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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Launch of The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement

It's been a few weeks since I last blogged...not because nothing has been happening worth blogging about, but because so much has been happening that I've had trouble finding the time to blog. So I ask for your patience, and if necessary, your forgiveness, if this blog entry runs a little longer than normal. I have to catch you up to date...
Believe it or not, after my last entry that chronicled all of the challenges I had faced to date, even more road blocks popped up that had the potential to hinder the birth of the I Shall Not Die book and the I.S.L.A.N.D. (I Shall Live And Not Die) Movement. Once the book was finally produced and shipped to me from the printer, I encountered a battle with the company that was outsourced to bring the books to me. For hours, the driver of the delivery truck held the books hostage, actually refusing to bring them to my home, stating that he didn't like delivering to residential areas. I won't blast the company by name on my public blog, but believe me when I tell you the temptation is there. I had paid for shipping and delivery, yet the truck driver told me that if I wanted the books, I'd have to rent a pick-up truck from somewhere and meet him in a business district because he didn't like delivering to residences. Really? Are you kidding me? You're a delivery man! After several telephone conversations with the people at the delivery company's headquarters and my ultimate threat to call the printer and report the incident so that they'd never use their delivery service again, I got my books. I waited from 8:30 in the morning (the scheduled delivery time) until 6:30 in the evening to receive them, but they finally arrived. And yes...I still reported the company to my printer.
When I first broke open the box and held the book in my hand, I cried. Okay, I'll admit that I tend to shed a few tears each time I am blessed to hold a new release for the first time, but this one was different. This book is personal...and it represents a new level of ministry for me. Plus it seemed as if that moment would never come. With all the adversity I'd faced, there were days when I felt paranoid as I wondered what the enemy would come up with next. I'm so glad the God I serve is omniscient. No adversity could arise that He didn't know about beforehand. With that being the case, God knew that the delivery issue wouldn't be the end of it all.

Can you beleive that once again, we would be forced to change the location of the pending October 2nd I.S.L.A.N.D. Conference where we would officially unveil the book and the accompanying motivational ministry? We'd already had to change it once because someone who (for reasons that are still unclear) did not want the conference to manifest took it upon themselves to cancel our first venue booking and demand that the pastor not allow it to be held there. Now, due to more "church drama," we were forced to go for Plan C. And that plan had us taking the celebration out of the church altogether, and moving it to an events building instead. As God would have it, someone who had booked the building for the same time and date that we needed it, called and cancelled their booking just moments before I called to ask about the building's availability. (I told you HE was omniscient!) And with a venue secure, we were moving forward once again.
Because the books arrived several weeks prior to the official release date, two "early release" events took place. The first one was held at Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta, GA, and was hosted by Bossettes. It was a wonderful event that came with live entertainment that included spoken word by EbonyJanice and song ministry by recording artist/stage actress, Alicia Robinson Cooper. The second "early release" event was a speaking engagement and book signing wherein I was blessed to be asked to be the keynote speaker at the 85th church anniversary service of East St. Paul United Methodist Church in San Antonio, TX. What an honor it was to share the "I Shall Not Die" message with the attendees there, and then to sell and sign copies of the book afterward. I took my youngest daughter along with me for that appearance. It was her very first flight and she got the opportunity to reconnect with a friend that she hadn't seen since she was a four-year-old Pre-K student. They are both now thriving 17-year-old high school seniors, and it was good to see how quickly they gelled. They even sang a duet at the worship service. Additionally, I was blessed to reunite with a sister-friend that I had not seen in more than ten years. It was marvelous! San Antonio made for a great tour stop on many levels.
Finally, the day of the official book release and ministry launch arrived. October 2nd was the date of the I.S.L.A.N.D. Conference, and it was with great excitement that I and a car load of family and friends took the 3.5 hour drive to Valdosta, GA for the celebration. En route, another curve ball blindsided me when I received a call from the booking manager of my featured artist, telling me that he would not be at the event. The immediate disappointment was heavy. I had been announcing for months that he would be there, and just a couple hours before "showtime" I was informed that he would not. Determined not to let the blow be a TKO for me, I regrouped my emotions and prayed that God wouldn't allow the absence of the national recording artist to cause those who would be there to turn around and leave. God answered my prayer, and the conference that commemorated the book and the ministry was a wonderful affair.
Those who attended the I.S.L.A.N.D. Conference were blessed with music and arts ministry that included praise dancing, singing, and a featured appearance by Agape Award winning mime minister The Master's Mime . The highlight of the night was an awesome (and I do mean, AWESOME) Word from the Lord that was delivered by Bishop Q.S. Caldwell of Celebration of Praise Ministries. The capable emcee for the evening was Pastor Bernard Robinson of Abundant Life Ministries. I can't say that our featured recording artist wasn't missed. He definitely was. He was on program to sing a couple of very key he's one of my personal favorites, so I still wish he would have been there, but I was more than a little relieved that none of the audience members expressed any disappointment in his absence. And God provided a "ram in the bush" when one of the attendees (her name was Nicole), who I'd never even met before, agreed to fill in on a moment's notice and sing I Won't Complain, which was a poignant song for the program. And boy, did she sing it!
To top off the evening, quite a number of books and other I.S.L.A.N.D. ministry products were sold, and the wonderful reviews from readers have been pouring in via email, telephone calls, and by way of feedback posted in the guest book on the ministry website. Despite all of the ditches, mud puddles, and even dung hills that we had to leap over to get there, God made us victorious, and I am eternally grateful. He promised to be faithful, and He is and continues to be. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness!
And now the main tour begins. For the next few weekends, I can be found fellowshipping, promoting, speaking, and signing books in Jacksonville, Florida, West Haven, Connecticut, Chicago, Illinois, Lenox, Georgia, and Jackson, Mississippi. I hope to see some of you as I make stops through your area, and I request the prayers of the righteous as I continue to use this platform to empower, encourage, and edify.