Timing is Everything, and God’s time is always the right time. The Devil is still a liar, and God is still in control.
Apart from the brief trips to the homes of a few relatives and my mother’s friends, my other areas of respite were books and church. I loved church, and I loved books – whether I was reading or writing, I was seldom seen without a book. As such, I developed a very strong love for the Word of God. It was the best of both worlds, and there was no conflict of interest. Moreover, God ministered to my spirit through the word. I didn’t know it then, but I do now. As such, I learned to recognize God as a comforter. I also learned to recognize him as a provider, because that was my mother’s favorite catch phrase: “God will provide.” The other was, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” (I’ve learned the full scripture now, so I have a better understanding of it.) As such, I also knew God as a deliverer – but never as a Restorer, not until 1996. That is when I received something from Peale Center telling me that Jesus is a restorer and he can take everything that was and make them what is. The package also included a picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd carrying a little lamb under the crest of his arm, and a poem written in very minute script. I think that they were trying to sell me something, which I didn’t buy, but I cut out the poem and put it in a one-inch frame on my dresser, along with the picture of the Good Shepherd. They are both still there, but today instead of foretelling the future, they have now become monuments of my past.
Timing is very significant here, because as I said, until 1996, I never thought of Jesus as a restorer. Even so, it was not until December 2000 that I saw the manifestation of what the message prophesied to me in 1996. Back then, I wrote a poem, which has become a treasure to every one who reads it, “Lead us through the Valley, but Guide us to the Peak.” Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. For as many times as I have recited Psalm 23, my focus has never gotten past “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” I very seldom got to the part where David said, “He restoreth my soul.” Now I know why. At that period in time, God was my shepherd . . . and that is all I needed to know. Now it was time to go forward and find out what else God can be in my life.
Yep, I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and feared no evil for I knew the Lord was with me, but I feared dissolution. I feared losing another family, my family. I feared not being the mother that God called me to be or the wife that I was supposed to be. My fears were not without merit. After all, I had seen it all before and I was not confident whether I was able to withstand the tests of time. I knew that I didn’t have the resiliency to endure another family fatality and still walk circumspect before God. In fact, the more I looked up, the more shadows I saw and the closer they loomed toward me. I was actually living in doubt – rather than fear. My doubts were not only about myself, but about God’s ability to keep this home-fire burning. Moreover, I could not find one reason why God would want to keep this family intact, but I could see a thousand reasons why it would fail.
Something happened in that valley . . . that was a wake up call for me. God gave me ten thousand reasons why I needed to stand in the gap when I was making a desperate plea to be lifted out of it. He told me that the only way that we, Him and I, could have a real relationship is that if it was based on trust. He said that I trusted him with myself, and being able to “provide” for me, but I did not trust him enough to know that he would be there as my protector, and as my restorer. How could I? There was no basis here, not even a mere hint of faith. My faith was in his saving grace and the wrath of God in the years to come, but never have I heard of His REDEEMING grace. Now was the time for me to know God as a restorer . . . the Lord and giver of life. Therefore, God sent me on scavenger hunt to find a plaque with the 23rd Psalm for my apartment. Interestingly enough, that was no easy feat. When I finally found one, He told me to give it away to a young girl who had only recently attempted suicide. Talk about at test of faith. God is certainly not easily moved.
During my tribulation period, November 1996 through December 1999, I witnessed an avalanche of sin: cheating, lies, deceitfulness, neglect, abuse, abandonment, marital dissolution, and last but not least financial insolvency. It was my worst nightmare – everything that I ever feared, was wrapped up in each other and thrown at me like a giant snowball. It rolled through the valley for a full three years, but no matter what, I was always ahead of it, and it never consumed me. To God, be the Glory! It never consumed me. Instead, I got to see the glory of God at work in my life, in my family’s life . . . and in the life of every one who has come into my presence since then, because it gave me a mission – a mission for Christ. Our pre-tribulation period was December 1994 to November 1996, and what I thought then was the dusk of the setting sun turned out to be the dawn of a new day, because out of that period came my renewed faith in the power of Almighty God.