Saturday, September 11, 2010

WAPN’s 25th Anniversary Celebration was Awesome!

What a blessing came to me from the Lord when a couple of months ago on Facebook, I got the message that Earlyne and Shellye from WAPN in Holly Hill had just read my story, “The Stolen Car,” in a Guideposts book. Evidently, it really encouraged them to know that Prayerline had made a difference in my life and I was invited to share a bit about the story at their 25th celebration banquet last night at the Sunset Harbor.
What an honor for me, a stay-at-home mom who had been so discouraged thinking that no one ever read anything that she had written. My main claim to fame is being called either Linda’s daughter, Bill’s wife, or the mother of 4 daughters. What Earlyne and Shellye didn’t realize is when you are aspiring to write you may send out hundreds of articles to just be included in a few books. It never dawned on me that mentioning Prayerline in Holly Hill would mean so much to them or I would have told them long ago.
Since I am not a public speaker, and the thought of speaking at a group that large is pretty terrifying to me, I did forget part of what I meant to say so I am including it in this note. To all who think that their work is unseen I say, press on and the Lord will never forget your labor of love.
How can I say “Thank you,” to a ministry that was there for me during one of the hardest times of my life? Prayerline has always been a great blessing to me. I have used it often throughout the years, both calling in and now online.

The story in this book tells only a part of the two-part prayer request.
The first part was about my Mother, Linda Reece Lewis who lived in Holly Hill on Oleander Ave. Her car had been stolen with her purse in the trunk, so she was doubly upset.

This is the rest of the story or as Walter Cronkite would say: "That’s the way it is"
I had felt a burden for my mother on Monday Feb. 2, 1998. Richard Love was facilitating the Prayerline that morning and I called in with a prayer request. I just wanted ask for prayer for my Mama because she had so much on her plate, taking care of an invalid husband and a feisty little 4-year-old great granddaughter. She and little Aubrey had been in a small accident recently when Mama’s blood sugar was way high. She had felt so bad that Aubrey had been in the car and had gotten a little cut on her face. I really felt that the Lord had surely protected them just the same.
But as well as a prayer request but I also wanted to give a praise report. Last week when I asked for prayer for my mother, whose car had been stolen, they had prayed that the car be returned intact and that is exactly what had happened! Nothing was taken out of it and along with the car being returned, my Mama was blessed with a visit from her youngest son, Dale. His family wasn’t able to come this year from North Carolina for Christmas or for her surgeries; he hadn’t seen her in awhile. He had been concerned that she not have anything to drive and brought a vehicle down for her. She had been so happy about seeing him, that it diverted her attention away from the stolen car.”
Brother Love said, “We always love praise reports. How can we pray for her this week?” While they were praying for my mother, he felt he had a personal word from the Lord for her, “Linda, I have not forgotten you, I want to draw you closer to Me.”
Minutes later, I got a call from my oldest daughter, saying she was with Mama and had just called 911. The paramedics were on the way. I left immediately for the hospital, so I could meet them there. It is probably a problem with her diabetes, I thought. I didn’t know I would never see her alive again.
Unexpected death leaves those who are left behind with a sense of “no closure.” My dear Mama had died at home before they made it to the hospital where I was waiting. The Lord not only was drawing her closer, He was drawing her home as the prayer team on the Hotline was praying for her. She was able to die in her own home, in her own bed, as she had always wanted to.

The Lord not only answered my prayer for my Mama but also gave her an unspoken wish to see her son before she died. The Lord went before me to give strength, peace and closure about my mother’s passing.
I will forever be grateful!
I also wanted to mention that I carry within my heart gratefulness to Rosemary Upton my writing mentor. Without her encouragement I would never have pursued publication. She and the Writing Strategies Critiqueshop took the time to work with someone who had no education, credentials or knowledge in the field of writing. The love and bond we shared over the years means so much to me and there are many others that Rosemary has blessed through the years.

To God be the glory!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Musings on being A Sister Among You

A Sister Among You
Recently, I have started writing at times using a pseudonym. It is not really because I want to be an invisible writer but that I want to spare my very private family more pain. Because of family traumas, it seems they feel shame if there is any mention that we might be a somewhat dysfunctional, real family like many others on this planet. Although my husband and I grew up watching the Cleavers, Father Knows Best, and Happy Days we aren’t those kind of families. We might be more like someone on a Law and Order segment. So I will either have to resort to fiction or maybe I will just use the pseudonym of a Sister Among You. I would truly be invisible then, because we are a sisterhood of women.

You don’t know my name, you don’t have to; I am a sister among you. Sometimes I’m quiet and you may think I’m aloof, but you are wrong. I carry pain, for myself and for others; I am a sister among you. I was sexually abused as a child and went on at age 15 to marry a pedophile. He turned our daughter onto drugs and started the life-long battle she is just now overcoming at age 43.

I have been abused, used and tormented. I love, I hurt, and I dream dreams that turn into nightmares. I am a sister among you. Maybe I think if I open up to you and tell you about my life you will turn away.

Yes, my life would make you cringe; it would not fit into your tidy world. Once after I spoke at a retreat about “Making Peace with Your Past,” a woman came up to me later and apologized for walking out during the talk; she had to go throw up. My mama always said, “You have to laugh to keep from crying.” And I do, especially at times like that.

There are many among you, though, sisters, such as I. You may recognize yourself in some of these descriptions.

I may be your friend but you don’t really know me. How can you if you don’t share my pain, don’t drink from my cup? My cup is too horrible to taste and it would cause you to hurt also, which I would never want. Because I have seen and lived through perverseness in the eyes of men, and the hearts of women.

I am just a sister among you, I smile at you, but it only masks the pain. Daily I give myself and control of my life over to God who alone can heal the hurt. But sometimes He leaves the pain and the memories. Maybe so I won’t pass you by, another sister, lost in pain, needing a Savior, needing a friend; another sister among us.
In The Good Book it is said that what you have done for the least of these, you have done for Me. This sister may be dying emotionally, feeling hopeless as a wife, mother or woman in this world. She may be masking the pain with drugs, alcohol or even the goodness of church or volunteer work. She is trying to fill a void only God Himself can fill.

She may use men or women to fill this insatiable need to feel loved and whole. She may have endured losses such as the death of a family member, maybe even her own child: the grief seems unbearable and she wonders if she can live with this void in her life. She may be a prostitute, in danger each time she goes out. She may be trying to cover the pain of losing her children through the system.

She is somebody’s daughter.

She is a sister among you. Is she invisible to you? Will she stay that way?

Donna Collins Tinsley