Excerpt for By His Grace by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Amy Lowery-Lopez

By His Grace

Copyright 2018 Amy Lowery-Lopez Published by

Amy Lowery-Lopez at Smashwords

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What do you do after being diagnosed with breast cancer. You’re at the top of you game. Life couldn’t be any better. Now, you’re given six months to live, if you do not get treatment. A diagnosis, if revealed could cost you everything you worked so hard for the past twenty years. Your fight to the top, has come after countless days, months and years of long hard work. What do you do?

Amy’s diagnosis is about to catapult her into her worse nightmare. Every imaginable fear is unleashed. She’s at the brink of losing her life, family, career, success, home -- everything. In her desperate search for truth, Amy gets on her knees and cries out for help.

This is a modern day biblical story of Job, and how God walks with you during those times. When the enemy is trying to steal, kill and destroy, God shows up. This story is about how God meets us in our circumstances. How he provides, guides and comforts us. This is about the people he puts in your path when you need them, and gives you strength when you feel like giving in. This is a story about how God still works miracles, guides and teaches us, even in today’s times.

I have chronicled the journey the past years, to see what would unfold. These are real experiences of how God honors faith. Can I explain, or understand them all?

No. It’s a journey filled with surprises, challenges, twists and turns and a new understanding of love. I also have a different perspective now, on how I measure my success. The challenge is aligning my faith, to what I knew in my heart to be true, with reality!

The hardest part. Relinquishing my strength and becoming small, so God could become big in my life.

At time’s I cried out to God, “Help me Pappa. Because if you don’t, I can’t finish”. I later learned, this was the way it was supposed to be. It wasn’t about me -- it was all about him. The sooner I learned this, I could stop going around the same mountain, over and over, dealing with the same problems. What it revealed to me, was God was in complete control. The sooner I understood this, and surrendered every area of my life, the journey would get easier. That was the hardest part. Letting go. Trusting, and knowing God knew best. This is a story of such a journey, and how it’s not over, till God says it’s over.

What I’ve learned through all this, is to NOT compromise. To lean on God for everything. Even when it doesn’t make sense. I knew for God to reveal his true purpose for my life, I had to trust him. To much is given, much is required. I knew I would have to stand on God’s principals, and not waiver. In this journey, I could not listen to what people were saying. I had to guard my heart, so as not to taint what God had birthed in me. The enemy knew it was there, that’s why he came to snatch the seed.

When God gives you a dream, he wants you to stand alone sometimes. To grow strong, so you can draw from the giver, the creator. When God puts a dream in your heart, there are times, you must bring it to the alter and let it die.

Do you love the dream, or the Dream Giver? God needs to be stronger than the dream. Otherwise, you put another an idol before him. This is the hardest part of pursuing the promise. This is where true character is forged. You must trust and give into something greater than yourself. But once you die to yourself, you truly find yourself.


This book is dedicated to my heavenly father - Abba - Pappa. He has been my life spring. The one constant in my life. I wrote this book to honor him and his faithfulness.

Second to my parents. They planted seeds of faith in me at a very young age. This was the greatest gift they could have given me. This is the gift, that keeps on giving. A gift only a parent who wants the best for their children, could give. When life becomes challenging, these are the life tools and resources a child will use over, and over again, to overcome life’s challenges, obstacles and become the person God created. To my Father who showed me how to dream and to believe nothing was impossible, and we could accomplish anything.

To my friends who have stood by me – Michael, Marilyn, Evelyn, Roland and Ruth who loved me through this journey. Also, the Valley Golfers who accepted me into their group and accepted me with such loving arms and support. To Joy, Linda, Jeannie, Kathy, Sandy, Patsy and the rest of the girls who didn’t realize how their love and joy helped me, as I transitioned into a new town, and life changing situation. Thank you for making it so much easier.

My twin sister Gloria, my best half. My unrelenting support who gave me unconditional support, and love. You went home to be with the Lord.

I miss you terribly and miss our daily talks. I know you’ll be one of the first ones to greet me with Mom and Dad. Life without you seems different and not as bright. No matter what life gave us, we always made lemonade.

And to my loving, sweet, husband Robert who has truly showed me the heart of Jesus. A kind, loving, giving man with a heart full of love and uncompromising support. My heart’s desire. When I see him, I see the heart of Jesus.

I remember as a young girl looking out my window and thinking of my future as a young girl. Hoping someday to marry, have a family, home and a loving husband who would share life’s journey with me. A man who would protect and love me. It took us most of our life to find, but the journey was so worth it. He is a giant among men, in so many ways. He has given me the ability to continue to be an instrument for God, and stands by me in faith, fighting the good fight of faith. My Champion! Robert tells me I love him the way he has always wanted to be loved. No greater gift then to love and be loved he says.


1. The Prayer

2. The Bible - It May As Well Been Written In Chinese

3. The Dream & A Paper Napkin

4. In Pursuit of My Destiny

5. 50 Cents Challenge

6. Hello, God Are You There?

7. The Par Course

8. Providence - Rhode Island

9. God, Are You Kidding Me?

10. A Humble Start

11. Would Of - Should Of - Could Of

12. Checking My Notes

13. Good Bye to New England

14. Risking It All

15. If You Can’t Afford to Risk It All, Don’t Gamble

16. What Is Missing?

17. God, How Can I Do This, Without Any Resources?

18. Is Despair Required for All Those God Calls?

19. Barely Holding On

20. Ten Years Later- My Fig Tree Moment

The Prayer

As I sit here, several years later, traveling from coast to coast, house to house, packing and unpacking across 17 states, I reflect on how much my life has changed. Little did I know how a simple prayer, would change my life. That prayer would catapult me into a life I would normally not have chosen for me. I am a person who likes structure, and stability. I thrive more in that environment, I am not a nomadic person, by nature. That all changed in the summer of 2001.

I once had someone tell me, “be careful what you pray for, you just might get it. Or you may not get it the way you imagined”. I didn’t know what that meant. I do now!

I often wondered, did God call me, or did I seek him? The Bible says he chooses us. What did he want from me? I was determined to find out.

Like most people, I had an active and very busy life. I was working for a high-tech company in Silicon Valley in California. I ‘d been blessed with family, friends, a great job, a six -figure income, promising career, finances and a beautiful home. I was in a good place. What most call a “sweet spot”. I had a successful life. I was at the top of my game! I was lucky. I was doing what I was passionate about and getting paid for it. The perks of traveling, mentoring, and a promising future just made it better.

One day I came across a book by David Ring, a young man who was born with Cerebral Palsy. He lost his Mother as a young man and had a disability. This story is how God used him beyond what he could ever dream for himself. I had no idea how much it would change me. It ignited a spark, which would later turn into an intense inferno. After reading the book, my mind could not stop thinking about it. It started an intense search for God. I could not quench it, just feed it. I had a quest to find the God I had been reading about. I wanted to meet this God. I was determined to find him, at any cost. Little did I know, it would almost cost me my life, family, home, job, career. Everything I’d worked so hard for! I opened the door and walked through. There was no turning back! What was the key that opened the door? I prayed. I asked God for more of him. I cried out to him, on my knees, telling him I wanted to experience the same encounters people had in the bible. Boy, I wish now I had read the Bible more!! I wanted to know him as Father, friend, and confidant. My source for everything in life I would ever need.

Not the God I grew up learning about in religious schools and rituals. That God seemed so distant, and ready to pounce on me, if I screwed up. What I learned about God at a young impressionable age? I remember, the rituals; standing, sitting, reciting – the patterns of my early faith walk. That was religion. I just watched the leaders in the church, sometimes speaking in other languages. I just went thru the motions. What I wanted, I didn’t know I needed. I wanted a relationship. And a stronger faith. I wanted the God that changed people, moved mountains and parted seas. I wanted to have an experience of knowing God, as Father - Abba. I was willing to risk everything to find him. The first phase. I prayed, and asked God to shut whatever he needed to shut down in my life, that kept me from knowing him. He did. Little did I know that request would test my faith, to desperation on many human levels It’s easy to have faith when you’re blessed, with a home, finances, health, career, job, relationships, family, or a life purpose. That prayer, couldn’t have prepared me for the test of faith I would go though. Why did I pray that prayer? Because I believed God’s word. If we make him first in our life, he would give us the desires of our heart. That was it. That simple. I was willing to step out in faith. To see what would happen. It’s been the most daunting task of my life, beyond human capability, comprehension and resilience.

I watched this program one day about a man who had Cerebral Palsy. Who by society’s standards, was expected to lose and fail in life. He told his story about losing his mother, and crying out to God, after his family had pretty much given up on him. God intervened and changed his life. I wanted to know this God. To trust him with every dream, success, hope and desire of my life. Little did I ever imagine, many years later, in my search for God, when I came to the end of the rope -- looking for him, I found him.

Earlier, in 1998 I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to go through two surgeries, chemo and radiation, for twelve months. It was supposed to be the most exhausting, and challenging year of my life. It wasn’t. It was the most rewarding, peaceful and fulfilling year. Why? Because I prayed to God and surrendered and told him, “no matter what happens, I will worship, honor and walk with you. All I ask, is to use me for your Glory.” He did.

Not only did he answer this prayer, but would have knocked out most people in life, catapulted me to a life I could not even imagine. I had favor at work and was promoted and doubled my salary in less than two years. My group was recognized for excellent contributions individually, and corporate wide. My Mangers were fighting over me, with salary, stocks and promotion. I had more energy and was able to excel at work. I went to Hawaii, did a Tony Robbins seminar and walked on hot coals – twice! I gave my testimony

to thousands of people at that Seminar and said it wasn’t over, till God says it’s over. The crowd erupted and were climbing over their chairs to hug me. I took off my wig and revealed my bald head and pointed upward to give him all the glory. Man do I remember that day. My body was pumped with adrenaline. I was fortunate to have the best Director ever – Jack, my Manager. He was one of those managers who invest so much in you, you cannot fail. Jack mentors and inspires you, to do your best. I wanted to walk on water for Pappa and Jack.

I also had to gather strength to fight for my life. My daughter just announced her engagement. I did not know if I was going to even be around to see her get married. My biggest fear was telling my kids I had Cancer. With the support of family and friends, we got through this stage of processing the diagnosis. I had Doctors painting a grim picture. I did not feel optimistic. But, I knew who was on the throne. I decided to trust Pappa.

I knew God saved me, comforted and gave me favor during this time. He was not done using me. What did he have planned for my future? I did not know. This is where the journey begins, searching for that answer. I needed to know. What did he want me to do? He spared my life, for a reason. I needed to find out why. I decided to pray and find out. This prayer was a sincere conversation I had with God. He knew my heart. How much I wanted to know him. I knew if he searched my heart, he would see how much I wanted him, and needed him. The bible says, we are each given a measure of faith, when we are born. It also tells us that the Holy Spirit softens our heart and puts a stronger desire in our heart, for God. The bible says he chooses us, we don’t choose him. There it is again. Why did he choose me, spare me, and want me to do? This prayer was the beginning of a faith walk which would crush most spirits. It was a lot of time spent alone, searching, praying, journaling. Some of my friends and family thought I had lost it. The same people who had come to me for help, when they needed help, were no longer there. All the comforts I had ever known in life, resources, skills and talents I developed in life, would be of no use to me. I could no longer draw from the well, that provided me resources, talents and experience, to sustain me in life. The one thing I learned through all this was, it was not by power, or might, but by his spirit, and his grace that would sustain me.

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

Luke 11:9

The Bible - It May as Well Have Been In Chinese

Imagine your Father writing you a letter, reading it, and having no impact on your life! That is how the bible is to most people. I didn’t want that. I wanted the bible to have the same effect, as if my mother and father wrote me a personal letter. I remember many times sitting with my Dad, talking for hours. Laughing, sharing, and learning from all his wisdom. I cherished those days. They are imbedded in my spirit and mind, to this day. I still draw strength from those memories today. I wanted the Bible - Gods word, to have the same effect on me. I remember the long talks with my dad when he shared his wisdom and knowledge. I still remember those conversations, as if they happened yesterday. I play them over and over in my head. This is the same effect I wanted the bible to have on me. I wanted to be able to draw from it, for wisdom, strength and guidance in my life.

Like most, I had a bible. I ‘d attempted to read it throughout my life. I knew people who memorized it, and could quote verse, by verse. But, I wanted more. I wanted to really understand it. I wanted to read it, like I would read a letter from a dear, close friend. I had tried many times to read it but couldn’t understand it. It may as well have been in Chinese. Don’t misunderstand that. I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way. For those who are learning a new language, you know the frustration of reading something, and not understanding it. This is the best analogy I can use.

I prayed and asked God, to help me understand the bible. I didn’t just want to read it, but, I wanted to comprehend it. I wanted to be able to refer to it, over and over. I wanted to know his heart, and his thoughts about me.

In my faith walk and journey the answer didn’t come right away, but in God’s time. I tried to read the bible. But it wasn’t making sense. I wanted to know God, so desperately. One day I went to a bookstore and found a children’s bible. I bought it and read it. That’s how hungry I was for God’s word. I wanted to understand it, in a simple way. I could put my heart and mind around it. To be able to apply it to my life. I wanted more. God answered. Like a baby he fed me. As I progressed in knowledge, he gave me more. Now, as an adult I spend hours a day reading scripture, studying prophecy, journaling, and having a deeper faith walk with God. God met me in this prayer request. Now I can’t imagine a day not reading my bible or having fellowship with him. Each time I do, I learn and understand more. I’ve had many Aha moments with Abba.

How did this happen? I came across a man who could explain the bible in such simple, life applicable terms. Now I was hooked. I woke up every morning at 6:00am, to watch him. I would have my bible study every morning. I took notes and was so excited I couldn’t wait till the next day. Creflo Dollar, thank you for being there as the first of many teachers. I know you were a divine appointment God sent. This went on for a few years. The bible was no longer just a book, but a love letter, a book of wisdom -- guidelines for every circumstance in my life. This book filled with wisdom, from my Heavenly Father. The one who created me. The one I would spend the rest of my eternal life with. I was learning more about God, life, my purpose, and how to deal with all the circumstances I would encounter in life. I had my “Owner’s Manual”, the bible. I started to read it daily and apply it to my life

When we purchase something, it has an owner’s manual. Most of us don’t read those books and manuals. Now, if it breaks, or something happens, and it isn’t working properly, we get the owner’s manual and read it. Well, the bible is no different! Most of us never read it, until we have life emergencies, a life crisis concerning us, or our loved ones. I always say, “there are not atheists in fox holes” Well, I had been in enough fox holes in my life, and found out I could prevent future ones, if I applied God’s principles to my life.

As my faith walk grow, the Lord would put the necessary people, mentors, and teachers in my path. I received what I needed, when I needed it. It was my manna from God. I was being spoon fed, like a baby. Small morsels at first, easily and digestible, like milk. Then as I understood more, it became dense, thicker and had more nutrients. He used different teachers, who would meet my need, at each phase of my faith walk. From baby, infant, to student, and champion, into a deeper faith walk. Now, the depth of the bible was being revealed. It was unquenchable. God promises, as we search for him, he will reveal the mysteries of life to us. Did he reveal it to me? Yes! There were moments of clarity, with such precise accuracy, my spirit leaped. Can I quote verse by verse? No. What did I learn?

  • Can apply what I read to my life. Yes.

  • Does my life bear fruit? Yes.

  • Can I draw from it, when I’m in the fight of my life? Yes

  • Can I use it to help others? Yes, it’s a light unto our feet

  • Can I apply it when death comes a knocking? Yes.

  • Will it help me, when all hell breaks loose? Yes.

  • Can it sustain me, when everyone else has left? Yes.

  • Will it guide me, when I ‘m standing alone? Yes.

  • Can I see more successes in my life now, then before? Yes.

  • Can I draw from it as the battle becomes fierce, and there is no way out? Yes

  • Can I find comfort and peace when the battle’s so intense, most would lose it? Yes

I now know why it says wisdom is worth more than gold. I don’t claim to be a bible scholar, or seminary expert. What I do know is this. I feel a greater sense of purpose as I read the bible and obtained more wisdom and knowledge. I have a feeling of peace - no matter what is going on in my life. Does it mean I don’t fail? No. It means I just get back up and keep trying. My bible is worn and held together by tape on the seams. I sleep with it many times. There are notes scribbled in with dates, and times I vividly remember when God spoke to me. Times when God met me in my circumstance. It is my most prized possession. It’s the way I can understand God, as Abba. Father, Daddy.

Simply by reading his love letter, the bible.

I’m grateful. Most people in the world will never experience this. Many cannot read the bible, for fear of losing their lives, or freedom. What we need to remember is this. When we lay down our life, to find Abba, we will find it.

How do you know God answers prayers and we’re in his presence? The best analogy I can use is wind. You can feel it, experience it. You feel it’s force but can’t see it. Well, sometimes the wind is gentle. Other times it is a gust of force nothing can stand against. This is how it feels to be in his presence. You know, that you know!

The bible allows us to know God. A book written describing who he is, what he wants and how he feels. For me, it’s a love letter from daddy. A means of conversation I want to keep having. As each page turns, I find out more and more. I write it down, list questions, and come to him in conversations. Just like ones I might have with friends. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes years later I’ll remember something he revealed to me and go ….aaahhhhh. He knows what I need, when I need it.

Most people start a journey with God, when everything is going wrong in their life, or they’ve come to the end of their rope. My journey started at the top of my game. I had it all, from most people’s perspective of success. Yet, there was a void in my life. I had to find out, what it was. I decided to take this journey. Some will never take the journey. They don’t want to rock the boat, give up their comforts, do without, or are fearful. I was afraid too. But, I knew if I trusted him, searched him with all my heart, he would reveal himself to me. God would show me a love I could NEVER imagine!

Many of us in our journey of life have questions about if we’re on the right track, what our purpose is, should I take this job, move to this home, marry this person, have children now, or later. I think many of us would take these questions, to our Father in heaven. I know I did. Sometimes he directed me, sometimes I’d make a decision based on

feeling a sense of peace and sometimes I’d wait or did nothing. I figured if it was meant to be, he would get me back on track, if I ventured off too far. You see the hardest thing in one’s faith walk, is to “wait on him”. We often want his direction and wisdom, but we don’t always wait for it to manifest. We think we’ve prayed, and then sometimes we move forward hoping he’ll help us along the way. You see, surrender is the hardest part. Complete surrender. We want to surrender only parts of our life. We often have conversations like this. “Ok, Lord you can help me with my career, or school, or a job prospect”. But, when it comes to our personal areas in our life, like marriage, and relationships, we go forward hoping he is going to bless it.

I remember once I was dating a fella and he was separated. He had been separated for years. I found this out in the beginning of our conversations. I liked him, and since he was going through the final stages, to end the relationship, I felt it was ok. I did not cause its demise and they were on the final stages of the divorce – the financial distribution of assets. After praying about it, Pappa told me in several ways not to proceed. I decided since I liked him, and as long as it was being finalized, it was safe to proceed. The more time I spent with him, the more I liked him. But, when the soon to be ex found out, all chaos broke out and she wanted a reconciliation. It caused a lot of grief for all of us, and I walked away from the relationship knowing I did not want to get caught in the crossfires of what could turn out to be a nasty divorce. It’s funny how people can amicably be breaking up, until there is a third party in the picture. I exited and although it was sad, I was glad because as long as there was a small child involved, it could go on for quite some time. If I had listened to God, I could’ve avoided a lot of hurt. Sure, we can make it happen, but with it comes a lot of unnecessary hurt, grief and drama we could have prevented. If Pappa ordered it, he’ll pay for it someone once told me. Pappa would give me the desires of my heart, so we need to always go to him and seek his direction for our lives. Otherwise we’ll have to maintain it the rest of our lives and cause more work, and pain for ourselves. I think often when that happens, you may have the relationship, but you’ll also deal with a lot of drama, pain, illness, depression and ongoing issue that will affect the marriage and family. There will be strife in the family, with members of the family, struggles and a lot of pain to get the marriage to work. Is it worth it?

It can cause a lot of hurt with family members and take years to repair, if it happens at all. I know Pappa hates divorce and if a person is NOT divorced, I have no intentions of getting in the middle. That is adultery, plain and simple. I don’t want to block my blessings for lustful pride. Sometimes we want the Lord to bless our marriage in that kind of circumstances and he can’t. He will not contradict his word, so why do we proceed? Even if we’re in a terrible relationship, he wants us to reconcile, and or go to the church elders for help. But, most important never to have a tryst with a married woman, or man. He will not bless that. I didn’t want to take that chance.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”

Philippians 2:13

The Dream and A Paper Napkin

A powerful dream can unlock a life’s purpose. Remembers Joseph’s dream in the bible? I was living in Pleasanton, California when I had this dream. It was so vivid and profound, it woke me up. I was excited. I came running down the stairs, looking for a pencil and paper, to write down my dreams. I could only find a paper napkin. I made nine boxes and wrote these categories in each one. Family, Dreams, Career, Health, Job, Home, Relationships, Money, Love. I didn’t know what it meant. I thought it was God speaking to me. I thought Pappa was showing me the area’s he was going to bless, in my life. Little did I know, it would be the area’s in my life that would be affected, one by one. You see when God begins to move in your life, you have to surrender every area of your life. Not just some parts. Most people struggle with this. I know I did.

Earlier, I remember praying that prayer. “God, shut it all down. If it prevents me from knowing you. If the volume in my life is turned up too loud. Shut it down “. He did.

Imagine, your job, home, career, money, bank account, finances, are altered and effected. There’s nothing you can draw from in your past experiences and expertise to move things along quicker.

I remember reading once, God reveals his purpose, to his people for their life, before he wants them to act. I didn’t understand. I know each person in the bible, God used he told them what to do, before using them. I thought he was preparing me for what was coming. Can I honestly tell you I knew what it meant? No! I referred to my journals, read my notes, and prayed a lot!! God gives us what we need, for that day, or task to do. I think if he told us what he was going to do in our lives we’d probably say, “ahhh, we need to talk”, or “let me get back to you on that”.

All I know is I remember the dream, and still have the paper napkin. What do I think it means? I think it’s all the areas in my life God wanted to change. Every area of my life Pappa reveled to me the areas he was working on. Just as I prayed and asked. That simple. He confirmed it.

Do I have a different understanding and relationship with him, then before? YES! Yet, when I keep it simple, and childlike, it grows and blossoms naturally. It’s when I convolute it with my own perceptions or try to help God execute his plan for my life, it becomes more difficult.

When I surrender and don’t resist, it flows more naturally. I can easily go with the pattern he’s creating, in my life. I believe it started with a dream I had one day. I think this dream really begin a very long time ago. It just took me over ten years to try and figure it out. He knew all along, what was meant to happen in my life. I resisted or took a detour. God just waited and let me do it my way. God doesn’t force himself on us. He knew eventually I would come around.

I can’t wait to see the “dream” unfold. I think for now, he’s looking at his creation, saying, “nope, let’s take this out” “I didn’t put this there”, or “let’s just clean this up and tweak it out a little”. That is when one is at the Potter wheel and he refines us. It’s a painful process, but that’s when we become the vessel he created us to be. He takes out the ego, pride, arrogance, fear, or and characteristics he knows will not glorify him

He needs to make sure when the dream comes to pass, no one, but him gets the glory. He is the “potter” and we are the “clay”.

We’re no different. As parents, we want the best for our children. We have plans and dreams for them. We want the best for them. We love them and want them to be happy and successful. Well, Pappa is the same way! He watches us, cries, laughs and proudly looks, as we take measures of steps in our faith walk.

When I was a small child, I loved talking with my folks. Going to them for wisdom. I know they loved me. I felt safe when they were home. The world was right. That is the way I feel, in the presence of God - Pappa.

The dream is unfolding. Yet I take comfort, knowing if I draw close to him, it only gets better and better. The best part. This doesn’t have to ever end! If I trust Papa to let his will for my life develop and if I submit to him, he will do a great work in me! That gets me excited! It’s a guarantee. And right now, it’s the best guarantee in life I have. A win-win. I think I’ll take it! I can’t lose!

You see, when I don’t have the strength to get through a day, he provides it. When I come to him, and ask for help, he shows up. He puts the people in my life who need to be there, or a check comes in the mail, or a person who can fix my car for considerably less, offers to help. Things happen, without any effort on my part, just simply by faith, trusting him. It’s awesome to watch Papa moving in our lives.

God says he will never leave, us or forsake us. I have seen this scripture unfold in my faith walk. How? By seeing many answered prayers for loved ones being answered. Grace for an uncle fighting cancer. Strength for my sister Gloria to endure her battle with Cancer. Favor in a situation for a friend trying to keep her home out of foreclosure, and protection for my children when I wasn’t around. There are many ways he answers prayers. They are not coincidences, but God-incidents on how he speaks to us, answers our prayers, and meets our needs. These are many ways he spoke to me, guided, and protected me these past years. The journey is still unfolding. I’m expecting great dreams to come to fruition. All of this happened by simply picking up a book. The bible. God’s love letter to us about life. It’s a wild adventure I could simply not refuse to take. I’m excited knowing the dreams the enemy meant to use to destroy me, God, Papa is using for my good. I just need to stay on course and not give up. That I not an option. Like anything in life worthwhile, I need to stay the course and give it my all. I often ask God, Papa to take my hand and not let go. I can’t do this without him, nor am I willing to. We’re in this together, through thick or thin! I’m confident it will turn out great. It’s his promise. We win!

We each have a different journey, when it comes to our faith walk. Each one of us have a different life lesson and journey. We all have talents and Pappa has given us all a measure of faith. We each have a different faith walk in our lives.

For some, our lives are made easier and our life and testimony is used in a different way. Some of us are warriors and are in constant battle with the enemy and trying to take more ground for the kingdom. I have often picked up the sword to help those who are less fortunate and may not have a voice. That seems to be where most of my life has been used. Why? I don’t know, but I believe Pappa knew I would take up the sword, when instructed. He knew I would do whatever it took, and go wherever he wanted me to go, do his work. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it’s been very lonely, but during those times Pappa has sustained me.

My life has taken me many places, and I have met many people, and hope to of touched their lives in a positive way. That is my goal. What I have learned through the years, is there is a time and season and sometimes our journey ends. That is the challenge. Understanding it – realizing when it’s time to let go or take a new path.

“God is Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

In Pursuit of My Destiny

I believe we are all in pursuit of our destiny. We just get off track or take a detour. Some of us look back and wonder what happened. How did we get off track? I know I have. I’ve made some wrong decisions and did something foolish. I took the wrong advice, compromised, settled, or just decided this is too uncomfortable, and said “I think I’ll pass “.

Do you ever feel like God gave you a dream and you knew it was him. But, things are not going as planned. You say to yourself, “What, is going on Lord? I know you gave me a vision. I’ve been faithful, tithed, and doing your work. What am I missing?”

You wonder, “Did I hear him correctly? What step did I miss? Is there something I’m missing? I wonder did I really hear him? All these questions bombard your mind and you start to question if this is really going to happen. Well, remember all the people God used in the bible. They all had to go through the valley. That journey can take weeks, months, or even years. Mine has been since 2001. I know in my heart God called me to ministry, but it coming to fruition has been a journey. A long journey filled with blessing, opportunities, and events which have occurred in my life, I know only the hand of GOD could be moving.

It has happened because I have been in constant connection, prayer, fasting and walking my faith out step, by step. There have been times during journey, especially in the

beginning I walked so closely with God, we were in constant communion. I would spend endless hours talking with him, and he would show up and reveal himself so many times, it overwhelmed me. In small ways where he would send me doves, or I would be praying about my partner and he would call me to speak about exactly what Pappa and I were talking about earlier. There were times, he would tell me something was going to happen and to get prepared. There was a season he was telling me to empty my desk at work. That the season of work at that company was closing. There were times he reveled to me the thoughts and heart of a person I was praying for or dealing with in a business venture. So many people in my life often ask me, how do you hear from Pappa? How does he talk with you and reveal himself to you? It surprises me when I hear this, because I thought he did this with everyone.

Then there were times, when the teacher has been quiet. Those are the most frightening times. You know you’ve prepared, and feel confident he is moving in your life, but when things don’t happen the way you though they would, or in the time you though it would take, you say to yourself, “Lord, what is happening here? Why are you not doing something? What is happening? Why didn’t you warn me, or tell me about this? I wait pray and fast and sometimes, even then he is silent. They say the Teacher is quiet during the test.

I know from personal experience when those times happen, I am really challenged.

I’ve always been a very result driven person. I have orchestrated major projects for Fortune 500 companies impacting major organizations, with millions of dollars on the line. I thrive in those environments.

I am happy and feel very fulfilled when it all comes together. I love executing in these scenarios, and after over 35 years of doing it professionally, it’s hard for me to wait and do nothing. That’s the hardest part of the struggle for me. The waiting!!! Urgghhhh. It is the area I am the most challenged in, to be honest. When you go into your bag of tricks, filled with experience and nothing is working. It worked before and now – nothing. These are the times I ask Pappa, “what are you trying to teach me”?

What I’ve learned lately is, life offers no guarantees. The things I drew from, counted on, no longer offered the same security. We’re in different times now. The one thing I learned about life, -- the one constant, is change. If you don’t change, you won’t be able to sustain, the uncertainties, life brings.

The examples are 911, The Tsunami, Katrina, Hurricanes in Texas. The volatile changes in our country and politicians. People are still trying to recover. Some never will. I believe things will get more intense. It’s scientific. Look at the data. There are more weather patterns, horrific losses and terrors out there that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. There are times I don’t even put the news on. It’s too depressing, to be honest.

The greatest comfort I have today, is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. To know it’s his battle, he’s in control. It makes life more enjoyable, and easier to endure. It takes the struggle and pressure of me. Does it mean I just sit on my duff? No. It just means I take his word - verbatim! It’s that simple. Why do we make it so complicated?

Our destiny is to love and have fellowship with him! That’s it! All the other stuff; work, family, love, relationships, are just an outpouring of that. If we keep him first, walk

closely with him, we will find true happiness. We really will! I wished I learned that lesson earlier! It would have made life so much easier. I wish someone had given me the key to life’s happiness, long ago. My parents tried, but what I got was religion. But, that is what they received, so they passed it down, not knowing.

Yes, I had to find it the hard way. I had to go backwards. I had to start fresh, with nothing, to discover this! But, how did I know what it was? Because, I believe before I was born, I knew God and I had this relationship. I just lost this experience, here on earth. Now, I have it. With a childlike innocence, expecting to know he will meet me, each time. I spend hours talking with God- Abba, having fellowship, laughing, crying, sharing, singing, asking questions, praying, worshiping, loving. All the things I do with my earthy relationships, I do with him now. I just make him a priority. The rest of it, just happens naturally. Without any help from me. Imagine, all this time. I had it backwards. It wasn’t about me -- it’s was all about him!

How do I know this, after many years of walking with him, searching, talking, spending time with him? It’s like being with a friend. Imagine a friend, you hear from once every few years, for a moment. Could you say you know this person? Do you have a deep relationship? Do you know how they feel, think, care, want? It’s the same thing with our Heavenly Father. Relationships aren’t any different, just on a different level.

I think a lot of people say they have faith, but what if you take everything away? Their home, family, job, health, money, relationships, career, everything they drew from, could they still believe in God?

It isn’t easy. I know. Was this easy? No, it was the most daunting task I had ever taken on in my life. Breast cancer was a piece of cake compared to this. With cancer, you have tools, doctors, hospitals, medicine, you can use to combat it. With a faith walk like this, you risk everything, to pursue your destiny. You may try different things, and nothing works. You try to call on previous experiences, skills, people, jobs, places. Nothing! You keep coming up empty. It’s like the door closed. But, in the pursuit of my destiny, the only way I could find out was to risk losing everything. To a point I could not turn back.

It’s felt like crossing a torrid river. You’re three quarters of the way across. You’ve lost everything, almost drowned several times, got caught up in the current, lost your footing, swallowed more water then you wanted to. You look back, but you can’t go back. It’s too dangerous. You’ve come too far. I invested everything, risked it all. You can only go forward.

You have to go all the way now. It’s destiny. Providence. Now, I know why that kept coming up in my spirit. Providence means destiny.

I thought it meant Providence RI, so I went there since that was where my partner of the non-profit was. Geeze, how silly, but I didn’t think so at the time. I was trying to pursue the passion of helping others through a non-profit. It didn’t take off right away. I couldn’t understand why?

As I was writing this book, I asked God why. God had showed me my destiny. It’s fellowship with him. That’s it. It just took me many years to figure it out. It’s funny, how we as humans take the simplest thing, and make it so complicated.

We can take an incident, or experience and interpret it and try to make it mean something. I asked for more of him and my purpose in life. He gave it to me. HIM.

Yes, I do have the gift of giving and a passion for the lost and hurting. I have this pattern unfold in my life many times throughout the years. Have I always got it right? No. I’ve made mistakes, but each time I get up, pray and ask God to help me get it right. You see that is where I see more of him unfold in my life. I’ve had trails, in every area of my life, and yet was able to pray for the people I interacted with. Each time asking God to bless them. To walk in love and forgiveness. It wasn’t me, it was him working in me.

I now know it was him working in me, to perfect the gifts and talents he wanted me to have. Have there been trials? Yes many. But at times he gave me dreams preparing the way. He told me months before my trials, to prepare me. So, when it happened, I didn’t have to try and figure it out. I just had to trust and lean on him.

For example, once he gave me a dream about the General Manger that hired me. In the dream he was downsizing me. I didn’t understand it then. Because I did not recognize the person in the dream as the GM. The reason I did not know who he was in my dream, was he hadn‘t come on board yet. Months later the person (General Manager) who hired me confirmed the same dream.

This job was an opportunity, to help with my Mother, before she passed on. I was able to help with her care and provide her with whatever she needed for her comfort. It was all Pappa. I had prayed for him to open a door for me, when I was in the east coast, to help take care of my Mother, who was having major health issues. This job provided me with four years to be able to come back to California and help with my Mother

Four months after she passed on, that door closed. I believe Pappa opened the door for that opportunity. It was a confirmation I was on the right track. Sometimes God has to shut things down, to put us where he wants us. To fulfill our destiny. I believe my faith walk is a testimony of this. Even in those times he is working out all things out for good. Just as he promised. Let him do it his way. He promises he will fulfill your destiny and purpose for his will.

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their

Masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her

Mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord, our God.”

Psalm 123:2

The Fifty Cent Challenge

Can you remember a day so profoundly in your life, it still comes up in your mind years later? I remember this day vividly. It was 2003 in the autumn months. I was running errands and noticed my tire was a little flat. I went to get air for my tire. I went to get my wallet. I didn’t even have any change to put air in my tires. I had an ATM card, but all I needed was some change to put air in my tires and was stuck. Tears welled up in my eyes. I drove home and had to borrow fifty cents from my granddaughter’s piggy bank. It was such a humbling experience. I asked God, why? I said, “I thought if I put you first, and made you the most important thing in my life, you would bless me”. He had, just not my way. You see first he broke me, took out what he didn’t want me to have. He gave me a deeper compassion, for others, through Isabella, my granddaughter. At the lowest point in my life, he used this precious little baby to comfort me, and give me unconditional love. He softened my heart at a point, where life’s trails, and losses could’ve hardened it. There would be many fifty cent moments in my life the next season of my life. I remember I had put all my furniture in storage, after I sold my home in 2003, after I felt God had called me to ministry. I no longer had my great job making $132K plus a year, plus great bonuses, perks, travel and exciting opportunities. It was such a low point in my life. I had this great life, and now there was so much uncertainty in my life. I was scared and for the first time in my life, there were so many unknows, that life seemed overwhelming.

In my search for answers, I had gone to church that morning. I had to meet this woman, afterwards for an appointment. I went to the ATM to get some money for the church basket. I remember stopping off at a Safeway grocery store. I saw a man, sitting outside, with a sign, “Money for Work.” I was in a hurry. I told myself “next time. I’ll stop.”

I went to my appointment, but, I couldn’t get that man’s face out of my head. His face kept appearing in my mind. I couldn’t shake it. So, on the way home, three hours later, I stopped off at the same store. I prayed, “God, if it’s your will, let him be there”. He was. I took some money, and the Prayer of Jabez book (I kept several in my car trunk) and walked towards him. As I knelt down, and looked into his eyes, I saw the most piercing, clear blue eyes. I told him I had seen him earlier but had to rush off to do an errand. I told him I could not get him out of my mind. So, I came back to give him this book and tell him God loved him and heard his prayers. Little did I know, it was God speaking to me too. This man’s eyes welled up with tears, each one falling down his cheek. He told me “I asked God if he was real, to please reveal it to me.” He said he had a dream last night. He remembered a woman with a nice smile, dark long hair in his dream telling him God loved him, giving him a book. He just described me. He said he had a dream about me last night. At that moment, God spoke to us both. Both of us on a different journey, looking for the same God. He didn’t disappoint us. He met us both that day. I walked away, shaken. You see, Abba Father knew what we both needed at that exact moment. He knew exactly how to comfort both of us.

There have been so many times God has revealed himself to me, since then. In various ways. He provided a roof over my head. Good people in my path and a Boaz. A man that has been faithful and honored God and me through those years, who has been by my side. One of my biggest champions. I didn’t have to compromise myself. He knew my faith walk and accepted it.

One step at a time God meets us and our needs. Like everyone else, one day at a time. I believe if we look, there are many small moments, when God speaks to us. If we earnestly look, he will meet us in our circumstances. I have had a lot of fifty cent moments. Rare, but memorable.

I remember when I came back to California, after the non-profit. I felt what God had put in my heart, (non-profit) was not moving at the rate I thought it would. It had been snowing so hard in the east coast, I would come back to California to work from there. During that time, I was rooming with Michael, my best friend and roommate. We had the opportunity to get free rent from the Catania family, managing their apartment buildings. I needed a place to stay and go back and forth to New England. This worked for us in the interim. I was sweeping the grounds one day, as I was helping Michael. I started to cry, as I was sweeping the grounds listening to my Christian tapes, I said Lord, “not long ago I was managing a large group of people, making great money. Now here I am going back and forth to Rhode Island. Is this what my life has come to?” I would later learn years down the road, not to despise small beginnings.

That God never wastes our life experiences. Many times, he has revealed to me, a great leader, needs to be able to serve! Whatever I did for God, I tried to have a spirit of excellence. I took pride in every task God gave me. I think as the years passed, he would use this time in the wilderness to humble me. I believe to be a great leader, we need to learn to serve. Just like Jesus.

There have been many fifty cent moments in my life. I always asked God to help me to be a blessing. One year during Christmas, money was tight, but I wanted to be a blessing. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. It was Christmas. I thought one day, why can’t I write letters to children from Santa Claus. I found some great letters on line and customized them. I sent out emails asking parents if they knew of any small children wanting to receive a letter from the North Pole, from Santa Claus? Well, to my surprise I got a long list of almost sixty kids. I customized the letters with their names. I asked the parents to help me customize it, to what the child was expecting for Christmas. I was excited and started working on my letters. Soon, more and more requests came in. I sent the letters out with their names on it. Sent out with the North Pole address using my PO box.

I was so excited later when I heard how excited these children got when the letters arrived with their names on it from Santa Claus. I cried and thanked God. It had brought joy to

many children that Christmas. It filled my heart. I was grateful. I had another prayer

answered. I wanted to be a blessing. God answered. Another fifty-cent moment, but priceless.

“ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hands

Of God, that he may exalt you in due time”.

1 Peter 5:6

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