Someone posted this on their Facebook today and the title of the book caught my eye. “LIFE after God”. 🧐 Could the title have been “Life without Love”. God is LOVE.
I can so relate to it better if it were titled “Life Without Love”. It's exactly where I found myself 5 years ago, crying as I stared out over the beautiful sunset at the Tennessee River on Rose Trail. Love had disappeared from my life and heart it seemed. So many years of heartache after heartache, abandonment, rejection, bad decisions that then led to self hatred.
I had reached a point of pure despair. I felt like I had lost God/Love. I remember sobbing so hard that I could feel my soul’s arm’s frantically grasping in the dark for our creator. Pleading with him to please look down and see me, hear my heart crying out to him and come to my rescue. Day after day for weeks that turned into months my soul ached for my sorrow to fly away at the sound of his majesty. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't bathe, I could do nothing but sit on my bed and cry and pray for him to hear me.
I had lost LOVE!
Then one day my sister Lisa came over and demanded I pick up my Bible and start reading it. Reluctantly I did. I had tried to read the Bible many times but it just made so little sense to me. I couldn’t imagine that this time would be any different.
I remember opening it up to the story where God was telling David that his son would be building him a temple to dwell in. No I didn’t understand what that had to do with my life or the place I had found myself in, my deepest disparity I had ever experienced, but I continued to read and read and pray for God to give me understanding of the stories and how they related to me and my life experiences. But it seemed he wasn’t listening because the more I read the less it seemed I understood. But then….
At that same time my daughterwas living with us and she can vouch that things of the supernatural began to take place in our home. Both of us experiencing together some kind of being or spirit in her room that showed itself to us in a gray mist form , shaped like a circle the size of a volleyball that just floated about her room even coming close to each of us as we sat upon her bed. It wasn’t anything that scared us or felt dark or evil of any sense.
As weeks passed I felt I was held captive upon my bed unable to focus on anything other than reading the word and talking to God. Trying to sleep but waking every few hours hearing someone talking to me in my sleep as I was waking but usually unable to remember anything said other than the last sentence before opening my eyes. I would hastily grab my pen jotting down what I had heard, hoping understanding it would come at some point. I would have dreams where I could see things occurring as if I was above the scene looking down at it.
I dreamed of a curvy road I was looking down on an a accident occurring . I was shocked awake in full blown panic as I was afraid it was a warning that someone I loved had been hurt. I frantically woke up Steve and my sister Lisa and we all stood in my den at 3:30 AM as a cried and begged God to protect my family. I remember Steve telling me as I prayed he saw a spark leave my hand he was holding.
I dreamed of people bringing a young woman who had been shot in the stomach into my den and laying her on the floor as the Sun shined so brightly in our big picture window and I knelt down to touch her and she stood up whole and healed. Then hearing a voice say “Physician heal thy self”.
I thought I was as loosing it to be quiet honest. I could not understand what or why all this was happening in my life. I had not read enough scripture at this time to know what that phrase even meant. Siting upon my bed reading alone I would began to feel my bed move, as if someone was touching it hard enough to just say “ hey, pay attention to what you’re fixing to read or my tv would start playing all by itself. It would be a tv program like Happy Days or Seventh heaven, episodes I had never seen but after watching I would instantly understand the life lesson.
These strange occurrences went on for a year or more. I struggled to hold it together wondering to myself if it was truly God or me loosing it. Wondering why I still felt the words I was reading weren’t helping me at all to understand anything. But then…
I finally had some kind of breakthrough and got myself dressed and out to run errands one day and as I turned off of Woodward Ave on to Hwy 72 I looked up at the sky and there was the biggest man’s arm I had ever seen drawn there in the sky. It looked as if it had been left there by a great artist. Every detail was so brilliant! The shoulder, the muscle the forearm and hand, even the fingernails. I looked at people driving by me to see if they too were looking at what I saw. No one was. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It was so amazing. I was in pure anticipation as I rushed home to see if anyone had reported seeing it on social media. As I typed into my google search “arm in the sky” the first thing I saw was a passage of scripture referenced.
Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Yet nothing was reported by anyone that they had seen the same thing. Of course THIS sent me on a even greater need to understand God’s word. Why had I been shown this? I had to know.
I continued my reading and praying but felt God tugging me to get out and go to work for him in some capacity. I knew he wanted me to do something but what could I offer him? Me the one who had “lost love” and “lost God”?
One Saturday I decided I needed to go to Belk and purchase some make up. I had sat in my house for so long without needing it that what I had was no longer useable. I looked forward that day to get out of my prison and into some sunlight. As I drove across the Natchez Trace the Holy Spirit reminded me of a place I had recently read about in our local news called “Room at the Inn”. I knew very little about it but knew it was a place somewhere in Florence that fed homeless people. I instantly knew my plans for the day were being changed. I had to pull over to google where this place was even located. I knew God was leading me there. As I got close I asked God, “ What am I to do when I get here”? I heard in my spirit to ask anyone there what they needed. So I pulled up and sure enough there were 5 or 6 men and women hanging around outside the building. I pulled up, lowered my window and said hello and ask them all if there was anything they needed. One of the guys there Jeremy Johnson said “Who sent you here”, I answered “God sent me here”. He smiled and said ok and they began to give me a list of their personal needs. I told them to stay there and I would return with their list. It was cold weather so they all needed clothes and shoes and jackets. After a two hour shopping trip I returned to them with their needs and talk to them awhile about their lives, why they were there and what I might could do to help them.
Long story short, 3 years later and God has used these people and their needs to totally transformed me and my husband Steve Malone into vessels of service for his glory and his kingdom. We have had more than 30 individuals come through our home. Some staying for a few weeks and some for many months, some leaving to return again. We now have custody of a baby that belongs to a young lady trying to get her life straight in order to be a good mother for this child. Some of these people have allowed God to totally transform them too and some are still going through the process. Jesus is doing the transforming in his way, in his time and he is asking us to just love them while he cleanses them. To provide their basic needs of shelter, food and clothing. To help them find jobs and get back and forth to work, to find new homes to start over in. To treat them as a family member not a stranger or a criminal or a drug addict. He reminded me many times that he’s in control so we had absolutely nothing or anyone to fear. Not once have we believed that not to be the truth.
I won’t tell anyone it’s been a easy thing to do. It actually been very very hard, the hardest thing either of us has ever done. But…. The most life changing also! Change that has been WONDERFUL! If anyone asked me today if I believe God sends angels to earth my answer would be a resounding YES and he sends them disguised as homeless, jobless, mentally unstable and with addictions! This is what he uses to teach us all how to love without judgment and unconditionally!
Each individual experience has caused so much change inside of each of us that I barely recognize either of us as the same two people I knew 6 years ago. Jesus has used each one to rid us of all the darkness we had allowed to enter our lives before. He took fear, anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, pride, back biting, gossiping, resentfullness, self centeredness and so much more out of our souls. He replaced and still is replacing it with unconditional love for every person he places on our path to meet.
I know as Paul said “I have not arrived” yet, I am learning new things about myself and how to be a Christ follower each and every moment. Some days I excell and some days I fail miserably but every moment I know Jesus is with me, waiting there to pick me up if I fall. Waiting there to lend a shoulder for me to cry on. Whispering in my heart and ear to never think I could ever ever loose love as long as I’m letting him hold my hand.
God loves us so much! He l’s waiting for everyone to come to the end of their self just like I did in those first days at that river bank. Where I knew I had fumbled my life so bad and that only he could come to my rescue. He didn’t force himself on me, he didn’t condem me or turn away from me, he ran to my side, picked me up, wrapped himself, his love all around me and said “ Come child let’s get you cleaned up”!
There are no words in any language that can ever adequately describe how grateful I am to our Jesus! He saved me and you that day on Calvary so long ago and he’s still saving us every moment of today. He truly is the Only Way, the Only Truth and the only light in this world. His love cannot be covered by darkness. He stands at the door of your heart right now knocking asking you to invite him in. Will you open up for him and let him cleanse the darkness from you? I stand here today to tell you you will not ever ever regret the decision nor will you ever be the same again. Let him heal you, let him help
You find love again for him, yourself and all others. God bless