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 

The Canvas Of My Life 

Despite my unstable childhood, like most little girls I remember the early arousal of maternal instincts kicking in. I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to cook, clean, and care for my family. Many summer days I remember setting up house in the front yard, caring for my doll, who was of course a girl! I hand washed her clothes, hung them on the clothes line, and prepared pretend bottles. What bliss! What a joyous time of innocence and pretend!

As life unfolded before me, I never lost that feeling. Although I was no Einstein, I knew I was relatively smart and could do just about anything I wanted to do; but being a wife and mom was my first goal and eventually turned into my first ministry.

I write to you today, not as a young mother with little babies, blissfully happy in my career choice. I humbly come to you as a veteran. I’m closing in on half a century in age and 30 years and counting on mom duty. This journey has taken me to the heights and depths of my greatest accomplishments and worst fears. You would think by now I’d have all this figured out. Well, on the raising, I’m still getting there. On the growing, I’ve got a long way to go.

As I was praying while I lay in bed tonight, I talked to God about my fears and short comings. I wondered, after being in the work force again, if I was supposed to be at home, solely a wife and mom. How could I feel this way after all the growth and many, many miles He had brought me through?  

I saw before me a bright white painting canvas. I saw the vibrant and beautiful colors my first 3 boys stroked across the center of the surface; the bright yellows, orange, red and blue! A new beginning, a new generation of upbringing, traditions, and way of raising. Oh yes! This was my goal. To break the curse and raise strong, God fearing, happy children!  

Suddenly the palm of divorce smeared across my beautiful canvas. No! No! My vibrant yellow was rudely mixed with my brilliant orange, and the red and blue bled into all the colors, leaving, mixing, swirling, the beauty together until they left an ugly brownish, black stain across the center of my canvas. 

My painting is ruined. It will never be beautiful again. 

I worked, I provided. I attempted to add color by keeping those glorious traditions and ways of raising. But atop the brownish, black smear, the colors lacked brilliance. Little by little a few bright spots were added. Watching my first-born dive into the Word, mature and become a man, produced some yellow. A splash of blue, a spot of red, a hint of orange as I’ve seen my second son grow with his joyous heart and many talents. A hint of purple and yellow to see my third boy love life and perservere. Still on the outer surface, just at the edges, were the reminders of brownish, black.

Then I had my baby boy, Sam. Brilliant white were those outer edges! Stevie’s yellow shined beautifully! Nathan’s array of colors, so vivid! My Jonathon’s starbursts of purple and yellow shined like the sun! With all the experience, growth, and maturity, I just knew my painting was going to come out absolutely perfect, as the Master had planned it!

I diligently prayed and worked day and night to avoid any miss-strokes. If I made a mistake, meticulously I corrected, being sure to do it just as the Master instructed. This time, THIS time, my canvas would be to His liking. I just knew it would come out beautiful and pleasing to Him! 

Another 12 years, another divorce. I prayed, I worked, I provided, but I dared not to look at my canvas. I dared not. No. I cannot bear to see another black smear. To start all over, to recreate. All those years. My heart and courage could not bare it. 

 
That is where I have been for months. I refused to look. Tonight, in my doubt and fear, God raised the veil. He made me look. He forced me to see. I argued. I didn’t want to see. In submission and obedience, I sat, as He held His hand on the tarp, ready for the unveiling. My heart raced, and sank, and raced some more as He slowly lifted. 

I closed my eyes.

“Open, look what you’ve created,” He said.

Tears filled my eyes as I gazed upon my canvas. No brownish, black. “Where is it?’ I wondered. This is not my canvas. All I saw was beauty. But divorce, hardship! Where are they? This can’t be! Surely, I’ve left a mark, a blemish, a smudge, somewhere!

I asked the Master, “Why is there no blemish?”

He replied, “Because you allowed Me to make the strokes.”

Perhaps it’s best to do as the Master instructs. I will remain at home, doing what I’m doing. I did notice there was still a lot of white space on that canvas.

~ Sandra K. Andrews 

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 – Tikeetha Thomas 


Just email me your story how God has restored you with your life verse. That was all they were asking.

Wow! Too many times. Too many situations. God had restored me on so many occasions could I possibly just tell one story that would make people understand? 

Nope. Not the way that you needed to hear. Not the way you needed to understand the grace and mercy that God has shown to me. So, here’s my story…

I was molested at 13. I was sexually assaulted at 13 and I was raped at 14. Three traumatic events that shaped my belief in men. Men took from you. Men didn’t value you. You were nothing more than eye candy for men. Those were all the things that ran through my mind.

At 14 my boyfriend and I broke up. He blamed me for my rape. I was devastated. I felt unloved and alone. I tried to take my life. Life had become unbearable.

I spent that summer being depressed and crying every day. I wouldn’t get dressed. I wouldn’t play with my siblings or talk to my mother. I was broken. My mother didn’t know the real reasons for my pain. I wanted to die and I cursed God for not letting that happen.

My mother came in my room one day and sat on the bed and said, “As a parent you wish that you could kiss every tear that falls from your child’s eyes. But, you can’t. I can’t. But, this is the time when you need to go to the Lord in prayer. He will help you. He will answer you. Please just pray.” She left my room.

I sat silently in the room crying. Tears falling in big drops that left stains down my face. I fell to my knees and prayed. I simply said, “God please help me.” It was in that moment that I felt God’s reassuring love and presence. He consoled me. He loved me. He had not abandoned or forgotten me. He was there.

Many years and many life lessons later God reminded me that He is still in charge. That He is always there. Ever watching. Ever waiting for me to just let go and trust. Trust that He has not forgotten me.

I was losing my cousin to cancer. We were 9 months apart. He was the only man in this world that I ever believed loved me. Not my husband but my cousin.

My marriage was in hell. We were roommates. We had tried to have a child with no luck. I cursed God for making me barren and then taking the only man in this world from me. Letting him die. Life wasn’t fair.

But God.

God interceded and worked on my spirit. I began talking to my husband again. I began trying to fix my marriage. We tried to date and love each other again. We attempted invitro fertilization (IVF) again. We got pregnant.

The moment the nurse told me that I was pregnant I said “Thank you God”. I knew it was God. I knew he was sending me a message. He was going to give my cousin his wings. I would lose the only man that ever loved me. But, He was sending me a son. Another boy who would become a man who would love me.

The moment I saw my little embryo on the screen I said “Look at my son. Thank you God.” My husband laughed and said “It could be a girl.” I replied, “Nope, it’s a boy. God is giving me a son.” The funny thing is that I didn’t doubt God’s grace and mercy on me. I knew the message he was sending. It was clear. He confirmed it when they told me that my due date was my cousin’s birthday.

But God.

I had many complications in my pregnancy and almost lost my baby. People worried. People prayed. But I knew that he would be okay. How? Because I had prayed to God that if he let my son live that I would bring him to Him. I told God I would do as Hannah did with Samuel and I would bring my son to Him. That was my fervent prayer.

He did. He let my son live. He was born prematurely and I never worried. I knew that God had us. He always had. He had never abandoned me. My son was His gift to me.

But, life didn’t always make me believe that God heard me. I suffered so much. So many trials and tribulations that I didn’t really understand the importance of trusting God with everything that I am and everything that I have. Truly trusting and leaning on His word.

My marriage ended. I was heartbroken at the way I was being treated and I felt so alone. Many days I couldn’t get out of bed. I cried incessantly and I would fall out from the overall emotional pain of my situation. I thought I was dying. All while trying to raise a 5 year old.

My son would hold my head and say “Mommy, please don’t cry. I’ll protect you.” I was a wreck. Crying and praying. Praying and crying. God spoke to my spirit and said, “Get up! It is done!” Just like that.

I did and I prayed. He reminded me how he’s never abandoned me. He’s never left me and that His anointing has always been on my life. I was alive to tell of His grace and mercy because my words are what people understand. I would be a living testimony of how He saves.  

I am a living testimony. I will tell of His grace and mercy. Our God has not forgotten. He will forever answer you. But, we all fall short. We forget how to pray. We get so consumed with our issues and situations that we don’t just pray and listen. We pray. We listen to the noise in our head. We don’t hear His voice. We think He doesn’t care. He does.

He is never changing. He never fails. Nothing will separate us from the love of God. That is my story. The life verse that reminds me of this comes from my favorite book in the Bible….Romans.

 

Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 ~ Tikeetha Thomas 

 

 

Tikeetha Thomas is a full-time working mom with an 8 year old son who is the apple of her eye. She resides in Maryland and when she is not working and catering to her little boy, she is busy working on her unnamed novel. You can follow her on Twitter Here: https://twitter.com/mskeeinmd

 or read more about her life at her blog Here: www.athomaspointofview.com  

 

Restoration Stories- Laura Gallier 

  
You know how certain seemingly random memories stay with you for a lifetime? Well, for whatever reason, I vividly remember being twelve years old, alone and bored in my bedroom one summer afternoon. I was doodling and daydreaming, mulling over what my future might look like, particularly my love life, and I distinctly recall having this thought: 

I suppose I’ll have sex in the next few years, probably by the time I’m sixteen—for sure by eighteen. No one’s still a virgin at eighteen.

Who in the world instilled such a notion in me? I can’t pin it on a certain person. My perspective on sexuality was shaped by my culture, namely the media and my peers. A movie here, a sitcom there, a detailed account from a student two desks over—these influences combined to shape my worldview of romance and sexuality. Like a dry sponge, I soaked it all in, having no contrary teaching or instruction to call into question what I was absorbing.
As it turned out, sexual activity was not years away for me, but rather, months. I began having sex with my eighth grade boyfriend. I knew where babies came from and also knew a thing or two about sexually transmitted diseases, but nothing like that was going to happen to me, I concluded. And if it did, I’d figure it out—as teens, we’re sure we can handle anything, right?

I dove headfirst into what I believed would be a lifelong love relationship because I was absolutely convinced that all the misery, depression, and longings of my heart would be cured indefinitely if I could just get married to the one. This one in particular was a drug user, given to violent outbursts and verbal abuse, but oh, the elation when he would say he loved me and called me baby.

I wasn’t used to receiving words of affection from a male. My parents separated when my mother was pregnant with me, and on the occasional weekends when I would see my dad, our visits always ended with a sorrowful goodbye and parting of ways. What I needed, I was sure, was a man in my life for good. And what better way to draw a man to me than through seduction? It worked like magic. So after lamenting the shocking breakup with my eighth grade boyfriend, I used my powers of seduction to start over again with someone else. I didn’t set out to be promiscuous; I was looking for lasting love. Unfortunately none of my relationships lasted.

By the time I started college, I’d developed a cycle that went something like this: find a guy who looks good and get him to notice me, hold nothing back in the relationship—soul and body—and hope it works out, and when it doesn’t, get a tan and some highlights and get back out there, looking for someone new. While humiliating to admit, I had a sexual addiction. I knew sexual relationships left me empty, but I felt helpless to stop my behavior—hence, the term addiction is fitting, although I’d have denied it profusely at the time.

I didn’t grow up in church, but I did stay the night with a friend in elementary school whose mother shared the gospel with me, prompting me to want to receive Christ as my Savior. As we clasped hands to pray, three times the phone rang, interrupting the moment even though there was no one on the line each time she answered (till this day, I wonder if Satan was behind that somehow). After jerking the phone cord from the wall, she led me in a prayer, and I asked Jesus into my heart. Unfortunately,upon returning home, I learned very little about God, the Bible, or living the Christian life, and as a result, there was no real outward sign that I was saved at all.

But I was saved, which is why every act of sin and rebellion ate away at my conscience as the indwelling Spirit of God lovingly convicted me of my need for repentance and change. Nonetheless, I continued in my destructive life path.

As a sophomore in college, a tenderhearted woman came to my campus to speak to a handful of girls about her past struggles with sexual sin and how the Lord had set her free. I was deeply moved but not willing to end my sexual relationship with my boyfriend at the time. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to change, but the prevailing thought was that I couldn’t and wouldn’t, no matter what effort I made.
A few months later, I was starting my fourth college semester and enjoying being on a prestigious dance team at school when I began feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. Before practice one afternoon, I took a pregnancy test to rule out the possibility of morning sickness—only the result was positive. 

Within an hour, I was packed up and headed home to break my mother’s heart with the shocking news. Whereas I had been entertaining thoughts of breaking it off with my boyfriend due to the constant strife and turmoil between us, I dropped out of school and married him instead, hoping to salvage the situation. After all, I didn’t want my child to grow up without a father, like I did.
The next two years proved to be some of the hardest in my life. Sure, caring for a baby was challenging at times, but it was the volatile, unhealthy nature of my marital relationship that took the biggest toll. I was absolutely miserable, and in my agony, I cried out to God. That’s when I made another memory that has never left me.

I was 21 years old, sitting on my sofa in my tiny apartment, lamenting my circumstances. How did my pursuit of lasting love lead me down such a dark path, I wanted to know. And that’s when I finally opened my heart and spiritual ears so that I could hear from the Holy Spirit. He revealed to me that God’s commandments and boundaries regarding sex and romantic relationships were for my protection. Case in point, the biblical mandate to save sex for marriage was not God’s way of restricting my freedom or sucking the fun out of my teen years. It was His plan to safeguard me, a loving boundary designed to spare me the very heartache I was suffering—not just me but my child as well. She deserved two loving parents, not a dysfunctional mom and dad who fought continuously.

I repented for my rebellion and sought to serve God with my whole heart. I made a sincere effort at turning my marriage around, but two years after we said I do, we separated, then he quickly moved on with someone else. By the age of 22, I was a single mom.

I had hopes that it was not too late for me to experience lasting love, but I knew I had to do things God’s way. That meant turning away from the world’s approach to finding a match: meeting guys at bars and clubs, dating whoever whenever, using seduction to lure a man—you get the point. I trusted that at the right time, in the right way, God would send the right guy across my path. In the meantime, I wore a silver cross ring on my wedding finger, a reminder that the Lord was my husband (Isaiah 54:5), and I immersed myself in getting to know God and His Word.

Having become active in church, I eventually met a lady there who insisted on introducing me to a certain friend of hers—a young man who was passionate about the Lord and easy on the eyes. Sure enough, Patrick and I hit it off. Early in our newly-forming relationship, he brought up the subject of sex-related boundaries and informed me he wasn’t willing to have sex outside of marriage. That was good news because I wasn’t willing either!
On January 12, 2001, Patrick and I became husband and wife. He not only had vows and a ring for me but for my three-year-old daughter as well. That day, she became our daughter as he committed to love her as his own.

Now, you may think that Patrick is the hero of my life story, and rightfully so—he swooped in and made many of my longstanding dreams come true. But Jesus Christ gets the glory for turning my life around. He’s the one who saved me as a child, drew me by His Spirit into repentance as a broken young adult, and gave me a renewed hope for my future. He’s the one who has kept my marriage going strong all these years—because no matter who we marry or how godly he is, marriage gets tough at times.
Like the woman caught in the act of adultery, covering her head for fear of being stoned, Jesus found me wallowing in my sin and told me to stand and sin no more, silencing my accusers. And as the shame, guilt, and baggage over my past tried to haunt and destroy me in the years that followed, Jesus delivered me time and time again, restoring my soul.

As only God could do, he took a little girl from a broken family who bought into the most pernicious lies about sex and relationships and called me to devote my life to the decimation of those lies. I now travel near and far speaking to teens and parents about God’s biblical plan for sex and family, availing the materials I’ve developed to help build a biblical worldview in young people and empower households to embrace sexual purity as a family value. I’ve even been led to embark on a major movie-making project, all for the purpose of sharing God’s love and salvation with the masses.

This isn’t the work of irony, human ambition, or some goal of mine to pay it forward. This is what happens when we reach up from the dirt and take hold of Christ’s hand, allowing Him to lead the way.

                          ~ Laura Gallier

“I brought glory to You here on earth by doing everything You told me to.” ~ John 17:4 

 

“Today your work begins, to warn the nations and the kingdoms of the world. In accord with my words spoken through your mouth I will tear down some and destroy them, and plant others, nurture them, and make them strong and great.” ~Jeremiah 1:10 

To learn more about Laura and her ministry visit :

http://www.lauragallier.com

My pieces For His Peace 

  
After all the kids were dropped off at school this morning, I walked in the door and plopped my rear on the couch, hoping it would take me to Nowhereville. I was already feeling exhausted and it was only 8:30 a.m.. All morning I had had a knot in my chest. You know that feeling when you’ve been suppressing anxiety, sadness, and anger? It’s that moment when you are at risk of cascading a waterfall of tears with just one kind word from a stranger.

 
                I knew God was knocking on my door. As I fell into the safe haven of the sofa, I sarcastically asked, “OK, what is it now, God?” I wanted to be sure He understood I had plenty on my plate already. Didn’t He know how hard I was trying? Didn’t He understand the discipline I was exercising by being patient in letting Him call the shots, when part of me was reining back the human instinct to take the bull by the horns? I pointed out, this was an instinct HE gave me, (by the way)! Yep, I was pretty much feeling sorry for myself when I answered His call to prayer.

 

                As I heaved a sigh, I asked Him, “What do you want me to do?” He gently, and ever so patiently replied, “Nothing. Let it go. Talk to Me, I’m listening. Let Me give you a hug.” There was that one word of kindness that released the flood gates, but it didn’t come from a stranger. It came from the One who knows me best.

 

                To say the past few months have been challenging is a gross understatement. From losing my home, my dogs, my mountain, my marriage, to releasing my son out into the world for the first time, and staring an uncertain future in the eye, there have been times when it’s been overwhelming. The one kindness our unkind predicament has bestowed is that it has come in doses. Not everything has happened all at once, but in phases. Those phases have occurred at a rapid pace, one right after another, but God has walked both Sam and I through each one before we were hit with the next. It has been amazing to experience the expedition of healing and grace.

 

                There is no denying that God has had His hand on us. I have seen Him work so mightily these past few months. I sincerely give HIM all the glory and praise for provision, favor, opening (and closing) doors, and even the unbounding grace He has shown us. Allowing Him to do that hasn’t always been easy. It gets easier, the longer you walk in faith, but God isn’t one to sit back and let you idly remain dormant. He’s going to stretch you. He’s going to call you up higher. He’s going to push you to depend on Him more and more. However, He doesn’t require we do it alone. He’s always there to lend a hand …. or give a hug.

 

                I have noticed an emotional pattern develop within me. Dealing with separation and divorce, losing everything, not knowing what the future holds (do any of us know anyway?), these things have been relatively easy for me to handle. It has come to my attention that my emotions get stoved up and knots form in my chest when Sam is being affected by the situation. For the most part, he has been a trooper! God has worked in him just as much as He has in me. But when I see Sam struggle, that which has lain quietly, camouflaged beneath the gentleness of a Godly woman, suddenly lunges forth as the lioness of motherhood. You can strip me of everything I own, you can blame me, hurt my feelings, call me names, but you do not, under ANY circumstances, mess with my boy.

 

                Now I’m not saying there has been direct affliction on Sam. I’m speaking indirectly. When I see him face difficult situations that he wouldn’t otherwise be experiencing, it makes me angry. I want to blame, blame, blame! I want to lash out and rip the face off the one who brought us here. Instead, I stuff it down. I encourage Sam, I stand tall and strong for Sam. Eventually however, I must face the demons of my inner thoughts. They have to be dealt with, lest they lead to bitterness and unforgiveness.

 

                This is what God and I talked about this morning. He asked, so I spilled it.

                This is how He replied.

 

                Be angry but do not sin. He told me there is no one to blame. He reminded me I have depended on HIM to lead and I am here in obedience and by choice. He prompted me to release bitterness and unforgiveness because ‘that other guy’ is also His child. He told me to protect, but there would be no “ripping off of faces,” except the face of unrighteousness and unholiness which is masked in the deceit of justification. He encouraged me and showed me how far He has brought me. He showed me how He has my son in the palm of His hand, with mercy, grace, wisdom and strength round about him. Then He gave me a daddy hug, patted me on the back, and sent me back out here to do His will.

 

                As I pondered all that He had said, I realized that He was telling me I had a right to be angry, but when I hold on to it and let it turn into bitterness and unforgiveness, this is where I sin. Just because I am justified in how I feel, doesn’t mean I am justified in denying forgiveness.

 

                It became clear to me that many in my situation would be falling apart, aimlessly wandering, clinging to bitterness, and maybe even hopelessness. It is by His direction and grace that the whole of my life I have dwelled in His peace. Because of that, right now, my life is not in pieces. He is the author and finisher of my faith.

                        ~Sandra K. Yates

Tend To The Roses 

  
I saw him standing outside in his new yard 

looking at his old yard

What was he thinking? 

Did he hear the sounds of his families laughter and business before they faded away?

I hope his new life and family bring him some kind of solace! 

These tragedies occur right in our neighborhoods and we smile 

We wave and pretend

Nothing has changed

What if crosses were put in that yard 

With the names of his children 

And the wife of his youth 

To remind us to slow down 

And smell and tend to the roses 

❤️~ Krystal Lynne

  

Wishing Upon A Star…



 

 

 

” Star light…Star bright..the first star I see tonight..I wish I may..I wish I might..to have this wish I wish tonight…” 
  

Have you ever had a memory jump out at you..just out of the blue…that happened to me this morning at about 3:30 AM when I woke up..


When I was a little girl I would stand outside at night..with my eyes trained up at the sky searching and looking…looking and searching..hoping to spot the first star…my little eyes would scan the sky for what seemed like hours trying to find it…I would walk the yard almost calling it like you would call a dog..”Comeout, Come out little star…” As soon as I caught sight of it I would feel my heart skip a beat in excitement..I would stand still as a board and I would say outloud “Star light..Star bright…first star I see tonight…” I would squeeze my eyes shut so tightly..silently in my mind I would say my wish…believing that if wished hard enough..and I believed hard enough…that it would come true…


I cannot remember how old I was but I am thinking around 7… I believe it is the Christmas before my parents got divorced and we were still living in that old wooden house in Highland Home..the house was all decorated…Momma had always been one to put lights all around the windows..garland framed the door frames..our stockings were hung…and the Christmas tree was gorgeous…and best of all, there were presents up underneath it..I watched all the regular Christmas movies…Rudolph..Frosty..Jack Frost..and my personal favorite, The night before Christmas…In each one of these movies there was one thing that you always saw…SNOW…my little eyes had never seen “real” snow before…but I wanted to oh so bad…Everyday when the sun would go down..and I knew it was time for the stars to come out of hiding… I would walk outside on our front porch with a mission..to find that first star…and everynight I would make the same wish…”Please, Please, Please…let it snow!”  I just knew that my wish was going to come true..I had been consistent..I had tried to be good and help around the house..I wasnt mean to my brother and sister…I said “Yes’mam and yes’sir” to my parents…I even tried to keep my toys out the yard…oh yes, I just knew my wish was going to come true..I was going to see snow for the first time in my whole life…


Christmas day arrived…I jumped up and looked out the window…no snow…slightly disappointed, but I wasn’t ready to give up..We all gathered in the living room to give presents out..for some reason I can’t remember any toys that I got (although I am sure I got a good bit) but I do remember my brother, sister, and I all got Alabama Electric blankets…Afterall, we did live in a older house..we had gasoline heaters through out the house and a wood burning heater in the living room..needless to say, it got cold at night and a electric blanket was the golden ticket..through out the morning, I continued to look out the window..still not snow..but I still had not given up faith…


I was sitting in the living room floor..coloring…when I heard it.. the yelling…it was my parents…they had been fighting more and more here lately…all I wanted was for this to be a happy day… with no fighting…I wanted then to get along the way they used to…I can remember feeling extremly sad because it was Christmas day…and there was yelling…there wasnt supposed to be yelling and fighting on Christmas…I got up and went to the window..no snow..I had waited all day..and yet nothing…Why? I had kept up my end of the deal…I had done everything I said I would..and yet… I got no snow and my parents were fighting…It was at this point that large crocodile tears started to fall from my little eyes…I had wished every single night without fail..and I had believed that with all my heart that my wish was going to come true…I stayed right there at that window..wishing..and wishing hard…”Please..let it snow..Please let it snow…Please please please…let it snow..”

Still nothing…


It was getting later in the day…the sun was going down beneath the trees..the temperature was dropping…Christmas day was coming to a close…I had all but given up…I had come to the conclusion that wishing on a star didn’t work..and that none of my wishes were ever going to come true..I had truly lost faith…I felt something tug on my heart…almost saying..”Not yet…don’t give up just yet”…

I got up off the floor..walked to the window one last and final time…


I closed my eyes…preparing myself for the disappointment….but when I opened my eyes..there it was…SNOW!…It was snowing…I truly thought my eyes were playing tricks on me..so I closed my eyes for a count of 3 and opened them..Nope..still there…white tiny flakes were falling from the sky…not everywhere…just in one little spot…My wish had come true..finally…I couldnt believe it..I stood there at that window and stared out in awe..I didnt even want to move because I was scared if I turned my back or blinked for a second..It would be gone…I think I even held my breath because I was standing so close to the window and I didnt want it to fog up…It only lasted about 5 minutes…but that was all it took..My faith on wishing upon a star had been renewed…


That was the last Christmas that we spent as a family..my parents got a divorce not very long after that..and my world changed..


That memory sticks out in my head for so many reasons…I think that snow was God’s way of telling me…”Don’t give up just yet…hang on to your faith..and always believe…I may not do things in your time..but I do it in mine..and I will never leave you…” Many times in our life we think that God does not hear our prayers..or wishes in my case..we get frustrated because we as human beings tend to be impatient..we have become a society that is “now” based..We want everything now…To be quite honest, we have become spoiled…We are so used to having things at our fingertips..and when things don’t happen our way..we get frustrated…upset…and we lose faith…


God Said.. “Because you have so little faith… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move… Nothing will be impossible for you…  Matthew 17:20


I have learned here lately..that I must never lose sight of my faith…and I guess that’s why I woke up at 3 AM with this memory..God was reminding me of a little girl that had lost her faith…and he renewed her… =)


~Jessica Jones 

 “I am a artistic soul that loves music, art, and anything in between. Reading a good book is the best, and I always get sad when it ends… I love shoes, watermelon jolly ranchers, and the beach..I tend to speak before I think..but there is always a truth to what I say! I have been married to my best friend for 9 years and wouldn’t trade him for the world. I have a 13 year old son that brings out everything that is best and worst in me and a 2 year old that always makes me see the sunshine. My life isn’t perfect….but I am learning that it isn’t supposed to be….I am fine with it being perfectly imperfect. “

You can check out more from Jessica at 

http://jessiceandrewsjones.blogspot.com/?m=1




Rescue

IMG_1032.JPG

Who remembers the moment…? You know, the moment BEFORE…the split-second before the doctor spoke the diagnosis and your world crumbled; before the divorce was announced, yours or your parents and it rocked your foundation; before the death of a loved one caused you to turn away from God in anger and grief; before that sexual sin, yours or someone else’s done to you, robbed you of that full measure of innocence? Before you decided that a particular sin, yours or someone else’s was the unforgiveable?
So the next moment DID happen and you felt betrayed. Betrayed by everything you knew to be good in your life. Betrayed by God himself. So you ran away into the wilderness, alone. You stepped down into a trench of bitterness and you waited…waited in silence, in anger, in grief, in pain…waited for God to notice that you were, in fact, off by yourself and utterly alone…that one lost sheep that everyone has heard about who slipped away from His flock, His hand, His care. Now you wait there in daily trepidation and trembling because the wolves and bears in your life are catching your scent – the scent of defiant anger that tries unsuccessfully to mask the hopelessness of your situation. You want nothing to do with God but deep inside you still think “Where is He? What is taking so long for Him to come find me?”
Praise God! He knit you together in the womb. He knows you backward and forward. He knows everything about you – your favorite things and all the quirks of your personality…and He even knows your hiding places. He knew before the beginning of time that you would need a rescuer…a rescue from someone else’s sin and your own. Even then, He was making a way for your release. Because of Who He is, He determined before you even came into being that you were going to be valuable enough to Him to send His son to come and get you…to be your rescue…to take your place. Beloved child of God: HE MADE A WAY FOR YOU TO COME HOME! As you sit in your trench and contemplate your options, I’d like for you to think about this:
• A plan has already been drafted for you to come home
• The Father is eagerly awaiting your return
• At a high cost to Himself, He has hand-picked the Rescuer who is guaranteed to save you
• He has not only promised restoration for you, but blessings double of that which you had before!

Could it be that as long as you determine to stay hidden, and wrap yourself in your circumstances, you are delaying the rescue…? Are you the reason for making it take so long?

Jesus, our Rescuer, is calling for you to come out from wherever it is that you are hiding right now. Gather your courage, stand up and wave your arms. Cry out to Him. Be saved. Come home. ~Debbie Bouckley

Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1b (AMP)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! -Psalm 139:13, 16-17

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be liberated into God’s freedom and peace. Acts 2:21 (VOICE)

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3 (NLT)

For more encouragement, listen here: