Restoration Stories – Joann Carpenter 

I have walked with some of the shadiest characters–drug cartels and drunken fools–and put those closest to me in danger to witness my own twisted downfall. 

I’ve suffered near death experiences through abuse from the hand of man and my own choices- I am only alive because of the Father

After hitting my knees crying out to the Father “Help me I can’t do this anymore,” HE, after allowing me to walk 24-years in rebellion, addiction and tragedy, stopped time and reached inside of me and pulled 24 years of victim mentality, addiction (smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking, occasional cocaine, and sexual desires) right out of me. YHSVH began at an accelerated rate restoring all that the enemy has taken and multiplied His goodness.

After the Angel of The Lord came to me in 2011 revealing who I was as a prophet and oracle, He began to train and equip me for the revealing of this position, laying a foundation for what was to come. I have been anointed and equipped with the honor to serve the King of kings, Lord of lords, opening the blind eyes, deaf ears and command the lame to walk into the deeper, hidden mysteries of heaven, revealing our true identity. It is here, His original blueprints over our lives and all of creation manifest on earth as it is in heaven.

I am a sister, mother, daughter, wife, YHSVH (Jesus) friend, minister, Kingdom Dweller, Son(position) of G-d, Author of a New upcoming book  “NAVIGATING THE ASHES-Discovering Your Blueprints”, owner of Arising Sons of God and public speaker. I operate from the Government of Heaven as an administrator/legislator—All for the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven, as it is all about Him and His Glory to be revealed. All of Him, none of me.   

Some Scriptures I really love:
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:52 NIV

For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children Acts 17:28 AMP

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 KJV

If you would like to sow into what YHVH is doing reaping what you sow, then I encourage you to visit my webpage mentioned below.
To contact me, donate-trade via “Paypal” or read “Joann’s Blog’s” see website:

http://arisingsonsofgod.com/

*If you prefer to write a check, make checks payable to: 

Joann Carpenter

P.O. Box 1791

Mt. Vernon, WA 98273

Restoration Stories – Gypsy Dallas Smith 

Many of you don’t know much about me except what you see me writing about. 

However, I want you to know that it has only been since the beginning of this year that my writing ministry has taken off. 

I used to write publicly for my local newspaper (faith articles) for 8 years. I had a very active ministry and was a licensed minister.

After 17years of a very unhealthy toxic marriage I went through a horrible divorce. 

I gave up everything, including my ministries. I laid it all at Jesus feet. I was lied about, shunned, and condemned and ran into a cave by Jezebel and her cronies. I was completely stripped and devastated.

But Jesus never left me. 
I have been in hiding and healing for the last 5 years. I have not served in any ministry nor have I become a member of any church. I have allowed the Holy Spirit to minister to me. I have been in a deep season of consecration fasting and prayer. It hasn’t all been spiritual though.

I was stubborn and God had and still has a lot of work to do in me. Years of ridicule, abuse, control and manipulation do not go away overnight.

Jesus has been such a gentleman and gently pulling one layer away at a time. I am sharing this with you because I want you to know that we all have our seasons that we must go through. 

Some longer than others.

Over the last 2 years I became a Personal Trainer and opened my own fitness studio. It was a blessed business where I had to turn clients away I was so busy. But secretly I missed writing. God asked me to lay it down. So I did at the end of last year.

Since the beginning of March I have had more happen to me, through me and for me in ministry than I can even wrap my head around.

God is opening doors that I could never open on my own. He is making room for my gifts of writing and stretching me through making videos and teaching through webinars. 

Friends, it is all happening so fast and I am in awe of what God is doing. 
My prophetic voice has opened like never before. 
God is RESTORING everything I lost and gave up. He is blessing me and I am so excited for this time.

I used to look at others being blessed and used by God and wonder, “when is my time Lord?” 

Well, I can tell you the time is now. Many of you have experienced the same hardships, the same cave, the same wilderness time. 
I am here to tell you that we are in a season of RESTORATION God is restoring. 
He is paying you back. You will get back double for your trouble in less time. You are not going to have to work hard for these blessings. You won’t have to go looking for opportunities, they will come looking for you. Your time is now, your healing is now, your blessings are now, your opportunities are now!! We are in a season of NOW. 
A season of suddenlies.
Get ready for the downpour. 

God isn’t saying look at what I am GOING to do for you. No, He is saying, “look at what I HAVE done for you.” 
You are going to be completely undone this year with Gods goodness. It will overtake you and you will be on your face in awe of His love for you. 
Get ready NOW!

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NKJV 

~ Gypsy Dallas-Smith 
  Year Of Restoration 

To connect with Gypsy Dallas Smith visit her website here 

Restoration Stories – Earl “Bubba” Wiegand 

Earl “Bubba” Wiegand is a true walking miracle.  

The adversity he has overcome and is still overcoming daily has not been an easy path.  

Growing up amidst the grips of alcohol on both his parents; Earl lost his mother at just 10 years old due to her alcoholism.  

Alcohol was all Earl knew.  

Alcohol was his coping mechanism taught at a very young age.  

Earl’s dad Bo, would later only become sober after two DWI’s.  

As history has a way of repeating itself within families, Earl continued on that same destructive path that caused his wife of 20 + years and his two children to be separated from him and at his lowest point he chose to drown his sorrows of spending the upcoming Holiday alone with a day of drinking.  

November 27th, 2013 was the day that resulted in him making an almost fatal mistake of drinking and driving. Although he doesn’t remember the events, he spent 43 days in a coma and doctors doubted he would survive after he suffered what doctors refer to as an internal decapitation.  

Earl is not sure of the significance of the 43 days lost in a Coma, the loss of his independence, the loss of his main source of income by losing his job of 15 years, and the loss of his marriage of 23 years, but he trusts God fully with the plans and purposes of it all. 

Although his story didn’t turn out as he had wished or planned, he was charged with a DWI and had to re-learn how to walk and talk, but is thankful for each day that he is still here and given another chance at life.

Earl is learning to live life within a new normal. He is learning to trust God and grow deeper with the Lord.  

Earl doesn’t dwell on all the loss as he has now gained so much more.  

Earl has been delivered completely from his desire for alcohol and is determined to break the hold of alcohol on his life, his families life, and future generations. He desires to educate others on the importance of not drinking and driving. 

He hopes by sharing his testimony it can help others overcome their struggles and losses. 

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

“Be still, and know that I am God. ~ Psalm 46:10

Even in hard times when things are not going the way you want have faith that God has bigger plans ahead. -Earl 8:15 

To schedule Earl to speak at your school or youth events-contact us at Restored Ministries

Roadside Testimony  

For March Restoration Stories we have a special treat for you. 

The Delusion ladies headed out and had some car trouble. A nice man pulled them over to help and Laura Gallier captured his testimony on the video below.

Meet Kevin:

“It became more than roadside assistance. It was a divine appointment we didn’t expect on our way to our destination.” 

“Sometimes disappointments can be made into appointments.” 

Kelley Allison 

bowlofsplendor.com 

You can check out the Delusion by Laura Gallier and the project we are working on HERE

Coming soon to a bookstore and coming sometime not as soon to a theater near you

Lead image is us hanging with next new friend Tommy Brasher at Brasher Motor Company of Weimar, TX

He helped us get the job done faster and we got to our destination just a little past check in time.

Restoration Stories – Audrey Lee 


There were times I would feel so unsure about my life, and I would often question God. I would ask God time and time again “why me?Why were all of these things happening in my life? 
It seemed like every time I turned around something bad kept happening. 

I often remember thinking to myself, all I wanted was to have the typical life: the American dream. Get married, have children, a beautiful home, a nice car, and a decent job. 
I really felt like I wasn’t asking for too much. 
It seemed like I started out going in that direction and then suddenly there was a change in plans.

I remember asking God to use me to be a blessing to His people and His Kingdom. 

I didn’t realize what was going to transpire in my life, in order for God to do what I had asked Him to do. 

I’ve always had a heart for families and marriages. I never liked hearing about divorce and families being broken up. I told God how tired I was of seeing the devil destroy marriages and families.  

With that being said the devil launched a serious attack on my marriage and my family.

I experienced so much pain and hurt in my marriage. I’ve had to deal with infidelity, trust being broken, having un-forgiveness, and communication being totally shut down. 
I’ve also experienced several deaths back to back. 
One of the hardest deaths I’ve had to overcome was the death of the man who was my spiritual leader, my mentor, my confidant, and my uncle, we shared a bond like no other. 

For the first time in my life I felt my heart truly break. I just couldn’t seem to recover. It took me a long time to bounce back spiritually because I leaned and depended on him so much spiritually.

 
I tried so hard to work on my marriage, fix my husband, and recover from a devastating loss all at the same time. It seemed like the more I tried, the more I failed at it. I felt like all the fight had just been completely drained out of me. 
Notice I said “I”, I had to finally come to the realization that it was going to take God to change the situation not me. 
I also had to come to the painful reality that I went about everything completely wrong. 

I did not do any of it the right way which is God’s way. 

I remember being filled with so much hurt, pain, anger, regret, guilt, and shame. I felt like such a failure in life because my American Dream had turned into what seemed to me a nightmare, I felt so helpless and defeated. I remember my grandmother telling me “you’re not going through all of this for you, you’re going through all of this to help someone else.” 
Then she gave me the scripture Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

I remember asking my grandmother and God, “How could anything good come out of all of this? How am I going to be able to help someone?”

In the midst of all that was going on I can remember hearing a small still voice saying “I’ve called you to greatness”. I was so confused, (because again looking at my circumstances) I just couldn’t see how that would be possible. I’m so grateful to God for His love, His grace, His mercy, and His strength. I had no idea of what God was about to do in my life!

The first change that began to happen in my life was my relationship with God, it got personal. Through the death of my uncle I began to realize I had completely relied on his relationship with God and did not have one of my own. The same relationship I had with my uncle, was the type of relationship that I needed to have with God for myself. 

So I started to learn about God and His ways for myself. I also found out my true identity in God and I began to get a deeper revelation about God’s word and His promises. 

Then I came to the realization that my circumstances did not determine my destiny, they just played a role in me moving towards my destiny in which I’ll get into later.

I also realized, that had it not been for everything that I was going through I wouldn’t know God like I know Him now, which is definitely a beauty!

    
After the shift in my relationship with God, I was truly a changed woman. I was so broken, but God stepped in and started putting my broken pieces back together again. I no longer felt weak and defeated, I began to feel whole and complete. This time God was responsible for it, not my husband or my uncle

Now I realized my uncle’s death or my husband’s actions could not change or alter who I am in God, and that it is God who keeps me together in times of tragedy or adversity. 

Now I was able to deal with trials and tribulations in much better way than I had before.
Next, God started dealing with me about love, His unconditional love! This is what caused me to really want to forgive my husband. You see everything that was being done to me in the natural was exactly what I was doing to God in the spiritual realm. This painful realization had given me a completely different outlook on my relationship with God, my husband, and my children.

   

There Was Beauty Birthed Out Of My Pain.

One day I was sitting in my Bishop’s office sharing with him what I had spoke on at a women’s conference I had attended the week before. Bishop Miles said “Sister Lee people need to hear this, will you teach Marriage N More on Friday?” I said “sure Bishop!” I taught it about two more times after that when Bishop Miles came to me and said “Sister Lee I’ve prayed about it and God told me to place you over the Marriage N More Ministry.” All I could say was “wow” I went home that night and I prayed about it and that’s when God brought it all back to me.

It was that night everything that I had gone through, my grandmother’s words, the scripture Roman’s 8:28, and the still small voice calling me to greatness all came flooding back to my mind. I began to just cry and thank God. 

I didn’t understand it then, but now it had become crystal clear. I had finally gotten the answer to my “why”. I had finally realized why my “American Dream” had gotten interrupted, because it did not line up with God’s plan for my life. 

It was clear that God had a greater plan and purpose for my life, than my “American Dream.” 

I then realized when God calls you to greatness there’s a lot that comes with the call. 

That’s when God gave me a scripture Isaiah 61:3, To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. 

It’s the pain of those trials and tribulations that fuels my passion for the Marriage N More ministry.

I’m so humbled that God has given me the awesome privilege of being a vessel for Him to use to equip His people with the tools they need to build healthy successful relationships with Him, spouses, children, co-workers, extended family, and friends.

                          ~ Audrey Lee

Connect with Audrey and Marriage N More on Facebook
Instagram 
Tune into her radio show each Thursday at 7:30 pm CST  on Blog Talk Radio

Restoration Stories – Dawn Larrabee 

December 28 marked the 4 year anniversary of my divorce. I celebrated this day. 

Why? Because this was a new beginning. 

Even though it was another two years before I went through deliverance with my Pastor, this was a day to celebrate. One of the very first sermons I remember my pastor preaching was on the Real “F” word (I’ll never forget it). 

Forgiveness 
I thought to myself, no way, no how, was this happening.

I could NEVER forgive what had been done to me!!! 

The staff gave the congregation sticky notes as we entered the church. As he went through his sermon, he was saying, I know you’ve been hurt, I know you’ve been treated badly, but you have to forgive the person/persons that have done this to you. I was literally bawling my eyes out thinking ‘how does he know all this about me’.  

He said, you were given a sticky note when you came in today, I want you to write down the one person that has hurt you the most, the one thing that is tearing you up inside and I want you to bring it up here and put it on the stage, and then we are going to pray forgiveness and we are going to break those chains and we are going to move on.  

He continued, I know you’re thinking why should I forgive this person, they are the one that hurt me, they should apologize, not me, but you have to get past this and the only way to do so is to FORGIVE.  

As I continued crying my eyes out, I just could not bring myself to write my husband’s name on this sticky note, so I thought of someone else, something else, that was very low on the pain scale, but still held an anchor on me of anger and hatred.  

I walked up to the stage, I placed my sticky note, and we prayed, and I continued crying thinking deep down, that what I really felt most hurt by was my husband. (we were not divorced yet, but he was gone overseas already at this point) 

I went back to the church a few more times, but each time, the sermons were speaking to me and had me crying and I kept thinking, how does this guy up here (the Pastor) know EVERYTHING about me.  

So I quit going, because the pain of his sermons reaching me deep down, was just too much to bear. 

Over the course of the next 2 years, my life was a roller coaster of deep valleys and small mountains.  

More valleys than mountains as I struggled as a single mom with a behaviorally, head strong child, working, mortgage, financial worries, and going through a divorce. I began to drink a lot more alcohol to drown out the pain, to the point of passing out most nights.  

Then one night in November 2013, feeling like a failure because I was divorced and still single, I had gone to a sports bar with some friends and had a few too many, like most other nights.

I was in a very low valley at that point, and as I drove myself a mile and half down the road to get home, drunk, and crying my eyes out and screaming at God ‘why? Why are you doing this to me? Why are you making my life so miserable? Why do I deserve this? I am a good person, I work hard, I’m a good mom, why God why? I just want to be happy, is that too much to ask?’ I was beating my steering wheel to death as I was driving and yelling at God. I pulled in my garage, and I said to God, ‘I’m done!! I can’t take this pain anymore!! I just want to die!’ I left my car running, I closed the garage and I placed my head on the steering wheel, still crying a river.  

About 30 seconds later, I heard a voice, it said, ‘Dawn, turn the car off, and go inside and go to bed.’ I lifted my head, looked around, and said, ‘ok.’ And I did just that. I went inside, and went to bed. 

Over the course of the next few months I kept telling myself over and over, ‘I need to start going to church, I need to get right with God’, but I just could not bring myself to get there.  

Finally I gave myself enough lead way and said, ok, I’m going to start going to church in the New Year, and I worked myself up to it for weeks, and then come January 2014, I made my commitment to go to church every weekend, and I quit making excuses and I reluctantly went every Sunday.  

The struggle was real, my daughter was not having it, she kicked and screamed EVERY Sunday. I would show up at church in tears many Sundays because the struggle was soooo real. And the volunteers at the church would recognize my struggles, and they would pray over us. As the next few months went by it got easier. Someone approached me one day and said you should meet with the Pastor, she can help you with some of your challenges. Not really knowing what they meant, I agreed to set up a time to meet because I needed help and I knew it. 
The first meeting she told me that I needed to make a list of every person I could think of that had hurt me, that I was angry with, that I had grudges against and we were going to pray over each situation to forgive them….. 

Here we go again with ME forgiving THEM. Reluctantly, I agreed.  
Through many tears, much stress and heartache, and near death, it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. 
To forgive the person/persons who treated me so badly, who cheated on me, who lied to me over and over again, who left me abandoned with a child that I loved yet resented so badly, I had so much anger, so much hatred and so much resentment! 

I hated myself, I hated every aspect of my life. 

My pastors taught me that my daughter is a child of God (no matter who she was biologically) and HE would ALWAYS provide for her and they taught me that I must first forgive, even though I wasn’t at fault. 

This was difficult. I struggled for years. 

How could I forgive when I did nothing wrong, they needed to apologize…. NOT ME! 
Finally I listened to them, finally I forgave, and FINALLY I felt the chains that bonded me to sorrow, self-pity, anger, resentment, and hurt, be broken. 

Finally I felt free, happy, and loved. 

I felt a stronger connection with my daughter, and we have worked so hard together to build a strong relationship/friendship that is nowhere near perfect, but 100 x better than what it was.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God, my church and pastors for all the blessings in my life. 
There also isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pray that simple prayer that my pastors taught me for forgiveness.
You can do it too. 
“Dear Heavenly Father, I CHOOSE to forgive ______, and I release them from all judgement. In Jesus name, amen.”

Until you do this, to whomever you feel hurt, angry or have a grudge against, you may never know the TRUE feeling of freedom.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33

 ~Dawn Larrabee 

Restoration Stories – Deborah Rodriguez 

I was born and raised in a Christian home. My father had a good stable job in the city and we lived in a middle class neighborhood in Brooklyn, NYC. We faithfully went to church whenever there was a service and I began singing at the age of four.

Our life seemed so perfect on the outside, but it was far from perfect. Inside my home was filled with chaos, anger, pain, and misery. Most days my parents would fight over the simplest of things. I also faced abuse by my older sibling and all we ever did was fight.

My dad tried his best to keep things together but it just wasn’t enough. When I was twelve years old I remember my whole family stopped attending church. I was the only one who would go every Sunday all alone, because I loved going and I especially enjoyed singing.

Eventually my parents divorced when I was thirteen. My mother decided to leave the home and didn’t want anything to do with us. I still remember so vividly that night and how I had to stay up with my little sister as she cried uncontrollably for our mother. We didn’t understand why she chose to leave us, it took me many years to even understand why.

My life began to spiral out of control and I no longer cared about having a relationship with God. In fact, I became an atheist and had a strong hate for Christians. I would curse at them and tell them there was no God because if there was He wouldn’t allow me to go through so much.

The friends I started hanging around were drug dealers and gang members, they introduced me to a whole different lifestyle and I dug myself deeper into a pit. I started partying, drinking, and smoking marijuana. I did not care about my life anymore, I used the drugs and alcohol as an escape.

There were times I wouldn’t come home for days, because I didn’t want my dad to see me high or drunk. I lost complete control and became a terrible alcoholic. I had to have it everyday, even to the point of blanking out. I became a very violent person who constantly had fights in school and the streets. Some of my closest friends no longer wanted to be around me because they felt I was too dangerous to be around. My life was a complete mess, but I could not see how lost I was.

Until I met Jesus…

I will always remember this day like it was yesterday. My aunt purchased a brand new home and we were excited to go. She said my cousins and I could have a sleep over on the weekend, but I had to go to church on Sunday. There was no way I could agree to that so I said, “No!” My cousins begged for me to stay, so I finally agreed. We had fun just watching movies, laughing at silly jokes, and talking about random stuff. Sunday came along and I went to church begrudgingly.

I had the nastiest attitude while sitting in the youth Sunday school class. I did not want to be there at all and I made it known. The time came for the pastor to preach and I fell asleep for the whole message. Till this day I don’t remember what the message was about, but I just know that I woke up at the end of it while the pastor was making an altar call.

My aunt asked if I wanted to go up for prayer and I declined. The pastor continued speaking and I don’t know what he said, but I suddenly felt a conviction that I was a sinner and I needed to repent. I slowly began to walk up to the altar and when I got there all I saw was my whole life flashing before my eyes. I saw all the sins I was committing and how filthy I was. I did not want to be that person any longer, I began to sob uncontrollably and that day I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.

I had a long way to go, but slowly and surely all of the walls broke and my chains were lifted. I was no longer bound to the pain and sins of my past. I stopped partying, drinking and getting high. I surrounded my self with new people and gained some Godly friends. As I studied Gods Word, my anger ceased and my love for Jesus grew. I started singing once again and had a passion for street preaching. That is how I met my husband, Pastor Chris.

It took a few years but I did forgive my mother and we now have a healthy relationship. My father is saved and preaching once again. My family is back together and God has healed us of all past hurts, we all get along and enjoy our time with one another.

Today I am blessed with a wonderful marriage and ministry that reaches thousands for the glory of God. My life is dedicated to serving like Jesus does and that’s why I evangelize, feed the homeless every week, visit the sick, elderly, and those in prison.

I also am the founder of True Beauty Ministries, it is an online ministry that encourages other women to know their worth in Christ.

I give because He freely gave to me, even when I did not deserve it. Jesus restored me. The past is gone and a new woman has risen.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

          ~ Deborah Rodriguez 

Connect with Deborah on 
Facebook– God’s True Beauty

Instagram– @TrueBeautyMinistries

Restoration Stories – Jules M 

Divorce was one of those things that was never going to happen to me…like NEVER in a million years. And if someone had told me that I would be on my own as a single mum for 10 years, I would have said…no way, not a chance, not going to happen!

This was not meant to be my story.

I met my husband when I was 22 while we were both working for the same church. I had purposefully not dated and had “waited for the right one”, played by the rules and ticked all the boxes, naively thinking that this would somehow guarantee me a blessed, happy, life-long marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way regret any of the choices I made, but my faith was in my own goodness (which was actually self-righteousness!) not in God’s goodness…which I was soon to experience in so many ways.

After six years of marriage and two beautiful boys, my husband had met someone else and would ultimately leave me for her. When it all came to light, our marriage was over almost immediately. In the months leading up to this, there were signs. I knew deep down something was very wrong and that our marriage was in grave trouble. I didn’t know what was happening but I just remember desperately praying, “GOD YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS!!” I never would have imagined He would instead allow it to finish.

I remember sitting in church alone, feeling heartbroken and confused, and felt God tell me that our marriage would soon be over…NO.GOD.NO!!! My heart knew it to be true but my head couldn’t accept or even imagine it. I was filled with shame and fear…a failed marriage…how could I face people?! The thought of our beautiful children, only 2 years and 6 months old, not growing up in a whole family, not having their dad walk through the door at night or being there for every milestone was the most devastating part of all. Every ideal about marriage and family I’d held so dearly was crumbling away.

It was just a few weeks later I found “that text” and our marriage was suddenly over. Yet through all the pain, hurt and confusion was an underlying peace and calm I could not explain. What at first seemed like my worst nightmare come true became the beginning of a journey from brokenness to wholeness and in trusting God like I’d never had to before.
 
A Path of Peace…
When my marriage ended, I felt like my world had been turned upside down. Everything was so uncertain, emotions were incredibly raw, and insecurities were at an all-time high…it was a little fight or flight…and it could have gone either way. Yet, in those early moments and days, amongst the shock and devastation, I felt a definite sense that God was calling me to walk the narrow path…a path of peace…which meant taking the high road and doing the right thing before God, even when I didn’t want to.

By choosing to obey and walk that path of peace, I saw God do incredible things for me and my boys and bring the best out of a not so good situation. I was able to navigate a peaceful and amicable relationship with my ex-husband which we still have today and I’m so grateful for. If I’d gone up against him, wanting to make him pay and get my vengeance, it could have been a very different story and very ugly for all involved. God’s ways are so much higher and better than ours!

Keep your Heart Right…

I also knew that, regardless of what had happened, I needed to keep my heart right. I had to fully forgive my husband. As a Christian who’d grown up in a loving home and in church my whole life hearing many a word about forgiveness…I couldn’t really pretend I didn’t know any better! As much as I would have liked to have justified and indulged myself in feeling angry and vindictive out of my pain and brokenness, here’s what I quickly realised – if I was going to call myself a Christian…I had to act like one! If I wanted God to make me whole and bless my life, then I had no choice but to forgive.

When we intentionally forgive the person who hurt us, we’re allowing God to bring the best out in us and keep our hearts and lives flowing with goodness, grace and blessing. Likewise, when we don’t forgive, we will find bitterness, resentment and vengefulness taking hold of our heart and then flowing into and toxifying our lives.

Through my divorce and the years to follow I would pray and bless my ex-husband and his partner. It’s actually really hard to hold a grudge against people that you’re praying for and asking God to bless because God literally changes your heart towards them. Trust me, there were some days I may have prayed a blessing through gritted teeth haha! But seriously, doing this totally kept my heart on track.

It’s been quite a journey and through it all I’ve seen the goodness, faithful, kindness, protection, provision and favour of God over myself and my boys time and time again. Yes, there’s been plenty of hard times but through it all God has always been with us. I am now re-married after 10 years on my own and have been blessed with a loving (gorgeous!), godly husband and 3 more amazing kids. But the journey doesn’t end there as happily ever after…re-marriage and blending a family is a whole new level of trials and navigating through challenges – fun and games!

I pray you’ll be encouraged by my story and know that in God there is ALWAYS hope, no matter what comes our way. God promises us Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a future and a hope for us…and He is always true to His Word.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. 

              ~ Psalm 40:1-3 

Be blessed!
Jules M

Jewels & Pearls

 

You can read more of my story at jewelsandpearls.org and follow Jewels and Pearls on Instagram @jewels_and_pearls for little quotes of godly wisdom, encouragement and hope.

Restoration Stories – Constance Carter 

Mom says I was singing before I was talking. I don’t remember it, but I don’t doubt it.

More than 50 years ago I was born three months early in a small town where I was stuck in an incubator for a month with no human touch. I had to fight just to breath. Only God knew how He would use this test. Though my parents were given no hope for me, God had a plan.

 
I lived, yes I did, and I grew up in church. 

 I remember the devil being after me. One time when I was five he was standing in my doorway and wouldn’t let me out. I screamed but nothing came out. Angels later ministered to me. That’s the last time I remember seeing angels but I don’t doubt they exist.
 

When I was 12 a “friend” got me to puff on a cigarette and drink some wine. Not a good idea at all. Why did I do it? Why? Just prior to that I was singing in church and putting tracks in people’s mailboxes. I was knocking on doors telling neighbors about Jesus. I heard the whole world had to know before He would come back. I wanted to do my part.

  

Then I backslid for way too long. 

 I never ever felt right about it either. I ran away from home at 14 years old. Really I thought I knew everything and really I knew much of nothing. I had to find out the hard way.
 

Finally, when I was 27 years old a man professing to be a satanist began talking to me about the book of Revelation. I knew I had a Bible that my praying Grandma had given me. I got up, found the Bible, and locked myself in the back room. I read the entire book and it felt like The Light was shining just on me. It was New Year’s eve 1987. I began my journey back. 

 
After nine miscarriages and a seriously failed relationship, I began a new life. I saw an ad at a local music shop. “Christian band looking for a singer”….. I answered the ad. God knows what He’s doing. I was hooked. I went back to church and started serving. I was later recruited into Bible School. Yes, that’s what I said. I didn’t want to do it at first because I was in a band and we were playing gigs. I had written a jingle for Altoids and they were paying us to play the jingle at each gig. Wow that was fun. I was even on the radio, and was known as the Altoids lady for a minute. God had a different plan. 

 
 

While in Bible school a friend got a job at a prison and asked if I would like to bring my pastor and come minister. That was the beginning of this long chapter in my life. Since 1994 to the present, I‘ve been a servant in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System, and the State of Louisiana prison system. After being licensed and ordained in 1999, I became a volunteer chaplain at a men’s maximum security prison where I served for seven years. I formed a non-profit organization, Lionzbride Ministry, and the rest is history in the making.

 
The next chapter is not known, thank God, or I might mess it up. God plants seeds inside of us even before we are born. He does have a plan and we don’t have to know it all, but it really helps to know Him. His sheep hear His voice and come running.

 
No matter how far we go in the wrong direction, while there’s still breath, there’s still time to turn around and run in the right direction. God never tires. His arms are wide open. His love is better than life itself. Hold on to Jesus.

 

 

Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.~ 1 Peter 5:9 TLB 

 
 

              ~ Constance Carter 

              http://lionzbride.com

Restoration Stories- Jaydee Graham 


My story may be much different than others you may hear. It’s the kind that seems painful, raw, jaded, but disastrously radically beautiful and that is exactly what it is, beautiful. I think at times what makes me extraordinary is that I consider myself a lioness and am currently combining my warrior traits with the beauty of love and vulnerability and my truth. Quite the combo, if I must say, but a beautiful one at that.

I carry warrior qualities, I’m a fighter for what I’m passionate about, I chase after my dreams to succeed and better my family’s lives but I also am a work of art, a rare find, and a source of beauty through a jaded and difficult journey. 

This isn’t to boast it’s to state that even those with hard times, difficult pasts, who have failed numerous times and had to repeatedly be humbled and get back up…that those people are beautiful also and capable of dreaming, doing, and succeeding. YES!!!

I also like to say that once I found my voice in the midst of being silenced and the midst of finding my true and authentic self that I now have the power and capability to ROAR my truth and to set myself free from the “bondage” that I have been entangled in.

The one thing I would love to tell, especially women, is that “You are worthy”. 
In times society wants to make us seem mediocre, small, microscopic and that our views, stories, our voices don’t matter. 

Well, I’m telling you that you can achieve your dreams, you can accomplish your goals, you most certainly have a voice and I encourage you to “roar” as a lioness and be the women that you are intended to be whether the world sees it as capable or not.
 

· Fight for your life, your dreams, and your soul, the love for yourself, your families safety and your voice.

 

· Love yourself

 

· Take each day at a time

 

· Don’t judge your journey amongst others

 

– dont rush your healing

 

· Offer yourself abundant amounts of grace when you do fall

 

· Find those who will support you back up

 

· keep going!

 

When I was young I began to explore the world and found myself on my different paths. At a young age I began to explore the world of sex, drugs and alcohol. I was not aware how this could deeply affect my life, my view of self, my view of others, my safety as well as my success as a woman in this world.

In high school I became very enraged and angered by my inability to be able to explore the world as I chose. I was uninterested in school and began falling behind, at one point having a .66 in high school and didn’t even think graduating with my high school degree would be possible nor did I desire it.

I was uneducated, wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into and didn’t have the resources that were crucially important for me to succeed or protect myself.

I, like many, did not have any experience in relationships, drug or alcohol abuse or sexual encounters, ultimately this lack of educational resources prohibited me from making knowledgeable and educated decisions or be fully aware of what decisions I was making and how it was ultimately killing me.

The year of my enlightening journey was not easy; I found myself in a residential care facility for troubled teens for 7 and half months of my life with the intent to form respect, self-direction, counseling and ultimately support.
This time I was pulled from my current high school suddenly and found myself living in a home of 13 teen girls and went from being able to speak to anyone the way I chose, to having to ask for permission to even speak, eat, go up or down the stairs, in or out of rooms and in and out of the house.

I found support among women who were older than me. They heard my cry and desire to explore this world and ultimately understood who I was. I found support among the women who I lived with and shared difficult moments with, who were living in the same world of chaos, frustration and pain as I was. I began to see that I was not the only one struggling tremendously through my teen years.

Upon completing the program, I moved home and chose to shake these restrictions and feel free again. This turned into drug and alcohol abuse, consistent unhealthy relationships and ultimately choosing sleeping on friend’s beds and couches due to running away from home. 

I found myself waking up numb, and in random homes, several pregnancy scares and continual drug use.
Still, within my soul I knew there was more. I knew I was worth more. I knew my life meant more and that one day I would be able to find it.
 

I began to research how to enroll myself into school and had a friend drop me off at a University for yet another chapter of my life. Unfortunately, at this school my drug and alcohol use continued because it was much easier to obtain. I began to lose sight of the course of life I truly knew I needed to be on.
After one semester I was already back on academic probation, struggling to find financial assistance to stay in school and was once again losing hope. I was living a life of numbness. I worked hard but was so caught up on seeking social acceptance that I did not realize where my life was heading.  
I stayed numb.

At this university, I sought out the party scene and began to experiment sexually and dive into pill usage on a whole new level.
In a sense I was walking around with my eyes closed just trying to get by and manage life, thinking at times I had everything I had ever wanted, but so incredibly lost at the same time.
One evening, I found myself on my bathroom floor with a positive pregnancy test in my hand.
I remember leaving the University hospital, alone, on a very rainy day and getting in my car, after being told once again that I was pregnant and close to 6 weeks along.
Thinking….“Wait, I am only 20, not even close to being done with school, I am lost, completely unhappy and I am now growing a human being in my belly, when I can barely care for myself.”

For one second within the confines of my car I felt instant peace.

This was my day of awakening.

A child was growing in my belly and I had to radically change my life….


On this day I chose to better my life, not for me but for this soul that was begging me to be succeed, to be healthy, to be a powerful woman, an example, a mother, and for this,

I owe my son…my life.

At this point my mind, heart, and soul were focused on bettering our lives. My life became about becoming self-sufficient, growing together, and pressing forward to achieve my goals and dreams so that my son could have an example and a beautiful life

It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Elliot

I can tell you right now, it is NEVER too late to become more, to become better, to be who you were intended to be.  

We made our way back home, to be closer to family. We had been and were in a very toxic environment but I was able to find support and guidance and began to dive into studies. After a strenuous and difficult journey, I came to a realization; I had been silenced.

I had been an independent woman, strong willed, and felt no shame in declaring who I was or what I thought and slowly I found myself silenced, unheard and ultimately speechless.



One evening, I was on my knees weeping by my bedside begging for the lord to give me a sign and give me the power and voice to step away, for good, because I honestly couldn’t do it on my own. 
That night I had a very raw and real dream about my own life, but it was not happy, nor did it end well.

The next morning, I awoke from my own nightmare. I walked away from abuse and never went back. 

I had tremendous support in my mother, who had seen me weep in pain for years. We both began weeping, in relief.

I found my voice and knew that I wanted to be a survivor, not another statistic and that I wanted to help others overcome and find their voice as well.

My real friends came to my side and I was close to completing my bachelor’s Degree.

On Mother’s Day, with my son in the stands, I graduated with honors, Magnu Cum Laude and walked straight into my graduate degree, a one-year advanced program for obtaining my Masters in Science of Social Work.

I have walked with my classmates again, after a long year in the Master’s program and obtained my MSSW the summer of 2016.

I never imagined the life I have today…with not one, but two diplomas.

Life has radically changed and I have been incredibly blessed.

We have been so incredibly blessed with such love and support in our journey.

I would have not made it this far without the support of my incredible mother, who is our biggest fan, The Family Scholar House program, my peers and those in my cohort, teachers who supported and empowered me, case workers, advocates on our behalf, my sisters and even bystanders, who without knowing, empowered my weak spirit.

I have been empowered by women within the community who have challenged me to speak out and share my story. They have helped me see my real beauty and my inner-warrior and to use my voice. They have also blessed me with the opportunity to speak my truth to others as an outlet and support to those who may be going through or who are healing from the same things.

Most important, I would not be here without my son, who has given me my passion, my drive and has instilled in me the real meaning of love within my heart. He is my heart outside my body and the reason I found the drive to strive to be the woman I am today.

I am now asking you to listen, to empower and to advocate for those who are uneducated in regards to violence and their harmful current situations whether it be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or mental abuse, as well as those who you are witness to violence in an extent that has drastically changed their lives. Many people have been silenced and are living in silence, so please offer them the opportunity to be heard and to find their voice once again. 

Choose to be that one person who makes a personal impact on another’s life that empowers them to be the person they were intended to be….so at this time please stand and face forward if you are able to commit to this…you are making a commitment to assist in diminishing the cycle of violence within this community, empowering those who have difficulty seeing any strengths within them, who have spent many nights and days weeping, bruised, naked, alone and emotional drained, who have spent days or even years in silence, who have difficult carrying for their children due to the abuse they are undergoing amongst the bills they are unable to pay, you are giving them an opportunity to be heard, to hear themselves, and to help them find safety and hope, you are allowing them to see support and to feel the presence of someone who sees them as more than just a statistic but yet giving them an opportunity to grow, flourish and be the beautiful soul that they have been trying so hard to be…. and recognize that you are not alone and others will be at the same time choosing to say no to violence and taking a stand in allowing survivors voices to be heard.  

You are WORTHY. 

Your journey is worthy. 

Your freedom is Worthy. 

Your Voice is Worthy.

My passion is to empower others by using my journey and my voice and so I began The Soul Grind, which is a place of self-exploration, radical self-love, soul searching, and some powerful empowerment! 

A community where your voice is heard and your soul can grow and flourish in the company of some beautiful other humans on the same journey. 

The Soul Grind pours love on wounds and allows you to be heard and also it emphasizes the importance of combining all of that with a big cup of coffee!

Join us! Let’s hear your ROAR.

~ Jaydee Graham 

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