My writing has been almost as much my comfort as my God has been, but not quite. This compilation of my writings has become the landmarks of my Spiritual Journey. It has helped me to put into perspective events that seemed so out of my control at times, but that I knew in my spirit would all work together for my good, because I loved my God and was called according to the purposes of God. My life has truly been an open book up to this point, and I hope will continue to be hereafter. I hope that my sins serve as examples of what not to do, and any good that I have tried to do in my life, I hope will serve as an example to others to attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God, in the words of William Carey. I dared to believe that God could use a sinner like me, and like Peter, I attempted to walk on the waves. I may have sunk in the depths of those storm-tossed waves a time or two, yet I have always trusted that Jesus would pull me up again. And so, as I attempt to keep my eyes fixed on my Savior, I dedicate these writings to all my children and grandchildren, who I love dearly. Yet, over the years, I have learned that they must find their own way to God, and that they are in God’s hands, just as I have been. They have walked with me through much of my life’s storm-tossed waves. They have been my only hope besides God, at times, they have been my only help and my only reason to live much of the time, and lastly they are my best reason to stay around and pray until God calls me home. Rose, Sunny, Rock, Tommy, Jonnie, Merry, Selah, and Joey, I love you all more than life itself. I will have no greater joy than to know that all my children and grandchildren are safely in the fold of God. I trust that you will seek God, know Jesus Christ as your Savior, and find the right path as I myself have sought out. God bless each of you and remember, Mama’s aren’t perfect, just forgiven.
My husband was a true red-neck Southern Baptist. Since I had met him in the church, he didn’t quite fit the description of an unbeliever, so biblically speaking, I was bound to him forever, or until he died. In our early marriage, he believed that a little pornography spiced up the undefiled marriage bed. He believed in calling every woman he disagreed with, especially me, everything but a child of God. He believed in hitting his wife on occasion to “keep her obedient.” The only time he seemed to believe in calling on God was when he used God’s name to damn everything in creation or whenever I threatened to leave him. He believed in going to the sanctuary on Sunday’s; that is, the ones down by the lakeside, deep in the woods, or in front of the TV for a football game. He believed in attending church with his family only once in a blue moon. He didn’t believe in women in the church speaking behind the pulpit, but he wasn’t particularly fond of men speaking behind the pulpit either. He believed that God is a full-fledge Male God, with like attributes. Yes, he was a true down-home red-neck Southern Baptist. Needless to say, I am not exactly a Southern Baptist any more.
I am a down-home, Southern Baptist, ordained Evangelical female Minister with a little red-neck theology of my own. I believe that an undefiled marriage bed is one that excludes all others, including those air-brushed beauties reflected on the pages of the latest Playboy magazine. I believe that sometimes a woman has to obey God, rather than man, especially when that man thinks he is god and intends to pound in that fact. I believe it is still disrespectful to curse in front of a lady and her children. I believe in taking the family to church, not just letting them get there on their own. I believe that women, like Deborah in the Old Testament, can lead an army against the heathen, if called by God. I believe that women, like the Proverbs 31 woman in the Old Testament and Lydia, the seller of purple in the New Testament, can have a home life as well as have a business career, if that is what God called them to do. Yes, I even believe that women might have something to say for God, even standing behind a pulpit, if there’s not a man to do the job, or one to do the job right! I believe that God, is a Spirit, with both masculine and feminine attributes and that God calls whom God wills and whoever is willing. And so, I believe I am God-called to minister to women who have been victimized by sexual assault and domestic violence and anyone else who will listen to a woman who thoroughly believes she is God-called.
God has brought me through many storms in my life and has taught me how to face those storms head on. I can only write about these things through the power of God’s grace. Through the forgiveness that I have found in God’s Christ, my Savior, Jesus Christ, God has taught me how to forgive my brothers and sisters in Christ, who have struggled along with me in our search for repentance and forgiveness. I have been sexually molested as a child, I have been emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually abused as an adult, I have been abandoned in times of need by those closest to me, and yet I have overcome all through the power of forgiveness. But most of all I have learned to forgive myself, to try to overcome my own short comings, and to move on with my life. I have unlocked the secrets of my past, opened the doors to my future, and look daily through the windows of my heart in order to help myself and others through the journeys of this present world. I hope that through the openness about my trials and temptations, I might help someone else in the discovery of self and of God.
It is my firm belief that the hand of God has remained on me through every trial I have faced, through every sin I have committed, and through every temptation I have overcome. None of what I have gone through has been in vain; I have learned valuable lessons in faith, forgiveness, and longsuffering. The perseverance that God has taught me and the storms God has brought me through has made me a new and different person than before my conversion. God has made me a new creation by the Holy Spirit. I have always known God’s presence in my life; even as a little child I knew that God watched over me. Even when I was in the midst of the storms of sin and strife, even when I faced the very gates of Hell and wanted it all to end, God’s hand never let me go. The Bible says that no one can pluck us out of the hand of God if we submit to the loving presence of Yahweh God. I believe Satan has tried to take me from God’s very hand, and though the devil may continue to try to pry me away, God will never let me go. I may make a few mistakes, sin occasionally, or fall flat on my face, but I will always reach up for that strong uplifting hand of God. The Word of God says that though one may fall seven times, the righteous will rise up yet again. Yahweh God is my strength and my faith, and Christ Jesus is my salvation. I want to glorify Christ with every word I write or say. Without the various trials Christ has faithfully brought me through, I would have nothing worth saying, but through faith in Christ, I have moved from victim to victory. I want to show the world through my life that God has awakened my soul to a God-breathed vision, that I might in turn be a trumpet to awaken others to the great commission of Christ. The world is asleep, and only the faithful can awaken the masses to God’s love and forgiveness. The vision that God gave me is that there is but little time for sinners to awake out of their slumber. Though Satan has lulled them to sleep with the sins and busyness of this world, there is still hope if we will watch and pray. But in order to watch, we must be awake. And those of us, who are awake, must take the responsibility to awaken all those who yet slumber in their sin.
If I never do anything of great importance in this world, I hope that I might have some impact on the next. One thing I have learned, though, is that God takes very ordinary people, and sometimes does very extraordinary things in their lives, that they might become useful vessels for Yahweh God’s service. My prayer is that I might one day become a useful vessel, even as broken as this old one has been. But I was a child that had nothing, so God collected all those lost and broken pieces and put them together again. And if there was a piece that could not be salvaged, God made a new one to go in its place and painted it even better than the original. Now when I look at my life, I know that only the Master Artist could have made anything beautiful come from this broken life. But God has made a new creation emerge from the fiery trials of life. And as the apostle Paul once said “I’m not there yet, but I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
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Redneck Theology Chapter 1