A Servant of His...

Today as I write this, I am about to start a prison ministry through the Salvation Army. I've felt the need to work out my salvation and I do it with fear and trembling as the Apostle Paul did, by ministering to others who are in spiritual bondage as I once was. What better place to look for them than in jail. I know that there are people in spiritual bondage everywhere, not only in jail. I am still open to speaking to anything that moves, about God, sin, self and Salvation, about the Love and Grace of God and about death, hell and judgment. A lot more has happened but if I don't stop somewhere you're going to never get to read this. So I must end somewhere.

I am still a single mother. Alex came back home to live with me. He is one of the main reasons I am still here. Soon after my conversion, the Lord took me and showed me the spiritual condition of both Alexandre and his dad, and their condition was the same - lost. I could not help the latter but the former I thought I could help. I grieved for my son. He did not deserve the miserable life he was living.

In July of 1997, I learned that he has a learning disability, Auditory Processing Deficit, (which is heredity on his dad's side of the family). That is why I could never get through to him as a toddler. He came home to live with me in September of 1997, and he was also in a shell, a zombie. It was through sharing my life and my faith in Jesus that brought him out of his shell and healed some of his emotional wounds. He wanted to be baptized. So that October he was baptized in the tiny Catholic Church down the street from where we lived.

For months I was on my face before the Lord seeking His will for Alex's life. Through prayer and His Grace I was led to a Christian Radio program. I know He led me because I accidentally tuned in to this radio station for the first time on Alex's birthday, September 23, 1997. I continued to listen to this station when I heard one day on a live phone-in talk-radio program about homeschooling.

After doing my research and homework I began to homeschool Alex September, 1998. He is much happier, doing better and becoming more independent. He is actually more full of himself these days and is quite a challenge to raise alone. We still have a long way to go. He also has to come to an end of himself before he can receive the indwelling Christ but that will only happen in God's time and in God's way. We also do a lot of activities together. He has a keen sense of humor which cracks us both up. We are now in our second year of homeschooling.

When people hear that I homeschool my son and that I work with inmates, doing Bible studies, they ask me about my background. Apparently they are of the thinking that one must be formally trained in order to be able to teach. They are wrong. Anyone can teach. Did Jesus go to Bible college? Did he send off his twelve disciples to study scripture with the scribes before they could follow Him? Did Jesus pick educated people to preach His Gospel to the world? No.
The world has enough of those. He just looked for willing souls to mentor, to teach them by example and by experience. He allowed them to see Him at His highest times and at His lowest times, at His happiest times and at His saddest times. He taught by example how to minister to the needs of people, how to meet them where they're at.

All that is required is faith and the willingness to be used by God. God does the rest. People learn by example and experience not just by academic training. The funny thing in my case is that I was exposed to the teaching profession from childhood (six out of my nine siblings have been teachers, plus two sisters-in-law), and I rebelled against it when my family suggested I teach also. I said there were enough teachers in the family, I would do something else and I did. God however, had other plans. He made me a teacher of His Word and trained me Himself and what a miserable pupil I was.
Who said God didn't have a sense of humor? Indeed He has a very keen sense of humour.

I never heard back from Sam after he phoned me from his home in early July, 1996, to say he was coming with his best friend to Toronto. A few weeks earlier, he had told me that this friend had joined a swingers' club. I never saw nor heard from him again. I realized that that was his way of dumping me like I was yesterday's garbage and I felt like that for a long time. I left him a message telling him his behaviour was cowardly and that I didn't want to see or speak to him again. Then I spent that entire day bawling my eyes out. I prayed and asked God to convict his heart of his own sins that he may come to repentance. And I kept giving the situation to The Lord over and over and I kept praying, "I forgive him, I forgive him, Father please forgive him, he does not know what he is doing, please forgive him." The Holy Spirit remained with me and comforted me.

I was tempted to go out and get laid. Yes, it is possible to be tempted even after becoming a believer. It is also possible to sin after becoming a believer. But a believer would not remain in his/her sin. They will be too miserable. They will come under conviction, which leads to repentance, cleansing and a turning away from that sin. That is why scripture says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9). I knew I couldn't handle the pain I would feel afterwards. So I did the one thing I could do. I clung to Jesus and all that He had done for me thus far, like the waistband clings to the waist.

One day I laid on my bed being tempted to just go out and get laid and I felt my spirit (or will) wrestling with The Lord's Spirit. My desire (will), versus His desire (Will). As I lay there, He burned these words into my mind. "Marriage is holy and sex is for marriage only. Marriage is holy and sex is for marriage only." Over and over again, the words kept repeating in my head. Like a kindergarten schoolteacher, teaching a three-year old a nursery rhyme. It took that entire day for those words to sink in and take root in my soul. Once I accepted those words, I felt the release in my body. That day the Spirit was victorious and my desire for sex was taken away. The struggle was over and the Spirit had won. Hallelujah!

I have struggled with temptation since that experience, but the love of God constrains me. I don't have the guts to go out and have sex outside of marriage after what my Loving Father has taught me and done for me. I would be a fool to go out and squander the Grace of God like that. To compromise my witness/testimony and to cause those who look to me for an example to stumble, to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, lay up guilt on my conscience and forfeit my Salvation (An Apostate is someone who forfeits his/her Salvation).

I believe the one I marry is worth waiting for. He deserves better than I will ever be, if like me he has died to his selfish desires and now lives to God. I cannot change my past and I don't have to.  My past has been forgiven and redeemed. And with the Grace of God (indwelling Christ) in me, I can certainly live clean from now on and I find it more healthy and freeing to live this way. God has provided a way of escape for me. I have Alex around to keep me busy as well as the ministry He has given me. So I do not have time to indulge in the sinful desires of the flesh.

Truly our bodies betray us. Mankinds' greatest weakness is his own flesh, his own sexuality. A man's moral character speaks volumes about who he is. That is why U.S. President Bill Clinton is a man of no character to speak about. He has no control over his own flesh, how can he rule a nation without bringing God's judgment upon his nation and himself? America has sown seeds of discord around the world and within her own borders and she is beginning to reap the consequences now, her own prophets prophesy against her. God has brought judgment upon the earth because He said He would and God never lies.

I also had to deal with the issue of Alex's learning disability and his suffocation which I had not faced and dealt with. I still felt guilty about the suffocation incident until I went through family therapy with a very wonderful woman, Joyce. I was able to face that issue and put it to rest. After I told her about the suffocation incident, at our very next meeting, she said two things to me. One, I had suffered secondary trauma. I stared at her. I had never heard that term and I certainly was not going to use that as a crutch for any of my own failures or responsibilities. I asked her what it meant and she explained that while I was not the one whom the crime was committed against, because I witnessed it, it had affected me.

Secondly, she told me she had to report it because "A crime was committed against Alex." The Police as well as the Children's Aid Society were called. Due to the length of time that had elapsed they could not do much. They did try to contact Saul and sent him a note informing him that they were aware of what had happened and not to use drugs in the presence of his children. Thank God for sending Joyce my way. I highly recommend mature christian counseling for anyone who is carrying around guilt. Guilt is hell to live with - infact hell is where the guilty go - I should know.

One day in therapy Joyce asked me to tell her how it felt what Saul did to me. I said, "I felt like I had been raped emotionally." She asked how I felt after the suffocation incident. "Like life had no value. If life had any value before this, after this, life became cheap." I told her, "When I met him (Saul Rodriguez), I was an atheist. I didn't believe in God and I didn't know God existed. I would have been content to live my life not knowing. I believe my life would have been easier. I did not set out to seek God (I was too sinful to), He was introduced to me." It was afterwards that I set out to seek the Truth and was set free by It when I found It. I told her, "Saul used witchcraft on me and I don't want him practicing his witchcraft on Alexandre."

Isaiah 65:1 says: (God speaking in the first person) "I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not."

John 15:16 says: (Jesus speaking to his disciples) "You did not choose Me, but I chose you"

As I cried she said, "I can see you are in pain - how? What can I do to help you?" I said, "I just want you to listen and try to understand what I am telling you, if you possibly can." She asked why I was crying and I said, "Have you ever lost a loved one?" She said, "Yes." I said, "Did you cry?" She replied, "Oh yes, when my grandmother passed away, I cried." I said, "Have you ever gone to visit her grave site?" She said, "Yes." I asked, "And did you cry there at her grave, when you went to visit her." She said, "Oh yes." I asked, "Why did you cry?" She said because she missed her grandmother and she loved her. I replied, "This is how it feels for me. I am mourning the loss of the Margaret that died (from an abusive marriage, not at my conversion). I am just visiting her grave site (revisiting the past), can you understand that?" She said yes.

Hebrews 12:5-6 says: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He accepts."

Psalm 119:71 says: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your ways." Verse 75 says: "I know, O Lord that Your judgments are right and that in faithfulness (love), You have afflicted me."

Hebrews 12:11 continues: "Now no chastisement seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Those scriptures certainly apply to my own life. Now I understand why I suffered so much and in that understanding comes acceptance. I understand that God in His sovereignty allowed me to suffer. For this was part of the testing, part of proving me worthy, as silver refined. In order to purify silver, or gold, the impurities must be burnt out - we have to go through the fire. That fire takes the form of suffering. No one likes to suffer because it hurts too much but suffering is a blessing, scripture says so.

Suffering humbles us.  Suffering matures us.  Suffering teaches us by experience.  Suffering builds character.  Suffering shows us that apart from God we are nothing.  Suffering teaches us to depend on God and God alone.  Suffering builds faith. Indeed, suffering produces a harvest of righteousness.

Still, I certainly would not have chosen suffering for myself, but it was the will of God. To God be the Glory, Honour, Power and Praise, forever! The one thing we human beings cannot or would not take credit for, is suffering. "Let him who boasts, boast in this; that he knows and understands the Lord." I glory in the Cross of Christ, I will boast of the Cross of Christ. I've had people tell me I should believe in myself and trust myself. I tell them flat out, "I don't believe in myself, I believe in Jesus." I trust God, I don't trust myself. People talk about having self confidence, I tell them "I have no confidence. My confidence is in God." He is my Song and my Strength, and in that I find rest, peace. When I fall into trouble and I am prone to troubles of all kind, I cry to Him and He hears my cry and delivers me from my troubles.

I returned Sam's things to him by mail. I never received my things back from him. It took more than two years to heal from the pain of that rejection. But God is great and able to heal all my hurts (Ps. 147:3, Is. 53:5, 1 Pet. 2:24-25). His Word is a healing balm and He is my Great Physician (Ps. 107:20, Jer. 8:22). I run to Him for healing, now. He is my healing balm of Gilead (Gen. 37:25, Jer. 46:11), and to let Sam know that I forgave him, I placed an ad on the same system I met him on. If he hears it I hope he will be encouraged by it, to make his own peace with himself and his Maker. For the soul of man is never at rest until it has found peace with God. We can only run for so long before life catches up with us.* 

*Sam heard my ad and answered it, Nov. 2000. Finally, on the 26th Nov. 2000 we sat across from each other at the same coffee shop where we met over five years prior. It was very difficult to face him, but the Grace of God, Jesus, stood by me. In the time since he left he had married and the marriage predictably fell apart. He wound up with a nervous breakdown and was referred to the Clark Institute where he learned he had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He is now attending university.

I received the closure I needed. The final residue of hurt that was in my heart melted away as I extended forgiveness, wished him well and walked away later. What I thought as I walked away from him, I will not say. I will say however, that I was disappointed that he had not changed at all, nor had he grown emotionally or spiritually (arrested development). I will not proceed to offer a diagnosis on our friend here but I will speak in general terms.
You or someone you know may be suffering from sexual addiction or some other form of sexual deviance. I call on you to step out in love, after you've prayed and educated yourself, and face this horrible, hideous, evil with the boldness that the Lord Himself would have. And like the apostles would have. (See Jude 1:22-23).

Too many lives are being destroyed by this evil. Not just the lives of these individuals only, but their families and their victims' lives are being destroyed as well. We must face them no matter how angry and resentful they will be at us for interfering. They need help but they will not ask for it. They are too afraid of being found out. They are usually ashamed of their own sexual perversion and feel guilt, or condemnation.
They would blame others for their failures rather than accept responsibility for their own actions. Most of them are living a double life. The secret one no one knows about and the one they show the world.

They may be your pastor, teacher, father, brother, sister, friend, anyone. They need to be held accountable for their actions and they need our love and support and time to heal for these are hurting people. Recommended reading: "The war within," by Robert Daniels. "Breaking Free, Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus," by Russell Willingham.

The Lord also gave me a heart for my family, especially my mother. I took her out one day and told her about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I had sensed she was not at peace, she is a chronic worrier. I spoke to her condition and her need to trust God and not worry and she listened. My relationship with my parents is better than they have ever been. God bless them. My mom and I argue sometimes. She still worships her idols, even though she believes Jesus is who He said He is. I can literally see the inner struggle going on inside her, to give up what she had followed all her life for something so new and radical to her, as Jesus. She is illiterate so she cannot just pick up the Bible and read it and comprehend it. I believe God is able to save and I trust Him to save them. God is able I'm not. I can pray and petition and I do.

On December 26th 1998, I had to accompany my dad to the hospital. He came down with pneumonia. The day after he was admitted to the hospital I took my mom to visit him. Then I left for church. After I left, Daddy asked Ma if I had gone, she said, "Yes". He said he wanted to ask me to pray for him at the church. On my way back from church I stopped at another church, The Prayer Palace and requested prayer. They said they would pray and that they would visit Daddy in the hospital, they never did.

For five days Daddy laid on his back crying out in pain, "Ow God help me, help me!" He was incoherent, he didn't know any of us. Everyone was praying for his recovery. I saw how worried and helpless my family was and I wished they knew God's Grace and Peace, Jesus Christ, like I did. I simply prayed for God's will to be done in this situation and waited to see what would happen, resting in my trust in Him. On the fifth day I spoke to my oldest sister, and she told me he was going to die. When I spoke to my second sister, at the hospital she said, his blood pressure had dropped and he was placed on a monitor for the first time since going in there. We had sent messages to those back home in Guyana and a doctor's note was sent so they could apply for visas to come.

Up till now I had remained optimistic. After I came home, I called my Salvation Army Minister at home, Major Beverly Ivany, that night about 10:30p.m. The moment I heard that clear voice filled with caring and compassion my heart melted. I told her about Daddy and she listened to me with such attention, as if I was the only person in the world. I started to cry, through my tears I said laughing, "You know, I was fine until I started talking to you." She asked, "What would you like?" I said, "More than anything else I want their, my parents' salvation." I asked her to pray for him and she said she would.

Less than two hours later, that same night about midnight, he started to recover. "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman) avails much," (James 5:16b). The next day the doctor came to see Daddy and was surprised at his recovery. She said he, "made my day." Maj. Beverly Ivany's husband, Maj. David Ivany visited Daddy in the hospital. He met my parents, my sister and sister-in-law, prayed with them, then called me to tell me. I thanked him and told him, "Now my two dads have met."

The brother who had given me a perforated ear drum by slapping me thrice and the sister who had tried to slander my name, came from Guyana. Once again, God gave me the strength to show grace to two enemies. "And a man's enemies will be those of his own household." (Matt. 10:36). God is indeed very good.

A few days later I went to visit Daddy in the hospital. Next to him was an Alzheimer patient. The man's daughter was visiting him at the same time. She said to me, "Its a miracle your dad is alive." I said, "Why do you say that?" She said, "Ever since my dad has been in here, I've seen eight to ten people come in on that bed, and they didn't last. When I saw the way your dad's eyes would roll up into his head, I said to my self, "Oh no, not another one - its a miracle he is alive." I told her about the Salvation Army and the Ministers and gave God glory, openly. God is Good!

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