Before I write about my favorite moments of 2021, when I witnessed how the love and power of God heals and transforms lives, I want to share pictures and videos of my other favorite events of 2021. (And having Covid, then pneumonia was NOT one of them!)
Our annual Thanksgiving family picture taking session was fun. As you see we tried to coordinate our colors. In this picture, child #5 is telling child #1 that she should be standing in front of him. (Definitely next year!)
As a wife and mom, the home is my main ministry location. Years ago, I said to myself, “If I pray for and listen to people share their hurts and needs, yet don’t do this for my family, what kind of person am I?” So, even after I ended my 20 year role as a home educator, I tried to stay engaged and available to nurture the spiritual and emotional needs of my main peeps.
January kicked off my new Interview Series – one based on my book, Culture Changers, and the other series “Cultivating Better Days”, is based on Cultivating the Souls of Parents. I interviewed some AMAZING women: Dr. Ivy Bonk who has become a dear friend, Gabby Heusser, Patti Pilkington Reed, and Donna Scott.
It was nice seeing my 101 year old grandfather for a brief time. (click to play)
Kids #1 and #5 after an AAU tournament in VA Beach. That was a fun long weekend!
My friend, Sara Hagerty was SO kind to record her endorsement of Culture Changers. (Her endorsement of Cultivating the Souls of Parents is great too!). Sara has authored many books; her most recent is Adore: A Simple Practice for Experiencing God in the Middle Minutes of Your Day. (click to play brief excerpt)
Hearing Bob Woodson speak in Richmond was a highlight. He is one of the wisest Americans of our day and keeps the discussion of justice and faith center stage.
Besides vacation in North Carolina with my youngest sister’s family, and spending a few days at Smith Mountain Lake where I was invited to speak to Boo Andrews’ bible study, I mentored several women last year–mostly moms, and those vulnerable moments of spiritual freedom are my favorite. Meeting 1-on-1 or in a small group setting with women who want healing from past hurts, freedom from demonic oppression, or a life changing encounter with the Holy Spirit far outweighs these other memories. Experiencing God is priceless. This type of holistic counseling brings fruit that remains. I have no pictures to share…those moments are too private and holy. But here are three testimonies:
Woman #1 – Grew up with an alcoholic mother. Emotional neglect and other horrors colored her childhood and teen years. She participating in a small group that read the book, Soul Care by Dr. Rob Reimer (100% recommend!) and I was asked to lead the ministry time one weekend. God’s hand was gentle and powerful as finally she released pent-up sobs while I extended her a mother’s blessing. She was set free from a spirit of heaviness. Those around her saw an immediate difference in her countenance and manner! (Isaiah 61: 1-3).
Woman #2 – This new college graduate had been physically abused as a little girl. Various family members practiced forms of occult. In order to cope during episodes of abuse, she would “go away in her head and count numbers.” Years later, this escape mechanism led to a degree of obsessive-compulsive disorder that would emerge when challenges came her way. Around week 12 of our meetings, as I prayed, God took her back into a memory, and comforted those hurting parts of her soul. She no longer felt bound to this counting mechanism because God’s Spirit brought closure. (Psalm 34:18)
Woman #3 – Grew up the only child. Compounded loss caused anxiety and depression. She felt hated by her grandmother who practiced voodoo. This woman spent weeks processing generational issues, present grief, sin issues, her identity in Christ before I met with her several times. She found a degree of breakthrough from spiritual oppression, but the most significant fruit that I recall is a simple process that I talk her which helped her regain calm in times of agitation. Learning the benefit of “stillness” (Psalm 46:10) and acknowledging the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Guide in stressful times, minimized the enraged outbursts she had with her kids. This calming exercise began to be a habit that months later she told me she was still doing.
Why Do I Do This?
…because I remember when I was oppressed and emotionally wounded. I grew up in a home where violence lived. At 16, I became born again and salvation was the beginning of my journey toward healing. I’ve experienced the freedom that comes when buried childhood anguish is finally released…with the demons that are attracted to sin, curses, and generational darkness.
2021 reflected my journey and the mission God wants me to continue to extend to others:
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
I started Cultivate A Better Life to bring all that I learned from decades of ministry to the platform of mentoring. I am what is now being called a spiritual director. (A mentor with the component of spiritual insight and prayer ministry.) My #1 goal is to equip mothers with various tools and insight to live out the freedom and healing they receive so that they can walk alongside others who need a touch from God (including their kids)!
Many Christians scoff at the thought of spiritual warfare on a personal level. But Scripture is clear: evil spirits must be dealt with and hurting hearts must be made whole. Individual wholeness has corporate benefits–healthy families and prosperous communities.