God: Greater Than Any Circumstance

Testimony Tuesday

by a Christ-follower from GA.

My spiritual journey began right after I completed my Bachelor’s degree, married, and birthed my first blessing from God. Three years later God blessed our family with another birth. I was extremely thankful for my family.

During the first eight years of of my marriage my husband was a loving husband and father. He spent quality time with all of us, went to church with us, and even attended bible study regularly. Shortly after the 8 years, my husband’s desire for alcohol took precedence over family time. He became an alcoholic and verbally abusive to me.

Photo by John-Mark Smith / pexels.com

His terrible addiction greatly affected my children and I. I would often take our children from our home to my sister’s house so none of us would have to hear his profanity toward me, (although his negative words were spoken to me, our children were saddened too because they saw me crying). Many times they went to school without their homework because I took out time to pray with them to calm their fears. I let them know that they were loved by God and I shared with them that their dad had a problem and needed help.

I left my husband for weeks at various times, but I would always return home because I so deeply wanted our family to be whole. I prayed continuously, wrote in binders all the time sharing with God how I felt about putting my babies through so much anguish. I reminded God about what His Word said, that He would never leave or forsake us, that He would keep us in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. I thanked Him for helping me to be a better mom and remove my children from this crisis. I felt that I wasn’t a great mom because I didn’t divorce him. I daily cried out to God for peace, direction and help. I even saw a therapist over a period of time.

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I went to church with my children every Sunday, read the Bible with my children and kept working and taking my babies to school, involved them in fun activities and pressed on with God’s love and help. God constantly supplied our needs and truly, truly gave us His peace that surpasses all understanding. In spite of all the pain, thanks be to Our Faithful Father God my children developed a relationship with Him, succeeded academically and are thriving in their careers.

Even after our children moved out on their own, I remained in our home with their father. He continued his addiction, moved into a separate bedroom, and we were more like siblings than husband and wife. I constantly reminded God of His Word and what he stated about divorce. I asked God if my husband was an assignment or mission He had for me to assist Him in my husband’s salvation. God reminded me of 1st Corinthians 7:13-And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. (NKJV)

Photo by Mike / pexels.com

I desired to please God more than myself so I stayed with my husband a few more years. However, after those years of us growing further and further apart, I finally divorced him and I asked God for forgiveness. Through that lengthy journey of pain, I’ve learned without a doubt that Almighty God is all that His Word says He is. For my children and I are living testimonies that when you cast all your cares on Him, He does care for you. For only our Creator God, Mighty God, Jehovah Jireh, Everlasting Father,  Psalm 91 God, kept us from having a mental breakdown. We are eternally grateful.

Created to Stretch and Grow

My tomato plant in my garden.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (I Corinthians 3:6-7, NAS)

Who would have thought that I would be in this place; a place that has me doing things that I would have never thought that I can do? God has a way of stretching and growing us for His glory. He loves us too much to let us stay the way that we are. I am grateful for His hand on my life. He is growing, developing, and transforming me into the woman of God that He has called and purposed me to be. I am leaning in and pressing towards my purpose. 

As I reflect over my life, I think about all of the pastors, preachers, teachers, and other clergies that have spoken into my life. They definitely have had and continue to have an impact on my life. I, like most of us, have a time where we set aside to commune with God and listen to Him speak. I’m sure that attending church, life groups, conferences, workshops, reading my Bible, and praying all contributed to my spiritual growth. However, it is God who is stretching and growing me. He is the one that puts that desire in my heart; His desires become my desires. I would have never thought that I would be asked to speak in front of a room full of people at a non-profit gala. I will admit, I was afraid. However, I knew that God was right there with me and that I was in a season of growth. With that in mind, Margie Boone, the CEO of Margie’s House, introduced me and I walked up to the podium with a big smile on my face and confidence in my heart and began speaking. Below is the speech.

Planted to grow.

Margie’s House Annual Gala, November 2018.

Good evening, my name is Lisa Brown and I have had the privilege of coming alongside Margie and serving at Margie’s House for almost 2 years now.

Serving at Margie’s House has had a significant impact on me personally. It has provided me with a sense of purpose as well as helped me gain insight and experience in a new field. It has also afforded me the opportunity to be a part of a team and connect with others… a team that demonstrates the love of God through serving women, seniors as well as families.

The community has also been impacted by the mission and vision that drives the work that is done here at Margie’s House. Because of our partnership with Atlanta Community Food Bank, we are able to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables at our Mobile Food Pantry and provide bags of food at our Monthly Food Give-Away.

I look forward to volunteering my time once a month on Friday evenings. As I put each can, bottle, and box into the bag, I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Knowing that I am helping others brings joy to my heart. The more I give, the happier I feel.

Margie’s House provides hope and makes a difference in the lives of others. I am elated to be a part of this wonderful organization…one that engages, equips, and empowers people.

Thank you.

As I looked up after saying thank you, my eyes were filled with tears. The crowd was smiling and clapping. I glanced over at Margie and her face seemed to be saying that she was proud of me. I was proud of myself, but more importantly, I knew that God was proud of me. I walked back to my seat in awe of what had just transpired. I was stretching and growing. You see, this was a big deal because I grew up being a shy, little girl. This shy little girl is now a grown woman; a grown woman that is learning to hear, listen, and obey her Father!

Are there areas in your life where God is trying to stretch you? Allow Him to have His perfect work. Sis, you were created to grow!

Testimony Tuesday

He Provides

By a Christ-follower from MN.

Date: August 6, 2020

One hot evening in Minnesota, I was out in the yard talking to my neighbors. They have been my neighbors for about seven years now. We were out in the yard talking about house finances. The topic of discussion centered around mortgages and escrow and how our house payments were going up if we didn’t pay the bill that we got in the mail. After we finished talking, I slowly walked back into the house, thinking about how I was going to pay the bill and what I was going to do. 

A few days later, I was in the house taking a nap. I heard the doorbell ring and I got out of the bed to answer the door. It was my neighbors. They had come over and brought me some tomatoes and cucumbers. I noticed that one of them had a card in her hand. She handed me the card. I was very surprised to receive a card. What? I took the card and told them thank you and walked back into the house and laid down in the bed, placing the card on the bed next to me. 

Shortly after lying down on the bed, I opened up the card. To my surprise, there was a check with the card.  My mouth dropped open and I was speechless. Wow, I thought. I laid in the bed thanking God for providing for me. My heart was filled with overwhelming gladness and gratefulness. Three days prior, I was at my desk at work and the Holy Spirit had spoken to me. He told me that I would be blessed financially. At the time, I had no idea where this blessing would come from, but I trusted God and had faith in what He had spoken to me. God is a God of provision!

New Territory for a Teacher

Whew, what a journey! This journey all began on April 7, 2020. As I sat on my couch in my loft watching Lifetime, a thought came into my mind. The thought was that I needed to write and tell my story. Write? Who me? Why at age 50 did I feel led to write and tell my story? I wasn’t quite sure, but wanted to be obedient even if it was uncomfortable and scary; scary like a big Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake that is found in the state of Georgia where I currently live.

You see, I am an educator by nature; that is my calling. I have always wanted to be a teacher since the age of six when I saw my momma at work in Gary, Indiana teaching her second grade class. Well, that dream came true. I had the opportunity to attend an HBCU, Tuskegee University located in Tuskegee, Alabama. There I majored in Education and even pursued and obtained my Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Minnesota.  My dream came true and I have been teaching for almost 30 years now. I currently teach first grade in Atlanta Public Schools and love it! I can’t see myself doing anything else. I am very comfortable teaching children. I thought that teaching would be the only thing that I would do for the rest of my life, like my mother. I was wrong.

This sudden shift in my life from comfort to discomfort, from familiar to unfamiliar and confidence to fear, has me feeling some kind of way. At times, I feel…scared, nervous, incompetent, and uncomfortable. This discomfort reminds me of going to a department store and trying on a new pair of red heels that are a half size too small. And getting them anyway. Walking in the heels was painful, uncomfortable, and hurt my feet. I wear a size 5, but they didn’t have the shoe in that size, so I got the 4 ½; now that’s some discomfort!

With writing, I don’t know where to start or what to do. I am out of my element and into new territory. You see, I can teach with my eyes closed. I can write engaging lesson plans and deliver a lesson in any subject area with a degree of ease. Not, with writing. With writing, I find myself struggling to put the right words on the paper, getting stuck with what subject to write about, and even having trouble with using correct grammar. By the way, I just signed up for a grammar workshop refresher and found out how to check my grammar using Grammarly.

Even though writing is uncomfortable (like those pair of  size4 ½ red heels that I purchased) for me at this time, I am going to stick with it. I know that it is a process and that I need to take baby steps; like a baby having to learn how to crawl before he or she walks. That means that I need to keep on moving forward. It will get easier for me, the more that I do it.  I should persevere and not give up. I should have courage, knowing that I really don’t know what I can do, until I try. I am learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. As a result of this, I am growing and developing into who God has called and purposed me to be.  Today, I am taking the limits off of God, breaking through the wall of fear, and doing something new in 2020. I’m stepping into new territory in this season of growth!

Are you living in comfort? Are you ready to embrace a new territory? Trust Him in the process. Do not be afraid. He is with you!