Mended, yet broken.

I can boldly declare that I am C.U.T.E. and anointed today, but that was not always the case. Let me give you a bit of my history for context to help explain the cost of my call.

My past, from conception to age 15, is what I describe as a roller coaster of events and emotions that have come together to help make me the person I am today.

I was born to a teen mom (someone advised her to abort me…thank God she did not listen!) We lived for a few years with my grandparents before she got married and we moved. Up until this time, my roller coaster was calm, but gradually moving upwards towards the first big drop – someone I trusted and looked up to, deceived and betrayed me by getting me drunk at the tender of eight, leading to me being sexually molested, shattering my young life.

Since that first big drop, the roller coaster of my life took many different twists and turns including domestic violence episodes, verbal and emotional abuse, introduction to pornography, and living in an overall negative and hostile environment for a few years.

My confidence was shattered as I spiraled downward with each traumatic event. The once bubbly and outgoing child was now a shell of the person she used to be - now withdrawn and quiet.

I felt broken.

As the years progressed, I evolved into a teen who was trapped and looking for a way out. I went from being a compliant, good girl to acting out, being feisty and ultimately resorting to rebellion.

I was not the prime candidate for ‘The Call’ (or so I thought)

I was not raised in a pristine environment; I did not attend church regularly as a child, but God somehow had His hand on me. When I got to be a bit too much for my mother to handle, with her having two other children and after a messy divorce, she reluctantly allowed me to stay with my praying grandmother.

Here is where my life started to shift gears. It took some time, but my personality started shining through again. I was able to experience the true love of God and I gave myself to Christ that Easter because He showed me that He was the friend of my wounded heart.

Now, the call:

I received Christ at 15 and at the age of 16, I recognized that God was calling me to more than the average Christian experience… He was calling me to ministry. I couldn’t shake it - from a personal knowing and the word of God itself, to prophetic words and declarations, He was starting the process of preparation - or should I say continuing?

You see, my history and experiences were an indication of what and whom God was calling me to. He used what the enemy meant for evil as part of the preparation for the assignment He has on my life and has been using it for my good and the good of others as well as for His glory.

The Cost of the Call for me really comes down to surrendering control to God.

In order to embrace my calling I had to confront my past and lay it to rest. Then I had to move on with what the word of God says about me. This was NOT an easy, one-time event for me. There were layers and layers of hurt, anger, bitterness, guilt, neglect, un-forgiveness, misunderstanding, rejection, abandonment, fear, helplessness and hopelessness.

It took time… but I was committed to the process. It was difficult…but I was committed to the process. I had become very familiar with the altar…but I was committed to the process.

I had to acknowledge that I was hurt and that I was taken advantage of. I had to repent for holding on to it secretly. I had to stop trying to solve my problems my way. I had to give up my need to be in control of everything, my way of ensuring that NOBODY could hurt or take advantage of me again. I had to forgive my stepfather and every other person who did me wrong. I had to forgive myself. I had to choose to let it go and daily I still choose to let it go. I had to immerse myself in prayer and the word to feel clean after all that I had been through…I needed to renew my mind.

'...a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise...'

Psalm 51:17

It was during the brokenness to God in full surrender, with tears streaming hot down my face, that I felt His forgiveness wash over me and I could not help but worship… I still cannot help but worship Him.

‘…her sins - and they are many - have been forgiven, so she has shown Me much love…’

Luke 7:47

In order for me to step into my call as a woman of God, and help others who have gone through trauma I had to pay the price. As a mentor and coach; even as an entrepreneur whose focus is enriching women’s lives, and helping people discover their best selves - internally, externally and eternally, I had to walk the path of surrender, forgiveness and healing. He had me walk the path so I could pass that on to those I minister to directly and indirectly.

I had to surrender my will to God’s will. I didn’t always like how that felt or what that meant, but I knew even on my worst days that the best place to be is in the center of God’s will.

Another part of the cost of my call was that I had to lead a fasted lifestyle. Not that I didn’t have friends, or didn’t have fun, but there were not many who understood the path that God had me on so it was quite lonely at times. To be honest, I didn’t always understand what God was doing with me. This alone time, however, helped me to build a strong prayer life early in my walk and led me into phenomenal private and public God-encounters.

When I became a minister, the maxim ‘Others May, You Cannot’ took on a very real meaning for me. I realized very early on that there were things others seemed comfortable with - things that were not necessarily sinful in and of themselves - that I could not find the same comfort in. Any attempt to indulge would result in an immediate rebuke or correction in some way by the Holy Spirit.   I used to find that frustrating and strange but as I continued my walk I realized that everyone has their own race to run and I couldn’t compare myself to anyone else or judge them for that matter…all I could do was be obedient to God as it relates to my race and run. This taught me to keep my eyes on God and His word. You are unique, He would remind me, a masterpiece among other unique masterpieces.

‘Whatever your hands find to do…do it with your might…’

Ecc. 9:10

With that, I began to embrace the unique call that was upon my life. I began to use whatever gifts and talents He gave me for Him: whether through the instruments I played or through dance; whether through art or teaching; through drama or preaching; through singing or intercession. He took me down a path that taught me to embrace confidence, embrace my uniqueness, embrace my talents, (though some of them were not typical ‘ministry’ giftings) and be okay with being different.

Little did I know that this was how God would pave the way for the generation behind me to see that they are enough and that God could use them too. Little did I know that He would put me in touch with girls, young women and older women who were in abusive situations and that my story would say to them, ‘If God could heal her brokenness and use her for His glory, He can heal and use me too!’

Each time I hear stories like those, I am even more resolved in the fact that, if I could start my life over, I would not change anything, because a great big God turned around my story to bring Him glory and to help save so many who would otherwise die silently inside.

Another dimension to the price I paid for the anointing I carry came not too long ago when the Lord opened another avenue of ministry for my husband and I to minister healing to marriages and relationships. As we ministered at one of the marriage conferences, I had a simple slip and fall, which resulted in me breaking my ankle in three places. This would further result in Trimalleolar surgery using two titanium plates and ten screws to hold my ankle together.

This came out of nowhere. I had days when I couldn't think straight from all the narcotics I was receiving for pain. I couldn't walk for months. I couldn't engage in ministry. I couldn't take care of my family. I felt stripped of everything I was and again I started to feel that sense of losing control that I felt in the early years… But God had taught me some things through the years. He was reminding me that who I am in Him is always more important than what I do for Him in ministry. I am His - no matter what. He was teaching me all over again how to be broken in His presence. He was reminding me that I didn’t have to do anything to earn His love.

Sometimes as we walk out our calling, the line between ‘being’ and ‘doing’ can blur. However, our personal relationship with Christ should never be sacrificed for the call. Through this latest experience, I was reminded that it is important to remain broken and pliable in His hands and allow Him to be the one in control. My love relationship with God is detrimental to maintaining the call and the anointing. In my lowest time, even when I couldn't muster the strength, the Holy Spirit helped me and a song or a scripture would rise in my spirit and for a moment each day I had the will to think of one thing to be grateful for. I had something in my reserves for the Holy Spirit to work with and it came to the fore at the time I needed it.

God brought me through this depressing year and taught me many valuable lessons. He caused me to rest in Him. He gave me His grace to come through on the other side. He helped me day by day to regain momentum because He knew that someone would need to hear of my brokenness and how God keeps bringing me out! Yes, it is because I am broken why He can use me to minister.

As I come full circle, over the years as I prepare to minister from varying platforms, I keep this scripture in my spirit:

…Be strong and courageous and DO IT. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the house of the LORD is finished.’

1 Chronicles 28:20

I keep this in the back of my mind because even when I don’t feel like moving forward,

Even when I'm hurting physically and otherwise

Even when I don’t feel like preparing another message,

Even when I don’t feel like what I do is important,

Even when I don’t feel courageous,

Even when others cause me to feel like I don’t fit in,

Or meet the standards,

Or look the part,

Or paid the price they think I should pay,

I get up, I pray up, I word up, I suit up and I show up.

I show up by God’s grace and I DO IT. I do it because the work for the house of the Lord is not yet done. I do it because I don’t know who I will meet who needs to see my broken vessel be repaired and be used for God’s glory. I do it because I don't know who will need to see my broken alabaster box of worship poured out. I do it because I don’t know who God will place in my path who may be struggling with a past they think has disqualified them from being used by Him that my story can transform. I don’t know if I will be the one to pray that prayer, or speak that word or give that smile, or to be confident in my own skin and will finally set someone free to do the same.

I give God thanks for the path He brought me through and for the grace and strength to stand as an overcomer and a victor.

Salvation is free to those who will receive. As for the anointing and the call, we pay the price through intense and continuous prayer. We pay the price by choosing to live by the standards of holiness. We pay the price by standing transparently in the truth of who we are in Christ and who He has called us to be. We pay the price by seeing every life experience as something God can turn around for His glory and stay humble as He takes us through our process of preparation. We pay the price by learning to see ourselves not through our own eyes, but through God’s eyes and with His help, yield to becoming all that He has made us to be.