Scene Starters for “Please, Daddy, Don’t”

I

In the beginning…of her young life, anyway…there was very little that was good. Cecile lived in a dysfunctional family plagued by alcohol, violence, and abuse. The baby of the family, she should have been doted upon and made to feel special and unique. Ironically she was made to feel unique, but not in the way little girls should be made to feel. She felt like she was the only one who knew what it was like to feel fearful, terrified, dirty, and shameful. She had felt this way as long as she could remember and had no one to thank for her earliest living nightmares other than her own family.

There. That writing exercise was finally done. It had taken her the better part of a week to complete the assignment dished out by her new psychiatrist. Dr. Pendarvis had asked her to write about her childhood as though she was an author composing someone else’s biography.  Cecile had struggled with not only what to write, but how much detail to go into. The only element she was vague about was the blow-by-blow account of every negative incident in her past. She could not go there, not because she refused to, but because she couldn’t remember the details. A good bit of her childhood had been expunged from her memory or so it seemed to her.

Cecile neatly folded the paper that contained her writing and tucked it into the outside pocket of her handbag. She felt the smooth surface of the designer logo-emblazoned bag. It reminded her of when she received it as a gift from her late husband, Atlanta hotel magnate and societal patriarch, Thomas Latimore. She mindlessly left her apartment in mid-town and walked to her car. She had to get to a 10:30am appointment where she would give the doctor her writing assignment. She tried to concentrate on her driving but her mind drifted back to the summer she met her husband and the day he gave her this purse.

It was a Tuesday. She had recently arrived in Atlanta and had met him only two weeks before he surprised her with the gift during lunch at a cafe in Buckhead. He called it a “welcome to Hotlanta gift” and she was taken aback by his generosity and his attempt to speak the lingo of the day.

It was all so much to digest at once; being in Atlanta, getting a great job, meeting Thom, and receiving a gift. She was a small town girl in a big city. She had landed a job as the assistant to the president of a prestigious private art and design college. Thom was a strikingly handsome man, though he was quite her senior. And then there was the fact that Cecile was unaccustomed to receiving gifts; not just costly gifts, but any gifts at all.

Little did she know at the time, the Liz Claiborne handbag he presented to her as she shyly ate a huge Cobb salad was the first of many niceties Thom Latimore would bestow upon her before and during their marriage. Neither was she even remotely aware what a paltry precursor it was to the estate he would some day leave her at his passing.

A horn sounded and her attention snapped back to the Billy Squire song blaring through the sound system in her car. She loved the Atlanta oldies  stations. As she hurried up Peachtree Street to get to her appointment in Sandy Springs more memories bombarded Cecile’s mind. She vividly recalled the day she arrived in Atlanta in July of 1987.  As she disembarked from the small commuter plane that flew her in from the Savannah airport the heat and humidity hit her square in the face. The smell of jet fuel, exhaust fumes, and the hot runway wafted toward her. It was invigorating. She had actually made it.

How someone as green as her came to escape that Louisiana swamp town she grew up in and eventually arrive in Atlanta was, in itself, practically an act of God and no straightforward tale. Hell, there she sat more than a decade after Y2K and she still wondered how she managed to survive her childhood and teen years. “It is pretty miraculous,” Cecile thought, reiterating the exact phrase that entered her mind when she saw the Atlanta skyline for the first time all those years ago.

When she thought about it, Cecile realized she had no clear memories of her life before she was 10. Now that she was seeing this doctor, it was coming back to her in bits and pieces. What she did know was that nothing before that time was good. With that epiphany she instantly felt a rush of adrenaline in her veins. Her brain instantly tried to recall her childhood by piecing the fragmented memories together. Cecile dodged haphazardly in and out of morning traffic and all she could think of was the overwhelmingly compulsory need to escape. She did not know from whom or what she should escape, but it was so real to her she began to sweat like mad and hyperventilate uncontrollably. Her body went numb, her mouth dry. She could feel her heartbeat pounding her eardrums. She felt as though she would faint.

She careened her shiny black 7 Series BMW into the first parking lot she could find. She slumped over the tan perforated leather steering wheel and fumbled to adjust the air vents so they would blow straight onto her face. With her eyes closed she managed to take slow, deep breaths and tried to get her head screwed on tight. Her thought process was like a demon-possessed pinball, bouncing frantically from one bumper to the next. She tried to stop the flashes from her past from entering her mind but it seemed the harder she tried to stop them, the more quickly they came and the more lightheaded she got.

Suddenly there was a loud rap on the driver’s side window. When she jerked her head up and looked to her left Cecile recognized the middle age rent-a-cop that stood directing traffic in the middle of a nearby Peachtree Road intersection every weekday morning. He looked concerned as she slowly powered down her window.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” he asked.

Cecile stuttered, “Um…yes. Yes, Sir I am fine. I, uh…..it’s um…a menopausal hot flash. That’s all. I just had to stop to regroup. It’s okay.”

As the silver-haired officer smiled and nodded knowingly he wished her a good day.  She let the window up and vigorously shook her head to clear the fog in her brain. Reaching into the arm rest console she retrieved a monogrammed linen handkerchief and tossed it into the passenger seat. A bit more digging and she found a wad of fast food paper napkins. She dabbed at the perspiration that covered her face, throat, and neck. Thank God she was wearing her hair up in that new style she found online yesterday or it too would have been soaked. She hastily reapplied her lipstick and zipped back into traffic as she chided herself out loud, “God, Cecile. Get a grip on yourself. You haven’t even hit menopause. You’re such a liar!” Her voice softened and she whispered under her breath, “I have to admit it was a damn good cover though. Girl, you’re good.” She gave herself kudos for her quick thinking and her uncanny ability to think well on her feet, make up a highly plausible lie, and deceive whomever she took a notion to deceive….even in the midst of freaking out. She fancied herself having been born with the innate abilities of a professional con artist as she had possessed them her entire life. That much she didn’t have to  struggle to recall.

Soon she arrived and parked at Sandy Springs Physicians Tower. Cecile was haunted by the thought that this session with her shrink would go no other way than horribly. She needed to psych herself up. She was in the habit of talking to herself.  The advent of cellphones with wireless earpieces and mics built into earbud cords made that habit appear less crazy.  “Smile,” she told herself, “be positive, think happy thoughts.

The happiest memory she ever knew had nothing to do with the wealth, power, or social standing she had attained by marrying Thom Latimore at a young age. Conversely, it had everything to do with having been stolen away in the night four years prior to her arrival in Atlanta. Cecile had been rescued and taken to south Georgia’s coast.  At the time it was a blur. She came to herself a week afterward, living conspicuously as the only white person in a black family the predominantly poor, black neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia known as Dixville. Although she lived in one of the worst places on the south side, in the Hopkins Homes projects, she did know now, deep down in her spirit that it was the single best thing that ever happened to her up to that the time. She poignantly realized that her then 15 year old mind could not possibly have fully grasped how that fateful trip had the potential to change the course of her life.

Now, at midlife, it had been years and years since she had spent any real time thinking about her past.  She spent so many years since then recreating her past to suit the situation. Without question all these thoughts and memories from her former life were Dr. Pendarvis’ doing. Seeing him was what she had to do at this point. Cecile didn’t really have a choice since her personal attorney had advised her to seek an evaluation after Thom’s death.

The time leading up to her weekly doctor’s visits made her apprehensive and anxious. While she was in the chair she was practically a basket case and when she left the well appointed doctor’s office she felt a mixture of relief, dread and excitement. She was inevitably relieved when each session was over, but she always dreaded the flood of memories that were sure to follow.

Seeing Dr. Jonathan Pendarvis left her feeling like she didn’t know which way was up or down. The feeling was akin to losing her grounding, her firm footing if you will. She was definitely on the proverbial slippery slope since she started seeing him, emotionally anyway. And it didn’t help that he looked like a young Brad Pitt. She secretly wished he looked more like Julia Roberts’ ex-husband, the homely Lyle Lovett. It certainly would make these visits a lot easier. Thinking about the good doctor, Cecile swung wide the heavy glass lobby door, straightened her straight black hair and threw her shoulders back. She took a deep breath, pasted on a smile to die for, and started toward the elevator. Every ounce of her buxom 170 pound frame sashayed and did so gloriously.

II

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Mothers Day: Best or Worst Holiday EVER?

sophia loren mom quote


Mothers Day….ah, the joy and celebration. Love and hugs and warm fuzzy feelings abound. Retailers are making a mint. Kids are burning breakfast and pouncing on their mothers’ beds in the wee hours with handmade cards, hugs, and kisses. The Hallmark Channel is playing sappy mom-themed movie marathons for the week prior.

All the while there are throngs of people who avoid the holiday at all costs. There are those who duck and hide, avoid the greeting card aisle or shopping altogether, or sequester themselves at home dreading the ring of the telephone or doorbell. While the masses celebrate there is a portion of society that mourns, grieves, avoids, or cocoons its collective mind in an insular hideaway.

Though many choose not to embrace the holiday because they grieve the loss of a beloved mom, others make the decision for vastly different reasons. Outside of the idealistic fantasy that all moms are the moms the greeting cards celebrate, is a reality in stark contrast. Some mothers are narcissistic, manipulative, mean as hell, or abusive. Many are absent, neglectful, or simply emotionally hard. Some withhold the basics in life, nurturing, and affection. A percentage are active addicts or alcoholics. Many birthed children and are technically mothers, but leave the children to raise themselves for all intents and purposes. Other mothers give their children away or have had them taken away. A select few are just plain toxic. From the perspective of many of the adult children who came from households with such mothers there is little reason to celebrate Mothers Day. It is those people who either cry or want to puke in the Hallmark aisle.

This year my own card-shopping experience made me think more deeply than usual about my own mother. She is not perfect, nor is she horrible. As a young mother I, like most young moms, tried to glean the good I remembered about my own mom’s mothering and avoid the negative. That statement alone opens up a can of worms. What was good and what was bad in my childhood experience as it relates to mothering? What is my mother’s perspective about that same question? On the other hand, do my adult children think I did well or poorly as their mom? How do I think I did? Every mother fails daily to some degree. Not every mother sees her failings or victories the same as her children view them.

The fact is we are each the owners of our own experience. We may have had other actors alongside us in life’s play, but each of us has a different take-away from our experiences. If you ever doubt this just commiserate about a childhood experience at a holiday meal. In our family each of us siblings have a different recollection of our experiences…and our parents’ version is different enough to make our collective eyes roll back in our heads. Most of the time these differences in perception of shared experiences is simply comedic fodder. For some, however it is serious business and for others it is devastatingly painful.

That being said, it lends the question: What if we, as mothers, received in our old age only the measure of love, affection, kind and harsh words, and attention from our adult children that they believe we gave them when they were kids? What if we were dealt a like hand in our twilight years to what we dealt our children in their youth? Some of us would live out our old age in bliss while others of us would have a miserable existence.

If you either no longer have your mom on this earth, or cannot find a reason to celebrate your own mom…..the next time Mothers Day rolls around try to celebrate someone else’s mom. Was there someone who was there in your mother’s stead? Celebrate that person. If your own mother was great but you have hurting people in your life, support them through this emotionally difficult day by acknowledging their experience, listening to them, and loving them. Plant positive words and deeds where negative emotion abounds. It will do them good and work wonders for you as well.payitforward

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Why Believe in God? A Conversation with a Non-Believer

I use my personal FaceBook page as a place to walk out my Christian faith. I have around 800 friends, some of whom are brethren in the faith and some who are not. I have my profile set to “public”. I also operate an inspirational page . Many of my posts are cross-shared between the two pages.

I recently had a friend of a friend comment on a meme I posted which read, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.” (Albert Camus). For the sake of this post we’ll call her Miss M.

MISS M: Not me, but to each their own and may all have the freedom and acceptance to live & let live! And I’m not scared, because a good God would not be scary, unfair or unreasonable in the end but rather friendly, approachable, fair, reasonable and understanding no matter what man wrote in the bible. I’m only concerned with this life, not any possible afterlife, and I feel so good about that.

ME: Born again believers believe that though mere men wrote the various books of the bible it is all God-inspired and was given by divine revelation. God is so good, friendly, approachable, reasonable and fair that he offers us the opportunity to spend our mortal and immortal lives in close fellowship with Him. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the whole world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. This good, fair, and just God doesn’t require that we die to see Him, know him, and be his friend. He gives us multiple opportunities to accept his offer of unconditional love during our lifetimes. It is only those who reject him by rejecting his Son who will hear upon their meeting him face to face, “depart from me ye workers of iniquity; I know ye not.”

My philosophy is just because people refuse to believe in gravity doesn’t mean they won’t fall to their deaths if they jump from a cliff. In the same way just because people fail to believe that God is a just God who will judge us all, accepting some and rejecting others, doesn’t mean they will not be rejected and end up in eternal separation from all that is good, pure, and true. The good news is that there is a prescription for how not to end up there. It is up to each of us to chose or reject Gods plan and accept the consequences of our choice.

MISS M: Respectfully, so I’ve heard at least a million times. It’s not that I reject supernatural beings, I just personally can’t force myself to believe in any. And it makes no sense to me that, if there turns out to be a God/Jesus, He/They would not be loving, understanding, reasonable, etc., which they wouldn’t be at all if they completely accept me and didn’t see me for the good person I am and the good things I do/good way I behave and still doom me to hell or something just because I can’t force myself to believe in them. It seems like with many of the religious, it’s not mainly how you behave in life but rather what you believe, and that’s the exact opposite of my way of thinking. Some invisible things are there and real of course (gravity, oxygen, radio waves) and some are only in the mind of the perceiver. I do follow the Golden Rule simply because I know it’s the right thing to do without being told, but never out of fear or because of some reward. I don’t believe in any holy books (except I’ve read a few, including the entire bible, for some interesting fictional reading of horror stories mixed in with some nicer ones), so telling me that the bible says so does nothing for me. I don’t try to convert anyone to my way of thinking, and appreciate people not trying to convert others (like some Muslims, etc. do. I say don’t do things you don’t want everyone else to do. All feel their particular religion and holy book is the only true one, so you’re all “right”. lol). Be happy and comfortable in your beliefs, and please don’t condemn (by saying the God in your bible condemns) anyone for not having the same beliefs as you. Consequences happily accepted! Religion=belief=opinion=not a necessarily a fact to anyone but yourself. Peace, freedom to think freely, equality, and love brothers and sisters!

ME: The bottom line is we all have free choice. Like we have free choice to post our particular beliefs, religious and political persuasions and affiliations, etc. on our pages because they are a representation and extension of who we are as individuals. I don’t post to persuade or condemn anyone who doesn’t believe as I do. I post to encourage my friends and fellow Christians in our common faith, not to elicit opposition from or cause conflict with others who don’t believe as I do. To each his own. I try not to stir crap, as a general rule. For example, my brother is an agnostic, and my close cousin is an atheist, another friend is a theist but not a deist. I would not be caught dead posting my view on their pages or commenting in a manner they may perceive as oppositional or negative toward their personal beliefs. I respect that each of us has to operate autonomously in respect to our personal belief system. No one’s views, no matter how sweet one attempts to make them, tastes anything less than bitter when forced down the throat of someone who refuses to sample them.

MISS M: It’s just good to know others are aware that their way is not the only way, and we should all treat each other kindly and judge each other by our actions rather than our beliefs. I only advocate now and then for others like me because some are unaware that atheists beliefs are just as good as religious ones. Stay open-minded, feel free to think for yourself, fear nothing but fear itself, and keep treating others equally! How about living life as if we know what the kind things are to do and just do them, God or no God? I love sharing opinions on Facebook. That’s what Facebook is for, sharing ideas and things!

ME:For me and many true, non-superficial Christians it is not about religion, but all about a personal relationship with God. To expect someone who has never experienced God on a deep personal level to understand that is foolishness for us. Drawing people to himself is God’s business. As Christians our business is to love our God with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul. And to love our neighbor as our self…regardless of his race, creed, religious persuasion, self-expression, sexual orientation, addiction, marital status or political persuasion. After that is to our business to grow our relationship with God and walk out our faith in everyday life, emulating Christ inasmuch as it is humanly possible. Those things manifest themselves in a variety of ways by Christians at different stages of their own individual journeys, people who have adhered to crazy doctrines, and so-called Christians who do some jacked up stuff in the name of God. Some of those people have dome more to harm the testimony of God than non-Christians ever have by making non believers feel condemned, belittled, maligned, misunderstood, and even hated. Its a pity and something my God does not take lightly. It is my hope to not be guilty of doing those things. However, I will always defend my faith and God will defend himself. I will attempt to win others to Christ, not by the words I say, but by the things I do and the way I live my life.

MISS M: There was a time in which I was deeply religious (Christian) and that’s even after I was subjected to Catholic school through the 8th grade. I just grew to question so many things and no answers were making much sense, so I evolved into an atheist (there was no grand or tragic reason, just plain reason).

ME: There is such a profound difference between being religious (be it Catholic or any other denomination) and being a true Christian. Religious Christians are Christians in name only, not in practice. I come from a Catholic family background and can say wholeheartedly from my own experience that the Catholic church turns out devoutly religious catholics and atheists…and not much in between…..except, perhaps the multitude of people disenfranchised with God because of religion. Just know, that as many Catholics and the general populace are unaware, there are myriad . I won’t even get started on that! It’s a book in itself.

And that, dear friends, is a possible prequel to my next post.

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A HIGH SCHOOL ACQUAINTANCE RE-DISCOVERED

I’ve recently reconnected with a high school classmate via FaceBook.

I remember him well. Back then he was Murray Paul Mitchell. He was a shy boy, slight in frame, with a nice smile. He was soft-spoken. He was mild mannered. He was reserved. He was the only boy with four sisters.

We lived in a very small rural farm town in the 70’s and 80’s. Back then, as it is still today (for the most part), there is distinct segregation among races and classes of people there. Murray and his family lived on “the black side of town,” my family on the “white side”.  At school, white kids sat together in the hallways and the lunchroom, and black kids sat together. Regardless of that, I remember Murray being nice to everyone…..black or white. He was just nice.

I always wondered what ever happened to him because somehow, even in the self-absorbed world of a teenager that I lived in, I felt as though he was sad and hurt inside. I don’t know if I perceived that because of his oral presentations in Speech class, or because of anything he’d ever told me. I know now that he was sad and hurt, and that because I was too….for similar reasons……I must have recognized those things in him back then.

Fast forward to now. Murray Paul Mitchell reinvented himself. He did that for lots of reasons, but I think he did it mostly to become whom he felt God destined him to be instead of being chained to the abuses and hurts of his younger life. It was his catharsis….his rebirth.  That fuzzy sweet little caterpillar wound himself up in a cocoon. While he was in there he spent 22 years in the military serving our country. He traveled the world. He had relationships that molded his character. His body became strong and muscular. His brain became more adept and sharp. He increased in knowledge. He developed his own style of humor and wit. He realized it was okay to dream and pursue those dreams. He came to realize that he was worthy of a new and better existence.

When the caterpillar that was Murray emerged, he was no longer a caterpillar….but instead, was Paul Trahan, a majestic Monarch butterfly. Paul uses his given middle name, and changed his surname to one with close personal significance. He discovered God and has a personal relationship with Him. He found his voice and writes beautifully, sharing from his heart and soul. He is a fine physical specimen, a handsome man with an air of confidence without pride. He is an all around good guy.

paul trahan

I’ve introduced you to my old friend because I believe that we reconnected for a reason. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in God, through the Holy Spirit, orchestrating the lives of people so they intersect at a time most opportune for God to reveal himself to both parties.  I’ve introduced you so you can see for yourself what an awesomely cool guy he is! Yep….the Murray Mitchell I knew would never have believed in high school that the buxom blonde girl with the sassy mouth would ever call him “cool”, but I am…..because he is. And I can because our God is awesome enough to see fit to cross our paths again and I have subsequently been able to see the results of Paul’s metamorphosis. My God, what a change! And the best part is….he is not just my friend……he’s my Brother in Christ.

So….check out his WordPress page! You’ll be inspired now that you know some of the back story!

A Soldier’s Journey on the Wings of the Wind

May your day be blessed and your being enriched by the things you find there to inspire your soul.

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Jesus Died For You, So Live for Him

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Dear Friends,

Please share this on your Facebook timeline and encourage your friends to like this page. It is my own personal ministry to uplift and encourage Christians in the Lord. If you have been or know someone who may be blessed by this page, please share it, visit it often, and feel free to post your own pics or encouragement on it.

Thanks! Rachel

https://www.facebook.com/live4JesusChrist2day

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Do You Know This Guy?

I know a guy. He’s young (30-something), able bodied, relatively intelligent, but with number of dead brain cells from way too much pill-popping and pot-smoking in his life. (God bless him…if he’d get saved God might be able to work that to his good one day.) He’s not a bad guy, just lost and clueless.

For the sake of this story we’ll call him Tommy. Well, Tommy was married for 10+ years. He has an elementary school-age son. Tommy had a problem with drugs and has a problem with alcohol, which I assume because he’s been known to roll up to work early in the morning with a beer in his hand. He and his wife of ten years are now divorced and he’s re-married with a new baby.

This fellow (i deleted the word yo-yo cause God don’t like ugly), quit a high paying union job with benefits….and stayed unemployed for a year during the separation and divorce. This was done “conveniently” in time to not have his high union wages counted when his child support calculation was done. He lucked out and it was agreed he would only have to only pay $400 a month. He complained about that.

He is married to a woman who makes more than he did when he earned top union wages. However, between them they can’t come up with his monthly obligation to his son. I suppose he may feel a greater obligation to his current wife and new child than he does to his ex-wife and old kid.

His ex-wife had always worked part-time, even while she attended school, but was unemployed when they divorced. Since then, he has worked piece-meal jobs and laid out of work on a fairly regular basis. He’s a couple of months behind in his child support. Though his ex-wife is now employed it’s at an entry level pay grade. She has a hard time making ends meet with her small check and his markedly inconsistent child support payments.

What galls me, I guess, is that while her family is pitching in to help buy her son’s school clothes, this model dad gets on FB and brags about what a great dad he is and “everyone” knows he’s always taken care of his kids. Granted, he’s bought the boy a couple of school outfits, but a growing child needs more than that to get by with for any length of time. He needs shoes, he needs school supplies, he needs other things. Tommy’s ex-wife has been the first mother in several generations of her family to rely on government help. Tommy’s son lost his insurance coverage when Tommy quit working enough union hours to qualify for benefits.

It’s just so sad to see someone so far in denial, so lost, so unconcerned with the welfare of his own child. He fusses at his ex wife for not providing things like cable television, etc. for their son, but he hasn’t paid her any child support other than a few dollars here and there to placate her. He doesn’t offer to take his son to dental or doctor’s appointments. Before getting fired he worked a part-time job in the same town in which his son lived and often passed up opportunities to see his son, even if for a few short minutes, so he could hurry home.

If this story seems familiar to you it’s because it could be a picture of someone in your family, someone that you work with, perhaps one of this story’s main characters is you (figuratively speaking, of course).

Drugs and alcohol wreak havoc in people’s lives. It makes them lose their good sense. It makes them mis-prioritize their lives. It makes them be an absentee father or absentee mother whether they live inside or outside the same home as their children. It turns them into a poor excuse for a spouse. It affects their ability to support their family financially, spiritually, and emotionally. And worse of all it deadens them to the call of God on their lives.

When folks who are entrenched in this lifestyle perform as if they are in bondage, it’s because they are. When people are called out on their action or inaction they are prone to defending or justifying their actions. They often do this because they want to convince others that their actions are okay, as if that act will make it all better. The truth is, no one can guilt or shame them into changing. They will have to hit their own rock bottom and want to make a change for the better for themselves and their families.

If you know someone like this, pray for them. Share the gospel with them, live out the Holy Spirit in you in their presence on a regular basis. Above all, love them with the love of Christ.

In my humanness, in the flesh, I want to take this guy I know and shake some sense into him…and maybe smack him on the back of the head for good measure. When he justifies his actions to me or corrects small inaccuracies in my thinking about the situation, I know he is struggling to make himself feel better about his own lack in his role as a dad. I remind myself that most people who use drugs and alcohol do so because they can’t deal with some area of their life, or deal with hurts they have been dealt, or feelings of worthlessness that someone has inundated them with. There is always a core reason.

I still want to “Tommy” how he is affecting his son…not just for the present, but for the boy’s entire lifetime.  One day his son will grow up and realize that the financial lack his household experienced during his childhood was contributed to by his dad. He’ll have to deal with becoming the adult child of an alcoholic and all the inner conflict that brings. However, because I serve a higher standard I will, instead, endeavor to practice what I preach. I will love him in the Lord and pray for him. It is the right thing to do as a Christian, and I encourage you to consider doing the same thing with the “Tommy”s in your life.

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A 1,000 Word Testimony for God

20 years ago I was saved from the fires of hell, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I knew shortly afterward that God put a calling on my life to minister to others. At the time I thought that meant that I was supposed to be a preacher, you know… a pastor. So, I found a bible college online and took some courses. I got ordained into the ministry. I devoted a great deal of time to studying the Word of God.

Time rocked on, and life rocked on. I strayed from God, came back to God, endured great trials in my life, searched out my own way, and failed miserably. My life was a series of ups and downs in my daily walk with the Lord.  I married and divorced repeatedly. I lost my children to drugs. At one point I strayed away for a number of years, but the Good Shepherd was just and true to His word. He left the 99, went out and found me, and brought me back.

When I finally figured it out, and took my SELF out of the equation, quit directing my own paths, and let God have his way with me, my life changed drastically. In the last two years God has worked miracles through adversity in my life. Finally my life began to turn around.

I was given a Godly husband.  For those of you who know me, NO….the godly husband IS NOT the pastor I was married to for several years; it is Bruce E. Scott, Sr. Though my marriage to that jacked-up wolf in sheep’s clothing of a preacher were a nightmare, I was able to spend three years feasting on the Word of God, learning bible history, studying the person of Christ, studying the disciples, studying end-time prophecy, studying the Christian condition, and so much more. I did that to stay true to the Living God and not fall under the false teachings and scripture-twisting that my husband at the time was so good at proliferating.

I got out of that mess and God gave me Bruce. Then, after almost three years away from Him, the Lord gave me Turning Point Worship Center and Pastor Justin Mitchell of Jesup, Georgia. One week after God gave me a church and a pastor, He gave me and Bruce Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered program to help us heal as the parents of three children who struggle with addiction. Three weeks after that, God gave Bruce and me the last addition to a marriage made in Heaven, and that was the power of daily prayer together as a couple. Three days after we began going to the Lord not only separately, but together, claiming and proclaiming that our children would be saved by God from the bondage of addiction, God answered.

On a Wednesday night, without any invitation from us or anyone else that we know of, the Lord started speaking to our oldest daughter. She told us later that earlier in the day it seemed every radio station she turned to had nothing on it but preaching. She decided to try going to church and she showed up at the front door of Turning Point Worship Center. She and her two small boys joined us for praise and worship. At the alter call Bruce and I went down, as had been our habit of late, to pray yet again for our children and to praise Him for bringing our daughter to His house that night. As I stepped out into the aisle, our daughter followed and before it was over she chose Jesus over drugs. God gave us the best gift yet, saving our oldest daughter and breaking the bondage that addiction has on her. He has started a work in her and we will continue to believe that she will work her part of the deal to stay clean and sober and glorify Him.

I sit here today and look at what God has done and I am amazed. He has taken me, a dirty broken vessel, full of self-righteousness and pride, and dumped me out and cleaned me up. He has filled me up with His goodness, grace, mercy, and love until I am running over. He has given me the most precious gifts a wife and mom could ask for. Now I’m believing Him for miracles for our other children.

God is reminding me today of the calling he put on my life those 20 years ago. It’s different now. I know in my heart that I don’t necessarily have to stand in a pulpit and preach to a crowd of people. God has given me gifts and he is showing me day to day how to use them. He has blessed me with the ability to communicate through my writing and through other communication. He is placing people in my life that I can pray with, minister to, and touch with the written word. He is putting parents of addicts, and addicts themselves in my path so I can use the negatives in my own life to speak hope into theirs. Believe it or not, he is allowing me to use FaceBook, my personal blog, Celebrate Recovery, and my own life to reach others for Christ.  I am humbled and honored to be used. Though I know I am unworthy, I believe God can use me. How can I not answer the call, after all he has done for me?

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