I had a bad week, y’all. No new news. Everybody’s going through something. But I felt like I was losing it and I could not find any hope. So, while I was trying to pull something together for this blog, I happened upon an old ‘biography’ I created for a class. I felt compelled to post an updated version of it. If for no other reason but to remind myself, that God is still with me and He’s still good. I hope it encourages you as well.
My relationship with Christ is as living and breathing and changing as I am in this earth suit I have carried these 43 years. I am so grateful to declare that, not only do I love Jesus Christ more every day, but I am comforted to know that Jesus loves me just as much as He did when He hung, bled, died and rose JUST FOR ME. I grow in my relationship with Him because I have really come to know that there is not enough for me to do right that will make Him love me more and not one mistake or blunder or flat out failure that would ever make Him love me less. I have done so many things wrong in the course of my existence that I marvel each morning at the Grace I receive. There were days when I struggled to understand why I am still here and what else ‘life,’ ‘Satan’ and the forces of ‘nature’ can throw at me. In the days of each whirlwind I receive the gift of a still small voice saying, “I’ve got you. Be still. You see what it looks like, but remember what I told you.”
My whole life has been strange and painful, but I could never call it ‘dysfunctional.’ That would imply that my history did not produce in my life what GOD intended for it to produce. I was born into a family full of sexual sin and abuse in the south suburbs of Chicago. I came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at the Morgan Park Assembly Church when I was 12 years old. At that church, a year later, I met and dated the young man I would eventually marry after I turned 18, graduated high school and joined the Navy. Having both come from very troubled backgrounds, it has not been easy. We’ve been separated now for about a year after 24 years of marriage (but I know what God told me…how it ends will be God’s business, not mine). I live presently with our two sons, ages 20 and 23. To this complicated existence, I credit my many counseling certifications and my Pastoral Ordination. Had I not needed to know why things happened to me, I would never have sought out the solutions I have found and I share with so many today.
I was a stay at home mother for sixteen years. I was also incredibly ill with an undiagnosed illness the entire time which took all the energy I had for caring for two boys, my husband and our home. All I had to sustain myself was watch TBN, read the Bible and talk to God. I go through life believing that ‘He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own,” to the point that it impacts my behavior and informs my decisions. I talk to God as if He were always physically beside me. It is that kind of ‘prayer without ceasing,’ that has literally made the difference between life and death for me and for my family.
After leaving the Navy, we lived in Jacksonville, Florida until we moved back to Chicago in 1994. I joined the Lighthouse Apostolic Church in 1995. Both my husband and I became active members, but again, our childhood struggles tested our faith more than anything else. We became bitter and eventually left church altogether for a season. I was a member of Valley Kingdom Ministries, International until around March of 2005. When I knew that it was time to leave ‘The Valley’ I sent a letter to Apostle and Pastor Wilson, explaining that everything I learned there was healing and preparing me for whatever God had next for me, they released me with their blessing. Not long after, God brought me back to what is now known as Lighthouse Church of All Nations, where I repented of my poor behavior, was graciously received and restored. Only weeks later did they find the final source of my sickness. My surgery was scheduled on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and the first face I saw after the operation was Pastor Dan Willis. I value having and honoring a church and pastoral covering for reasons like this.
I began volunteering as a counselor for PASS, a Christian based pregnancy crisis care center in May of 2005. I counseled as many as three days a week until I was hired part-time to serve as Church Relations Assistant in November of 2006 and continued to be happily employed there until December of 2009, due to budget cuts. They are still my family there and I support their tireless efforts to speak Life to the South Suburbs.
I was ordained as an Associate Pastor at Lighthouse on my 40th birthday. I serve in whatever Pastoral capacity is required of me on any given day. Whether it is put upon me to make phone calls, shake hands, pray, sing, read a scripture or just stand by…it is a privilege to serve God’s purpose in serving others. God truly is my friend, so I don’t mind doing anything He asks of me. Not even waiting. He is in on everything. My gains as well as my losses (and I don’t mind telling you, I’ve lost everything…more than once). My joy, my pain, my anger, my angst…He knows about all of it first-hand because I’m telling Him about it as it happens. I can’t imagine a life without Him…actually, I can. It’s just a life I wouldn’t want. That wouldn’t be living at all.