My Truth

Part 2

Guest Post by Denise Barksdale

In my previous testimony I shared that I’ve been married to an alcoholic, (a recovered alcoholic, I should say because as God’s Word states in Romans 4:17 (NKJV)-God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. According to this part of the scripture, I will refer to my husband as a (recovered alcoholic).

Photo by Tubarones Photography/

As I stated in my previous story, for 40 years my children and I lived with my husband’s addiction. All praises go to God because nobody but Him kept us through all we went through, In the 2nd part of my truth, I wanted to share that for years I studied God’s Word, meditated on it, and talked to God about my concerns, As I ponder deeply into those years I thank God for bringing to my attention why my marriage was so painful. He let me know that yes, you studied my Word, meditated on it, went to church, fasted, and prayed. However, you grumbled about your husband when you cast your cares on me. You did not say what I said about your situation. That’s why I felt so defeated. 

God also spoke to me through His Word shared by my granddaughter through a book I gave her entitled, Jesus Calling for Graduates. I was extremely elated when she shared what spoke volumes of wisdom to her in this book.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko /

The topics she shared made me reflect on my errors in obeying God.

The 1st topic was: Staying the Course. God said in His Word, I will open up the way before you as you take steps of trust along your path. Scripture referenced, Proverbs 3:5&6.

The author stated, If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably get off course. This statement made me think about Psalm 32:8,

That’s what I did for multiple years as I studied and meditated on God’s Word, I got off course because instead of saying what God said about my circumstances, ( in spite of how I felt), I said just what I felt, that I was so depressed about our children and myself living with an alcoholic. I also said and wrote to God that He was not directing our paths as He stated. For my daughters and I were miserable.

I would study God’s Word and always drift back to a grumbling mode, constantly asking God why He wouldn’t help us. God had an answer in His Word for every negative statement I made, but I didn’t practice meditating on His Word, I allowed the enemy to overwhelm me. As God states in Psalm 32:8,

Photo by Brett Jordan/

God will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go. We have to allow Him to help us by thanking Him.

I’m so thankful that God never gave up on me. He taught me how to not only cast my cares on Him, for He cares for me, but He also encouraged me to ask Him to show me what to pray for, how to pray. and to ask Him to open my eyes and heart to all that He was doing through the difficulties

The 2nd topic in the book was entitled, Staying the Course. This lesson I learned after years of making mistakes. The 3rd topic instructs you to View Problems as Opportunities. I know God taught me and others so much wisdom through this topic. People who know my truth have encouraged me to ask God about a marriage ministry to witness and encourage others how to trust God in their marriage. The author shared that we should view problems as opportunities to rely more fully on God. I agree. She also suggested that we allow our needs to become doorways to deep dependence on God. She stated that reliance on God produces abundant living in His Kingdom.

The last topic was entitled Opportunities to Learn. The author stated that an ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. I interject that Our Faithful Father God is that tutor who is always with us through the good and the bad. There’s a spiritual song that states, oh what needless pains we bear all because we don’t take it to the Lord in prayer. The author also stated and I quote, “These problems are not random mistakes, they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.”

Photo by John-Mark Smith/

In closing, I hope we all know that God wants us to embrace all the circumstances God allows in our lives and we need to trust Him to work these circumstances for our good. I also thank God for teaching me that He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Psalm 46:11. I have learned multiple lessons through the past years. The most important lessons are that I can not live life without God. Not only do we as His disciples need to study His Word daily, but we must also study it, meditate on it, pray without ceasing, listen for God’s instructions, trust Him because He never makes mistakes, and love Him with our heart, mind, and soul. He is worthy of our praise and love. I am a true believer that our God is Sovereign, Holy, Righteous, a Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness, Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, Healer God, our King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He is Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to the power that works in us. 

Glad to be His Servant,

Denise Barksdale

A Heart of Thanksgiving

Thanks, gratitude, and appreciation are all words that come to mind around this time of the year. Actually, every day should be a day of thanksgiving; God has been good to me and I know that He has been good to you as well. All we need to do is look back over our lives and see His favor and grace that has sustained us. His love endures forever.

 I Corinthians 15:57-58

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Photo by Malina Sirbu /

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 95:1-3

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God. And a great King above all gods.

Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Revelation 7:12

Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

Oh, let us give THANKS!

Struggling to Listen

Guest Blogger

Kanefus R. Walker

Photo by Kindel Media /

Have you ever prayed and asked to be able to hear that still, small voice of God? I know I have on many occasions.  As a matter of fact, I am in that moment (at least that is what I call it) right now where I really need to hear from Him.  I read.  I try to meditate. I pray.  Yet I still hear nothing.  Then I get distracted.  Struggling to listen.

I know He is there and I know He speaks to me.  Yet I keep missing the signs and sounds.  I try to make sense of things as they happen and I look for an answer.  I have cried (even today) searching for understanding, searching for direction.  My soul yearns for Him to reveal some things.  I ask.  I wait. Still nothing.  Then comes more distractions.  Struggling to listen.

Photo by Rachel Claire /

Prayers around me are being answered.  Wonderful things are happening for so many people that I love.  I am truly happy to see God move in the lives of some really good people.  It makes me hopeful that something wonderful is in His plan for me.  He is real and so is His grace and mercy.  So I have to fight through these distractions.  Struggling to listen.

Photo by Michele Leman /

One day everything will be clear. His voice will be audible.  His directions will be understood. Each prayer will be answered.  My focus will be sure.  All that I seek that aligns with His will, will manifest.  The distractions will cease.  My listening ear will be in tune with the melody of His words that have been said just for me.  The struggle will be over.

Until that day I will continue to give God the praise and honor that He is due.  He is more than worthy of all that I can give.  

Nothing in this life is easy.  But God never said it would be.  I have to trust and believe.  Speak God…I am listening.

Get Ready, Fuel Up!

I just love the weekends! During this time, I get the opportunity to step back from teaching my little first graders and take care of and pour into myself. (self-care) I usually don’t have to grade papers and my lesson plans are usually completed and submitted on the Goggle drive. The weekend is when I get the chance to do what I want with the time that I have; get in some much-needed rest and relaxation!

My Saturdays are typically spent doing assignments and reading for my educational research course, working out at the gym, doing a little grocery shopping, getting gas for the week, cleaning the house, and cooking for the week (meal prep) And sometimes, if I get these things accomplished, I am able to get in a little fresh air. I usually sit on my patio or walk across the street and sit on the bench. There are benches in this area that overlook a gray fountain. I just love watching the water go up and down as it splashes on the base of the fountain. It is SO relaxing!

This particular Saturday, I forgot to fill up my gas tank for the week. I realized on Sunday, that I had forgotten to get gas as I drove down the expressway after coming from church. I decided to go to the gym and get in 30 minutes of cardio and then I would stop by the gas station and fill up. I had about ¼ of a tank of gas and could have waited until Monday, but decided it was best to just get it now.

I pulled into the gas station and got out my Kroger rewards card along with my ATM card. As I paid and selected the grade of gas that my car takes, (premium) I thought about how important it is that we as Christians, fill up. Fill up on the Word of God. Fill up for the week ahead. If I hadn’t put gas in my car and let it get on E, that would not be good for my car. And so, it is with us, we need to keep ourselves full. It is crucial that we fill up spiritually so we can stand when we face adversity, trials, temptation, and tribulations. Trust me, they are coming!

The Word of God says this…

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(James 1:2-4)

Since we know that trouble is sure to come, let us be vigilant and get prepared.

Your WORD is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Is your tank FULL or are you on E?

Get ready! Fuel up and stay prayed up!

Photo by Ekaterina Belinskaya/

The God Who Hears

This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him. (I John 5:14-15)

A Daddy’s Love: Abba Father

Check out my testimony on Heart of Flesh Literary Journal!

My Story for HIS Glory!

Photo by Tara Winstead /

What is your story?

If YOU Say So!

Back to school, who me? Who would have ever thought that I would be enrolled in graduate school again and at the age of 51? Never in a million years would I have imagined myself at this point in my life. Actually, I thought I was finished with school after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a masters degree in Special Education. I was content with what I had accomplished and was enjoying a fulfilling career in teaching. 

Last spring, as I sat on the couch in complete silence, an idea popped into my head. The idea was that I should go back to school to pursue a specialist degree in education; a degree between masters and a doctorate. To me, that didn’t make sense because I was old, hadn’t been in school since 1994-1995, didn’t have any money to pay for my tuition, and had a full-time teaching career. You see, when I was in graduate school, I didn’t work. Tuition for undergrad was paid by my mom and my graduate tuition was paid by scholarships. How in the world was I going to teach, go to school, and pay my own tuition? I’m sure many people have done it and are doing it, but not me.

As the days and weeks went by, I tried to get the idea out of my mind and spirit. It kept coming up and so I decided to go forward and look into different universities. I asked around and a friend of mine suggested Columbus State University. She said that they have a very good online program there. I went to their website and began the application process, all the while wondering if this was a good decision. Fear began to set in as I got closer and closer to completing the process. Every time I logged in to upload some documents that were required for admissions, my stomach would start to feel queasy and my head would start to get hot. Was I doing the right thing? 

Well, I did end up submitting my application and got accepted into the specialist program at Columbus State University. I decided to let my faith be bigger than my fear. I decided to trust God in the process, especially when things just didn’t make sense nor add up. Is it hard working at Atlanta Public Schools and coming from work and jumping on Zoom for a three-credit course? Yes! Is it a challenge paying my bills and at the same time, paying tuition? Yes! Are my weekends filled with reading research articles, doing class assignments, reading case studies, watching videos related to educational research and data, reading chapters and chapters in my coursebook? Yes, but I have decided that I will step out on faith, be obedient, and accept this assignment. I once heard a preacher say… “If your assignment does not draw you to a dependency on God, that assignment is NOT from God.” (Pastor Dharius Daniels, Change Church) I am dependent on Him and will trust Him in the process. My declaration as I go forward on this journey is…”If YOU say so!”

What is God saying to you? Will you give God your yes?

God’s Kindness Towards Us

I love Sundays. Sunday is the day of the week that I get the opportunity to connect with others, hear some good praise and worship music, and hear a good sermon. Even though I can’t hug my neighbor, I can wave to my neighbor when it is that time during the worship experience. I just love corporate worship!

Last Sunday after church, my friend and I decided to go out to eat. We decided to go to this restaurant in Atlanta called Barney’s. I had heard that the food was really good and that the atmosphere was amazing as well. I had also heard that it is always crowded and that in order to dine there, you would have to get there early.

The worship experience ended around 9:20 a.m. and the restaurant was only 10 minutes away from my church, Impact Church.  I figured that 9:30 the morning was early enough and that we wouldn’t have to wait; after all, it had just been open since 7:00 a.m.

As we pulled into the parking ramp to valet, I noticed that a line had started to form around the building. I felt a little sad that we would have to wait in line in the rain but we did. We waited patiently with our umbrellas over our heads as the rain came down. We finally got up to the door and the lady asked us how many we had in our party. I responded and told her that there were two in our party. She asked for a name and a number and told us that there would be a 30 minute wait; that I would receive a text when our table would be ready. As I stood in the rain, I was wishing that I had eaten some yogurt or a granola bar before going to church. I was getting hungry and could now hear my stomach start to growl.

Photo by Julie Aagaard /

Within 5 minutes of us standing there, a young man came out of the restaurant and asked us how many were in our party. I told him that we had a party of two. He went on to tell us that if we didn’t mind sitting at the bar, two seats had just become available. My friend and I looked at one another, smiled and said that we would take the bar seats. I couldn’t believe it; here we were getting ready to be seated.

As we walked into the restaurant, got our temperatures checked, and got seated by our hostess, I thought about the favor of God. We did not have to wait thirty minutes like we were initially told. We were able to be seated in about 5 minutes, walking past others who had been standing in line before us.

That was a day that I will always remember; a day of favor. After we finished eating, Bridget ended up paying for my meal and I paid it forward by handing the man at the valet stand a generous tip.

Favor can be defined as kind regard, divine kindness, or simply, God’s kindness. It is also associated with the word grace; God’s unmerited favor. There are many examples of God’s favor that can be found in the Bible but this one shows His favor towards mankind.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Here are some other scriptures in the Bible that show “favor.”

But Noah found favor with God. 

(Genesis 6:8)

The angel said to her, “ Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”

( Luke 1:30)

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?

(Ruth 2:10)

Have you ever experienced the favor of God in your life? He is such a gracious and loving Father.

Share Your Story

Testimony T.E.A. 

with Lisa B.

Thank. Exalt. Adore. Him.

What is a testimony?             

A testimony is an account of what God is doing in, around, and through your life and what you have learned about Him, His purposes, and His ways.

But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24, NAS

God is always moving. He is always at work in our lives. My desire is to encourage, inspire, and motivate others as we journey through life. Let’s do life together.

To share your story, please email me at

I look forward to connecting with you and hearing how God is moving in your life!

Family Matters

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to celebrate with my aunt. It was her birthday. It was so nice to see my father’s side of the family; especially since I hadn’t seen them for approximately two years. We all met at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant located in Dunwoody, GA. The long table was filled with family and friends. I was so grateful to be in the presence of these family members because I had just recently met them in the year of 2015. Getting to know my father’s side of the family has been and is such a blessing. 

Photo by Engin Akyurt/

We ordered all kinds of appetizers and entrees: mozzarella marinara, stuffed mushrooms, chicken marsala, chicken piccata, and some other pasta dishes. The food was delicious but more importantly, was the fun and fellowship that was had that day. Laughter filled the air and time with the family was met with stories, laughs, jokes, and good family conversation. After eating, we sang happy birthday to my aunt as she blew out the candle on her warm dessert, an apple crostada.

Photo by regina Ferraz/

The festivities didn’t stop there. After singing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to my aunt, we left the restaurant and headed over to a family member’s house. There we talked, watched tv, sang “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” again and watched as my aunt blew out the candles on her red velvet birthday cake. Sitting around eating cake and ice cream with the family felt so good. I enjoyed watching my aunt open her presents and read her birthday cards. It brought joy to my heart to be around family. In some way, it made me feel close to my father who passed away when I was only 6 years old.

Photo by Michelle Leman/

As I drove home, I began to think about how important family is and how much it matters. After all, God instituted family. He created us to be relational beings. It’s of great importance that we connect and love on our family; that we cherish, value, treasure and appreciate those people that make up our family. 

I am so grateful to get to know my daddy’s side of the family and get close to them. I am also thankful that I made a decision to be a part of the family of God; the household of faith. Being a part of His family is simply amazing and comes with so many benefits. As members of His family, God is our Father. We get to experience His love, our needs are met, we have eternal life, we have an eternal inheritance and He has bestowed upon us spiritual gifts and a purpose.

For it is written…

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. I John 3:1

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people and especially to those who are in the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

Photo by August de Richelieu/

Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who call out Abba, Father. So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6-7

Let us lead others to Christ in a way that is filled with love and grace.

Family really does matter!

Acknowledge Him

As an educator, I love the season of summer. Summer is a time when I don’t have to go to work and can do whatever I want, when I want. The only person that I am responsible for is me and that is a great feeling. I get the opportunity to focus, take care of myself, and get some good rest and relaxation. I can be free of stress. (pretty much)

Photo by Khanh Le/

One thing that I enjoy doing every morning during the summer months is going to the gym to work out. I love to take strength and cardio classes at my local gym in Peachtree City, GA. The instructors are friendly and the classes are fun and challenging. I also get the chance to connect with others. What a great way to start off the day by getting the adrenaline/epinephrine flowing in my body. After a good workout, I feel like I can take on whatever comes my way for that day.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio /

This particular Monday, I got up to go to my Body Pump class. I was moving a little slowly but did manage to make it to the class. I was moving slowly because I was a little tired, my knees were hurting and I wasn’t in the right headspace. I wasn’t sure why I felt the way that I did but that was my truth that day.

I arrived at the gym about fifteen minutes before class like I usually do. I walked in, scanned my card and was greeted by the manager with a “GOOD MORNING” and a smile. I continued to walk through the gym and walked up the stairs. A friendly young lady turned to me and greeted me with a “GOOD MORNING” and a smile. There was a class before mine that was still in session, so I waited patiently outside the door with a group of 5 people. As I was waiting, a short older woman turned to me and greeted me with a “GOOD MORNING” and a smile.

Photo by Tim Mossholder /

Wow! I had never in my life encountered so many people who had spoken to me in that short amount of time; from walking through the fitness center door to now standing in a group of people waiting to take a Body Pump class. The smiles and acknowledgement/greeting made me feel good inside. I was starting to be in the right headspace now. I was glad that I had responded with a smile and a “GOOD MORNING.”

The encounters that day with those three people got me thinking. I started to think about my relationship with Christ. I thought about how important it was that I continue to acknowledge Him every morning when I wake up, thanking Him for allowing me to see another day. (one that is not promised) I started to remember that our God wants us to invite Him into our day and be involved in every detail of our lives. When we acknowledge Him, we are saying that we know Him personally and are in relationship with Him. He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him; one that is deep and not at the surface level.

Photo by Clement Eastwood /

Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Holy Spirit, we acknowledge You this day and are so grateful for Your presence!

In what way(s) do you acknowledge Him before you start your day?