“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)
I won’t go to deep into my past, but will give a basic foundation; I was born in Upstate New York, and all of my extended family is originally from that area. However, our family moved to Chicago when I was young (Northwest suburbs), and that is where I grew up.
I won’t go to deep into my past, but will give a basic foundation; I was born in Upstate New York, and all of my extended family is originally from that area. However, our family moved to Chicago when I was young (Northwest suburbs), and that is where I grew up.
I began using alcohol and getting into trouble when I was about eleven years old, and began doing drugs at fourteen. I got heavily into marijuana and LSD in the 1970’s while I was in my early teens, and later, narcotics and tranquilizers; I also drank excessively. By the grace of God, I did graduate from High School in 1981.
My life during these years was marred with violent and rage-filled incidents; I was angry and frustrated, and as a result, got into a lot of trouble. In 1983, after breaking up with a girlfriend that I really liked (She ran off with another guy), and getting two DUI’s, I was admitted into an Alcohol and drug rehabilitation center which would be the first in a long string of such experiences. As a result of the DUI’s, I lost my driver’s license for what would eventually turn out to be five years.
By 1984 I was looking for a way of escape, to “turn over a new leaf,” so to speak, and decided to enlist in the United States Navy. I did so on what they called the “Delayed Entry Program,” in which I could sign up, and then have up to six months to report for duty; I enlisted in June, and would report for active duty in October of the same year.
Since breaking up with my girlfriend in 1983, I had had no serious relationship, only several one night stands, and I wasn’t looking for one either. But within thirty days of the date that I was to report for active duty, a woman happened into my life. My plan was to use her for sex, and then “disappear” after I went into the Navy. However, it didn’t turn out that way; instead, we exchanged letters while I was in boot camp, and when I got out, we resumed the relationship.
After boot camp, the Navy sent me down to Virginia, where I was attached to an F-14 fighter Squadron, which was assigned to the USS John F. Kennedy (An aircraft carrier). I wasn’t there for very long, and I went AWOL (UA), and hitchhiked back to Chicago in order to spend time with my girlfriend; I did this twice, and would turn myself in within thirty days in order to avoid being classified as a deserter. They would fly me back to Virginia, punish me, and then restore me to duty.
It was during one of these times that my girlfriend got pregnant; I didn’t intend to run out on my responsibility to her and the baby that was going to be born, and so we married in 1985 (Even in these days, I had some degree of honor). Our wedding was “image-complete” for the lifestyle that I was living; pregnant woman, sailor suit, judge, courtroom and all.
My anger problem and alcohol and drug abuse problem however, got worse; I would go on binges that would last for weeks at a time and then use tranquilizers to get off of them without going into withdrawal. I had a drug overdose around this time, and woke in the hospital attached to tubes after being unconscious for a couple days, and was later apprehended while destroying my car with a baseball bat on the side of the road because it “ran out of gas.” There were many of these types of incidents, and run-ins with the law, both military and civilian, and so the Navy finally decided that it was in their better interest just to give me a discharge, and so I was released in 1986. We moved back to the Chicago area where I got a job in a steel mill.
I was sort of proud of my job at the mill, because for once, it seemed, I was a “responsible adult,” and I was able to support my family. I have always been a hard worker, and always held jobs, even in the worst of my times (That’s why I think the Navy held on to me as long as they did), and at the mill, I could throw steel around, releasing my frustrations on the job.
I worked six days a week at the mill, and sometimes seven, and then I would get beer on the way home. I felt that I was closer at that point to a “normal” life than I had ever been, and I was not doing any drugs, just the alcohol. We had rented a small house in a relatively decent neighborhood, and things seemed to be going pretty well, and that’s when the Jehovah’s Witnesses began coming by; my wife would let them in and entertain them when I was at work, and I would kick them out when I got home if I caught them there. Then she began to entertain Mormons too!
This is when things really began to get weird; I remember seeing a demon spirit on one of the Mormons (Keep in mind, I knew nothing about spiritual things), and it really freaked me out. I intuitively knew what it was though, and explained it to my wife; she did listen to me on that one, and we never invited the Mormons back into the house (I believe the Mormons dabble more into the demonic realm than others, such as the Jehovah’s witnesses).
One day while I was working at the mill, a Christian had walked up to me at work and asked me if I knew Jesus, so I listened as he shared the gospel with me. I had gotten tired of kicking the Jehovah’s Witnesses out of the house (For they were like glue and would come right back), and my wife wasn’t cooperating; I finally just figured that if she wanted to entertain them, then that was fine, but I eventually came up with a new strategy that ended up being quite effective. I would just “be myself,” when they were around, and they quit coming over! They wouldn’t come near the house when there was even a remote possibility of me being there.
But there was something different about this guy at work, and I listened to him. In fact, he prayed with me, and I confessed Jesus as my Lord, and I had a great peace, and was delivered from alcohol for over a month! My wife did the same, and she stopped sneaking around with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we filled our home with Christian music. We went to an Assembly of God Church nearby, and my friend from work would come over and we would have Bible studies! I had never felt so good, and had so much hope! I worked on the church roof and helped rebuild it, and did other things.
But the cravings for alcohol began to torment me again, and I went back to drinking after a month and a half. I won’t go into much detail about the next several years, but they became a living hell. To make a long story short; I travelled the country searching for something better, but only got into more trouble. The drug addiction worsened, and eventually I ended up in a Kansas City Salvation Army rehab center.
When I was coming off the narcotics, I thought I was going to die, and it was during this time that I had the first of a couple of encounters in hearing God’s voice concerning a call upon my life. This time, however, the drug withdrawal was particularly nasty, and I was afraid, but God was working in my life, and one of the counselors looked at me and said calmly, yet firmly, “You’re going to be alright!” When he said it, I knew that it wasn’t just him speaking; I knew that God had spoken the Words Himself, and it brought a great peace to me throughout all the time that I was going through this. Another time, as I was driving through Kansas City after getting out of the center, the Lord spoke to me and said, “I have a plan for your life, and things will not always be this way, but there is an appointed time.” And that’s all I heard.
I was grateful for the people at the Salvation Army, and stayed straight for almost three months before I went back to drinking alcohol. I was able to stay with my parents for a time when I was living in Kansas City, but they eventually moved to North Iowa to start a business and left me in their house for the time being, until it would be sold. I was seeing a woman there in Kansas City, but I could tell that I was becoming too much for her, and so I broke up with her to keep her from breaking up with me (I guess it was a pride issue).
After this, I went back to Chicago to make one last attempt at my marriage. This attempt failed, and my first wife and I eventually divorced around 1988, and I was once again without a place to go. My parents had made it clear that I was not going to live in their home with them, but I did want to live in Iowa. North Iowa seemed to me like something out of “Happy Days,” (I used to watch re-runs as a kid) or “Little House on the Prairie,” and I thought that being in that environment would change me (It eventually did, but not in the way that I was expecting it).
The Little House on the Prairie scenario never did materialize. When I got to Mason City, Iowa, a small town with approximately 35,000 people, I became a menace to it, instead of it changing me. It was like I was back in time; nothing stayed open all night and it was a completely different culture than I was used to, or had ever experienced! I remember them telling me that they called it “Little Chicago,” and I laughed at them. This was a culture shock almost beyond what I could handle (I still can’t handle some of the smaller neighboring towns); I know this, because I have worked in two of them, and there are some things that I think never really change on the inside of you. The people seemed nosy to me, and I always felt like I was being watched; they made fun of me because I locked my car when I left it at work! But every door was beginning to shut behind me, and I began to get a sense of destiny.
I checked into a rehab center in Mason City, Iowa (It was about the eighth time I had been in rehabilitation of some kind), but was kicked out after about three and a half weeks. My life had degraded to a level that I do not like to think about; I was fornicating with women that would make even a drunken sailor flee in horror, doing pills, and was now on a constant binge. I can’t really begin to describe the agony that I felt at the time.
It was late 1989, and I wanted to live, and I began to remember the peace that I had experienced several years before while I was attending church and working at the steel mill. I wondered if God would still have anything to do with me, and if it wasn’t too late. So I went home to my rented shack and got down on my knees and cried out to God. I said, “God, if you want me, and will have me, and can deliver me from this mess, show yourself, and I will serve you all of my days!” I meant every word of it!
Suddenly, before I got all the words out of my mouth, there was a knock at my front door. I got up and answered the door, and there was an older man in his 60’s standing on the porch. He had something in his hand (A Bible and tracts), and said, “I’m sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, can I come in and talk to you?” I just stared at him, and then I asked him, “Are you a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness?” But he just said, in a soft voice, “No, I’m not preaching a religion, or representing a church; I just want to talk to you about Jesus!”
Suddenly, I felt hope rise in my heart, and I practically pulled him in the door. Well, we prayed, and he invited me to a prayer group that they had on Friday nights, and wow, what an experience! They sat me down in a chair, poured oil on me and prayed in tongues! It freaked me out, but there was that peace; the same peace I had experienced a few years before at the Assembly of God Church while I was working at the mill! The meetings were held by a little old lady that was in her eighties; the call of God had come to her in a corn field when she was a teenager, and the Lord told her that she was never to work a secular job, nor was she ever to get married, and she never did! All of her life she did just what God had said, and He took care of her; she had a house and everything she needed, and held prayer meetings!
Suddenly, one of the older guys with the oil in his hand started casting the devil out of me; he said, “I bind the spirit of drunkenness!” “WOW!! I had never heard anything like that, and not only did it fascinate me, but it injected faith into my spirit. I suddenly saw the whole alcohol thing from a different perspective. “Is that all it is?” I remember thinking to myself, though I knew nothing about spiritual things.
Well, I started going to these meetings on Friday nights, and attempted to stay away from alcohol (I actually did for about 30 days), but then I went back to it. However, it became more difficult to enjoy drinking, and I became progressively more miserable. I remembered how the guy that visited me in the factory years ago suddenly stopped calling me when he found out that I was drinking, and so I avoided the prayer group people.
I actually came to the conclusion that I would probably never stop, and so I went on a real good binge, but then something odd began to happen. No matter how much I drank, I couldn’t seem to get the effect; it was almost like I was staying sober, very strange! Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and since my parents lived locally, I asked them if they would have me committed so that I could dry out. I had told them to do it on a Monday, following the Fourth of July weekend, and they agreed. It was a Friday, and when I got off of work, I had planned on buying a keg and drinking it by myself, in my house, over the weekend. But when I got to work, the police were waiting for me; they didn’t waste any time, they got me early!
I spent about a week in the nut ward until they realized that I wasn’t crazy, or trying to kill myself, and they transferred me to the same treatment center that I had left the year before. I did, however, have an experience when I was in the mental hospital; I remember looking out the window, and suddenly had a “knowing” that I would never again drink or use drugs, and that I was truly free! That was 1990, and it is now 2010, and I haven’t had any since!
They transferred me over to the alcohol and drug rehabilitation center and put me in a group with other “patients” having a group “discussion.” We were asked to share what our plans and ambitions were, and everyone was sharing about how they would go to AA and stay sober, and all of this. When it came my turn, I said from my heart, “I want to find out who God is, and I want to serve Him!” I meant it, and thought it was an appropriate thing to share at the moment. But suddenly they turned on me; one of the counselors said, “You’re just deluded, shut your mouth and be quite!” That surprised me, but I didn’t care all that much; “They never liked me anyway,” I thought, “Why should it matter now?” In fact, during one of the in-processing meetings, my counselor told me, “I just want to be blunt honest; there are a few people that are just beyond help, and we are concerned that you may fall into that category!” But I went in for the long haul, and most of the staff eventually realized that I was serious, although they hated it when I talked about God, or protested their insistence that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) was the only path to “success.” (God was already putting it in my heart that He was sufficient, and that deliverance could be complete)
I butted heads with them on this on numerous occasions, but my next “message from heaven” came in another highly unusual way. We were approaching “nurse day,” when all of the senior patients (we were all guys), got to have a student nurse for the day; to show them around the facility, and to eat lunch with them, and have them in our rooms (with the doors open). This was a day that we all had been looking forward to, and I was bragging to all the other guys that I would have the best looking one (Most of them were really good looking anyway). Well, my name starts with a “W,” which means that I am usually the last one called for anything when it is done in alphabetical order, and that’s how they assigned the nurses.
One by one our names were called, and one by one the nurses entered the room and went to their respective assigned patients; there sure wasn’t any disappointment as far as their looks were concerned, and I could see the guys’ eyes light up as they received their “companion” for the day. But then it was my name that was called, and I watched the doorway with intense expectation, but then, around the corner walked a gray-haired old woman!! The only one in the bunch!! My heart sunk, and then I was embarrassed because I could feel the snickers from around the room. I was furious, and I let everyone know it; I didn’t even say hello to the woman, I just said, “Alright, let’s go to the lunchroom!” I could barely even talk while having lunch, and so I decided to complain instead; I ranted about their (treatment staff’s) lack of faith, and told her that Jesus was the only true way, but I wasn’t saying it in love.
I fully expected the woman to get up and tell me that I was the rudest man that she had ever met, and walk away from the table, but I didn’t care. “Good riddance!” I had thought to myself; “Then I won’t have to deal with her the rest of the day!” But she didn’t do this at all, in fact, she looked right at me with a calm assurance and strength, and her face seemed to light up. She spoke to me gently, yet firmly; “Maybe God just wants to bring you a step further.” The words penetrated my soul and went down into my spirit. I knew that God had spoken to me through this woman. Suddenly it all made sense; I didn’t have to prove my case to these people anymore; I knew that God was working in my life, and they wouldn’t understand anyway unless the Holy Spirit opened their eyes. Well, I asked God and the woman to forgive me for my attitude, and we had a wonderful rest of the day!
Something else happened that surprised me when I was in the treatment center; I was receiving letters from the prayer group! They actually cared and were demonstrating that! They even came and visited me and prayed for me, and I could feel their prayers working.
I ended up completing the program and then going to a halfway house for nine months, where I met another friend that wanted the things of God as much as I did, and we became friends. I also met a Baptist pastor that had been in the ministry for many years and said that he had even been a drunk at one point (before entering the ministry), and God delivered him! The church was right around the corner, and was one of the churches that the residents could go to on Sunday (It was on the “list”). But all hell broke loose at the halfway house after they found out that the pastor was telling residents that Jesus Christ could set them free from alcohol! (Imagine a pastor having the audacity to say such a thing!!) They were furious, but this only made some of the residents even more determined to go to his church.
If you have to attend AA meetings the rest of your life in order to stay “sober,” then you are still in bondage to alcohol! Can you see that? Your identity is still wrapped up in it, but God has a higher place, where that label of sin is cast into the depth of the sea forever! You are no longer an “alcoholic,” or a “drunkard,” but a new creature in Christ Jesus! The old man is dead with Christ, and all things are new, isn’t that wonderful? I don’t know the exact date of my last use of alcohol because it’s not that important to me; it was sometime in late 1990 or early 1991. When a man is free, he is free, and no longer dwells on his time of captivity!
Well, I continued going to the Baptist church, and sought God with all of my heart; I was seeing a woman at the time, whom I had met at an AA dance while I was there at the halfway house, and was fooling around with her on the weekends. But my heart began to convict me as I kept running across scriptures regarding fornication. I attempted to justify it for a little while, and told myself that the Bible wasn’t really saying what I was thinking it was saying, but I finally surrendered to the Holy Spirit. I called the woman up and told her that I wasn’t going to be seeing her anymore, and I told her why. She got very angry, and told me that it was the nineties, and that I was being fanatical. I said, “No, God doesn’t change!” and hung up the phone (I never heard from her again).
If you are serious with the things of God, the devil won’t bug you so much; he can tell if you’re “wishy-washy,” and if you really mean what you say or not. I ended up “graduating” from the halfway house, and began going to the Baptist church every Sunday. I got baptized in water and was telling everyone I knew about Jesus; I was about as obnoxious with this as I was with things that I did while running with the world. I would run out into the intersection at night while people were stopping at red lights, and throw tracts in their windows as they were rolling them up for fear. But listen, if you’re going to be obnoxious for the devil, why not be the same way for God? That was my way of looking at it at the time, though I have matured in my delivery over the years.
Several months went by, and my friend had been going to a full gospel church, while I had been still going to the Baptist church. The Baptist pastor was so impressed with what God was doing in my life that he asked me to lead the next two Sundays pre-service Bible studies (as he would be out of town), and share what the Lord was doing, and share the Word of God also if I had something on my heart. The morning Bible study was before my friend’s service, so he came over to the Baptist church to hear me speak, and I would go with him for the service at his church after the Bible study, since our pastor was out of town.
The Bible study went very well, and everyone was so happy for us, and I was looking forward to doing the next Sunday. However, nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen later that afternoon! We got to my friend’s church and the pastor was preaching; I don’t remember what he was preaching, but I remember thinking that it was interesting. Well, after the message, the guitar player came down off the platform and called out to my friend and I; he asked if we had been filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. My friend went right up, but I was kind of hesitant, as it was still new to me, and so I stayed behind. So the guitar player and several others began to pray with my friend, and suddenly I had a thought; “Are you going to let him (my friend) get something that you’re not going to get?” (So I went up out of pride) But God met me there, because I really did want it.
I have heard a lot of stories about the Holy Spirit coming on people in such a sweet and gentle manner, but it was not that way with me. He (The Holy Spirit) practically knocked me to the ground; it was like a lightning bolt of 10,000 volts surging through me, and my whole body was shaking. At one point I tried to say something to the guitar player to ask him to make it stop, because my legs were getting weak, and it kind of startled me. But every time I opened my mouth, tongues would come out!! Now, you may be thinking, “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman…” Well, yes, He is, and I was able to control it, but He is also a Consuming fire! I felt years of oppression melt away, and the demonic spirits that had oppressed my spirit for years left and I felt the Holy Spirit take up residence instead!
I was so excited, and couldn’t wait to get back to the Baptist church to tell the people all about it! “They will be so happy for me!” I thought to myself, and so I shared my testimony at the morning Bible study. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out quite like I had expected (No one had educated me on the Baptist stance on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit), and that was too bad, because they were good people, and had helped me out a lot. However, it became necessary to move on if I wanted to pursue God to the fullest, and so I began to attend the church where I had been filled with the Holy Spirit.
I was so hungry for the Word of God, and I continued to grow in grace, knowledge and understanding. I still had a desire for a wife, however, and thought that maybe God had that in my future; I began sharing this desire at the prayer group and among other brothers and sisters in the Lord, and even asking them to pray with me. But one day, the very same older man that God had sent to my doorstep the day that I had called out to Him, told me he wanted to talk to me about something.
Of course I wanted to hear whatever this man had to say, and so I listened as he explained to me that it would never be God’s will for me to get married, as I had been divorced in the past. The man was misinformed in that area of scripture, but I didn’t know it at the time, and I believed what he was telling me, and was devastated. I wrestled with the prospect of being single the rest of my life for several days, and it was truly a Gethsemane experience for me; I still remember the day that I gave it to the Lord. I was driving my car and told God that if that was the way it was to be, then I would never look back and I would serve Him all of my days, and I gave up the idea of marriage for good. I withheld nothing from the Lord and a great peace came over me.
The devil used this man, because he knew that I would listen to him, but when our hearts are submitted to the Lord, we will walk right through these kinds of things. It was no longer important to me, and in a moment of time I was completely free of any worldly desires; I wanted only Him, and this has persisted to this day; I have never left my first love.
However, about two weeks later, what God did took me by complete surprise. I was driving a truck for a food company, and one day while I was driving down the highway, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke to me and said, “I have a wife for you!” It shocked me, but yet I knew beyond any doubt that it was God. I told the Lord, “Lord, I thought that was settled!” But then He said, “Yes, it was settled!”
Over the next several weeks, God brought people my way to give me accurate teaching concerning divorce and remarriage. Well, of course I gladly accepted what the Lord wanted to do in my life in regard to a wife, and began the next stage of the process… “Who is she, Lord?” And then came the devil’s counterfeits; I suddenly became a very popular man! I seemed to have more women chasing me around then I ever had, even when I was in the world! “Good, Christian women” that came out of the woodwork! I didn’t fall for these, however, because it became evident that their hearts were not in the right place.
I was attending the prayer group on Friday nights, and there was a ministry that was having Holy Ghost meetings on New Year’s Eve at a town about thirty miles away from where I lived. I was invited to the service by one of the older members of our prayer group, who had heard that there was going to be a certain prophetess there to minister who was highly respected among many local churches and believers, and so I went.
The ministry that was hosting the meeting (it was in a small, storefront ministry building), also had two guest ministers that were there on a three-month assignment to help their ministry in certain areas. These two ministers were based out of Arkansas, and were both women, one was older, and one appeared to be about my age. The younger one was extremely attractive, not only physically, but spiritually as well; I could see her love for the Lord, and I had to keep repenting for looking at her (Not in an unclean way, just looking). I found her irresistible and felt bad for thinking that way.
This woman (Her name is Marsha), according to my way of thinking, was obviously way out of my “league;” A holy woman of God that carried herself with class and excellence, and nothing that I’d ever want to get close to because everything I had ever touched seemed to get messed up or destroyed. She had been in the ministry for nine years, and was also well established in the things of God, and in my perception, well ahead of me in spiritual maturity. I just asked God that since He was sending me a wife, could He please send me one with at least some of these attributes.
Well, the prophetess that was there New Years Eve was only there for that night, but the Broadcasters for Jesus ministries that hosted the meeting continued to have meetings on Saturday nights. Carolyn Norris Ministries (The ones from Arkansas) were also going to be working with them for another three months or so, and I really enjoyed these meetings, so I continued to attend them on Saturday nights.
I spent every waking moment with the Lord, worshipping Him and reading His Word, and since I was driving a truck for the food company, I could pray in tongues while I was driving! This is what I was doing when something happened that would inevitably alter the course of my life; I was driving down the highway one morning and suddenly the Lord gave me a vision. In the vision I saw the wife that God had for me; it was Marsha!! God told me that He was giving me His very best!! I could hardly believe it, yet I did! I knew it was the Lord, and He gave me several visions over the next couple of weeks and began to confirm it in other ways.
Now, you have to understand that I had never even spoken with this woman; she had no doubt seen me in the meetings on Saturday night, but had never formally met me. I was sure that she was not impressed with my jeans and T-shirts, and I didn’t know quite how God was going to “get the ball rolling,” though it is for sure that I wanted it rolling, and fast! You see, I am not, by nature, a patient person, and when I purpose to do something, I normally barrel into it and then ask questions later (This is one of the personal attributes that has gotten me into much trouble over the years). So I just asked God, “So how do we get this thing started?”
I had spoken to Reverend Carolyn Norris on several occasions after the Saturday night meetings, as she was such a blessing to me in teaching me things of God; I also looked forward to asking her questions that I had thought of during the week. So the following Saturday night would be no different; there was a message preached titled “Grab the Banana,” in reference to taking a proactive posture in possessing the things that God has for you!” Obviously this spoke loudly to me, and then after the service, while Marsha was attending to ministry-related activities, I began talking to Carolyn, but before I left, Carolyn asked, “Do you want our phone number to call during the week if you have questions, or just want to talk?” “Sure, that would be good!” I replied.
When I left the meeting that night, I felt the Lord ask me, “What are you going to do with that number?” God knew what I was going to do, and I knew why Carolyn had given it to me; it was because I had asked God for an opening, and He had given to me.
I decided that I would give it a little time before I called (two days), and I dialed the number on Monday night; Carolyn answered the phone, and I asked for Marsha. I could hear Marsha in the background, “He wants to talk to me? Then there was some whispering back and forth and she got on the phone. “Hello?” she replied, and I said “Hi,” and then proceeded to tell her, “God said that we were going to get married!” Suddenly there was silence on the other end of the phone, followed by, “Oh, he did?” You’ve got to understand, I have never talked to this women before, and we had only met in passing, but I got right to the point; “Why waste time?” I had figured, since God had already promised.
When it came to the body of Christ and how things were done in “Church circles,” I was fresh out of the box, and about as naïve as they come. I had no idea that (wicked) men in the church used that line on women quite often, and that Marsha had heard these things before, and normally had no tolerance for such things. I had no idea that there even were wicked people in churches; I actually thought that everyone in the church just loved God with all their hearts, and lived holy lives! In my way of thinking, if you wanted to sin, why in the world would you want to be in a church? Needless to say, I have learned much over the years.
However, this was God, and the Holy Spirit was at work, and we ended up talking on the phone for three hours. She said several times, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all these things!” But I knew why, and I think she did too.
God worked a series of miracles over the next six months, and He brought it all to pass, just as He said He would. However, there was a fight of faith involved; that was for sure! Their ministry assignment was only in Iowa for about three more months, and Marsha would be leaving with Carolyn unless there was divine intervention. She wanted to be married with all of her heart, but was very apprehensive because of a previous marriage years before that was very destructive (similar to what I had gone through).
I didn’t want Marsha to leave and go back to Arkansas, and I didn’t want a long-distance relationship; I wanted her to stay in Iowa and for us to begin our lives together as soon as possible. It eventually came down to the last day; it was a Sunday morning and they had the U-Haul packed and parked outside in the church parking lot. It was talking to me as I walked into the church just like the fig tree had been mocking Jesus when He was hungry… “I’m leaving with your wife, and I’m not coming back!” But I said, “No you’re not!” “Shut up in Jesus name!”
You can imagine the battle that I was going through, and I was standing in faith on what God had told me. We were at my church, and there was a visiting minister from Africa there that morning that had never seen or heard of Carolyn Norris Ministries. He was preaching to the congregation, and then suddenly stopped in the middle of his preaching. He began to speak by the Spirit of God, and said that there was a ministry that God was bringing some changes to, and then began to share explicit detail that only Marsha and Carolyn (and me), would have known. Marsha’s jaw seemed to drop to the floor, and I looked at her, and she looked at me; I said, “Well?” She said, “I guess I’m staying!” And she did! Carolyn and the U-Haul left, but Marsha stayed. Carolyn left her the car and the apartment, and after I wiped the sweat off my forehead, and my knees stopped shaking, I shouted for joy!
I had to continue to stand in faith, however, because she was still afraid to make the final commitment, but then one day, as I was driving in my car, the Lord gave me another vision. I saw I giant hand that was a surgeon’s hand, and the hand held a pair of scissors, and there was a heart next to it that appeared to have strings around it. Suddenly the hand gently and with precision, began to cut the strings that were around the heart. In my Spirit I knew what it meant, and that afternoon, the fear was broken and Marsha broke down in tears, and joy, and yielded to what was in her heart all along, and we were married about a month later on November 27th 1993.
Since that time, we have had two daughters, and I have gotten a commercial pilot’s license and will be finishing a bachelor’s degree next month (December, 2010). I have also become a licensed minister and have ministered in limited fashion while working full-time and raising the family. We both feel a call of God to reach the nations but also understand that God has His perfect timing for all things.
Has it all been a bed of roses where the prince and princess ride happily into the sunset to live “happily ever after?” No, not by any means! The walk of faith is rarely this way; we have had to fight the devil every step of the way, for he doesn’t want God’s people to receive anything from God. But we overcome if we persevere.
God is faithful to perform that which He has promised, and of course there has been much more than what is contained within these several pages, but God truly wants His people free! Not that I’m criticizing those that have chosen to go to AA, or some other program, but there is a higher place where your past is forgotten, and truly all things have become new!