I was born and raised in Texas. Mom and Dad came to Dallas when I was 6 months old, so Dallas, Texas is home. We moved to Busby, Arizona for a couple of years where Mom and Dad worked for an Evangelist on a college campus called “Miracle Valley”. I remember dorm life with the college students, mostly people of color. There were lots of sawdust and tent revivals, nightly, loud, shouting sermons, people speaking in tongues, women and men running up and down the aisles kicking up sawdust and praising Jesus by uplifted hands. I loved watching the women with their skirts flapping as they jumped raising their hand praising the Lord, shouting and I would get right there with them until Dad would grab me and put me back in my seat. I loved sitting on the end seat where all the action was. There were people being healed after being anointing with oil and the laying on of hands by the preacher, casting out of demons in the Holy Name of Jesus, you name it we saw it all. We would hold our bible close to our chest because you never knew if one of those demons was going to try and get in you if according to the Evangelist; you weren’t cover by the Blood of Jesus.
Sounds horrible to some, but let me tell you, when you’ve seen the power of God in action the fakes don’t seem to shake your faith in today’s Christianity. Knowledge is power and I’m very thankful for all the experiences, real or fake we were exposed to. Sure did help growing up knowing the difference between some of the charlatans in society we see today claiming to have this or that word from God. I learned to know my God and His voice and believe I know him well. Does that mean I can quote every scripture or give you advice about your every circumstance as it pertains to the Bible or your Christian walk? NO….I just know who God is in my life and always asked my friends to watch me get up and dust myself off if I fall and tell me if you learned anything good or bad about my circumstances. I’m pretty hard headed, so I fell a lot before I learned most of the lessons in my life. Still NOT perfect, Thank God!
Anyway……we came back to Texas and I grew up attending an Assembly of God church in South Dallas where my Dad was the Head Usher and Head Deacon for something like eighteen years. Almost like being the daughter of a preacher. They signed membership papers saying we would not wear makeup, short skirts, pants, cut our hair short, wear jewelry; watch TV….basically we could breathe in and out, STRICT. I remember watching my first TV show at a Catholic neighbor’s home, “The Wizard of OZ”. Boy did I get a spanking and grounded, first of all for disobeying my parents and secondly for going to a Catholic’s home….OFF LIMITS. Eventually Mom and Dad lightened up bought us a TV and as I remember, we watched TV for a couple of nights and the tube blew out, so all we could hear was the sound. My first recollection was “Lost in Space” and boy did my imagination see things. Can I tell you how cool it was to get to see the re-runs? Amazing!
Mom and Dad worked so hard to afford the best of everything we wanted as they lived paycheck to paycheck to pay the bills and sometimes they would work second jobs so we could have a little extra. Mom was an incredible seamstress and made most of our clothes from Vogue, Butterick and McCall patterns. Dad and I hung out together. I was his little tomboy and loved to be outdoors with him, play in the yard, watering the plants; not to well I might add; digging in the dirt and animals, we loved all kinds of animals from rabbits to Chichiwawas dogs, chickens to Cockatiels. We had the best life I could imagine.
I mentioned our religion, but not our faith. Our faith and beliefs were carved out of the bible and poured into our spirits hourly, daily, weekly. Dad and Mom were always sure that what went in came out the right way. Mom was a voracious reader and her retention and interruption was exceptional by any scholar. I can’t say I received that talent, but it did stick in my heart and mind. Dad would have devotionals on Saturday mornings on the living room couch, so if you spent the night with me, you got to sit in on devotionals, no questions ask. Yes, my friends made fun of me, but to this day they still remember the sweet spirit in our home. We of course were typical kids and thought we weren’t paying any attention to what was being said or prayed, but now I know we really did.
We moved to Desoto, Texas my senior year which could have been very traumatic to move schools, but successfully I graduated high school at the Dallas school I had attended since a sophomore, barely. I worked part-time for a dentist and wanted to work full-time right away so I could be on my own and find my own place in society. As you can imagine, I searched to belong, find love, marriages, and no kids for me. I was a career women and on a fast track to nowhere. Yes, I finally settled down when I turned 24. Long story short, Dad asked me and my sister on Mother’s Day in 1977….“Won’t you try one more time to give your life to Jesus Christ and live a Christian life?” First time I could remember seeing my Dad cry over me and it broke my heart in my high or hung-over state from the night before. I said “Yes”. It was PERSONAL now, not on Mom and Dad’s coattail, but ME! You and me Jesus! Here we go…...Really? Just what Jesus had been asking me to do.
I could fill in all the twist and turns during the past 33 years, but it’s not so different than many people’s lives of marriage, divorce, struggles, hopes, career up and downs, etc. I call it, the Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll of life. The main point is, God was with me all the way and He loves me. I sought the Lord with all my heart and wanted to please Him with my life. Living in the world with little thought of serving Jesus made it hard. I made more bad decisions with consequences that stung than spiritually healthy ones. The best part is I came out the other side, have turned the pages over and over to live in the here and now and not the past. I’ve cried, prayed, forgave, isolated my emotions to keep from getting hurt and to not be bitter towards people. I want to see what God sees in people, and sometimes it hard because of past personal recordings of life. All good lessons to learn and I am today the person of twist and turns in many life experiences I can share with those who have questions and need a kindred soul.
I just celebrated 20 years with my husband Chuck. He is my rock of love, unconditional and forever. Perfect? NO? God puts people in our lives that can help us reach our potential in HIM. We are like two rocks rubbing together to make the perfect diamonds. We are best friends, don’t always agree, but agree to disagree when necessary. We both came from similar backgrounds, yet different. Together we make music in our minds and that’s all that matters. We have grown stronger in the Lord over the years and taught each other many lessons about ourselves when we look into each other’s faces. I thank God daily for my love for Chuck. You will have to ask him about his love for me.
I pray the love story with Jesus and my sweet husband continues for eternity as God has promised. He said we would rein as Priest and Kings depending on how we live our lives here on earth. I imagine I would be happy in any state as long as I have please my Lord Jesus Christ since the day of my re-dedication of Salvation in 1977. My spiritual birthday is as real to me as the day I was told I was born in 1953. I have a Dake’s Annotated Bible my mother gave to me with my spiritual birthday written in it. Spiritual birth certificate so to speak, but don’t be fooled. The bible says our names will be written in the Lambs Book of Life once we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Back to that death, burial and resurrection stuff. There is no compromise when it comes to it. Jesus was born of a Virgin, Mary through the Holy Spirit. He lived and walked on this earth for 33 years, was crucified on the cross for your sins, buried for 3 days, then resurrected to Heaven. Sitting at the right hand of our Father God and is our advocate. Satan is the accuser of you and me. We were saved by grace and not by works. You cannot work hard enough to go to Heaven; you are born into it through the blood of Jesus and by faith! You cannot get ready to be saved when you’re good enough because you can’t be good enough. Only Jesus is! You can take baby steps or giant leaps of faith depending on who you are in Christ. Milk or steak? At some point we all must graduate to wanting more of Christ and less of self. I’m not talking about being so Heavenly minded that you’re no Earthly good. Pride starts to take over and you’re right back where you started.
Simply Faith…….to be continued!