This blog is dedicated to everyone who has traveled with me on my Journey to Faith. I want to say thank you for giving to the Lord. Because of you my life was changed. My mama use to say that little things mean a lot – a smile, a touch, a kind word. It was the “little” things that could make a “big” difference in someone’s life. She also said, “the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” It is the time you give to someone that can turn their world around. That is exactly what happened to me along my journey of faith. Someone took the time to care. It was a long journey, but one I would not trade for the world. It seems the Lord had that journey marked out ahead of time and planted special people along the way to show me the way to Him.
The first person I met on my journey was Jamie Stata, a young marine’s wife who was stationed with us in Oceanside, CA. She invited me to a retreat at the Campus Crusade Headquarters in Lake Arrowhead, CA. I accepted that invite under false pretenses, knowing that the venue was formerly the first Hilton Hotel. I did not want to really go to learn about Christ, I went because I wanted to see where Elizabeth Taylor spent her honeymoon with Conrad Hilton, Jr. It was also the place where Esther Williams made her swimming movies. (Okay, so now you know how old I am). I was surrounded by Christian women who were so excited about the Lord, but for the life of me, I did not know what all the excitement was about. They asked me to read a verse from the book of Titus. I told them, with all my wisdom, that my Bible did not have that book. It never dawned on me that the Bible might have a table of contents. Well, from that point on, they knew I was clueless and the pursuit began. I did everything I could to get away from those ladies, but they were on a mission. They even tried to scare me by telling me the Lord was coming back someday. I must admit that was the first time I heard that. I thought they had been reading too many science fiction books. Time seemed to pass ever so slowly. Finally on the last day they gave their testimonies. I wanted them to hurry up because I was ready to go home! I had been there 3 days and still hadn’t found the book of Titus. As I was sitting there sulking, listening to the last testimony, her words caught my attention. The young lady was saying that you had to have faith in God in order to know Him as your Savior. I had never heard that before. I thought all you had to do was go to church. She was telling me I had to do something more. Then she said I had to believe in my heart that He died for me. I thought, “no He didn’t. He died for everyone else, but not for me.” Then I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks. Now all of a sudden, I was not in a hurry to leave. At that moment I realized I was a sinner and I needed a Savior. I was not prepared for what happened next. Guess who showed up? For the first time in my life I felt the Spirit of the Lord. He kept drawing me closer and closer. Tears entered my eyes and I asked Him to enter my heart. He did! My fate was sealed! Now all I had to do was get to know the One that died for me! Thank you Jamie from the bottom of my heart. I am so glad you cared enough to give me your time.
And then there is Kay Arthur, my teacher, mentor and friend who showed me how to get in the Word so I could meet my God face to face. I will never forget the first time I heard her voice. I was a babe in Christ and did not even know the name of the four Gospels. I was attending a Precept Upon Precept Course on the Book of James. (It was at this time that I realized God had a sense of humor. It was the only Bible study being taught where I lived. He really threw me in the deep end.) She looked right at me from the video we were watching in class and said, “Count it all joy when trials come into your life.” I remember thinking, “lady, you have got to be kidding me.” I thought I had done all I needed to do by asking Jesus into my heart and here she is telling me I have to accept everything that comes in my life with joy. When I saw the sincerity in her eyes, I realized she actually meant it. I sat there as her words pierced my heart. Accepting Christ was going to be a lot harder than I thought. Could I do it? I reluctantly bought her book not realizing the amount of homework. Once again I argued with her in my mind, “Kay, I am a wife and mother of two daughters. I have places to go, things to do and people to meet and you want me doing these lessons that are going to take me 5 hours a week? My time is valuable”. (It is a wonder God did not fry me like bacon when I spoke those words.) I persevered because I was determined to learn about about my God. I actually started looking forward to hearing Kay every week. Not only did she make me laugh, she made me cry. More importantly, she made me want her God. I wanted the kind of God she had! You see, Kay knew her God was sovereign over her life and I knew Him just as a man in a book. It took the whole universe to contain her God; my God could fit in a thimble. Never judge a book by its cover. There is more to it than the word “BIBLE” on the cover. It is what is in the inside that will change your life. Over the years that is exactly what Kay challenged me to do. She handed me the shovel and told me to start digging for the gold nuggets. It is the golden nuggets of His Word that have sustained me over the years. Kay also is a woman of God who says what she means and means what she says. It was the determination in her voice that impressed me. This lady was real! She told everything about her past that most people would hide! She used her brokenness to show me a Savior that loved her when she was in the pits. She reached up; He reached down. As their hands met He pulled her up, brushed her sins off and told her to go tell others what He had done for her. Well, she did and because of that it now takes the whole universe to contain my God. I threw the thimble away! Praise the Lord, Amen, Hallelujah! She and Jack have been such an inspiration to me. God changed me and nurtured me through Precept Ministries. Hank saw the change in me and wanted what I had. So now we serve the Lord together. What a blessing – what a God! Thank you Kay and Jack from the bottom of my heart! I am so glad you cared enough to give me your time. I would also like to say thank you to everyone at Precept Ministries (you know who you are) who have supported me, prayed for me and loved me through the years on my Journey of Faith. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so glad you cared enough to give me your time.
The next stop on my Journey of Faith was New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. By this time the Lord had put it on my heart to help other women. I was meeting so many women who were hurting, not only out in the world, but also in the church. Before I knew it, I was getting a degree in Women’s Ministry. The Lord placed two very special women in my life: Rhonda Kelley, Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry of NOBTS, and Chris Adams, Senior Lead Women’s Ministry Specialist of Lifeway Christian Resources. They taught me how to show compassion, how to reach out and heal the broken hearts of women by showing them the way to Christ. They opened the doors for me to enter into the ministry God was calling me into. Thank you Rhonda and Chris from the bottom of my heart. I am so glad you cared enough to give me your time.
Another person who I met on my Journey of Faith was Brother Bob Heutess. He is the pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist in Slidell, Louisiana. For 15 years he was my shepherd. He led me, fed me, and was always there for me. He was never too busy to care. Through the good times and the bad, all I had to do was pick up the phone and he was there. He gave me a smile, a touch on the shoulder and kind words. He gave me hope through every circumstance. He gave me his time when the rest of the world was too busy. I did not realize what I had until I left. It makes my heart hurt that I took him for granted like I did. So Brother Bob, I want to tell you I am so sorry for not realizing the blessings you brought to my life. May God bless you for your faithfulness to me and your church! May they know what they have in you and your precious wife Janie! Thank you Brother Bob from the bottom of my heart. I am so glad you cared enough to give me your time!
Last, but not least, I want to thank all my faithful friends and all the faithful ladies who studied the Word of God with me on my Journey of Faith. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring enough to give me your time.
The song below is dedicated to each and everyone of you! I will see you all in heaven one day and what a day of rejoicing that will be! May God bless each and every one of you!