It is in such times that we know we are not doing things because we are terribly efficient, or very clever, or physically in great conduction, but because the answer to our prayer for help has been not a changed circumstance with everything going well, not a removal of pain and suffering, but it has been instead an outpouring of His strength, to do that He would have us do or to simply have a patience (not out own) or a surge of increased trust of Him whereby we may whisper, Lord, I don’t understand this, but I love You and trust You.

Edith Schaeffer

It there ever been a passage that explains the last year, it is this one.

I was raised to believe that Jehovah would make me happy I just DID everything that He said. And if I did everything right, I wouldn’t have to worry because He would fight for me.

This year has taught me that following my God didn’t make me happy…

It made me joyful.

What’s the difference?

To be happy is to be feel free and to have everything fall into place. When things go bad, God (so they say) will help put things place so and I will know what is going on, have full control and all things will work out – all I have to do is go in that direction with full force.

Yeah, no. That is not what God promises. He promises that we will be joyful.

To be joyful is to know that this situation is and have always been a result of a plan that is higher than me and needs an entity higher than me to take care of things. I don’t know what is going on. What I do know is that I have learned to be patient, that I cannot save the world, that I will never have the reasons why I was betrayed and I was called to a place that reminds me that I have not forgiven him and that he will get away with the damage that he caused.

But if I listen and follow and trust and do (there is action that is needed), He would give me constant and strong reminders of his love for me.

He would send me to Servant Church with it’s glorious 70’s styling remind me of all the time spent with my Grande learning how much God loved me.

He would send to Hill House to remind me of the hours studying His Word, getting to know Him.

He would surround me with people once that would reflect His love and allow me serve and to find out the hard way that I was not ready to lead.

When my oldest daughter went to build her own life, He made sure that I saw all the little things that showed that she was listening when I wasn’t looking… all the things that told me she would all right. That was a true comfort.

I said goodbye to a great friend during this time as well… one used to remind me that it wasn’t a sin to love the comics and games that shaped my fantasies and my later written works…

There were several false starts in finding a church home… only because I’m hard headed and knew where I was to go… and I finally made it there.

I finished a year of therapy, which helped me readjust my perspectives and let me rant and rave and kick until I got tired and decided to do things that I knew should have.

And I quit smoking…

I’m writing all of this to say that this was a good year. It was the year that got me strong enough.

To do what?

I don’t know…. But I promise that I’ll tell you as soon as I find out.

there might be something to this…

Would it change your spiritual life if you knew without a shadow of a doubt that God not only loved you and desired you, but desired to be with you and to spend time with you?

Would you believe it? Would it take you some time for you get used to the idea?

My truth is that I don’t know if I believe it yet. I want to believe that something as big and grand as the Heavenly Father knows that I even exist.  Yes, I have read Mathew 10:29-30, (where Jesus is talking about how a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without Him knowing and the hairs of our head are numbered), but there is a big difference between knowing and well, knowing…

Here, let me illustrate….

Imagine that you are hanging out and an absolutely devastatingly gorgeous, powerful, and rich person comes up to you and tells you that they want to be with you, spend time with you, and that they love you, always have and always will. You know your background, you know that you are broke, that you don’t have anything to offer that s/he can’t get somewhere else (with better quality than you can even imagine) and you tell them so. But they don’t care- they want you and they want you to want them too.

“Well, I would drop everything and go!” I hear many of you saying.

“If some hot, rich person came up to me, I would be gone in a minute” And I would agree and even then there would be difficulties; you would have to adjust to his lifestyle (I’m gonna use the male pronoun because I’m straight), you have to deal with folks who are upset because you are around (How dare she come here…) and ridiculed by others for thinking that you have what it takes to be with him…and keep him.

I get that…

Now… what if you have never seen this person in life?  You have heard of him, his power and what he feels for you, but never actually saw him? And the only communication you ever get from him is through emails and other people telling you? Not even the Charlie’s Angels voice box- you can’t hear a voice- just written communication and hearsay?

Would you be so willing to drop everything then? Would you be able to believe whole heartedly? Would you be able to trust?

I wasn’t able at first… because at first the thought of God wanting anything to do with me seemed foolish and stupid… and all I had to go on what was written in the Bible. What I didn’t know was adamant He was about being close to his followers in the Scriptures, especially those who have less to give than others (Deut. 7:7-8).

And the more I studied and prayed, the less it started to feel foolish and it started to sound less stupid. But then I had to deal with the outside ridicule. And what I realized was that for every ridiculer, there were many, many more that came to my aid and encouraged me along this path. People who are loving and patient like He is and can attest to how loving, kind and patient He has been to them. 

And now I am starting to hear the love of His voice in the chorus of his true witnesses, those who truly follow and tell all of His loving kindness, long suffering, and tender mercies and show them through the lives that they lead, even though they are as broken as I am.

I said all of that to say this….

That I don’t fully believe or trust that God loves me or wants anything to do with me, but this last year has proved that opening my mind to even the concept that that could be possible has changed my physical and spiritual life more (for the better) than I could ever imagine.

This is the Way… and I am walking in it. Not kicking and screaming anymore, just going slowly.






The Choice

Over the last few months, I have been looking for a path or in common terms, I have been looking for a goal, something to work towards. While I was a member of the [cult]Church, the goal was to preach, start Bible studies and guide people towards baptism. And there was a very precise way to do this; dress this way, say this thing, use this book, tell them this, lead them this way, teach them that… in a very straight line, linear.

After returning to Abba, I have found that the life of a follower of Christ and evangelist is anything but. There are so many ways to reach, preach, and teach and I realize that I don’t have to find them all, just the ones that I can use most effectively in service for those who serve and those who seek.

And I thought I had to leave The Hill to do that.

The Hill is very young (just over a year old) and I see so many ways that I can serve and assist them in reaching, feeding and equipping those within the congregation and the community.  And the more I thought about what I could do, and the more I prayed about what could be done, the more I realized that I wasn’t fully equipped for it. I needed to learn something else, but I had no clue what.

So I went back to what I knew. When I was to reach and teach before what did I do?


I read the Bible daily.

I did personal study.

I went to and participated in the Theocratic Ministry School and honed my skills…aha!!

I have always done the first two, even after I left the [cult]Church. But I haven’t had any real training since I have returned to Abba and to the Church.  So I found it at the Austin Stone. And I got fed. But the time that I spent took me away from the Hill and that’s where I was supposed to be…where I wanted to be.

But I wouldn’t be doing any good if I wasn’t fully prepared, right? They would think that I really didn’t know the Lord if they knew that I was at another church getting trained, wouldn’t they? They would think the worst of me after I talked about all these things that I wanted to do for them and then just run off, right?


I don’t have to be fully prepared, that is to say I don’t have to ensure that. But I do have to be ready to learn each and every lesson that Abba provides. So I take the classes at the Stone and humbly take in the information and apply it.

They know that training (equipping) is essential and that it is needed and the fact that I heed this portion of the call.

They know that God calls all away for a season or seasons and that the goal is Abba’s will , not our’s.

So I learn and I am fed. And I go to two different churches without guilt.

And to serve without guilt or fear seems to be the ultimate goal.




Storytelling, John the Beloved and Full Makeup…

coming through... the last thing you want to see before your morning tea...

Sunday the 7th of August had me going to Shoreline Church for a special theatrical performance by Jim Miles preforming John the Apostle. I am a HUGE fan of storytelling, especially when there’s full makeup and a Bible story, so I was absent from the Hill yet again. They don’t even bother staying up anymore. This saddens me a little.

Shoreline was the first megachurch I had heard of here in Austin, mainly because it was right around the corner from where I living when I first moved here and secondly because you couldn’t pass a car without one of their bumper stickers on it (which is only slightly better than the little white apples or My child is an Honor Student at [that school]).

Located North near the Howard Lane / Wells Branch area, Shoreline features a nursery, a school, a sanctuary that seats about a thousand easily, a coffee shop that feature Starbucks (the Green tea Chai was just the thing I wanted to see early Sunday morning), a book store with a full array of books, videos and CD’s from the pastoral and worship staff, and a children’s area with a ship coming out of the wall (which was the last thing I was prepared to see first thing Sunday morning before my tea)

This church is also different in that I wasn’t the only black person there… this was a multicultural church and it showed all through… from the blonde wearing the sari to the near gospel worship, to the female Hispanic Associate Pastor from the south campus who came for the service. Even for the size, the fact that I wasn’t ‘the only one’ gave me comfort. It was still huge, though.

Jim Miles, an actor and storyteller, then appeared on the stage as John the Beloved, sitting at his desk on the island Patmos, greeting the thousands to come to see him.

“You know you’re an old man when a thousand people can sneak up on you…” it was met with a laugh and then to the story of the Gospel from a good source…

“Because I was there”

And for a moment, just after the Justin Bieber joke (don’t ask), I believed him and he took me there with him, as good theater should.

It took me back to one of things I missed about the [cult]Church. Every year we would trek to the District Convention, where one looks mainly to find a mate, perhaps get baptized and/or listen to sermons for 8 hours a day for three days. The highlight, other than baptism on Sat morning(because you were something if you got baptized at the District Convention),  was the Drama on Sunday afternoon.

A full makeup production, it told a story of a Witness in a modern day dilemma that reflected a bible principle (‘good association’, ‘moral cleanliness’ and the like). Then the bass toned narrator would chime in and intro the Bible story that illustrated the point of how we as Witnesses should act. It was heavy handed, but it was designed to be that way and I enjoyed it because it was a story, like the Bible.

And as everyone knows, I am a sucker for a good story.







In the meantime…

When I looked at the date of the last proper post to this blog and found that it was in February, I asked “What took me so long?”

What am I looking for?

What am I waiting for?

I think I was waiting for the big moments, the things I wanted to declare off the rooftops to show that the path is becoming clear and God is working great things in my life…

Until I remember that those great moments usually show up when I have missed the little things. When I look over the pasts weeks and see that there have been wonderful little things that have happened. Wonderful slices that happiness that filled me up little by little…

That wonderful hug Moe gave me on Mother’s day.
That surprise that Bill gave me on Valentine’s day.
The feeling of warmth and fellowship I feel every time I walk into either the Garbacz’s or the Jerkin’s homes.
How easy it feels to surrender all when I am at the Hill.
Meg and Justin’s texts during the week.
Laying in the back of my car in prayer.
Getting to the point where I can admit that I cannot trust God right now (that is a very good thing as I can’t trust Him until I admit that I can’t)
Being able to get all the pain and anger out, bit by bit…

I know that there is going to be a great work that will come through me…. And I know and God knows where I came from…

The challenge right now is enjoying the meantime, the journey. I want to get there so badly that I can taste it. But I am starting to understand that I can’t get there without the lessons, good and bad, along the way.

So here’s to in the meantime. And I promise that I will share the little things weekly. And a girl is only as good as her word, isn’t she?

God with us, Part 1: Finding what I needed…

I have to say with no small amount of joy that I love going to Celebration Church. There is a wonderful worship team, I can have Starbucks coffee in sanctuary [because caffeine always enhances the ‘God Buzz’] and the sermons are thought provoking and offered with humor, charm, and the deepest sincerity.

The pastors are accessible.  Everyone that I met has been kind; some in their own way, others completely. The small groups are warm and inviting. This is a place where Beyonce will play as the intro to the sermon series, Keri Jobe will lead the worship on Wed. night and John Maxwell [you know… bestselling author, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership  bloke?… yeah, that one] even stood in for our Senior Pastor.


if you are there at the right time…

one of the pastors will play ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ on the piano and get everyone in earshot to sing along. 

Not naming names, but it was awesome!

It is slick, bold, brassy, Christ filled, loving, and sassy.

And just too big for me.

The funny thing is I thought that that was just what I needed. I wanted the megachurch experience that made me feel tiny, filled and surrounded with the glory of Christ and allowed much room for fellowship with the Holy Spirit. And it does. I would walk in and take some time to soak in that I have been invited yet again into the house of God and I really love being there.  I would hug and catch up a bit, then Hillsong would blare, letting us know it was time for worship.

During worship, I close my eyes and listen and sing along to the words and, if I am moved, I will raise my hands in praise [not too high, I haven’t gotten to the “shoot your hands straight above your head, waving and pumping for the Lord” level yet] and allow the peace of God flow. I go up and pray when there is special need, otherwise I pray at my chair and in that moment I feel that I can let everything go. No one sees me because there are so many and I don’t feel like a fool because everyone there is there for the same thing.  

I feel safe, I feel insulated, and sadly, I feel unchallenged.

I want…[need?] something deeper.  Something that will allow me to expose my core as a sinner, allow me to confess my sins in an environment that is healing, but not packaged to appeal to the masses. A place where I can openly confess that I fuck up on the regular, that this path is hard as shit, and there is no place I would rather be.

And I found it. Quite accidently, hiding in plain sight all the time…

A place called Immanuel.

Processing the Path: Baptism

I am sitting with Wiley [*waves], eating cheese and talking about the  December 12th. The day I get baptized.

“I thought that it would be a longer process,” she says as she puts another bite of the Barely Buzzed into her mouth and reaches for a bite of the Moses Stellar.

“So did I,” I agreed as I eye her peppermint bark. I feel a small pang of guilt, but I reach for the bark anyway. I break off a piece and take a bite. The guilt pang hits me again. It wasn’t about the bark. I look over at Wiley.

“Yeah… I thought I would move slower.” That was the truth. The pang lessoned a little but it was still there.

I thought that the path back to the Church would be a slow, methodical, study-based trek to righteousness. What it turned out being was a long-awaited reunion. We met again and found that we loved each other as much as we did in the beginning and now want to live the rest of our lives together.

Aren’t you going too fast?

Yes… and no. 

No, in that my relationship with God started when I was 9 years old and has lasted for some 26 years. While I have not been to church in a decade, I have a solid foundation in the Bible and I have worked to live by it and teach my children to do the same. I have tried to live a life of service, which the only thing that ever truly made me happy, and I have shared what has worked in my life, based on the Scriptures.

But then there’s that pang of guilt, the ‘yes’ answer.

This goes back to the adage that you never forget your programming.

I was taught that to truly be baptized, you had to earn the privilege. You had to study (in my case, over a year and a half covering two complete books). You had to prove that you were faithful by being at every meeting and being in the Theocratic Ministry School and giving a ‘talk’ once a month.  Show your righteousness by being out in field service (you know, when we knock on your door on Sat. morning? …. Yeah…) at least 10 hours a month.

Then, and only then, you could be qualified for baptism. So an hour class with Scriptural consideration leaves me feeling empty. It makes me feel as if I should know more about my new chosen path. That I should have gone to the services for a few more months.

But it also makes me feel as if anything is possible.

Processing the Path, part 1: blah, blah , past, blah….

I thought that for the weeks following the fiasco at Mardel’s,  I would talk about all the little signs and notes that have told me that I am on the right path.

I thought I would talk about the moment I heard the call, when I had Isaiah 30:20-21 tattooed on my arm and finding that three months later, the first sermon proper I went to was about that scripture, which marked the path and a lesson.

The subsequent sermons that have been summed up thusly… turn around… pray… forgive… and wait for your external assignment. In the meantime, pray… study… be humble… lose the ego… and serve, Serve, SERVE. This is your internal assignment.

I thought that I was going to talk about this. But those words wouldn’t come out.

I want to talk and perhaps process what is scaring me about this entire process. I think that taking a bit of time and meditating on where I have been might deepen my appreciation and clarify where I am going.

So let me open like this: I have always believed in God (but so does Satan, so that’s not saying much…LOL [James 2:19]). I always believed in the power of the ransom sacrifice, deliverance through this sacrifice, and that he heard those called to him through Christ. And for years I thought that he heard me.

No… that’s not right. Well, that’s right but it’s not the complete truth. I was in love with God. I loved the fact that there was a mind that had the humor and sense of beauty to create the dark night sky full of stars, snapdragons, and the mountains and green you see on road trips. I loved the fact that he had created my mind that I used to write, which was and still is one of the things I love to do. I loved that there are flavors that could be tasted, changed to taste a totally different way and that there were so many of them. I love that he gave humans the mind to create Nutella and bacon.

But then I lost that in the haze of disappointment at the things that I saw that I thought that God should have corrected. I was seen and treated like a second class citizen based solely on my sex. I saw the emotional abuse of women by the very men that were chosen to lead us. I saw women do anything, including fight and neglect their children, to ensure that would get attract that man in religious power, only to find out that that man’s eye’s, hands, and other things were on their young daughters.

And sadly I saw myself do the same thing. I felt the desperation and believed the leaders when they told me that the only reason that my children were so well behave because of God because I had nothing to do with it.

I started to believe that if these men were the men that God would choose to lead and represent him, then what they saw and what they said was what God saw and said.  God would not take these away, teach them a lesson and I watched as they hurt people. So I thought that this was what Church was about, and in some ways what God was about.

So I left the Church to find myself… with or without him. I would learn that I couldn’t…