Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Encouraged To Live On!

On an almost daily basis, I continue to be reminded of how much of God's will it was for me to write I Shall Not Die. I recently celebrated another anniversary of the release this book, marking two years that it has been available to the reading public, and I still receive a regular flow of correspondences from readers who are being encouraged, inspired, and otherwise blessed by the message of my life's testimony.
I appreciate and am humbled by nearly every note I recieve; however, every now and then, I get a message from a reader that I'll ask permission to share with others. Just a couple of days ago, I opened my private Facebook message box, and read the following response a young lady who was in the process of being ministered to by I Shall Not Die. It warmed my heart, and I wanted to post a portion of it here for those of you who follow my blog.

Here it is...

Lord, Lord, Lord...I am reading "I Shall Not Die" (and now crying, as I listen to Jason Nelson's, "I Shall Live"). You have no idea, no idea, no idea, how your book is blessing me. I actually borrowed it from my local library last year AND LOST IT BEFORE I HAD A CHANCE TO READ IT! I had to pay for it (that's what I get for not purchasing it-LOL). I finally got it for my Nook & haven't been able to put it down. There are SO many messages for me personally in it. God is actually speaking to me through the words that you have penned. AMAZING! I plan to tell you all about them once I'm done reading, crying & processing it all. YOU are an amazing writer. I have read every one of your books & anxiously await each one. I pray that God will continue to use you for His glory. Be blessed!

This sister's note touched me on many levels, and I can hardly wait for her to share the rest of her personal story with me. When I read of her encouragement, it somehow served as a reminder to me of what I've been through and Who was my keeper throughout it. You see, in recent months, my life has gone through additional major changes. At the time I wrote I Shall Not Die, I didn't have a clue that this experience lay ahead . . . but God did. He prepared me for the pending storm even when I didn't know He was preparing me. This experience was one that was capable of breaking me, but God didn't allow it. It could have metaphorically killed me, but . . . 
phrase from a once-popular gospel song says, "Sometimes you have to encourage yourself." I found that to be particularly true as I praised God for another soul that had been blessed by the book that He ordered me to write. It was during that moment of praise that I was led to pick up my personal copy of I Shall Not Die and to begin re-reading my own written words. In doing so, I encouraged myself. 
I truly love the Lord. It is because of Him that I am encouraged on a daily basis to LIVE...LIVE...and LIVE some more. Are you with me?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Letter From A Reader...

Late last night, a young lady named Vivian, from Brooklyn, New York sent a private message to me through Facebook, regarding I Shall Not Die that deeply touched me. It wasn't so much what she wrote as it was the heartfelt manner in which I believe she wrote it. She didn't say a whole lot or reveal the intricate details of how the book touched her, but as I read the brief note, it was literally as though God was allowing me to feel the emotions she was feeling as she typed it, and it brought me to tears. The Holy Spirit assured me that I Shall Not Die had done something life changing for this sister, and that even deeper words - words that she didn't express in detail -were hidden between the lines of what she expressed. Knowing that brought me joy unspeakable.

This email represents a sample of the many notes that have poured in since this book was released a little less than a year ago. Feeback like this is why I hold to what I said in my earlier blog entry: I Shall Not Die is a winner no matter what. Even if it does not win the national award that it is now in the running for, it has won hearts and souls for the Kingdom, and that's an award that can't be surpassed.

Ms. Vivian's note touched me so deeply, that I asked her if I could share it on this blog. She readily granted permission, and I hope that as you read it, you will at least feel a fraction of the overwhelming gratefulness that I do. The Lord has confimed many times over that it was indeed His order and His will for this book to be written so that it could be a blessing to many. To God be the glory...

Grace and Peace Mrs. Bellamy,

I beg your pardon for intruding on your personal page. I stopped by to say "thank you." I have just this moment finished with the reading of "I Shall Not Die."

I am struggling to put into words my emotions right now, realizing that I would have more than likely been better off sending this message later because of the raw emotions I am experiencing at this time. So I will simply say again thank you for sharing your story and experience.

The sharing of "I Shall Not Die" helped me to release feelings I did not recognize existed within me until I finished your story.

I purchased my copy through my Kindle. I will be purchasing books to share with friends I believe will benefit from the reading of your story.

It is my prayer for you that you will continue to operate under the Divine gifts imparted unto you by our Father. Your stories have always made my reading times so pleasurable, but this story opened my heart to true forgiveness and understanding.

May the Lord send down an abundance of blessings to you and your family.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Humbled, Grateful, and a Winner No Matter What!

It's no longer a secret. I've told about everyone I know, in some form or another (email, blog, Facebook, text message, Internet interview, radio interview, face-to-face conversation, telephone chat, etc.) that I finally have an answer to a question that I've been asked numerous times over the years. That question is: "Among your books, which of them is your personal favorite?" My answer to that question had always been, "I have favorite characters, but not favorite books. Asking me which is my favorite book is like asking me which of my daughters is my favorite child. It's impossible to answer. I love them all the same."

My answer to that changed from the very moment that I placed that last period on the final sentence of I Shall Not Die, my first nonfiction title that released on October 1, 2010. Each of the eighteen (18) titles that I have written and published to date are very dear to me, but for many reasons, I Shall Not Die holds a special place in my heart that none of my fictional titles have captured. The testimonies that have flooded in from readers of how the book has blessed them and changed their lives for the better, have been humbling to say the least. Just hearing the constant testimonies and reading the online feedback alone is reward enough for me.

But that doesn't take away the thrill that I received when I first heard that I Shall Not Die was named a finalist to receive the "Best Nonfiction of the Year Award" from The African American Literary Awards Show in New York. The news actually brought tears to my eyes; an emotional reaction that has never happened before in all of the other awards (or award nominations) that I've received for books through the years. I'm grateful for every accolade of any kind that I've ever received, but this one had an especially moving affect on me. I know that being able to claim this particular win will mean more to me than words will be able to express.

Will you help secure this accomplishment for I Shall Not Die? This is the last week for votes to be cast. The public announcement of the winner will be made on Thursday, September 22nd, but no votes will be accepted after Friday, September 2nd. Please click the African American Literary Award Show link in the paragraph above, or copy and paste in your browser and cast your vote there. Even if you have voted before, please try to vote again. Several people have said that they have been able to vote numerous times (at least once per week), so don't let a previous vote stop you from trying again. The competition in this category is fierce, and I will need all of the support that I can get.

As always, thank you kindly for your consideration and your unwavering support. It is genuinely appreciated. Whether I walk away with this 2011 literary title or not, I will still feel like a winner. This book has been used as a tool to win souls for Christ, and with a testimony like that, there is no way I can feel like I've lost. Even so . . . if I Shall Not Die is chosen as the Best Nonfiction of the Year, you can best believe that I'll be shouting and giving God the glory! :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Brink of a Breakthrough

Have you ever felt as though you were on the brink of a breakthrough, but you weren't sure exactly what that breakthrough was...or how close to the brink of it that you were? Over the recent months, that's the way I have felt regarding the work of I Shall Not Die (the book) and The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement (the ministry). A series of things have happened since my last blog entry, and not all of those things have been good. Well...let me rephrase that. All of them didn't fit my definition of good. Despite that, I know that all of them have worked together for the good of the ministry itself (Romans 8:28). There have been some challenges that were (and in some cases, still are) a weight for me. However, if I have learned anything in my 44 years of living, my 32 years of living for Christ, and my 23 years of working in ministry; it is that the strength that we gain along this Christian journey is often a direct result of the weights we come in contact with in the process. But thanks be to God who is our refuge and strength; a very present help in our time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Because of Him, we never have to bear our burdens alone. God is good!

With that said, I am blessed to report that with the help of the Lord, the message of "I Shall Not Die" is still going strong despite every trick that that the enemy has tried to create. A steady stream of books have been sold in hardcopy and in electronic (e-book) format. One hundred percent of the reviews left on have been favorable, and most importantly, hearts and souls continue to be blessed and empowered. I could not ask for more, yet, because the ministry is on the brink of a breakthrough, I know that more is on the way. God is not finished, and I am bracing myself everyday (through prayer) for what lies ahead. No doubt, it's going to blow a few minds...perhaps even my own. :-)

But as I "sit in the waiting room," I am continuing to work toward those things that I know to be in order for I Shall Not Die. And one of those things is the 2nd Bi-Annual I.S.L.A.N.D. Conference. The first empowerment conference launched in October of 2010 at the same time of the book's official unveiling. It was a one-night worship and arts conference that was an awesome move of God. I am still in the early planning stages of next year's conference, but the tentative dates are October 11-13, 2012, and it will be held in metropolitan Atlanta, GA. The location and other specifics will be uploaded to the Conference link of the website as they become available. I hope you will make plans to attend. The conference will include musical performances by Stellar Award winning artists, a prayer breakfast with a nationally known keynote speaker, praise dancing and mime ministry by award-winning artists, a women's empowerment session, sponsored by Gospel Girls Study Group, a vending opportunity (books, CD's, T-shirts, etc.) sponsored by M-PACT Writers, and much, much more. Of course, it will all be capped off with a powerful worship service wherein another renown speaker will feed us with a good Word from the Lord. The early registration discount will be too good to pass up. Even deeper discounts will be available exclusively to VIP's (VIsion Partners) of The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement. As soon as we have more solid information regarding the venue, registration lines will be open.

Look for more details in the coming months. The ministry and message of I Shall Not Die is on the brink of a breakthrough. To God be the glory!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Season...A New Day

To go into all the intricate details of the exciting direction in which God is taking my writing ministry would be a premature move on my part. Not only that, but it would make this long overdue blog entry far too lengthy. But suffice it to say, my first nonfiction, I Shall Not Die is playing a great role in my movement toward this new phase of my life and career. So much has transpired since the release of this book last much has happened since my last posting to this blog. God has been good, and He has kept the promises He made long before I began penning I Shall Not Die. He assured me that if I followed His direction, obeyed His voice, and wrote the book that was birthed from my own life's greatest trial, He would see to it that I Shall Not Die would bless many. And indeed it has...including me.
Emails, letters, and phone calls have come in a steady stream. Readers have found lost faith, renewed strength, and new reasons to live by way of I Shall Not Die. The sales of both the hardcopy and E-book versions have exceeded my expectations. The posted reviews on have been overwhelming, and the Facebook posts and private notes have been more than humbling. As I've digested the magnitude of it all, there have been many days that I've found myself in tears. It has brought me to my knees...literally as I have thanked God repeatedly for His grace and favor. Door after door has been opened for The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement - the motivational ministry that was birthed from I Shall Not Die - since I obeyed God's voice and wrote the book that He inspired over fifteen years ago. I've been in awe of the move of the Holy Spirit as I have traveled to bring the message of LIFE to people everywhere.
My 2011 calendar has more speaking engagements lined up on it than I've ever had in past years. From Mississippi to the nation's capital of Washington DC; from my home state of Georgia to the state of North Carolina; from Maryland to Lousiana and more. Even dates in 2012 have already been booked as I'm being contacted by organizations and ministries to come and serve as keynote speaker for their special events. Even as I type this blog entry, I'm overwhelmed.
A little known fact about me is that I've been a licensed minister since the age of 21. The pulpit (or stage for that matter) has never been my comfort zone. When I began publishing books in 2002, I saw it as a way to minister without the mic. But lo and behold, in a manner in which only He could orchestrate, the Lord has brought my life full circle, and I'm being placed in the position to exercise the ministry (in the form of empowerment speaking) that was bestowed on me by Him many years ago. Sometimes we have to come out of those comfort zones to completely fulfill our purpose. And now, though standing in front of a crowd may very well never feel like second nature to me, it has become an assignment that I have embraced with joy, and I feel blessed every time my presence is requested to share the gospel of Christ; even if it is on the level of teaching others how to write their own life's tests in a manner wherein it will testify to those who read it.
I am so very grateful for this new season and this new day in my life. Stay tuned. More will be revelealed when the time is right. In the meantime, check the calendar on my website and/or connect with me on Facebook so that you can be made aware of my whereabouts as I travel the globe speaking, facilitating, signing books, etc. If I'm ever in or around your area, please join me!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Something For Which To Be Thankful

On the United States calendar, today is marked as Thanksgiving. Originally, it was sited as a Christian holiday, but oddly enough, it is now largely viewed as a secular holiday; a day of harvest and festival. I prefer to see it from the Christian angle because whenever I think of giving thanks, I immediately think of God. If anyone deserves a special day of appreciation, it is the creator of all things and the giver of life.
Life. More and more, that one simple, yet powerful, word seems to take a front seat in my every day existence. This year, one of the things for which I'm most grateful is the release of my most recent book (my first nonfiction), I Shall Not Die, and the launch of its partnering empowerment ministry, The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement. As I've repeatedly stated during speaking engagements as well as in my writings regarding I Shall Not Die, it is my seventeenth published work, but it is actually the first book that I was inspired to write. It was one that God ordered in 1995, but one that I'd fought against penning until 2009. Yet, despite my procrastination, when I finally obeyed the voice of the Lord and finally got it into print this year, He blessed it beyond my imagination. Truly, just as He promised in scripture (Ephesians 3:20), God has done exceeding abundantly above all that I asked or thought.
Through I Shall Not Die and The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement, many doors have opened for me to share the message of this book that is based on my own true life miracle and experiences. I should have been dead a long time ago, but God said not so, and even through the loss that I suffered, God still gave life. I Shall Not Die has been available to the public for less than two months, but the testimony that it shares has blessed many people in that relatively short span of time. I'm thrilled by the feedback that I have received in the form of Facebook postings, private emails, telephone calls, and online reviews. Additionally, I Shall Not Die has captured the heart of an independent documentarian who has plans to turn it into a televised documentary. How humbling it is to be used of God to share the message of hope with the world.
At the start of my writing career in 2002, I promised the Lord that I would use this gift He gave me to His honor and glory. I have declared that it will be all about ministy, and over the years, various outside temptations have come my way to try to distract me. Everything from a would-be publishers request for me to change my writing style so that my stories appeal to a more secular audience to the lucrative offer from another would-be publisher if I would agree to operate under a pen name and write erotica. My answer to both of these was an emphatic NO. Sure, it would have brought me a certain level of fame and fortune, but what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? My declaration remains the same. This gift that God has given me is all about ministry, and whatever notariety I don't gain doing it God's way, I won't gain. And I have no regrets.
I am so thankful for where I am, because I know that I am is where God wants me to be at this present time. And I know that more doors will open that will help to usher me to the place where He desires me to be in the future. I wouldn't trade my journey for the world. And believe me when I tell ain't over....there is more to come...and I'm thankful for that too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time Does NOT Heal All Wounds

Today, October 15th, would have been the celebration of my 22nd wedding anniversary if Jimmy (my first husband) was still alive. Fifteen years have passed since he transitioned, and yes, I have moved on with my life. However, one of the many things that my experience with him taught me is that true love never dies...not even when the true lover does. I never would have thought that I'd still miss him after all these years, but I do, and that's not something that I even try to mask or hide. It's not a fact that I'm ashamed of, nor is it one that I wish to change. The pain of his absence is not a pleasant feeling. Sometimes, especially on significant days like today, it still brings tears to my eyes, but despite that, I actually enjoy missing him. That's right...I enjoy it.
I feel favored to have the memories. It brings me joy to know that his presence in my life was so positive and impactful that his not being here (physically) is still noticable. I pray that whenever the Lord decides to call me home, I would have lived in a manner to have left that kind of impression on someone's life. It would be great to leave behind tangible goods such as property, money, and other valuables, but all those things, in the grand scheme of things, are fleeting. To leave behind memories - good and godly memories - that last a lifetime... What a legacy!
Regardless of what "they" say, time does not heal all wounds. The saying sounds good to the ears, but it's not true. I know that for a fact. No doubt, it heals some wounds, but not ALL. For other wounds, all time is capable of doing is placing a scab on the surface of them so that the pain lessens, or so the wounds don't become contaminated and fester into something worse. Often times the pain may be so meager that it's barely noticeable. But it's still there.
I think that the most wonderful thing that can be done through pain, is to bless others. When a personal tragedy or mishap can be used by God as a positive tool that blesses someone else, that's awesome. Since the official release of my first nonfiction book, I Shall Not Die on October 1st, I have read email after email from readers whose lives were changed by the message of LIFE that it brings. I am so humbled to have been chosen to write and deliver the words that are ministering to people on such a level. In the past two weeks, I have read notes of marriages being healed, mindsets being changed, and outlooks that were made brighter by way of I Shall Not Die. It's what God promised to do through this book, and it is a promise that He is delivering.
The feedback and reviews that are coming in by way of the ministry website guest book and by way of has made me grateful that time didn't completely heal my wound. Had it done so, I may never have obeyed God's order to pen this book. And had I never written it, my lingering wound would not have had the opportunity to heal the wounds of others. For that reason alone, I gladly carry my scar, and I thank God daily that He has allowed it to be a blessing to others.