In her book “Ignited by Truth“, Kaylee speaks from the heart as she tells of the pain of sexual abuse, domestic violence and depression and how she found joy, hope, peace and forgiveness through the darkness.
CHAPTER 10: DREAMS CAN REALLY COME TRUE
Every success begins with a dream in someone’s heart. God plants a seed, an idea. The idea becomes a dream. Then as we step out in faith, obedient to God’s will, He will make the dream come true.
During the time I was on welfare-and working my way out-I began to pray for a building. I had already started the clothing bank and wanted to start a shelter for homeless and abused women and children. While looking around the neighborhood, I saw a particular distressed building-it was literally falling down. God put it on my heart to pray for this building-that someone would restore it and clean up the neighborhood. After about a year my church (where I had started the clothing bank) bought that old building for $1.00 and eventually turned it into a clothing/food bank and resource for women on welfare. They are teaching the women general office skills and also offer an after school program for the kids. Even though I was not directly involved in that ministry, God had brought my dream to pass in His way.
The dream of actually ministering to abused and homeless women and children still lives in my heart to this day, twenty years later. I know that if it’s a dream inspired by the Lord, He will open the doors at the right time and in the right place.
Discover Your Gifts
I encourage you to ask God to show you the gifts and talents He has given you. Then work at developing them and using them. Ask God how you can honor Him with these gifts. Give Him your doubts and fears-and don’t take them back! When He guides you to do something, He will equip you with the wisdom and skills you need to succeed. Be thankful about what God has given you and about what He is going to do for you in the future.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them. You know that when you were still pagans you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
Be faithful with what you have
Be faithful with what God has given you. Keep your home, the kids and yourself clean and in order. Make the best use of what you have. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and to grow. Do not get hung up on material things. The less I owned, the happier I became. Cleaning out the clutter can clear your mind.
“‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward'” (Luke 19:17). Seek advice Don’t let pride stop you from getting the guidance you need. Whatever your dream, as you begin to make plans, do your research and seek counsel from godly, knowledgeable people. “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success” (Proverbs 15:22).
His way, his time
Dream big dreams, set goals, make plans and write them down, and pray. And pray. And pray. And pray some more. Desire above all else to do things God’s way and to trust Him for the timing. Sometimes it may seem as though He is really slow, but you can be sure that He is never late. “We should make plans-counting on God to direct us” (Proverbs 16:9 TLB).
” Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (1 Peter 5:7 TLB). ” . . . pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV).
Don’t limit God
It is important that we don’t set limits on God or ourselves. When we despair that we can’t do something, we are really saying that we don’t believe God can do it, because He’s promised that we can do all things through Him. If you know you are in God’s will, know also that you can succeed.
Put God first in all things, be obedient to His Word, and He who puts that desire in your heart will also give you the desires of your heart.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).
God has a personal plan for each of us
When I was hesitating about going to school at Barnes, a counselor asked me, “If you don’t go to school, where will you be in two years?” Answer: still struggling on welfare instead of moving toward my dreams.
Sometimes I quit too soon before reaching my goals. Sometimes I got off track and missed God’s plan for me. But I kept trying to find my niche in life. I knew that God had a plan just for me. I prayed hour after hour and drew very close to Jesus. Sometimes I thought that if I met Jesus face to face, He would look at me, smile and say, “Please don’t talk so much!” But He never said that. I came to understand that He wants to hear from us-all the time.
Prayer truly is the answer. Prayer works! Of all of the101 adventures I’ve taken and dreams I’ve had, most of them never panned out. But every time one door closed, new doors of adventure opened as a trail of faith began. Trials help us grow. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will bring good out of even the worst events. And remember, what the world calls failure may not be failure at all in God’s eyes. The greatest success is to accomplish God’s purpose for us. Don’t ever give up. Always remember, you are special to Him and He has great purpose for your life.
” Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you” (Jeremiah 1:5 The Message).
Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey. (Genesis 24:12)
God has planted many dreams in my heart . . . to write a book, to write songs, to help homeless and abused women and children. I have also had some of my own dreams-good things, but not in God’s plan for my life. I am learning to trust Him and desire His will above all else. When I was in prayer about what to do with my life, I heard this word as clear as crystal: entrepreneur. I did not even know what the word meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary. Was this my calling?
Another dream that I had for a long time was to open a bakery and cafe. The fulfillment of this dream began back in the 80s when I worked out of my home making cakes for friends, and then friends of friends, and then people I didn’t even know. I began writing down plans and creating a menu.
I knew I had a good product to sell, so I thought I had better make myself legal. First, I needed a name. I decided on “Goody Goodies Baker” and registered the name with the Department of Revenue. I submitted an application for a corporation called “God’s Good Works, Inc.” and used this for tax purposes under a Sub S Corporation.
Next, I wrote a business plan. After researching location, population, type and cost of machinery needed, and figuring the cost of each product I planned to make, I wrote a five-year cash flow projection. Next, I submitted my business plan to a bank for a loan. My Aunt Louise had left me $5000 when she died. That $5000, along with an additional $5000 from my husband Jack and money from the sale of my home in Rush, Colorado, would cover most of my inventory, but I needed a bank loan for the balance of the start-up expenses. Finally, my ten-year dream became a reality.
I changed the name of the business to Rock Island Bakery, which seemed more fitting than Goody Goodies Bakery for the location I’d found. Rock Island Railway ran from Colorado Springs to Rock Island Bakery in Calhan Colorado traveling through the little towns of Ramah, Smila and Calhan. I also bought the original trademark for the Rock Island, which was available because this train was no longer running. Before the run stopped, the Rock Island had become a dinner and theater train. Passengers boarded in Colorado Springs, and as they traveled east toward Kansas, the dinner and play would unravel mysteries and fantasies. I was able to obtain a number of train artifacts, pictures, antiques and history books regarding the Rock Island and other train line history and displayed these items throughout the bakery.
A Stressful Time
Getting ready to open the bakery and cafe proved to be more challenging and stressful than I had dreamed possible. After we purchased the building, Jack became resentful, saying that I had forced him to sign the papers, that it was not what he wanted to do and that we were moving too fast. Nevertheless, the building was ours.
The next week, we had the water turned on, only to shut it off again because all the water pipes were busted. Jack replaced all the pipes and installed a commercial drain for the sink.
I was stretching myself beyond my limits during this time. For almost a year, I had been renting a kitchen from a local restaurant in Simla, Colorado, called Country Corner Café. The café was owned by a wonderful couple who helped me extensively throughout the process of opening my own bakery. I used their kitchen facilities from midnight until they opened at seven in the morning. Then I spent the mornings delivering my baked goods to a number of small stores-deliveries that took about an hour. After that, I spent the day trying to get my bakery ready to open. I was exhausted and had no time for my children. They were left to themselves to make dinner and were alone at home most of the time.
During this stressful time, Jack and my daughter got into a huge argument, and Stephanie ran away from home. We were so worried and frantically looked for her day and night. We registered her with the police and the missing children’s hot line. Finally, her step-mom was able to track her down through the Internet. It turned out she had gone with a group of young people traveling in a van and staying in cheap hotels. They sold magazines door to door all over the country and just happened to be in Colorado Springs when they approached Stephanie and invited her to join them. She ended up in Oklahoma and was caught because the kids did not have a permit to sell magazines there.
Shortly after this incident, Jack was electrocuted while at work. It went through his shoulder and out the bottom of his foot. He was hospitalized for many weeks and he was never the same after this accident, and my third marriage came to an end, mostly because Stephanie did not want to live with Jack ever again. Jack moved all of our belongings out on the front lawn. I rented a big U-Haul truck. The kids and I loaded the truck, took the dog, and headed for Colorado Springs to find a place to live. I had very little money. We stayed in a hotel one night. Then I put everything in storage, and we moved into the building we had bought for the bakery. There was no heat-we didn’t have the money to hook up the propane. After about two weeks, a friend learned of our plight and insisted that we live with her until we found a place.
Sometime later, we found a small trailer in a nearby town. I really could not afford the trailer, but I was still determined to open the bakery, so I borrowed some money from my family so the kids and I could live in the trailer while we worked to get the bakery open.
The trials continued. It seemed as though we’d take one step forward only to fall back two. The water heater broke. Someone broke into the building, stealing several train pictures, damaging the electrical box and breaking the back window. My son accidentally broke the glass in the display case. The refrigerators and cash register suddenly stopped working. Then, to top it all off, the sewer backed up.
We needed to repair all the broken items, as well as install the oven, triple sink, vent system, a back splash, hand sink and mop sink. All the work had to be approved and up to code. I had no money left for equipment, but was able to buy some items on credit from the lady who sold me all of the restaurant equipment. I hired Tom Criswell, my friend Cindy’s husband, as a helper, and he agreed to take payments after the bakery opened. Praise God for Tom and Cindy-they were such a blessing.
The bakery finally opened in June 1997. I had enough money left for some inventory and a little money in the cash register for change.
Success! Everyone loved my sweet rolls and sticky buns. The hottest selling meal was the biscuits and gravy.
My menus were handwritten because I could not afford a typewriter. Then a nice woman from the local bank told me of someone she knew who would help me type a professional menu. God is so good! Eventually I got a computer and created the Rock Island Cook Book and Bakery Procedures.
Back with Jack
After some time had passed, I realized that I wasn’t quite ready to give up on my marriage to Jack. I wanted to try one more time to make it succeed. We moved in together, and the kids moved in with their dad in Arkansas. They did not want to live with Jack ever again, but I tried to hang on to hope. Jack went to church with me and even agreed to counseling. He really seemed to have had a change of heart.
I worked sixteen hours a day at the bakery and came home exhausted physically and emotionally. My assistant manager was a nightmare to work with-she thought she was the boss of my business and wanted to run it her way. Very depressed and exhausted, I told Jack I needed a vacation. He said, “No way. You need to keep the business open.”
We fought one night over a pair of shoes. I asked that when Jack’s daughters came over, they wouldn’t leave their shoes in the living room because I would trip over them. I did not think I was asking too much, especially since he would put my kids’ shoes on the front porch, rain or snow, when they left them in the living room. As we argued, Jack pushed me, threw me up against a wall and choked me.
I left the house with a change of clothes, thinking I was going to spend the night at a nearby friend’s house. However, I went to the bakery first. By the time I got there, I was hysterical and decided to leave Jack and the bakery behind. I drove myself to my sister Mackenzie’s house in California and stayed with her a few weeks. I had no money, clothes or shoes-only snow boots. My sister Mackenzie bought me some shoes and clothes, and I used her phone to find a job. Eventually, my friend Danielle’s husband gave me a job working as a janitor for his cleaning business. I then moved in with my brother Matthew and cleaned and cooked for him in exchange for rent.
Finally, things started looking up. I got a great job at Xerox, and again my sister Mackenzie offered me one of her rentals for an affordable price. My daughter moved in with me and I began rebuilding my life.
I would like to add here what a blessing my children have been to me through the years. They rescued me from loneliness. And later my grandkids gave me a reason to live. At a time before my first granddaughter was born, I was feeling suicidal again and could not find purpose in my life. Her birth gave me new purpose. My grandkids bring such joy into my life.
After a period of time, I began dating Addison Tucker again. He has loved me for over thirty years and has never given up on us getting back together. So after dating off and on for five years, I said yes, to one of many of his proposals. And I’m so glad I did. After all my mistakes and all the wrong roads I took, God, in His infinite mercy and grace and love, blessed me with a wonderful man and a great marriage.
“And we know that all things work together FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).
Dream for the future
“Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way” (Psalm 16: 11 The Message).
For twenty years I’ve dreamed of helping abused and homeless women and children. Here are some of the ideas I’ve written down for starting a shelter.
Women and children only
Residents may stay for up to two weeks without enrolling in any of the programs; however, each woman must attend daily counseling sessions during her short-term stay.
- Women who stay longer must attend counseling weekly to improve self- esteem and to learn the facts about abused women.
- If a woman decides to continue getting her life in order and not to return to her abusive husband, she must enroll in school, keep her apartment clean and take turns making the evening meals. Her classes will include stress management, hygiene, low-cost meal planning, credit counseling and budgets.
- If the woman plans to renew her marriage, counseling for her and her husband together is encouraged. This counseling will take place outside of the facility, and the husband is not allowed to know the facility’s location.
- Childcare will be provided at no cost during school or work hours.
- Women must participate in the co-op program, teaching their skills to other women, babysitting, etc.
- The facility will have a clothing bank.
- The facility will have a large activity room with videotapes on exercise, cooking and educational topics.
- This will be a Christian-based operation where women will be encouraged to love, forgive and never give up.
- The facility will be located on a large private acreage of land and will consist of twenty duplex-style one and two bedroom units and a few dormitory style rooms for short-term stays.
- As long as a woman attends school and continues to improve her lifestyle, she may stay at the facility for up to one year.
- After her year’s stay, we will help each woman with employment, resume writing, a deposit to help rent an apartment within a reasonable housing market and her first month’s rent. After a one-year graduation, she will act as a counselor for three months for encouragement for the newcomers.
I am sure some of these points will change as God gives me a more complete picture of what He wants. And even after the dream materializes and the facility opens, we will address new problems as they surface. I believe we learn as we go with any endeavor. This is my plan by faith, and I am waiting for direction from the Lord.
Fulfillment of a dream
My husband Addison and I are now pursuing a dream we share-we buy distressed properties, remodel them and then either sell them or keep them as a real estate investment.
We started in California. Addison bought a home in San Jose, California, for $100,000. He had owned it for nine years and was in the process of remodeling it when we got married. We lived in every room of the house during the remodeling. It took us two years to finish what Addison had started, and then we sold the house for $500,000.
We used the money from the sale to buy three fourplexes as investment property. I worked on our credit for several months, which helped us secure good low interest rates.
We recently moved to Oregon and continue pursuing the dream there. Our current project is a Victorian home built in the 1880’s. This home is located in a historic community that attracts tourists. I have a plan to build a commercial kitchen and open it as a cafe/bakery and country store selling Oregon-produced products. This town does not have a bakery, so I am hoping ours will be well received.
I have written a business plan, financial plan, menu and cookbook. I have located several organizations that provide free help with business plans. One that helped me was the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). Developing a good plan is so important.
” Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain . . . ” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV).
This has been a big step for me. After the shattering experience I had with the first bakery-the financial problems, the divorce, and then after working so hard, leaving it all behind-I thought I’d never start another business. But I truly believe that God has opened this opportunity for Addison and me, and we are trusting Him each step of the way. I am confident that God works all things for His glory and that if we trust Him and walk in obedience, we may glorify God through any circumstance.
REFLECTIONS (Chapter 10)
“You wives must submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who Belong to the Lord” (Colossians 3:18).
In looking back at all the problems in preparing to open the first bakery, I realize that I ran ahead of my husband and did not allow God to work through him to help me with my plans. We both needed to be in agreement and know that we were in the center of God’s plan before proceeding.
“Destruction is certain for my rebellious children,” says the LORD. “You make plans that are contrary to my will. You weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up your sins (Isaiah 30:1,2).
Before proceeding with any business venture, or anything else for that matter, it is so very important for us to be sure we are in God’s will. Pray until you have total peace and direction. Pray until you and your spouse are in agreement. If those things don’t happen, stop! Your plan may not be God’s plan for your life. (And His plan is always the best plan!) Or maybe you are just rushing things. Maybe this is something He wants you to do-but not yet.
So many times in the past, I went ahead of the Lord, thinking I was working for Him and doing His will-only to realize later that my eagerness to carry out my plan had drowned out what the Lord was really telling me.
“I encourage you to ask yourself if you are doing this for the Lord, or for your own gratification? Are you being led by His Spirit or by your fleshly desires? The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth” (John 14:17).
“Or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of ten thousand is strong enough to defeat the twenty thousand soldiers who are marching against him?” (Luke 14:31).
Realistically evaluate whether your “army” of talents and gifts and finances are enough. Know that God loves you and has given you special gifts and talents. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truths about who you are in Christ. Will you be able to use those gifts to His glory in this venture?
As you begin to write down your plans, be realistic with your goals and dreams. Do not be an overachiever-that will only stress you and everyone around you. Fulfilling a dream is meant to be enjoyed. As with so many lessons, I learned this one the hard way. God blessed me with many talents, but for a very long time I was not able to focus on what He desired of me. I was working at the post office every Saturday, working during the week with my cleaning business, and working at home with recipes for the bakery. And as we began preparations for opening the bakery, I was busy day and night. I didn’t have time for my husband or children. And, even worse, I didn’t have time for the Lord. The Bible says to always put Him first (Matthew 6:33). By the time my first bakery was up and running, I wanted to run away. It was anything but fun. It turned into a nightmare. Because I did not have my priorities in order and did not wait on the Lord, I failed in my marriage, family and business.
When Christ puts a desire in your heart, it is well balanced and realistic and you can check yourself by the written Word. I thought all the hard work was making me a productive person for Christ. Later, after much prayer, I realized how wrong I had been.
” In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16,17 NIV).
Get ready! You’ve done your homework, you know you’re in the will of God and you forge on ahead. You can fully expect an attack from Satan. He does not want you to succeed in your walk with the Lord, your family, friends or business. He is the author of lies and wants to steal your joy and destroy your peace. Do not give in or up. Keep the faith, and whatever you do, do it with love. Speak the Word of God, as Satan cannot stand against it. The only giving up we should do is giving up control to God.
Attacks sometimes come in the form of family members, friends and even strangers. “No way,” they might say. “That is impossible.” “You can’t do that.” “That’s a dumb idea.” When you confront this kind of opposition, turn your eyes upon Jesus, and trust Him with all your heart.
” Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
” Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4 NIV).
CHAPTER 11: FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND
Done deal, end of story. The past will no longer hurt you. This is what everyone says, but it is so difficult to forgive. So many times I have tried to write this chapter on forgiveness. I have asked God to guide me so that what I write will make sense. I pray that if you are struggling to forgive someone who has caused you pain and suffering, the Lord will use these words to help you.
My first step in this process was asking God to forgive me for all the hurt and pain I caused in other people’s lives. Through many years of depression, I finally came to the knowledge that I had not forgiven my two brothers, my first boyfriend, my first husband . . . or God. I was angry with God. I blamed Him for allowing so much hurt and pain in my life. I yelled and screamed at Him about all the anger inside me. God’s response? He loved me and showed me each person I needed to forgive. I learned that I had many people to forgive-so many it seemed overwhelming.
For years, I asked Jesus daily to help me to forgive and to love more. The more I asked Him to help me forgive, the more He showed me who and how to forgive. He gently led me on a path of forgiveness and healing . . . now I can honestly say that I have forgiven all of the people who have hurt me.
Instead of taking on the whole task at once, I began to work on forgiving one person at a time. Just like cleaning a house-one room at a time. I asked Jesus to bring to my mind the person I needed to forgive first, and He did. And then the next, and the next.
Jesus gave me the power to forgive. Each time, I experienced a loving conviction to forgive. The actual process varied from person to person. I would write my thoughts of forgiveness down. Sometimes I would mail a letter to the person I had just forgiven. Sometimes I would call him or her.
As I truly forgave each person, with God’s grace, the tears flowed like rain, cleansing my soul. My eyes and the tip of my nose burned and a lump as large as a walnut formed in my throat from silent crying. Forgiving others helped me mentally and eased my pain. The more I learned to forgive, the more joy filled my heart. I stopped crying in pain and started crying for joy. I knew with full assurance that God’s love was real. He did care for me. And when I cast all my cares, even the little tiny ones, on Him, He restored me. The process was long. Joy came at the beginning, but daily I had to work on being a better person. Now when new hurts and pains come into my life, I am able to forgive very quickly. The joy in forgiveness is healthy and filled with love. People now tell me I have the ability to love the unloved and the unlovable. Jesus gave this gift to me and I give Him all the glory. Hold God’s hand through the process
During this process of forgiving those who had hurt me, I realized it really didn’t matter what was going on in their lives at this point. Did they deserve my forgiveness? Had they straightened out their lives? The answers to those questions had no bearing on what I was to do. I only had to be concerned about what was going on in my life. I was doing my part to be healed. I was free from the burden of sin, and now I was able to release others for the pain they had caused in my life. I could only do this with God’s help. He is so good.
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees” (Psalms 119:68 NIV).
God’s desire is for us to ask Him for forgiveness and to receive His love and forgiveness. Only then can healing begin. I used to tell myself-and others-that I couldn’t forgive. “It hurts too much. I hate too much. I want them to hurt and to pay them back for all the pain they caused me. I want justice and I want it now. I will never forgive,” I declared.
You see, I didn’t know how to forgive, because I had never asked Jesus to forgive me. During those years of hopelessness, I had no desire to forgive anyone who had caused so much pain in my life. The pain was so great that I stuffed my feelings inside and became severely depressed. Depression led to numbness-I had no feelings of any kind. I would sit in my room or on a neighbor’s couch in front of a television set, staring and thinking only of death. I could hardly lift my eyes upward when someone would speak to me. Then one day I started laughing and couldn’t stop-I was having a nervous breakdown at the young age of fifteen.
The doctors put me on heavy medication. I would just nod my head and pretend that I heard what they were saying. The truth is, I never heard a word the doctors or my family or friends were saying. I was in my own private world, listening to my negative thoughts of what a loser I was and how there was no hope for me in the future. Things would never get better. The future looked hopeless, and it seemed as if no one cared-not even me.
I never had the guts to pull a trigger with the barrel aimed at my head-it would just be too messy. And the thought of a messy knife would to my wrists only made me think, How could I leave such a mess? I thought of running my car into a tree, and then thought, I better not; what if I live? I didn’t want any more pain. I didn’t want to hurt ever again. I wrote a song to Jesus asking Him to “Take me in a dream. Don’t let me go on like this. I’m too afraid to die as I lay awake. Take me in a dream of your love.”
To this day, I struggle with wanting to die and go to heaven. I just pray it through until the feeling goes away. The key word there is feeling. So many of us judge the day by feelings. But God wants us to pray the day through with faith.
I do want Jesus to take me home to heaven. This is my final goal. I still get very angry at injustices in the world-people getting off for murder, children being abused and molested, and innocent people getting a life filled only with pain. It seems to me that people who care hurt the most. The more you care, the more angry you become because of the injustice, and you end up being one of them, one of those persons you criticized. “If it feels good, do it,” “me first” and “do unto others as they did to you.” I have a new motto I would like the whole world to adopt: “Do the right thing, not because I said it, but because Christ died for it.” ,h2> Trust God I encourage you to trust only God and His Word with your life. There IS hope. The Bible tells us not to give up. The hope of justice will come when Jesus returns. God does not lie. His Word is true, and justice will prevail.
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:8 KJV).
“Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8 KJV). “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty” (Malachi 4:1-3 NIV).
” Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).
Because of the years of abuse and taking anti-depressants, I have endured weight problems, severe depression and stress. Because of my inability to think clearly, I was not able to continue my education for a better job. I experienced hate and rage. It seemed the more I hated the person who hurt me, the more pain I relived each day. I couldn’t stop thinking about the ones who hurt me and ruined my life. My mind constantly played the blame game.
The pain I lived through caused me to make some very poor choices of husbands. I was attracted to the wrong men, the tough guys with problems. My history of abuse had created in me a personality of wanting to be a people pleaser, to fix everything in all people’s lives. But now I realize I could not fix my husbands; in fact, I cannot fix anything. I can be a gift to others, but NOT their Savior. (I do believe that because I came to like myself after Jesus cleansed and healed me, I was able to see that Addison loved me not because he was weak, but because he was secure with himself.)
When Jesus came into my life, He was all I could think about. I wanted to be right up next to Him sharing all my thoughts and telling Him my deepest pains and my secret thoughts. I kept nothing from Him. Why? He knew all my thoughts anyway.
This freedom to tell all brought joy into my life again. It enabled me to think clearly again. And I was able to love for the first time.
Sometimes I relapsed into feeling as though Jesus was not near me and that He hated me and I was on my way to hell again. But Jesus hadn’t failed me. I had strayed through sin and failed to sustain my relationship with Him. I started listening more and more to secular music and spending time with people who only mentioned God’s name when they were swearing. I searched for a “quick fix” by seeking the power of the Holy Spirit. It took time for me to get straightened out. I think Jesus wanted me to walk in the valley without sensing His presence for a while to build and strengthen my trust and faith in Him. The Word of God was all I needed-not supernatural manifestations. All I needed was the powerful Word of God sown deep into my heart so that only the best fruit would spill out from my life.
I had wrestled with God and myself for thirty years, agonizing about why bad things happened to me. I was filled with rage and anger. I could not accept the fact that I would never have a mom, a loving dad, one husband. These are the only dreams I had ever wanted in life and I did not get them from God. It seemed so simple for Him. I kept wondering, Why, God? But then when I finally learned to embrace God, I found peace. I finally came to understand that peace was not about accomplishing great things or having good parents or a good husband. My peace was found only in keeping my mind on Jesus and on what He did for me. Then the pain and confusion were finally gone-replaced by His peace.
REFLECTIONS (Chapter 11)
Part of putting the past behind involves forgiving ourselves and moving on. When we repent to Him, Jesus forgets our sins and remembers them no more. He will never bring them up to us again-we do that to ourselves. And we allow Satan, the deceiver, to harass and condemn us for acts that have been forgiven.
Are you condemning yourself for past sins, sins that have been forgiven? If so, you are missing out on the peace and joy that are yours in Jesus. When I was still hanging on to the past and suffering from self-contempt, a counselor told me to do this as a step toward healing: “Picture yourself as a child sitting alone and crying. Would you love this child? Then picture yourself holding this child and telling her that everything will be all right.” This was a real turning point in my life. Your Father God loves you and wants to embrace you. He has forgiven you and wants to bless you. I encourage you to let go of the past and move on to become all He has designed you to be.
Meditating on these scriptures can help you. Get the truth of God’s Word deep in your soul. His Word will give you hope and assurance.
“He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west” (Psalms 103:12 TLB).
” And I will be merciful to them in their wrongdoings, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12 TLB).
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:13,14).
The other side of forgiveness is forgiving those who have wronged you, just as Christ forgave you. As you step out in faith, desiring to do this, Jesus will be by your side. He will fill your heart with love after the pain has been spilled over in forgiveness. I know . . . because this is what He did for me.
“Don’t let the enemy convince you that it’s impossible to forgive. With Jesus, all things are possible” (Philippians 4:13).
Satan wants you to continue to hate and walk in unforgiveness and bitterness because He knows that these things can destroy you. Jesus wants you to forgive because He knows that with forgiveness come life and love and peace.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31,32).
” And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25 NIV).
” Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you” (Romans 12:19,20).
“As you receive Christ’s forgiveness, forgive yourself and forgive others, the fruit of the Spirit can begin to flow freely in your life. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will roduce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (Galatians 5:22-25).
CHAPTER 12: JESUS – THE ONLY WAY
From my early childhood I have known that I was going to do something great. I wanted to be an actress, singer, dancer or nun. What a combination!
I loved the television shows of the 60s: The Flying Nun, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, I Dream of Jeannie, and, of course, Leave It To Beaver. The flying nun was able to transform lives with her trust in God and the purpose He put inside her heart to help others. Andy of Mayberry was always kind to others, helpful and trustworthy. The entire population of Mayberry had wonderful morals. The My Three Sons cast was made up of a broken family who loved each other, and I Dream of Jeanie was just that-filled with possibilities and dreams. Leave It To Beaver represented the perfect family that I wanted. I dreamed and hoped for just such a family as I watched each episode unfold. These shows were my mentors and my family.
My older brother Sean would always say, “All you do is eat, sleep and watch television.” But I was so unhappy as a child that I looked to these television shows to give me hope. Family is what I wanted in my life-a loving, caring family.
One way to true happiness
It was only later in life that I found my answer. True happiness can only come through Jesus. Only He is the way, the truth and the life. In Him I found forgiveness. And then He helped me forgive others, and He replaced loneliness with the joy of knowing Him. He brought me to the realization that the whole purpose of my existence is to help others know His love. And I can do that by sharing His love with others through acts of kindness. He planted the desire to do good in my heart. He has given me so many ideas that sometimes my head spins. He has helped me accomplish some of these things, and I know that in His time, He will help me accomplish the full purpose of my journey.
“. . . who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV).
Jesus is my best friend, my counselor and my helper. He has never left me nor has He forsaken me.
I’ve made wrong turns in my life, even after becoming a Christian, but He hasn’t left me. And He has brought me to a place of such joy. One of my greatest earthly joys is Addison. We married on October 1st, 2001. Addison had loved me for thirty years, and now at last we are together. We know that together we are complete, and we are one with Christ. Life is good. We both have true happiness for the first time in our lives. Our pain and loneliness are gone.
Are you going through difficult times? Times of loneliness? Do you feel as though things will never get better? Don’t give up! There is always hope in Jesus. He loves you and wants to help you. Just look at the things that have happened in my life. Talk about hopeless! And the sin and the wrong turns I took. But Jesus didn’t leave me, and now I am walking with Him and happier than I ever dreamed possible. Sure, I still have problems and challenges. Sure, I still make mistakes. But through Jesus, I repent, I overcome and I move on. He makes all things possible.
Maybe you have been walking with Jesus, trying to do what’s right, but you can’t see that anything has changed. No matter what your situation, I encourage you not to give up! Here are some scriptures to focus on:
“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. Galatians 6:9,10 Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and patience” (Hebrews 6:11,12).
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you'” (Hosea 10:12).
MY TESTIMONY (Chapter 12)
I love Jesus so much. He has been so good to me. All my praise goes to Him. The Lord drew me to Him and I want to preach Jesus and His love to you.
I want to plant seeds of hope to the hurting and lost, just as his disciples did. This is my ministry.
I cannot save a soul by the things I do or say, but I can share with everyone about God’s unfailing love, a love I do not deserve.
“For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us” (Romans 3:23-25).
Do you realize that God loves us as much as He loves His own Son? The first time I heard these words, I cried. That could not be true, I thought. How could God love me with all my sin?
But it was true.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 KJV).
“Whosoever”–that’s you and me. God loves His Son, you and me with the same intensity. Forgiveness-and everlasting life-is a free gift to all who will believe and receive Jesus as Lord of their life. Even if you’ve never received Christ, God loves you.
“We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 KJV).
I had walked in sin for so long, and yet all He asked of me is that I confess my sins and receive His son Jesus into my heart and life. Now that’s love! Real unconditional love.
And that’s the way He loves you. He doesn’t care about your past. He cares about now and the rest of your life. He cares about your eternity. He loves you and wants to help you.
At first I had difficulty believing that anyone-especially God-could love me that much. I had not known real love before, and I had suffered so much abuse in my early childhood and during my first marriage. I believed that no one cared about me. I thought I would have to be perfect for anyone to love me.
And then I learned that Jesus loved me and accepted me just the way I was. That He had died on the cross for MY sins. That I could be forgiven. All I had to do was ask.
My other problem was trusting someone who wanted to give me a gift. You see, people who are abusers will seduce you with gifts and kindness with only one intention-to get something from you. It took me time to accept the fact that God’s love is truly unconditional. And that the gift of forgiveness and eternal life is really free.
It took me almost a year of listening and pondering to accept this wonderful gift of salvation. I learned that salvation does not come by joining a church, following a certain religion, doing good deeds or living a good moral life-no matter how admirable these things may seem to be. The Bible tells us there is only one way to receive salvation. You must be born again by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior
“Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God'” (John 3:3).
After listening to stories about other people who fell in love with Jesus and hearing their testimonies of Christ’s love, I finally said yes to the truth. I have been a born again Christian for twenty-three years, and the Lord has shown me His wonderful love every single day. I hope that you, too, will receive His wonderful gift of love.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms – all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus. God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:4-10).
Won’t you say yes to Jesus right now?
Email and chat to Kaylee at firstname.lastname@example.org
©2005 by Kaylee Tucker. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without written consent of Kaylee Tucker.
This is a true story of the author’s life. In a desire to protect the privacy of individuals mentioned in the book, the author has changed her name as well as many of the names throughout the book.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked “KJV” are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Scripture quotations marked “NIV” are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.
NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked “NKJV” are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Verses marked “TLB” are taken from The Living Bible © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved. separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)