As mentioned in part three, I worked on my Master’s degree under a bit of stress and duress.
Aside from being attacked day two of semester one, a good friend died on day two of semester two. Her name was Judy… and I learned a lot from her in the bit of time we had together. As I was one of the last people who saw her before she died, I was humbled that she’d revealed I was the best friend she had ever had, because I wasn’t always as friendly as I could have been to her, to be honest. Sometimes I was irritated because of how much she talked… and it irritated me that I got irritated with it.
Judy had such a wonderful heart, despite the fears she broadcast to me about others. She was a cancer survivor, as well as an older adult… several of the teenagers who we were in class with frightened her… and so I would help alleviate her fears where I could. She had such a beautiful spirit, though, and a love for Jesus Christ unlike I had seen with so many followers of Him. There was more passion in this little woman for God than in three or four others put together… only most people never got to see that side of her at school. She affected the people around her sometimes in very subtle ways, but those of us privileged enough to get to know her heart were truly blessed.
Jars of Clay CLOSER
She was preparing to be baptized when she died. Some told me they didn’t think God would let her into heaven because she hadn’t been through the rite, but isn’t the HEART the important thing? She had a vivid personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is what counted. She wanted to be the best she could be, and in many ways, she was. The night she passed, her spirit visited more than one who had known her, to say goodbye. I was among those not too surprised when the news shared the next day, though I had hoped the sense I’d gotten was wrong. It never had been, though, and it wasn’t then, either. Judy had walked up the stairway to heaven with the death angel as her guide, taking her to the feet of her Savior, Jesus Christ.
Phil Wickham JESUS LORD OF HEAVEN
Led Zepplin STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Despite all the things happening in my life during these years, including two engagements that fell through, I was growing to know and love God more and more. Both engagements were with the same guy… the one who’s uncle was with the Lakers who I mentioned earlier… and there would be a third and final breaking off of that relationship, but it was what it was. I had removed him from my life for a while, but after being attacked, I invited him back in and he was one of the people that helped me through, as was Shawn, who was my best guy friend then and remains so.
Photo from WeHeartIt.com
Mat Kearney LIKE SHIPS IN THE NIGHT
I had my struggles, but no matter how much I got mad at God, there was always a prayer and hope in my heart. I prayed for a love in my heart like His toward others. I prayed for opened spiritual eyes, ears, heart. I prayed for so many others, for their salvation… and I plugged away at my thesis. I went to counseling, took psychology and coaching courses, and became a life coach while in school… in fact, it was part of the training I put in place and God allowed so that I’d have all the pieces I needed to have the most well-rounded thesis I could for the creative healing element.
Kevin Max YOUR BEAUTIFUL MIND
TobyMac MADE TO LOVE
As I recovered from the second of three broken engagements, God intercepted and brought wing and flight to my heart in the form of the first even Christian women’s retreat I’d ever been to. The women there were open to God using them to minister to my broken heart and shattered dream. OpenBible, from then on, had a place in my heart and eventually I would attend another conference and become a regular part of their church and one of their wonderful GROWTH GROUPS as well as occasionally visit another of the Growth Groups, with powerful results. It was the first church I had truly felt God was in… truly in His fullness. Having gone to church my whole life, there would be occasional snippets of extraordinary power and grace revealed. I KNEW He was there. I sensed His presence and He revealed Himself to me in varying ways through the years… but it wasn’t until Open Bible that there was a consistent, tangible power from the spiritual realm coming into my life. I felt at home, at last. The only other place I had ever had that sense was listening to KimClement and Mark Chironna ten years prior. God prompted me with this reminder to begin listening to Kim again and to learn what I could from Mark, as well. The two of them, as well as a handful of others from varying places, spoke and continue speaking greatly into my life and spirit, for which I am forever thankful. But I’m ahead of the story again…
The enemy’s fangs came out one more time prior to graduating with my Master’s degree, though: the area of health. Not only an attack on my own, but on several loved ones aside from those who I lost. The word was, my doctor told me, she wanted me tested for Multiple Myeloma, one of the rarest cancers in the world, but that the test would cost more money than I could come up with… so, I got this news right before graduation and had to be patient, waiting nearly a year before the test was finally done: it was negative. While family members were going through heart issues, strokes, diabetes, and yes, cancer, the protein issue that led to my need for a test for cancer was healed in the year of much praying and waiting. I gained much more empathy for others, learned what I could about MM, and encourage people to this day to learn about it; as rare as it is, God put two people in my life who were affected with the disease. One has since perished, and one still remains and seems to be doing well. The fangs tried to sink, but the marks left very little scarring, for which I was thankful.
Superchic[k] WE LIVE
Work was another fang issue, though. Everywhere I applied seemed to either be where the position was filled before I applied, or the same day. Many positions had only one element I did not possess for requirements, but it was always something UNRELATED to the actual position. A few very good positions came open, and distraction set in and the results were not great. God was good, though, and provided a stop-gap position just when I needed it in order to pay my rent and when things got tight, He provided financially in miraculous ways. There was NO OTHER explanation but God each and every time I was in need of assistance through the years, and especially from the time I graduated with my Masters, on. I believe that’s because that’s when I really got serious with Him full-time, despite that I had tried to follow Him before. It took the cancer scare and some health scares with my father to really open my eyes and get me superbly serious with God.
Not long after graduation, there was the third engagement with the Lakers-related guy I had known for what seemed to be forever. The catch was he was in prison and it was for exactly the opposite of what his uncle was famous for. His uncle even called me one day to ask why I didn’t want his nephew in my life anymore, which is part of why I gave him a third shot. It became evident that without a miracle, though, this young man wouldn’t change to become who he proclaimed and portrayed himself to be, and we parted ways for good. I believe God has some wonderful plans for his life, but he has to have a heart open to what God can do through him for that to occur.
All while this was happening, I was learning about how to run a business, write grants and business plans and etc. because we’d discussed working together. This came in handy after we broke it off because my friend Michele came to me with a dream God had given her… a ministry she, her friend Debra, and I were on her heart to lead. We plunged into the waters of the call, and the three of us have gotten very close in the interim, where we’ve gone through Beth Moore’s Believing God and are in the midst of Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God.
At the same time, God brought two other ladies into my life… Deborah and Lisa Marie. Both of these ladies are fellow warriors with Clement’s ministry with similar spiritual gifts, and He has used the connections wonderfully and miraculously on all counts. These four ladies have become the core of my DREAM TEAM. Other than Chironna and Clement, these four ladies have been the main people God has used to speak into my life. Others have definitely played a role- my GROWTH GROUP, for example – but these are those I believe are directly part of my DESTINY. God will show in time how it will all work out.
DC Talk JESUS FREAK
UPDATE 7/16/13-- COME OVER and check out my FUNDRAISER! Journey to a Thousand Voices...