Christ…The Reason for the Season

Christ…The Reason for the Season

On an ordinary night while cleaning my kitchen, I heard God speak directly to me. He told me I would donate a life-saving kidney to a man I didn’t know, David Ensley. And that’s exactly what happened.

David and I were a 1-in-20 million miracle. We were such a close physical match we should’ve been siblings. It was as if God made my kidney for him.

After countless tests, my surgical team approved me for the transplant. David’s doctor, however, denied me as a donor. The MRI showed two small arteries on the top of both my kidneys and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to reattach it. If he couldn’t, he couldn’t guarantee how much kidney function would be lost as a result.

David, diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, was in complete renal failure and needed a kidney transplant. He had been on dialysis for many years, but unfortunately, it quit working.

We found out about the denial on Friday afternoon. The following Monday my church had a scheduled monthly healing service. My husband and I had already planned to attend the service with David’s sister, Jennifer, and her husband, Sean, before the news on Friday, so we decided to go regardless. David, too sick to come, stayed home.

Sadly, this was the first time Chuck and I had attended a healing service at our church. Jennifer commented she’d never been to one at hers either. We were willing to try anything because David’s health was rapidly declining, and he needed a new kidney as soon as possible. The only answer I knew was to pray.

Walking into the dimly lit sanctuary, people sat in quiet reflection. The music swirled around the room in a meditative melody. We found a seat toward the back as a minister began reciting healing scriptures. In the background, someone strummed music on a guitar.

As the minister continued to recite scripture, people made their way to the front for laying-on-of-hands and personal prayers from a prayer team member. We waited in line for our turn and then gave the prayer member the condensed version of our story.

Jennifer and I were instructed to sit in chairs facing each other, our knees barely touching as we held hands. Then the two of the prayer members laid hands on us and asked Chuck and Sean to do the same. They prayed, and to be honest, I don’t remember what was said; but a sense of safety, comfort and peace flooded my spirit.

We left there that night with a different perspective. We believed God was in control, and He would heal David with my kidney.

Three days later, David and I were approved for surgery and three weeks later on July 6, 2011, as I walked to the pre-op room before the transplant surgery, I murmured, “Thank you, God!” (Oh and by the way– David’s new kidney functions at 100% even though the doctor couldn’t re-attach the extra artery. God is good!)

I tell you this story because it’s part of my “spiritual legacy.” God works in our lives, and He requires us to shout His miracles from the rooftops.

“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight, what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” Matthew 10:27

What is your spiritual legacy?

Our spiritual legacies are the miracles of Christ in our life. They are the reasons we believe.

With Christmas around the corner, we are reminded of the biggest legacy of all – the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

How has Christ worked in your life? And who have you told?

Maybe you haven’t donated a kidney to a stranger, but maybe you’ve kissed a scraped knee and made it all better. Or maybe you gave your last dollar to someone in need. Or maybe you helped an elderly lady carry her groceries. Or maybe you’ve told your three-year-old the story of Jesus’ birthday.

God instructs us to “teach our children the word of God while we sit at home, when we walk, lie down and get up. We’re to write It on the doorframe of our house and gates so our days and the days of our children will be many.” Deuteronomy 11:19-21

If we don’t tell our children about the miracles of God, who will? A gang member? A drug dealer? A prison guard?

The love of Christ is the “reason for the season.” Be His love.

Tell your family and friends about your spiritual legacy today. Don’t wait…shout it now!







“What I Have I Give to You!”

“What I Have I Give to You!”

Have you ever felt an overwhelming conviction from God’s word that it brought you to your knees? Or have you ever heard your personal story narrated by Matthew, Mark, Luke or even John?

Reading Acts 3, Luke spoke directly to me as if we were the only two people in the room– humbling me to my knees.

The story unfolds shortly after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Peter, a disciple of Jesus, heals a crippled beggar at the temple gate called Beautiful. The man had never walked a day in his life.

Peter said to him, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

And the man got up and walked. People watching were filled with wonder and amazement at what happened to this man.

Then Peter asked, “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”

Like those people, I’ve been filled with the wonder and amazement at miracles I’ve witnessed and like them, I’ve overlooked God at the center.

Early in my walk with God, He asked me to do the impossible – establish transitional housing for battered women and children in my community. He gave me a vision, but I had no idea know where to begin. Unemployed with a young child, God provided me with everything I needed; including the passion and fire to believe Him.

God strategically placed people in my life. I established a small working board, and together we were awarded a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit status. Then we submitted grant proposals for funding– and, surprisingly, people gave us money!

As a high school drop out with only a GED, I had never written anything but failing book reports, so writing grant proposals proved rather intimidating. God, however, uses our weaknesses as His strength.

Next, we found a location and opened the doors to woman and children who needed a safe place to live and time to get back on their feet.

We were breaking the ties of domestic violence and giving families the opportunity to live a life free from violence!

Somewhere along the way, however, I forgot it was through faith in God that I received the power to do what He called me to do and as His instrument, He worked through me – not the other way around. Pride crept in and took up permanent residence in my heart.

I became tired and weary from doing everything on my own. Eventually, the program closed and I walked away from everything – including God.

Years later, I heard God’s voice calling me back home. I started meeting Him again in the mornings to read His word and openly talked with Him. God honored my faithfulness and time by filling my heart with His passion and fire once more.

Not long afterward God asked me to do the impossible again– donate one of my kidneys to a complete stranger.  God had a sense of humor because this time He made sure I couldn’t take credit for any of it. All the miracles that transpired could only have come from Him.

Even the desire to do it, God gave to me. As Peter said, “What I have I give to you.” I didn’t have anything to give until God first gave it to me.

On July 6, 2011, I donated my kidney to David Ensley, a friend of my husband from high school. God created the perfect kidney in me to save his life. We were such a close physical match we should’ve been siblings; although, we had never even met until then. David takes minimal anti-rejection medication as a result of this miracle-match.

Last month, David walked his daughter down the aisle and danced with her at her wedding. Four years ago it wouldn’t have even been a possibility. God is good!

Also in 2008, the YWCA opened Families in Transition, providing families with children long-term housing and intensive support services. God continues to provide for the needs of His children.

Thank you, God, for your faithfulness and Your blessings. Your love continues to amazes me!


My First Prince Charming

My First Prince Charming

Where does the time go? One minute my baby is softly cooing in the crook of my arm and the next I’m meeting his girlfriend’s parents. Life happens fast – unfortunately, it can feel lightening fast.

On his first day of kindergarten I wanted to drive Alex to school but no, not my independent, free-spirited son. He wanted to ride the bus with his friends. So with his Superman lunch box in one hand and an empty backpack flapping behind him, we headed off to the bus stop.

As the bus pulled away, I ran to my car and waited. Then crouching behind the steering wheel, so not to be seen, I followed the bus all the way to the school. He never saw me, as I watched him through tear-drenched eyes, bounce happily through the doors of the school and out of sight.

It’s been that way ever since – I watch, holding my breath, as he leaps from one life adventure to the next.

His first day of college was no different. My husband and I moved him into the dorm and as we left, he waved and said, “Bye mom,” – no fear in his voice, only pure excitement.

This past weekend my mother and I went to visit him, and his girlfriend Catherine, or “Cat,” as she’s affectionately called, in Charleston, South Carolina. They’re both seniors at the College of Charleston and have been dating for almost a year.

We went primarily to support Cat as she participated in the college’s first home equestrian competition of the year. She’s been showing horses in competition events since she was a young girl and has grown into an excellent rider.

Bundled up in warm clothing and rain boots, we trekked out to the “barn” to meet Cat and her parents – not exactly knowing what to expect.

Jim and Therese, of course, were wonderful, and I enjoyed meeting them and becoming friends. But I’m not sure if I was ready for what I witnessed next.

When Alex was a small child, I thought about how he would one day be some lucky girl’s Prince Charming, and I prayed God would bless her. I asked God to help me raise Alex to know how to treat a lady with love and affection, so he would be a man worthy of her love and respect.

Watching Cat and her father, it was apparent that she was daddy’s girl. I saw the love in his eyes as she cantered the horse around the ring. And his face beamed as she accepted sixth place. It didn’t matter if she won or not; she was having fun, and her dad burst with pride at the sight of her.

It was, also, evident by her dad’s actions and comments that he silently questioned whether he trusted Alex with his daughter’s heart. To be honest it bothered me at first, but then I realized, as her dad he should judge her daughter’s boyfriend. One day he would give his daughters hand in marriage to a young man and no matter who it was, he better be worthy of it – including my son.

Being a single mother for many years, Alex was the light of my life. In many ways, he saved me the day he was born. I’ve often thought God knew what He was doing when He blessed me with my son.

Alex will graduate college in the spring, and he will have the world as his playground. It feels like yesterday when I held his hand as we went up and down the stairs a hundred-million times because it was his newest adventure. Although, he may not need to hold my hand anymore, I’m honored as his mother to watch him grow into an amazing man capable of loving, laughing and living life to the fullest – and for me, he will always be my first Prince Charming!

“A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best but his mother the longest.” – Irish Proverb

RESPECT! That’s How My Husband Spells Love

RESPECT! That’s How My Husband Spells Love

Has your spouse ever hurt your feelings? My husband has. I feel like a big, fat whiner writing those words but he did, and what started off as something innocent escalated into a major fight.

I had been working on my new website when unexpectedly, Chuck came home at lunch time to drop something off. Feeling proud about my work I was excited and wanted to show it to him. Innocent enough, right?

Well, I did the one thing he’d always asked me not to do – I yelled for him while he was in another room. Had I gotten up from my desk and walked into the living room, I would’ve seen him opening his box of Bojangles chicken. But instead, I yelled for him to come to me which caused him to react abruptly.

Huffing into the office with a chicken leg in hand, he grumbled, “What?”

“I want to show you my new website,” I said. But of course right at that moment my computer decided not to cooperate and I couldn’t pull the website up. I felt his hot breath on the back of my neck and it wasn’t’ in the romantic way I like either. My fingers flew over the keyboard as I silently prayed for a miracle to open the website quickly.

Finally, the website came to life and I proudly turned my head and met his cold stare. He didn’t say a word and walked back to the living room. I sat there astonished as tears stung the back of my eyes. He didn’t utter a word!

I went into the kitchen and started slamming things around in the hopes he would realize by my banging that he hurt my feelings and needed to apologize. But that didn’t work so I decided to tell him by yelling at him as he entered the kitchen, “You hurt my feelings!”

“Excuse me? How?” he snapped back.

“You didn’t comment on my website– not a ‘that’s nice’ or good job honey’ or ‘I hate it’. You said zilch, notta, nothing.” My voice grew louder with each word and my hands flew around in a fury.  “Why do you have to be so rude and hateful sometimes?” I asked.

Immediately, his response was to attack back with daggers in hand. He said if I would’ve waiting until that evening when he got home, he would’ve given me his undivided attention but instead I had to be my normal presumptuous self and want what I wanted when I wanted it. He was only home for a few minutes and wanted to inhale his lunch before going back to work. From now on he’d tell me everything looked horrible so I would be happy.

Exasperated, I grabbed my purse and keys and left to pick up my mother-in-law for her doctor’s appointment. But not before slamming the front door so hard the windows in reverberation.

Furious I vowed to not talk to him until he apologized. That’s when I heard God tell me I needed to show him forgiveness first.


Did God not witness what just happened? Did He not see how my husband just walked all over my feelings? And He wanted me to say I was sorry?

I stewed for a while and even complained to my mother-in-law about how selfish her son was and how he should make things right with me. But eventually, I conceded to God’s gentle nudging. As I sat in the doctor’s office, I sent Chuck a text ­– I’m sorry and I love you. He replied the same.

“There I did it,” I mumbled to God under my breath.  But I didn’t forgive or let it go.

That night I was griped with a terrible migraine. I decided to mediate to get rid of it. During the mediation God revealed my selfishness and how I set both Chuck and me up to fail. I knew Chuck didn’t like for me to call for him from another room. If I had gotten up from my desk and walked into the living room I would’ve seen him sitting down to eat lunch and I probably would’ve waiting for a better time to ask him to look at my website–argument and hurt feelings avoided. But instead, I disrespected my husband which caused him to react unkindly towards me. Granted he could’ve been more loving but I could’ve been too.

Learning to love my husband the way he needs to be loved, and the way God intended, is a daily work in progress. Thankfully, God is patient, loving and gentle in his ways of rebuke. He calmly told me I needed to learn to respect my husband and his requests. In return, I will get the love and compassion I need from him.

Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to how to love my husband by showing respect for his time and his requests.

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