My story is so complicated that it is hard to try and put so much into so little. I would like to begin with a phone call I had with my oldest son when he was “traveling” (basically living on the streets) in Santa Barbara, CA when he was around 21. I had been sent out west on business to Bakersfield and he was going to try and get there to spend more time with me after seeing me in another town outside of LA. He called me and said: “Mom I just cannot do it. I am tired, no cars will stop, and I am just frustrated and hungry.” I told him: “Son, I am sorry but there is absolutely nothing I can do. You are there and I am here at work with no vehicle and I cannot fix this for you. The only thing you can do is put one foot in front of the other and get to Bakersfield or do the same thing in the opposite direction to get back to where you were.” That was me. I kept putting one foot in front of the other but my destination kept changing and my focus did not always stay where it should have been. I have always believed in God and had faith but I was not living as if He had a greater purpose for me. It was in one of my lifetime moments when the devil pulled my feet out from under me that I went in search of a church. I knew I would not get through it without getting some words of God poured into me. The first time I visited Pathway was not by accident. God put me there the day Pastor Marty started the Rooted series. It’s sad that we can know something, but not live it until some bright light flicks on in our head. ell that was my bright light moment. I still struggling if Pathway was where I should be but I was so hooked on that series that I had to hear all of the messages. I learned if I wanted to be in a place where the devil could not pull my feet out from under me every few months, I had to get my roots in the garden and let them grow deep. So I went to all the Radiant Warrior nights I could and to the ladies retreat. I saw Pastor Julie teaching and showing women how to be each other’s support and not each other rivals or competition. She taught us to show vulnerability and know we are not all perfect and that it’s ok to encourage each other. I have always believed God wants us to inspire people to be the best they can be but now I feel I am gaining more tools to take that to the next level. It is always a struggle being friends with women as we can be so conniving, backstabbing and territorial. We can reach out in love and try to inspire different behavior all while knowing we are being worked on as well. Believe me when I say that is one area I can be attacked in by the devil. I feel like the vision of Pathway is so in line with how Jesus wants us to live and I feel like I am a part of something bigger than just the day to day footsteps to no solid destination. The way Pastor Marty explains about taking your Next Step kept resounding in my head. I went to the First Step class but did not fill out ownership papers because I was still not sure this was where I should be. I started tithing because God told me that was what He wanted me to do first. But it wasn’t until God called me to take a Next Step and get on the Dream Team that I knew Pathway was my Church. I filled out the ownership papers and the background check papers and committed to God and to Pathway that this was where I would plant my roots. I have to say that Pastor Marty’s preaching is awesome and I understand more about the Bible and the vision of what Jesus sees for us as the church. Every day I strive to be as Jesus wants me to be, but I know now that when I mess up it is ok and He will not throw me to the curb. The perception of rejection hurts and the devil can sure try to scare you away with that nasty emotion.
What brought me to Pathway was one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with and believe me there is a lot. My daughter and her boyfriend of 5 years had two boys, the oldest being 5 at the time (not his child, but he raised him since he was one). My daughter and her boyfriend were having problems when she was faced with either coming to a family function or leaving, and she chose to walk away. I know in her brokenness that she thought she was doing what she needed to do, but I think she did not see the events that would unfold because of the choice she made that day.
Almost two years later and the oldest now lives with his dad in Fort Worth, TX and the youngest with his dad in Shirley, AR. The youngest hasn’t seen my daughter, his mother, since December 2015, and the oldest has seen her off and on. Most of the time the oldest is requested to be seen only while in my presence because of how she was been living over the last two years.
God has grown me through this and taught me so much. I have gained so much freedom in taking my Next Steps and doing what I can do. I pray for my kids and who better is there to help them get in a better situation than a God who loves them so much more than I do. I joined a Lifegroup and now I am currently co-leading a Lifegroup. I wanted to step up and find a place for others who have been in my place with grown children or are going through it as well to help me get through the difficult days and share my story in hopes that it will help others. God has not given me my Next Step yet, but I will continue to listen and wait all while serving, experiencing healing and praising Him for all the good things I have. Staying focused on only the negative just gives the devil the keys to drive your steps in the wrong direction.