In my online class we had a discussion about perceptions we give other people, and oddly enough segues beautifully into a testimony about when I first got saved which I will now share with you.
Somehow the conversation veered toward per pressure and how people see you and what we do in order to impress others, and how are our fear holds us back, we are supposed to. Wait for it this is going to be good.
I got saved my sophomore year of high school. This story takes place after I was already saved. Some of you may know I intended Mariner High School (Go Tritons!) Anyways in the middle of the courtyard there was a small group of people gathered around the belltower holding hands and praying each morning.
Shortly after I got saved the Lord kept telling me to go pray with Them. Most of your Christians so some of you might think that’s no big deal, but in my world it was huge! I was a new Christian and these people got ridiculed each day. I would hear my friends Rippons on them each morning. Some people would throw things at them, many would hurl insults there was even a gentleman who would walk up and growl for no reason don’t ask me why. Going up to that group would be the equivalent of social suicide, especially in my circle of friends. For one solitary week I heard God saying go, and I kept refusing to obey.
The last day of the week I will never forget this as long as I live. The Holy Spirit came upon me so strong my entire body would not stop shaking. It was almost as if a living flame invoked my body pushing me towards that circle, and I was still adamant not to go, but I could deny it no longer.
I remember asking several of my friends to go up there with me each one saying “absolutely no.” “Are you kidding me I’m not going up there with those freaks!” “Dee Dee if you want to go so badly go yourself,” so I did.
They were already deep in prayer and I remember grabbing one of their hands and joining the circle. Unbeknownst to me at the time one of the hands I grabbed was Michaels. How incredible was the moment I met my husband was in a prayer circle that God was pushing me towards. I remember shaking, crying, and praying.
When the bell rang everybody introduce themselves to me. Michael and I had our lockers right next to each other so we walked all the way there establishing a relationship that would last for the next 17 years and beyond. The next day at school all of my so-called friends never wanted to have anything to do with me again, and I became the subject of cruel jokes and ridicule. For the next three months I was constantly getting made fun of, but during that time I was getting ever closer to God.
I don’t remember what it was but I’ll never forget this moment. I was in Mr. Stackhouse’s class. He was my history teacher, and he only had one leg sometimes he would take it off and pass it around class, he was very cool. We had some free time and people were just doing whatever, there was also a movie going on and the lights were dimed low.
I decided I just wanted to read my Bible so I went behind his desk because his computer light was the perfect glow in order for me to see the pages clearly. It wasn’t long before the class figured out what I was doing, and pretty soon the entire class was making fun of me. And the funny thing is when this finally dawned on me it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Nothing was going to stop me from doing what God wanted me to do. Mr. Stackhouse bless his little heart told class to leave me alone and let that poor girl read her Bible. He was a good old Baptist teacher .
As I did this assignment in my online class I explain this in one of my discussion post. Not only was I able to bring God into my assignment, but it also touched my teacher’s heart as well. The take home note here is there are going to be many times that God is going to have you do something that you don’t want to do. It’s gonna be uncomfortable, it’s gonna be scary, it’s going to be unfamiliar, but when God speaks we need to listen. When God asked us to do something we need to not hesitate.
Can you imagine if I completely refused on that day? I never would’ve met my husband. I never would’ve met Nathan Goss, or Vanessa Cash , or Nick. These were people that became really good friends in high school. They kept me out of trouble, we’re there for me when I needed them. I practically lived at Nates house for a long time. His dad was the pastor at Faith Assembly and still is, and they would take me to church with them all time. I practically lived at faith assembly lol. It was those times I spent in that household that I’ve learned what a real family was supposed to act like. When I was around these people it felt like I could breathe and before it almost felt like I was suffocating.
God knew what I needed back then. He knew I needed these people in my life, you know how my life would go if I didn’t. Thank goodness I Listened, and thank goodness God never once gave up on me.
If God is telling you to do something (not to rip a slogan from Nike but seriously) just do it, and trust me don’t hesitate he knows what’s best for you. Better than you do. Let go and let God lead your life and everything else will fall into place.
This is been a service announcement by your local Kiwi, everybody have a blessed day I got to say Hip Hip Horray!
Sunday, May 6, 2012
I just wanted to take some time and share with you all what I God has done with me over this last week, the ladies is retreat was incredible, and if I were to give you a play-by-play of all the things that God has done this weekend I might as will write a book lol. Instead here are the highlights.
Let me take you back to Thursday night, and as we sing praises to the Holy Spirit God began to move. I didn’t get past the first song before I broke into tears. Now it’s not uncommon for me to break into tears during worship, but it usually takes me a while to get there. This was different. This was holy crap what just happened, and God spoke to me, and told me he was already preparing my heart for what was going to happen that night. As I cried I felt unworthy. I mean how could God love me? I mean after everything I’ve done. I’m always messing up. He told me his exact words honestly. “I hate to break it to you, but you are always going to mess up. But no matter how many times you falter I will always forgive you.” Then he asked me” when Stephen messes up to our forgive him?” I said “yes Lord.” Then he asked “is there anything Stephen could possibly do that you would not be able to forgive him?” And I said “no Lord nothing.” Then he told me” then how much more is the love I have for you, how much more will I forgive you. You are my child and I love you, and the love and forgiveness I have for you is more than what your mind can possibly comprehend.”
As we got into the service and Marsha started speaking. At one point she threw out that even if people make you feel stupid. Well this brought my mind in a whole different direction. In case some of you don’t know I’m dyslexic. I can’t spell to save my life, sometimes I read things incorrectly; because, my mind sees them differently. Sometimes I read numbers backwards. It’s been a struggle for me my entire life. Now I’m back in school, and even though I’m getting good grades in the back of my mind I get down on myself. What if I pass, and am working in the field and I can’t do this? Spelling is a major hindrance for me. Right now I’m using my microphone, but if I were typing this all out it would almost look like some foreign language that no one would be able to decipher except perhaps my Rockstar Carrot.
So anyways this is all going on in my head. Then God told me I was smart, not only was I smart, I was worthy, I was his child, and he called me to be a medical assistant. This was not a career path I chosen for myself. This was something that God himself told me to do and I just followed strictly in faith. He told me” I will empower you, and I will work through you, and you will do amazing things not by your own power but by mine.” This was a dream that God is placed inside my heart among many others. Then Marcia began to pray for everyone, and God told me to go get prayed for. He spoke to me and said. “When she lays her hands and prays for you I will reaffirm what I’ve already told you through her.” As she began to pray she told me my dreams are being hindered, but God is going to bring them to pass he is going to awaken dreams in me that even I had forgotten I had. And let me just tell you he’s doing that now. I knew exactly what she was talking about. After she prayed I started thinking about Michael and how I long for him to come back to the Lord, and as I was thinking that she said. Someone here is praying hard for someone at home and God wants me to tell you that he is sending ministering angels to you and to the person back home because God is working! Needless to say not my will but his, not my strength but his, not my capability but his, he is empowering me to do his well and with him I will move mountains!! God is going to do amazing things in my life. He loves me, and even though I may not have the strength or capability to do these things he does!!!
There is a bunch more stuff that happened, but I won’t get into that. I just want to share with you one more thing that happened at their retreat. There’s a lake there and we decided to hike up to it. I guess we took the long way because it was like at least an hour walk up hills down terrain, but it was completely worth it; because, when we reached the lake, with the trees, the hills. It was so tranquil, majestic, breathtaking, view I have seen in a long time. I took pictures, but I know they will not do them justice. Anyways we went with a big group, but I wind up walking back alone, and as I walked a had a conversation with the Lord. That week my face broke out. Maybe that’s an understatement; because, I haven’t had a bad break out this bad in forever. Makeup just seemed to make it worse, so needless to say I was self-conscious about my complexion. I’ve been trying to lose weight, but it’s been a struggle. I’ve lost quite a bit, but not fast enough for my taste, so I had been struggling with that, and then there’s always my smile, from a young age my teeth have always been messed up. The last time I was at the dentist they were attempting to fix the problem. They told me “well will have to break your jaw three times, but even after we do this there still not 100% guarantee that your teeth will be straight.” To which I replied “I guess I’m going to live with fangs” lol.
I know many people might not notice, but it is self-conscious for me. Especially every time I smile. I kept thinking of my family even my sisters and they all have such pretty smiles, but my smile is something I’ve always been self-conscious about. So I went on this whole rant to God about all of these things, and how I might not be the most prettiest girl but im trying. This is when God rip me a new one. And told me “if you could only see how I see you. You’re beautiful. You’re my child and I love you.” I confess this all during testimonies. So this entire conversation I hadn’t with God I explained to the entire group. It was extremely hard for me to be that vulnerable expressing something that I normally would not talk about with anyone. When I got to what God had told me I broke down, and then something unexpected happened. So many different women came up to me expressing how they see me, and how they find me beautiful. I’m crying right now just going over how they describe me; because, I don’t see myself that way. I know a lot of women are self-conscious about this. And maybe many of them feel how I do which is why I thought it was important to share, but self-esteem has never been something I’ve had. Even back when I did not struggle with a weight issue, and I was super thin I still felt unattractive. So after a long talk Marsha brought up these T-shirts. They were purple with the letters beautiful all in silver glitter on them. They had made them for their beautiful tour, and everybody was going to buy one, so we can wear it Sunday. My Carrot told me she was buying me a T-shirt, and gave me the money. The only problem was they ran out of my size. They didn’t have the size up and everything else was too small. I gave the money back to Terra and told her they didn’t have my size anymore. Marsha was there and she was like we have some in the car, I said they already brought those out they no longer have it. I told her it was okay, but honestly in my mind I was thinking. I should be wearing the shirt anyway. Almost like I was unworthy and not beautiful then she told me that she was going to drive back to the office to get me and shirt. I was lately over well her office is like 45 minutes away. It was already 11 o’clock at night, and she was going to drive all the way just so I could have a T-shirt to wear Sunday morning. I felt so special and honored and humbled that she would do this just for me. It meant so much to me. So that Sunday I wasn’t alone and everybody had our beautiful shirts on. God is still working with me. And I know it can take some time, I like my mom’s analogy where I feel like a rock. I’ve got rough edges, a dark and jagged, but God is chipping away at me. Buffing away all the imperfections until there’s a perfect shining diamond, and I will be shining bright. Not because of my own awesomeness but because the son of God lives in me is shining bright through me, and because he is awesome therefore I become awesome.
So I challenge you all to dwell in awesome presents of the Lord, and share your testimony with someone; because, you never know what they might be going through, and what you tell them might just be the encouragement they need.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Back in the day I think I might’ve been Stephen’s age around, 11, or 12 years old. My dad and Jennifer and my brothers and dogs and my great grandma were all piled in the van on a road trip. We were headed to Kentucky. I remember there where a lot arguments, people getting in trouble, and car games, but there was also stops on the way up there, and the one that rings true in my memory is when we stopped at a local waffle House. For years I have despise waffle houses all because of this one experience I had when I was a little. I remember going through the doors and the smell hitting me like a tide of bricks. It was so cloudy that my eyes began to water. You see back then it was common for people to smoke inside restaurants, and that smell may me queasy. Everything we got at waffle House tasted like he came out of an ashtray. I remember getting sick, and threw up, and was dizzy for a few hours after we left the establishment.
For many years anytime anyone in would mention waffle House. That imagery would ring clear in my memory. It was a very bad memory, and even today I could still smell the decrepit stench of smoke. Well today I did something I never thought I would do I found myself going to a waffle House. It was between waffle House in Cracker Barrel, and my friend Carrot and I had just had Cracker Barrel yesterday, so Stephen and I decided we were going to try it. I won’t lie to you I was a bit apprehensive of even stepping inside the restaurant; because, even though I know they are no longer allowed to smoke inside restaurants, that memory still hunts me till this day.
As we entered it looked like one of those old-school diners. Almost brought me back to a time when I was a little Kid. Around the age of seven or eight my mom would take me to school. On the way to school we would stop at this old diner. Sometimes my grandpa would join us. Everyone knew was there, and in time they knew what I wanted. I would simply go to the waitress and asked her for my usual. That consisting of French toast, bacon, and orange juice. As I walked in the waffle House doors this bought that memory flooding back. We sat down at a booth and gazed through the menu. Everything was extremely cheap. Which could have been one or two things, either it was a really good deal, or to the food sucked so bad that they were trying to compensate. Stephen wind up getting a whole meal that consisted of chocolate chip waffle with whipped cream, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast, and a hot chocolate. I got a baby burger that was a dollar, and a 99 cent orange juice. I also helped Stephen with some of his. We also got another baby burger for Stephen to take home for dinner later that day. In the end our Bill was under $13. So now I am down with waffle House.
Why tell you this incredible story; because, this got me thinking. For years I didn’t go somewhere because of a bad experience I had when I was little. That one experience kept me from ever wanting to try to go in another waffle House again. Let’s dig deep we’ve all had experiences in our life’s. Sometimes they’re a lot more horrific than a bad dining experience. Example: “I got my heart broken why should I ever want to attempt to have another relationship so I could feel that pain again?” (Does that sound familiar?) Or “you don’t understand what they did to me at that church. They’re all a bunch of hypocrites! Im never going to another church again” (am I hitting a nerve yet?) “Sorry I can’t do that. I tried a one time and it was a total disaster.” “I’m afraid they’re going to laugh at me. I’m afraid of what will happen if I say something to them about Jesus”
Things happen in our lives that we can’t change. Experiences happened that define us and shape us to the people that we are today. Without them we would be empty shells of people who would’ve should’ve but didn’t. This is just a simple waffle House experience that will definitely get repeated, but maybe there are experiences in your own life that go way deeper, and God is asking you to give it another shot. Don’t miss out on the blessings God has for you because of a past experience. You never know how trying something again may turn out.
This is the Kiwi please go free to leave any comments –peace out-
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I saw Jesus today
I saw Jesus today standing in the street. He had no shoes upon his swollen, hurting feet. His clothes were covered in rips and mud, and in his hands boar a sign. My heart began to ache as I read out loud what it said. “Hungry will work for food” why did nobody help? Why was he all alone? How could they just pass him by? I did not understand. Why we all would pass by, and disregard the son of man.
I saw Jesus today sitting in a jail. His face was old, and lonely. The markings were all clear. No one came near him. Nowhere were visitors near. I could not believe my eyes. Why was he treated this way? Would no one come and visit him to brighten up his day?
I saw Jesus today standing in the rain. Nowhere was there shelter. He had no place to rest. I did not understand why no one invited him home, invited him to say. This is Jesus after all! Our Savior remember? The one who died for us! The one who set us free! Why are all you doing this? How can you be so mean?
And then like lightning it struck me. I do this all the time. Jesus is here in every face I see, and when I reject them. I’m rejecting he. He who made me as I am. The one we say we love, but if we really do why can’t we show the kindness he would give? To someone who is hungry. To someone who’s in jail, for someone with no place to rest their weary head.
Why can’t we? That’s easy. Our eyes are closed to see. We sometimes forget what Jesus would do, for those who are in need. He would help them, and show his love. We need to do the same, and remember he saved our souls. He set each of us free. Shouldn’t we proclaim that to the world? I mean hey it’s only eternity.
By Deanna Bridges
It happened so suddenly
It happened so suddenly. The day that I died; there was nowhere to run, no place I could hide. Why did I choose to live in such sin? If I could go back I would change I swear! I would right all my wrongs. I would walk in the light, but…
It happened so suddenly
I didn’t have time! Now look at me all covered in sin. There’s no way the Savior will ever let me in, and why should he, when I didn’t even care. I lived how I wanted. I knew where it would lead. My heart didn’t feel guilty, and my mind was consumed with greed. Not for any riches or wealth, but that of my life, and vision of self. The part of me who just wanted some fun, but…
It happened so suddenly
Now I’m in hell. Sin is fun for a season it’s true, but I just could not help to think what would Jesus do. He gave his own life so I could be free, so I could be with him for all eternity. He loved me so much. I was his son, and now look at all the damage I’ve done! I have betrayed my only true friend, and turn my back never to look at him again. I cared more about the fun I was having. I did not realize how little I had. Im young, I’m healthy, I have all the time in the world. What a foolish notion! Where was my head? Time was never on my side. If only I had listened to all those people who told me what I already knew.
It happened so suddenly
My life is no more. No longer the light I see. My home is in darkness. My life is in pain. No longer will I dance in the rain, or feel the love consume my heart, or be with my savior for we are apart. I’m sorry, but sorry came too late. You won’t see me at the pearly gates. Mom dad forgive me I didn’t realize
it would happen so suddenly.
For I went astray, I just didn’t think it would happen this way. I bid you farewell. There’s nothing more to say. This is the path I’ve chosen. My sin was so long. My death came so quit. If I could give you some advice follow the Lord. Don’t go astray, or you could be where I am today; because, life is too short to live in the wrong, and why would you when you could follow the light, so just remember what I say. There’s no way to foresee your fate. For me it was suddenly and way too late.
By Deanna Bridges
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Ok so we had to do this Journal for English class, and use this quote, and it had to be personal so um this is what I came up with… um what do u think?
A man who carries a cat by the Tail learns something he can only learn in no other way
One of the biggest lessons I have learned if I want to sit down and really think about it would have to be a spiritual one; before, I was saved there was a lot of horrible stuff going down, “Cliff Notes version” Because otherwise I could be here all day. The gist of it was I dealing with evil spirits, and my dad from time to time getting possessed and trying to kill me. The most significant memory I can recall was the most terrifying experience I ever had with my father. I can picture it all like it just happened yesterday.
I needed thank you cards. That’s how it started something so small. I remembered I had some people at school, and church that had really helped me out and I thought it would be nice to give them a thank you card. My mom had bought a whole box of them, and told me anytime I needed one to just ask her. I walked across the house to my mother's bedroom. The door was closed and Metallica was blasting on my mom’s stereo. I knocked on the door and my mom appeared in a Towel with a big smiled on her face. “What can I do for you Sweet pea?” She asked. I asked her for the thank you cards, and she told me it was no problem. She went in the room and picked up a bundle and, handed it over to me. I told her thank you, and I began to walk slowly to my room, but before I got there my stepfather was sitting in his favorite chair with a fresh beer in hand, and he had this look on his face it was filled with such anger. I literally started to shake under his hateful gaze. He looked at me, and with a deep raspy voice spewed out what the ---- are you doing? I hated when he got this way; I knew the only safe thing to do was to speak slowly, so in a soft voice not to arouse his anger I told him I had asked mom for some thank you cards. Then in that same low deep voice he said who the ---- are you going to thank? I explained just some people from church and school. I remember walking even more slowly to my room. I didn’t want him to think I was being disrespectful. I breathed a sigh of relief when I passed the threshold of my bedroom. I began to close the door; I was very careful to close it so silently, so you didn't even realize I had closed it. I didn’t want him to think I was slamming the door, and make him more upset with me. I remember Feeling better about being in my safe room. I laid the cards in the middle of my bedroom floor, and sat down Indian style. That’s when I heard a loud bang almost like a gunshot. I turned around jumping to my feet, and looked at my bed. There in the middle of my mattress was a doorknob. It shocked me. The doorknob was in one complete piece. It was just sitting in the middle of my bed, as if someone had just laid it there ready to be installed. I then turned to the door to see a big hole where the doorknob used to be. He must have punched it I thought, but at that moment fear took hold of me. My stepfather was coming at me. His face was blank, and it held such hatred; it almost seemed to radiate in waves off him. The thing that frightened me most was his eyes. Normally his eyes are hazel, gray, sometimes blue, or a mixture of both, but at that precise moment his eyes were black. Not just any black, but a black I had never seen before. If evil had a color it would’ve been that shade of black. In that moment I knew he was going to kill me. I was never so terrified in all my life. I never screamed; I wasn’t that kind of girl, but in that moment I let out a blood wrenching scream that people must've heard from blocks off. My mother came rushing in yelling and cussing, and screaming about what was going on. She took one look at her me, and then at my dad, and then she started yelling at him. I ran to the car, and my mom took me to church for choir practice, and then someone drooped me off at Publix where my mom worked till she got off around 2 am. I could not be in that house alone with him. That’s just one of the many instances I was dealing with.
Before I accepted Christ there were a lot of roads I went through to try to rectify the problem. I turned to friends who were involved in the occult, and I even tried to take some of it on myself. It only made matters worse. Our house was consumed with a darkness that seemed impossible to fight. Objects flew on their own record. Cast of black smoke would appear often, and not to mention anger, fear, and hopelessness consumed us all. Let’s just say nothing I try to do in my own power worked. Then I met Jesus and everything changed. Before I got saved I tried to kill myself. Not my most proudest moment, but that’s how lost and broken I was. I couldn’t deal with my father’s abuse, or all the evil that surrounded me. Darkness was all around me, and it seemed I was doomed to a life of gloom and despair. Then something amazing happened. Jesus came into my life; he chased away the darkness, and filled me with his light. Now I was complete and whole. It baffles me that all I needed to do to get rid of evil was use his name. “In Jesus name Flee” And they were gone. There was no big hocus-pocus; just a simple faith and belief. It wasn’t an instantaneous victory. It took months of practice. I had to learn how to trust, to believe, and to have faith. It was definitely a process, but after I learned how to properly cast out evil from my house, and in my own life there were a lot of spiritual tests. Evil things weren’t happy that I had found this new faith in Jesus Christ. I got hit with a tidal wave of badness. It was like a domino effect. One little domino of wrongness fell down, and oh look he brought all his friends! Between physically and mentally even in my dreams I was being tested. It was sink or swim, and I struggled kicking and screaming all the way to the surface. I’m happy to report I came out victorious, but the battle is far from over, and I still have a lot to learn, so going back to our original Quote about a lesson that I’ve learned, and that only by going through it could I have prevailed. In my mind that was the most significantly important one I will ever lean; because, it not only saved my life it also saved my future for all eternity.