I am a mom who has gone through a journey through the desert but God has drawn me closer and closer to His promised land through this journey.
I grew up going to church, being active in church, living a very ‘religious’ life but it took walking through some really bad choices to live a life of ‘relationship’ with Jesus.
I have been married-three times. My daughter, Alma Rose, was born from my first marriage. When I entered my first marriage I was out of control, I needed someone to control me because I could not control myself. My husband was very passive aggressive but his words and actions kept me in line. I was really unhappy and thought if I had a baby I would be happy. So, just before our 3rd anniversary we had my beautiful daughter. While I loved my daughter, I lived away from my family and had no help with my daughter (my husband said it was my job to care for her so he would not help me) so instead of finding happiness, I became frustrated restless and discontent. When my daughter was about 6 I asked my husband to leave. All his controlling did was make me feel like a caged animal and I needed to get free. Immediately after he left, I invited a man to live with me and my daughter. He was handsome, paid attention to me and was exciting. He was also a violent alcoholic and drug addict. Without my husband there to control me, I gave into my desire to drink and drug too. I put my daughter in some really dangerous situations. When she was 17 she went away to college. I knew my husband was crazy and dangerous. There were MANY times I kicked him out, he would live with his mom for a month or two and I would allow him back home believing his lie that he had changed. After my daughter went to college she refused to come home for Thanksgiving. I had an idea of what was happening but my daughter spelled it out and I immediately kicked my 2nd husband out. It took many years but with long, honest talks we were able to heal our relationship, my daughter and I, or so I thought.
In early 2009, at 29, my daughter’s Epileptic Seizures got worse and were not responding to medicine, she lost her drivers license and finally, in Aug, she went to the University of Miami for a week long study for her seizures. About halfway through the week I got a call from my son-in-law to say my daughter actually had non epileptic seizures due to repressed memories and until she could work through this she would not be able to speak to me.
So I entered into the desert. At first there was some correspondence and words written can often be misinterpreted, especially when both people are hurting. Words written can not be taken back. Soon there was no contact, Thanksgiving came-no no contact, Christmas came-no contact and I think when Christmas came and went without hearing from her the reality of the situation started to sink in. I had sent gifts but got no acknowledgement. The New Year came-no contact.
I entered deeper into desert. At this time, I was not attending church-I was deeply hurt by a church I was attending that had a strong opinion about people who remarried after divorce and it wasn’t very Christ-like. Because I had no relationship with Christ, I fell into a deep, deep depression. There were two reasons and only two reason I did not take my life 1. My older brother took his life and I could not put my mom through that kind of pain again and 2. I could not cause my 3rd husband, my gift from God, that kind of pain. I was in such a deep depression that I think that is what caused my cancer. On Nov 3rd I had my appendix and ovaries out. Cancer was found in my perfectly normal looking appendix. On Nov 14, 2010 my friend invited me to a women’s conference. She said she felt compelled to bring me. When we got to the conference I learned the topic was God’s Grace. I can not tell you exactly what happened that day but a barrier between me and Jesus came tumbling down. Some of the ladies there said they would pray that I would find a church and strong Christian sisters to guide me. Within a month, I found a church and also Christian sisters to fellowship with.
My journey since has been one that has drawn me out of the desert and into the loving arms of my Abba Father and Jesus. I would love to tell you that Alma and I have reconciled our relationship but no, next month will mark 5 years since I have heard her voice. I am grateful that she still has contact with some family members and they let me know what is going on in her life-she moved from FL to CT, graduated Law School this past May and is now studying for her Law Test. My mama heart knows that Jesus is working in the unseen world and that I am not to lean on my own understanding but acknowledge Him in all I do.
“And I know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose for them” Romans 8:28
I love God and am serving according to His purpose.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self discipline” 2 Tim 1:7
God loves me unconditionally and gives me a Spirit of love and self discipline.
“Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don’t be discouraged for The Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. 1 Chron 28:20
I am not discouraged because God is with me, he will not fail me nor will he forsake me.
And my verse that I pray every day over my relationship with my daughter:
“And Jesus said,’with man this is impossible but with God ALL things are possible'” Matt 19:26
God had done the impossible in my life before and he will do it again.
Not all mama stories are happy, I am living the consequences of choices I made a LONG time ago but the end of the story is not written yet. God has the final word. One thing I do know, if I had not gone through this journey I would not have the relationship I have with Jesus and I would not trade that for anything.
If you are estranged from your children, do not lose heart, God is on His throne and He loves you DESPITE the sinful choices you made in the past. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and everything else will be well.
The two plants pictured are in my Mama’s living room. They didn’t start there-the Jade plant on the top was in my sister’s dining room-it is decades old and belonged to her late mother-in-law. The Christmas Cactus on the lower shelf was in my living room 12 years ago. Both these plants were not doing well at all in our care but in my mama’ s care, with the right tender loving care, light and my Mom’s belief that they could thrive they have. In our care they would be dead but in Mama’s they have limitless life. God gave me the word “believe” for 2014 so when I saw this little plaque with “believe”mon it, I had to purchase it. If I continue to cultivate my spirit, feed on HIS word and BELIEVE that God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow I will undoubtedly live a Limitless Life in Christ and you can too!
Let me first say that I am in no way encouraging others to buy lottery tickets or put their faith and trust in them. This is my story about going from a consumer to a contributor.
My husband spends maybe $6 a week on lottery tickets IF he has the cash in his pocket to do so. A little over a year ago I was afraid he was putting his faith and trust in the tickets more than God (I was wrong) and I asked a few men during coffee hour at church to pray with me about this. Instead of praying with me, they ridiculed people who play the lottery. I was heart-broken and grateful when I shared what had happened with my dear friend because she prayed with me, about the lottery issue and also to forgive those that did not pray with me. I really wanted to leave the church but God was clearly telling me to stay put, He had this. So, I decided to trust God was working in this and my husbands heart.
I have been disabled due to failed back surgery and Lyme’s disease since March 2005. When we moved to Arkansas we found the salaries to be much lower than in NJ. My health issues, some unavoidable home expenses and several attempts by me to have a home based business caused us to be in great debt. We were grateful to have three family members help us financially in the last 6 years or so. My husband has always worked very hard, in fact, he worked two low paying jobs for the last two years just so we could make ends meet. Often friends treated me to meals and outings because we could not afford for me to go. God has always provided for our needs.
All through the time we struggled financially I always contributed with my time in many areas. People who struggle financially often forget that being a contributor is so much more than just money- we contribute with our God given gifts and time. I have always contributed time but in my heart I wanted to do more. We also were contributors with our belongings, always willing to give to others what we were not using but others would gratefully use.
My story: In Dec 2013 during a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study “Rev It Up” session we were asked to write our biggest burden on the top of an index card and underneath write “With man this is impossible but with God ALL things are possible” Matt 19:26. I did this and put it aside. In January I came across this index card and instead of telling God in my prayers how he should answer my prayer(you know what I mean…God provide my husband one job that pays enough money so he can have one job and be able to go to church) and I started to read and pray the Bible verse over our finances daily. I felt led to start going to what I call the “wise women’s” Sunday school class. It’s made up of women that are like moms to me and I felt a desire to glean wisdom from them. On Sunday April 6th I was doing my Sunday School lesson for that day the topic was on “Financial Responsibility”. I felt really convicted about our debt and cried out to God “you have GOT to do something about our debt-we are not honoring you with this debt, we want to bless others more and there is no earthly way this is possible in our own capabilities”. I was crying my heart out to God. Then I went to take my shower-singing praises to God as I often do in the shower. I had also been praying to God to empower me to testify to others about God because I tend to be very timid in this area.
Bills Story: My husband, Bill, likes to play the lottery to be able to dream. He plays about $6 a week IF he has the cash in his pocket. Here in AR what is done with lottery money is public record and easily tracked. He feels that if he wins a buck or two it’s great, if not,at least he knows he’s contributing to someone’s college scholarship. Friday April 4th he went to a friend’s home because she needed some window screens made. She gave him cash to get the materials. On the way home he stopped at the local convenience store to get a pop and decided to get some lottery tickets. He had cards with the numbers we always play in his truck but as he puts it was raining and not just regular rain drops, the rain drops were the size of golf balls. lol I laugh because my sweet Bill hates getting wet! So, instead of getting wet he got a quick pick…something he rarely did. When he does get tickets he always says “I got you the winning lottery ticket” as he hands them to me and often I would put them on the bulletin board in the kitchen so I wouldn’t lose them. Sunday morning, while I was in the shower he decided to have a second cup of coffee. He saw the ticket and decided to check it. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall because the way he explains how he checked, rechecked, checked again and then checked the dates matched is really funny. Remember, I’m in the shower getting ready for church. Suddenly, he whips the curtain open, waving the ticket saying-we got 5 numbers, we got 5 numbers-I said “come on,it’s not April’s fools day anymore” he said “FOR REAL!! We won a million dollars-finish your shower-we gotta sign the ticket”. I was shocked but did as I was told, after I got dressed we checked the numbers again on the computer. My husband put “TYJC” (thank you Jesus Christ) on the calendar, went to my office, made 4 color copies of the ticket front and back and put the original in a pretty envelope that had a sky pattern on it and wrote on the outside “our new life-thank you Jesus!” Then we went to church, we didn’t say anything until we went to Little Rock to cash it in. The rest is history.
The first thing we did was to tithe on the gross-we both say none of it is ours so we knew we had to honor the one who provided it. We have been able to bless many with this blessing, we no longer have debts( except our mortgage on our rental property-it takes care of itself) and we have paid back the family members who helped us. I LOVE being a contributor. I always was with my time and always said I would be if finances allowed and I am so grateful God has blessed me with alike minded husband who loves to bless others too. This blessing has also empowered me to share my faith and how awesome God is to so many people-friends and strangers alike.
I have had many tell us that we should invest most of it for retirement but every time I pray about that God clearly tells me “I have given you manna for today-I have tomorrow covered.” Now that doesn’t mean we have run out and spent it all but it does mean when we have seen a need in others we have answered that need. After tithing, blessing, paying things off, and some much needed home repairs, we have both gotten new vehicles and a few toys. At first I felt guilty spending money on myself but I was told by someone I respect that God wants to bless us too. We also went on a vacation together for the first time in about eight years-a road trip meeting online friends and personally paying back family. As I write this, I am visiting my mama, in the past she has paid all the expenses and meals out when I’ve come to visit and it has been such a blessing to spoil my mama for a change.
My husband, a month or so after winning, left his full-time job to work full-time at his previous part-time job at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge-a job he loves, with people he loves, surrounded by furry friends he loves and he has Sundays off so he can go to church! Without debts, the salary is more than enough, with my disability, to live and still bless others.
Am I telling you to buy lottery tickets-absolutely not. What I want you hear in this is that when we let go, let God and totally take our hands off our concerns God shows up in ways we could not have possibly imagined. My husband and I are living a life of limitless possibilities because Bill dared to dream and I finally let go of the biggest stronghold the evil one held against me- our finances. One of my favorite hymns says “trust and obey, there is no other way” and I am finally beginning to fully understand what that means!
Oh, and yes, Bill still plays the lottery-he says with no debts can you imagine how much more we could bless others with another win. I married a dreamer and I wouldn’t have him any other way!
My shirt says it all–I may be physically challenged BUT “Attitudes are the REAL Disability”! Sometimes I have to use my Silver Sneakers DVD and SIT to exercise with light weights and resistance bands, sometimes I can stand and do Leslie Sansone’s Walking DVD and on really great days, I can grab my cane for support and walk a bit outside :). What’s important is to get moving!! No excuses! They are ALL OVERRULED!!!