to remember those lessons, some of which came through many tears. Ugh. Even so, I knew that as much as I loved my daughter, God loved her more.

I had to stop and think about what love really means. I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and thought about each word. I realized that part of loving someone is being willing to let them go. I picked up my pen to write and the words began to flow. Before I knew it, I had written a poem. A long poem. The date was February 8, 2008. Reading through it made me see life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, but love is the force that keeps us moving forward.

That poem became a song a few years later, one of which is my favorites.  Oh…and here’s the rest of the story.

It turns out, my daughter (who had her own thoughts and ideals of what moving out would be like) called me one afternoon, after being away for only six weeks. She realized she was not where she really wanted to be and asked if she could come home. Could she come home?  My answer?  Well, needless to say, we may not always see eye to eye, but I made a promise to myself that my home would always be a place my kids could come home to.  My daughter graduated high school from her mother’s alma mater 10 weeks later. I love my family.

I had the honor of performing Love Always at a suicide awareness event organized, sponsored and hosted by my cousin and featuring Kay Warren.  We need to talk about suicide more “out loud.”  Suicide is preventable. With each of us making just a little bit of effort, we can turn this around. Let us love one another…but that’s a blog for another day.

You can listen to Love Always here.  Let me know what you think.

Prophecy 9-11-2017 Wake Up!

On September 5, 2017, God gave me several dreams. In one of the dreams, there was a woman in a home praying. Outside her home there were two women walking back-and-forth in the yard with their Bibles open, praying. I met with a woman inside the home, and she spoke of being reminded of someone whose actions made her angry because their behaviors were insistent on being against God, and the injustices this was bringing against her and others. Then God showed me the date August 21.

Then God gave me an open vision, wherein there was much unrest in the spirit realm. I saw the activities of the spirit realm, the unseen world. I saw demons going from one group of people to the next, inciting riots and strife and discord among the people. Then I saw Satan, sitting and leaning forward looking back and forth to see what was going on in the world. I called him out and he lifted his foot as if to stomp on something. I rebuked him commanded him to leave, and the vision ended. I saw the date October 2.

God is moving for a great breakthrough and the enemy is working overtime causing destruction and chaos in the lives of people with ranting and ravings of lawlessness.

God is trying to get the attention of this nation and the nations around the world. God is bringing a great breakthrough, renewal and revival, and restoration of hopes, dreams, restored ministries, restored relationships, and fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives. Hear Him calling–Oh, how sweet the sound. Listen and seek God will he may still be found. Watch and pray always.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a People that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. 1 Peter 4:8, 9

Submit to God, resist the devil and he will leave. James 4:7.

And this gospel of the kingdom (of God) will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

August 21 was when the solar eclipse happened. September 20 begins Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. This also begins the Days of Awe, a period of introspection and repentance before God. September 30 is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting to cleanse one’s soul before God.

October 2 is three days before Sukkot, October 5, the fall Feast of the Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacle’s is a feast for all people. It is unique in that the Gentile nations were invited to come to Jerusalem along with the Jewish people to worship The Lord at this “appointed time.” The Lord told Moses to father all men, women, and children along with the foreigners in their land, so they can learn to fear the Lord. (Deuteronomy31:12)

The number 2 is significant for difference or division. There is much division in the church, in this nation and in the nations around the world–division and separation from God. I believe it is significant God showed me October 2 in relation to the upcoming feasts that call out for joining together, humbling ourselves and worshipping God. God is calling for unity and peace among his people in the midst of our many differences, humbling ourselves before Him, our creator. God has sent His word time and time again, and even warning us that time as we know it will soon come to an end. He who has ears let him hear.

God wants to bless this land. God desires to bless his people. The Lord calls out to all men, “Seek me while I may still be found.”

We continue to pray for all humanity in the midst of all the storms, winds, waves, fires and earthquakes. May the love, kindness and help shown to people from around the world continue long after the restoration after the storms.

Blessings

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