Tag Archives: God

Know Him As Savior First

An excerpt out of Calling All Workers “The Harvest Is Ripe, the Worker Is You!” by Michelle E. Caswell
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The more you realize how much you have truly been forgiven for, the deeper you will be able to love. You are not any better than anyone else. We are all horrible sinners. The quicker you know that, the more deeply you can connect with the Lord and others. God knows how bad we are, how good we think we are, and He still chose us. God sees the end from the beginning. He saw all the sins you were going to commit, and He looked at you and said, “See that one? I’ll take her as my own.” Let that one sink in a minute.

God has so many names and titles, but you need to know Him as your Savior first, because the greatest commandment is love—and the key to experiencing that kind of love is realizing what you’ve been forgiven for.
Those who have been forgiven much, love much.
— Luke 7:47 (paraphrase of verse)

What have you been forgiven for? Reach into the depths of your painful past, and recount the things He has forgiven you for—in order for you to love better. This will also give you the joy of your salvation back! Keep in mind, it’s important to look at your sin without downplaying it by comparing it to someone else’s “worse” sin.

Real Life Example:
I had been in rehab for a few months at the time, and I remember holding onto the “fact” that I was a good person who happened to have a drug addiction. I mean, “Come on Lord…I would give my last cigarette, smoke my last bowl of marijuana with someone, make dinner for elderly neighbors, I was even nice when I turned a guy down who asked me to dance. I was a good person, and I still am.”

I was trying to make myself not feel so bad. In fact, I was justifying my behavior to the Lord, while trying to convince myself that my “good deeds” could cancel out my sin. I wanted to hold onto some shred of self-esteem. That’s when the Lord knocked me off my high horse and showed me my motives.

He said, “Look at the reasons that you chose to do those things for people…it was all about what they thought of you, not that you cared about them. You made dinner for those elderly women, because a guy was watching you—and you wanted him to think that you would be a good wife. Apart from me, you are nothing.”

I doubled over, holding my stomach and bawling. I realized that I had absolutely nothing to offer, and there was no good in me. That’s the day I really began to change. I was emptied of myself, and the Lord was able to start filling me back up with Him.

When you realize the sin in your own life—whether past or present—and recognize Jesus as your much-needed Savior, it will help you relate better to those the Lord calls you to work with, and will give you a deeper compassion for them. You don’t have to have a super crazy testimony to have a deep understanding and appreciation for God’s grace and how to love His people. You don’t need to experience the exact same trauma or sin in your past to be able to empathize with someone’s deep pain. However, when truly recognizing your own deep pains and horrible sin choices, you will be more equipped with compassion than if you don’t allow yourself to go there. So GO THERE. Take some time with the Lord, and ask Him to remind you of all the things He’s forgiven you for—and then begin to thank Him.

Too many times, we want to compare our sins to another, and decide for ourselves that their sin is worse than ours. That is not how the Lord weighs sin. You have been forgiven of so much, so take the time to recognize it, and watch the joy of your salvation return!

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.
But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
— Luke 7:47

Abandoned by God

Original Post October of 2013

I used to feel Him all the time as a little girl, knowing He was with me wherever I went, even when I was in trouble and sent to my room. I used to make up songs to sing to Him and I could tell He really liked my singing! We did everything together. Jesus was my best friend.

Fast forward twenty something years…I was having a hard time with who God had become. In my mind, He left me and was way up in Heaven sitting on a throne where He judged me and every other sinner. It was like He had a G.P.S. unit on me, so He knew where I was and what I was doing wrong. He was not happy with me, in fact He was very disappointed and mad at me! He would look at me and shake his head from side to side in disgust saying, “Get it together, will ya? You know better!”

Down on my knees in prayer I would beg Him not to leave me. Over and over again I would pray “Please Lord don’t leave me, please Lord. I’m so sorry for messing up, please forgive me. I’m trying, I’m really trying this time!” I had so much fear of not “making the cut” and Him leaving me again. I knew that He could never love me or even like me with ALL that I had done, but I was still hoping He might let me into Heaven if I did enough good deeds and didn’t mess up anymore.

Fast forward another year…I was really struggling with anxiety over some inappropriate thoughts I was having, so I went on a “praise walk” through the forest with someone and began thanking the Lord out-loud for the blessings He had given me, just trying to get my anxiety to calm down. We decided to sit down on a bench and pray it out. With a very heavy heart and my head bowed, I began crying out to God. “Lord, I am so unworthy. I am so unworthy. I don’t even know why you chose me? I keep messing up! Please, please don’t leave me.”

As my head hung down in utter shame and insecurity, I felt the Lord come down off His throne and kneel down beside me. He put His arm around my shoulder and looked at me. To my shock and dismay, it was JESUS, MY FRIEND-the One I knew when I was little!!

He gently said, “Michelle, I AM the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I didn’t change, just your view of Me did. When I said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you, that meant I would never leave your body. I have always been with you and I always will be.”

Tears poured from my eyes and dripped off my face. I felt so happy to have my friend back and so relieved that He wasn’t going to leave me! That truth was HUGELY eye opening for me; from the time I got saved by confessing that Jesus was my Lord and Savior, He had been with me and had never and will never leave me! That was the day that the Lord healed my fear of abandonment (with Him at least). “Know the truth and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:32

This revelation was not just for me, it’s for YOU too. Take the Lord at His word today and be set free in this area like I was.

The night my virginity was restored!

Original post was on 10-10-13

Prior to our wedding night on December 16th, 2012 I had never made love.

It was THE BEST night of my life! I had always thought that “making love” meant going slow, but that term was redefined for me that night. I was so…very, very wrong! One might assume that with a sexual past like mine I would have a solid understanding of what “making love” consisted of, however this path was one I had never walked before…I had nothing to compare this to. For the first time I was genuinely loved for the real me, not just my body or how I performed. It was the fruition of our real love for each other.

We drove to our hotel after the reception was over, strolled into the hotel lobby with our luggage rolling behind us when I started cracking up. My laugh must have been contagious, because he looked over at me and started laughing too. “What are you laughing about?” He chuckled. I giggled and nervously replied “we’re married, we’re in the lobby of OUR hotel, and we’re about to go up to OUR room?!”

A few days before the wedding, he asked me “Michelle, what would you think about waiting until we arrive in Hawaii to consummate our marriage?” “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have WAITED 6 YEARS, 9 MONTHS and 9 DAYS to make love to you!” Actually that’s not what I said, but it was what I thought! I reluctantly agreed after he shared his reasons with me.

Actually, it was kind of nice to have the pressure of the “wedding night” expectations relieved. However, the idea of being unclothed in front of each other for the first time brought anxiety on us both.

Meanwhile, back at the honeymoon suite…I took a deep breath and thought to myself…I AM SO NERVOUS!!! We were standing face to face, well more like face to chest (he’s a foot taller than me) when the time had come to drop my dress, so I mustered up the courage and just did it. As my dress and his jaw dropped simultaneously to the floor, I instinctively rushed to cover my eyes. I laughed uncontrollably-my hands absolutely glued to my face! My brand new husband, recovering from shock, said “WOW, Michelle you are so beautiful” as he nervously checked out his new bride. His gentle way eventually gave me the courage to uncover my face.

That was the night I had looked forward to, yet greatly feared, for many years! “What if I get triggered and my addiction returns?” Here’s the crazy part…I felt like an innocent bride, one that had never been touched by a man. I actually felt more pure that night than I did when I was thirteen. That was the moment I KNEW, without a doubt, that God had truly healed me!

Fast forward: we didn’t wait till Hawaii!!! 😉

So how does a woman who has “crossed the line of no return” have her virginity restored? Continue to “follow me” as I blog the details of how this miracle happened for me and can happen for you or someone you love.

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Gift Giver

I’ve always been one to give “unwanted advice” to all I come in contact with, whether they like it or not. Call it a gift, call it a curse, I choose to see it as a gift.

As I surrendered my life to the Lord, He really did begin to use me in powerful ways when I would be “giving advice.” On many occasions people have cried and thanked me for pointing them in the right direction. I’ve seen countless people set free as I shared who Jesus really was and what He wanted to do, in and through their lives.

There were several times where I would surrender my mouth to Him and ask Him to speak through me, prior to mentoring a Girl and when I opened my mouth, His words would come out and freedom would take place. Women who were bound for years-were free in moments, because of His words through my mouth.

Some people are unknowingly vessels for Satan and some are intentional vessels for the Lord. I decided to surrender all that I am to Him 8 years ago, including my mouth and my words and He has used them powerfully.

I had been told by a few people that I had a prophetic gift, which cracked me up. “How ridiculous, aren’t prophets the ones that see and predict the future?” So I decided to take a spiritual gift test and to my surprise, it confirmed what others told me, so I did some research and learned more about this “gift” I had. I learned that some prophets do see things in the future, but more common than not, were those that were used as the mouthpiece for God.

Then the Lord quickly reminded me that while growing up I heard the voice of the Lord clearly. He would say to me, “If you can hear me? Then speak it out.” So I just learned say out-loud what He was saying to me, whether in my private prayer life or when I was with someone. I have done it for so long that I don’t question if it’s Him anymore, like I used to. I know it is. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” John 10:27

As I learned that I had this gift, the Lord reminded me that He had been training me to use it since I was little, by asking if I could hear Him and then speaking it out. He knew what my future held. The Bible says “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 and some translations say “Your gifts and your calling are without repentance.”

I needed to learn how to use this gift the right way, mostly by surrendering myself to the One who gave me it to me. He gave it to me before I gave Him my life, before I was living the right way. He knew I was going to choose Him and He blessed me with a gift that He could give to others through me.

His love for all of us completely blows my mind…the way He blesses us, before we even care about Him is astonishing to me! Something to keep in mind when you realize that you are really good or gifted at something…He wants you to use them for the greater good of mankind. He blesses us, not just for us, but to bless others through us. Surrender your life and gifts to Him today and intentionally surrender yourself to be used by Him and watch the lives He changes through you.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Chained Freedom-Part 2

My guard was up when we first walked into the prison cafeteria where I was going to speak. All of the inmates wore identical t-shirts and dark-colored denim pants stamped in orange with the initials of the prison they currently called home. I had wished that I had worn my “tough girl” clothes, but instead I chose to wear my pansy, princess attire. Ha, ha, ha. I wondered how they would receive me…would they think I couldn’t relate because I had never been to prison?

The room started to fill up fast. Some looked like your typical next door neighbor, school teacher, mother, grandmother, and a few that looked pretty hard core. They wore no chains around their ankles or handcuffs on their wrists. There were no barriers between us, we were permitted to mingle unrestrained.

This unique opportunity was extra special to me, not only because of the setting, but also because it was my mentor (Patti) who invited me to speak at the prison. Years earlier, God used Patti to pull me out of my old lifestyle. When I first met her, she was volunteering as a recovery mentor at the women’s prison and at local jails. One day, while driving me to rehab, Patti took me to the jail and gave me the opportunity to encourage and pray for a young, pregnant inmate who had plans to return to her abusive boyfriend upon her release. It was an honor and a major boost of confidence that Patti trusted me in that way, despite the condition of my life at the time.

Patti began my introduction to the women of Coffee Creek by telling them the story of how we met. Humble, grateful tears slid down my cheeks (I was thankful to have waterproof mascara on). My nervousness left me as soon as I began to speak, I felt as if I was talking to a group of close friends. I was in my element.

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself while on stage because of a truth the Lord revealed to me. I drove five hours with the purpose and intention to “minister” to and encourage these prisoners but in reality I was being ministered to and encouraged by them. Some of those Girls were more passionate about their faith than most people I see in church.

Jesus used me to remind them that they were freer behind bars then most of the people on the outside. He wanted them to know that their ministry was where their feet were placed and He wanted to use them as a light in that dark place. I encouraged them to make the most out of every opportunity by witnessing to each other, the officers who guard them, and every missionary who comes into “help” them. I reminded them that they have a very unique perspective and special relationship with Jesus that needs to be shared.

Patti interjected when I had finished telling my story. She explained to the women, “God is no respecter of persons. Michelle was changed by Him and the only thing she did and continues to do is go ALL IN with Jesus.” Patti asked that all the women who wished to follow my example to raise their hand or stand up. The response was overwhelming. Women stood to their feet and hands shot up all over the room. I could hear them sobbing, sniffling and agreeing with me in prayer.

You see, when a person loses everything that ever mattered to them and all that remains is their relationship with the Lord, they realize that He is all they need. We should envy this kind of authentic relationship with Jesus that these precious women possess. We don’t have to get locked up to experience it either, it’s available to all of us.

Our time together concluded with us swaying side to side, hand in hand, singing a praise song to Jesus. I thought to myself “I never want to forget this moment, this is absolutely beautiful. I can picture us singing together in Heaven someday just like this.”

I realized through this experience that many of the inmates are freer than most people on the “outside.” The freedom they know is the same freedom offered to us all, but sadly many of us don’t walk in that truth. If you are a Believer in Jesus, then your “prison sentence” has been forgiven….you have been pardoned by the sacrificial love of your Savior and the prison door has been opened for you. You must make the decision to take His hand and allow him to walk you out of the walls that contain you. The Lord approaches you and says “Come, take My hand. I died to set you free & you are free indeed…now kick that self-made prison door open and walk out of there!” Okay, Jesus didn’t exactly say that…that is my interpretation.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound Isaiah 61:1

Chained Freedom-Part 1

I shared my story last week with 100 inmates and several workers at Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Institute. It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait to do it again. Speaking at a prison is different than sharing my story at a church, because it has the potential to be a bit more dangerous. For instance: I wanted to wear a scarf with my attire but thought, “Um…not smart. A scarf can easily be turned into a weapon I could be strangled with. Better not.” Sometimes I do crazy things and then realize afterward the magnitude of what I just did, but it doesn’t dissuade me from getting my hands dirty for the kingdom’s cause. It’s actually quite the adrenaline rush, you should try it.

My husband, two girls and our puppy joined me for the drive there. It was really neat for them all to feel involved in what the Lord is doing through this ministry. It took us almost 5 hours to get there and I needed to find a place along the way to get ready, so I did my makeup in the car and performed a wardrobe change in a Denny’s restroom along the way. I also felt the need to make a change of heart, because this audience I would soon be speaking with was important to me and I wanted to be used mightily to give them hope. I wanted something fresh for them, not a recited testimony. I wanted to tell them everything the Lord wanted me to say, so I asked my friends to pray over this event, and I surrendered my words, fears and hopes to Him.

About an hour before our arrival, The Lord gave me the song “Freedom Reigns” by Jesus Culture. It’s based off the scripture, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. Using my smartphone, I found the song on YouTube, put in my ear buds, cranked the volume and proceeded to lose it (don’t worry, my husband was driving). My emotions overtook me as I pictured these women behind bars, some having lost their kids or grand kids to foster care or adoption. Many lost their homes, jobs, marriages, kids and even their teeth. From the outside looking in, they appear to have nothing…they are the shame of society…marked for life. BUT Jesus is in that place and therefore they are able to experience the freedom only He offers. He loves them so dearly, so deeply and He imparted that same compassionate love for them into my heart as I listened to that song.

The closest personal experience I could relate to imprisonment was the year and a half I spent in rehab nearly a decade ago. Normally when I talk about my rehab experience I gloss over it and only share some of what the Lord taught me there. I don’t often share about the hard times in rehab because of the painful memories of being without my two young boys for so long, but I felt compelled to be vulnerable with these women.

The realization of what I was about to do hit hard when we pulled into the parking lot and saw the looped barbed wire atop the fence which encircled the compound. My daughters were very nervous for me, one of them said “please don’t die in there,” as her eyes filled up with tears. My family prayed over me before I walked through the gates and out of their sight, into the cold-looking, steel-doored, concrete fortress. Nervousness set in as I awaited my turn through the metal detector. Through thick, shatter-proof glass I saw for the first time some of the women I would be speaking to.

“Okay, Lord here we go. Have your way through me.” My heart felt like it was about to pound out of my chest as the adrenaline started to pump through my veins.

Listen to this song, so you can hear what I heard and picture these same women.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M753W0JeANk

TO BE CONTINUED on Wednesday……….

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

Seeds

So maybe you aren’t a gardener like me, but you are the master gardener (for lack of better words) of your own life. You choose the seeds to plant in your garden. You decide whether to water, fertilize or plant in a sunny area. However, in the end it is God that brings the harvest. He says “a man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7

You want a new life? You want things to change? Then change it, by planting different seeds. Start making different choices and your life will begin to transform.

One good decision after another, results in a good life. One bad decision after another, makes for a bad life. I find it funny when I get a call from a Girl who’s life has fallen apart and she doesn’t understand what transpired. Hmm…let’s take a look at your life, “Oh, you’ve been getting drunk on a regular basis, you’re living with your boyfriend even though you both claim to be Christians, the two of you fight all the time, you’re miserable, insecure and wonder what happened?”

I’ll tell ya what happened. One bad choice after another landed you in this miserable situation you now find yourself in. Sorry, I know the truth hurts, but it also has the ability to set you free as well.

My life used to be an absolute mess too, but then I heard that God could change my life. I thought He would just say the word and my life would change, as if to wave the magic wand and presto, but that never happened. My life actually got worse. It took years before I finally realized that God wanted me to participate in the process of my life transformation. He wanted me to take responsibility for my own actions and start making healthy choices, by using His power to pull it off.

I realized that I had a ton of little opportunities all throughout the day, so I started making good choices and doing the right thing even though no one was watching. Being a “bad girl-gone good” was very difficult, but once I made a habit of making healthy choices, I began to see the desired results and the healthy habit became easier to maintain.

The Bible says “He that is faithful in the small will be faithful in much.” Luke 16:10

For the last year, I’ve been planting seeds with very little growth, so it seemed. I’ve worked so hard, diligently doing things that are outside of my gifting and experience as I’ve tried to get this ministry off the ground. Here’s me keeping it real…I was uncomfortable, anxious, and had bouts of disbelief while waiting for results and not seeing them right away. It made me question whether I had what it took to accomplish what I knew God had called me to do.

Those fears and insecurities came from not being able to see instant results. The results were coming, but I couldn’t see them. Besides do I really want results that happen quickly, only to die just as quick as they came or do I want results that last a lifetime? The latter of course. It has taken patience and trust on my part to not give up and keep going and I’m so glad I did, because it’s finally happening. What if I would have given up?

A few months ago things started to change…I started meeting like-minded women in my area with a heart for Jesus and doing His work. Then over the last few weeks things have really started to pick up. People are approaching me who want to help get this ball rolling, donations are beginning to come in and a couple of churches and other ministries have expressed a desire to partner with Purely His.

I say all of this to encourage those of you who have been working really hard with little to no results, planting seeds with no visible harvest to speak of. Please keep planting those good seeds, because they are taking root, deep roots that will be strong during the storms that are sure to come. Those plants will begin to shoot up before you know it and the harvest will be plentiful! You may even have to hire people to help you reap. I also challenge those of you who’s lives are in turmoil…start making different, healthier choices. You won’t regret it.

I understand that others choices affect our lives negatively too, but we can’t use them as an excuse. We are responsible for the way we choose to respond and what seeds we choose to plant.

God will not be mocked. Plant good seeds = good life. Plant bad seeds = bad life.

 

Servant Girl

“Don’t be embarrassed of humble beginnings” she said from the pulpit.

“Ya, that’s easy for you to say, as you stand up there and I stand back here holding the door open for the leaders as the Greeter.” I sarcastically thought to myself.

She continued to share her story “I wasn’t always a pastor’s wife, you know. When I first got saved I used to clean the church.”  

“Okay, now you have my attention. YOU used to clean the church?” 

I felt so embarrassed. There I was thirty years old in drug rehab, my life was a mess, and I was doing the lowest job available. I was the Servant Girl. And believe me, that was not the last lowly job I had in rehab either, I cleaned church bathrooms, did weekly car washes on the corner to raise money, worked at a carnival, washed dishes, served food at banquets and much more.

One of the things I liked about living in the women’s home was the potential to become a leader, however the other women who were “less qualified” kept getting raised up instead of me. I went through a lengthy season of envy and arrogance not understanding why I wasn’t  a leader yet and the other girls were. I was so much better than them, because I had the leadership skills and the desire to be used as a leader.

The other Girls were getting raised up on average of 2-4 months after arriving, it took me 8 months to finally figure out the secret-I needed to be a humble servant to lead the way Jesus leads. I learned that things in the Christian world worked much different-it was the servant-the lowly humble one that got to be the leader, not the know-it-all arrogant one, like myself.

I envied the pastor’s wife who spoke that day and the other leaders, because I wanted to be where they were. I admired the way they got to dress and how people responded to them. No one even noticed me. The scripture below resonated with me at the time, because I didn’t want to be a leader so that I could serve, I wanted to be served and get all the attention.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others Matthew 23:5-7.

The Bible says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up James 4:10. Here are a few ways that I humbled myself, try them and see if it helps you become more of a servant leader.

  • Do something for someone who can’t do anything for you. Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:11-14
  • Serve in secret. Purchase something and give it to someone in need and don’t tell anyone you did it. “What your Father sees you do in secret, He will reward you openly.”
  • Volunteer for a humble position at church, like cleaning the bathrooms or taking care of kids in the nursery. A behind the scenes kind of serving without recognition. “The least of these will be the greatest.” Matthew 19:30
  • Hang out with humble people, especially Jesus. The more we hang out with Him-the more we become like Him and He is humble. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
  • Submit to whomever is in charge, whether they know what they’re doing or not. The best leaders are the best followers.

My first position I had as a leader was “Chore Checker” where I got to inspect the Girl’s rooms in order for them to have coffee in the morning. That was 7 1/2 years ago and I have been a leader ever since, getting raised up steadily all the way to “Head Staff” which was second to my director, then I became the “Women’s Director” at a Christian ranch, then the “Ministry Coordinator” at my last church and now I’m the “President & Founder” of Purely His, Inc.

I actually love to serve now and purposefully put myself in positions of serving, like working at our coffee stand at church. Most of what I do, I do for free, like spending several hours a week ministering to women and families in crisis, I also teach and share my story without recognition or financial benefits. However, that doesn’t matter to me anymore, because I know that my Father in Heaven sees me, my Heavenly reward will be great and that’s what really mattes to me now, because I was saved to serve.

I am a servant Girl and proud of it!

Positive Results

My tear flooded eyes prevented me from seeing the results. I kept pushing the steady stream out of the way in order to see what my future was about to hold. POSITIVE. I ran out out of the bathroom, down the hallway and out to the front yard. I fell to my knees and cried aloud to the Lord “No…what am I going to do?? I don’t love him. This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was going to be married to a man I loved first.” 
I was 17 at the time and one would have thought that I would’ve been happy, since I was the girl who used to cry each month when I got my period, as early as 14 years old. I did want this baby, but not THIS WAY. My child deserved a mom AND dad and I knew I wasn’t going to stay with him as soon as I saw the results. It was just a Summer fling, I never expected it to be anything more. I wasn’t serious about him at all and then I found out that I was having his baby.
I  walked back inside, showed him and my mom the test and said coldly, “I’m not going to stay with you. I don’t love you. Sorry.”
He was so confused and stunned. First he finds out I’m pregnant and that’s enough of a shocker, but then he finds out in the same breath that I’m not staying with him to raise  our child. Later that night I woke up to the sound of little pepples hitting my bedroom window. It was him. I opened the window to him trying to persuade me “What are you doing Michelle? You are pregnant. We should stay together and raise this kid. There is no reason for us to breakup.”
“There is a perfectly good reason. We don’t love each other and we shouldn’t stay together, just because I’m pregnant. I’m sorry.” I dug my heels in and he finally left. I only saw him a few more times over the next couple of years.
Our son was born in June of 1994 and his dad wasn’t present, because I didn’t stay in contact with him. My kid finally met his dad when he was 10 months old at his dad’s work during a lunch break. They looked just alike. I brought him to see him 1 more time a few days later and that’s when he informed me that his girlfriend and him had a baby girl which was only seven months younger than our son and that they were getting married. He showed me a picture of his daughter and she looked just like our son.
I couldn’t hold back the tears. I instantly started crying and thought “My son could have had that. He could have had a mom and dad who were married, but I chose not to.” I felt so guilty and envious in that moment. I lost contact with his dad soon after that and that was the last time my son saw his dad.
Growing up without a dad was really hard for my kid. He wasn’t sure of himself, always tried to prove that he had what it took to be a man, he assumed the role of “man of the house” early on without having a role model to mimic. I used to ask him “Do you want me to try and find your dad? Do you want to meet him?” His casual response was always “No, not yet.”
Every long term relationship with a man was in hopes that he would be a dad to my son, but it never happened. A couple of men pretended, but one can only pretend so long. It broke my heart that I broke my son’s heart. He deserved a dad and I was selfish and didn’t allow it to happen.
Fast forward: Our life had been put back together. I had been clean and sober for five years, was in full time ministry and the boys were doing great. My oldest was 17, the same age I was when I got pregnant with him, however, his lifestyle did not resemble my lifestyle at that age and I was so proud of that. He had men who were like uncles helping him learn to become a man. Life was good.
He came home one day and said “Mom, my sister found me on Facebook and then right after that my dad sent me a ‘friend request’ too.” 
“Wow, Son…that’s crazy and cool. Have you responded yet?”
“I messaged my sister a couple of times, but that’s it.”
“How are you going to handle your dad? Do you want me to sit with you while you respond?”
“Sure, I guess.” We sat down in front of the laptop and he blankly stared at the screen as I intently looked at his eyes trying to understand what he must have felt. Continuing to look at the screen he said, “This is so weird. What am I supposed to say?”
“Look at me for a minute, what is on your heart to say right now?” And I snapped my finger. He replied “Uhh…I don’t know what to say??” I said “Then write that son.” So he did.
His dad quickly replied “I have thought about you every single day, I’ve been searching for you for years. I love you son and I’m so sorry that I haven’t been there for you, but I want to be there now if you will let me? You have 3 other siblings a 16 year old sister, 9 year old brother and a 1 1/2 year old baby sister. We live in Florida and we would love for you to come and visit someday when you’re ready.”
Seventeen years he went without a dad and then God delivered. He didn’t get a new dad that I found him-God restored his real dad to him. In one moment, his whole life changed. He was wanted. He was loved. He was missed. He was searched for. He mattered.
He began talking to his dad, sister and the rest of the family several times a week. Learning about each other and catching up on time that they thought was lost forever. Three months later my brave 17 1/2 year old son took a plane ride to Florida and met his dad for the very first time that he could remember. They spent two weeks together and it went better than anyone could have hoped for.
That next summer he spent six more weeks with his family, came back home , graduated from high school and then moved down there permanently. He’s been living there for a year now and things are going really well. He is an intricate part that was missing from their family. Even his step mom has brought him in as her own and has never made him feel like an outsider. He gets to be the big brother to 4 siblings now.
From the time I got pregnant I spent years being afraid of the day I would have to tell my son why he didn’t have a dad, then I spent years after that fearing the day that he would meet his dad, by the time it actually happened I realized there was nothing to fear, but fear itself.
Take heart-it’s never too late to get back what the enemy or your own bad choices have stolen from you. I talked to my twenty year old son this morning and asked him how his relationship with his dad was going and replied “It’s going pretty good. We’re getting a lot closer now. It’s pretty weird to think back and remember that he wasn’t there all those years, because it’s just seems so normal now.” 

High Heels

20140503_171234Last week my husband and I had the rare opportunity to attend an evening church service together, without our kids, so we decided to make a mini date out of it. But shortly before we left I received a phone call from a woman I currently mentor who wanted to introduce me to her daughter that night at church. It was a pretty big deal, because I had been mentoring this mom on how to relate to her daughter who struggles with major sexual sin and calls her parents “vanilla” because they don’t have a clue when it comes to her current lifestyle. I told her I would make a point to get sidetracked on purpose while we were at church, so I could meet her and hopefully make a connection.

I shared the exciting news with my husband and he replied “That’s very cool…I know that you’ve been eager to meet her. It’s a nice night out, would you like to ride the street bike or take the truck?”

“Okay Husband, this might sound silly, because I would rather ride on the bike, but I also want to wear my new sexy high heels, which would mean we would have to take the truck, so I’m a little torn.”

“Well, what do you think this Girl would respond to most…you wearing jeans and carrying a helmet or a dress and your new shoes?”

“We are totally on the same page! She’s the reason I want to wear those shoes, first of all they’re awesome, but mostly because I think she’ll notice them and it might give me an in.”

My memories took me back to my lifestyle prior to going all in with Jesus. I always had a desire to be good someday, but my misconception of Christian women held me back. I thought “How can I ever be a no makeup wearing, baggy jean dress with no waist, bun on the head, with white socks folded over leather strapped shoes, soft spoken kind of Girl? NO THANK YOU!” Now I get that this is not what most Christian women look like, but it was my perceived reality.

At that time, sex exuded from every pore in my body. Not only did I think about sex all the time, but I dressed in a way to make others think about it every time they saw me. From the top of my head-down to my high heels, my look screamed stripper, prostitute or slut. I loved turning heads and raising the eyebrows of everyone I walked by and became addicted to the attention I got so I sought it constantly, but it was never enough.

Several years later I attended a church service while in rehab and I looked on the stage to see my pastor’s wife wearing a really cute suit, make-up and very sexy high heels. Not only was she pretty, but she was classy, Godly and spoke with power and authority. There was nothing soft spoken or frumpy about her. Seeing her dressed this way gave me hope that maybe I could become like her someday…Godly AND sexy.

My hope for this “chance” meeting at church with the young lady was that she would be able to see that Christian women come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds and that she could fit in too. So I decided on wearing a black dress and my new high heels, but as soon as I slipped the shoes on, the fear of judgment gripped me and I called out to my husband. “I can’t wear these shoes to church. There’s no way. They look inappropriate and people aren’t going to know why I’m wearing them and they might think I have the impure motives.”

My husband came back into the bedroom and gently but firmly replied, “First of all, you look gorgeous and Godly. You do not look impure, so don’t fear judgment. God is going to use you tonight to reach a very lost Girl, so you should wear the shoes.”

“Okay, if you’re sure that I don’t look inappropriate then I’ll wear them.” Even though I was afraid of judgment that night, I wore them anyways and pushed through the fear. Throughout the night as the fear came back I just kept reminding myself that I was a new creation, forgiven, pure and set apart for God’s purposes.

I did have the privilege of meeting her daughter that night and we connected, so now I have a relationship with both mother and daughter and I’m excited to see how the Lord will be using me in this family’s life!

What Satan meant for evil-God used for good. I used to use those types of shoes to lure men for dishonor-now they’re used to lure Girls for honor. You see, the Lord can and will redeem anything you surrender to Him…even High Heels.