The written word has been a part of my life since I was a young child. So, I always knew that I would become a writer. As I grew older my love for writing grew. Through the years I wrote poems, short stories, stage plays and attempted numerous hot and steamy novels. However, although I also loved God since I was a child; my relationship with the Lord had stalled. I still felt the call of God on my life, but I knew that the books I wanted to write did not glorify God one single bit. So, I ran from the Lord and told myself that I would serve the Lord once I had published a few books. But in those years, I was never able to finish any of the books I attempted. Looking back, I now see those unfinished books as God’s gift to me – I would be so upset if any of the books I attempted to write before I met my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ were circulating through bookstores now.
Anyway, during my early twenties I loved to go out to night clubs – that was my thing. My daughter, Erin (I was only blessed with one child, and she has truly been a blessing in my life) began asking why we didn’t go to church, and I told her that I needed to get my rest on Sundays. Even though I said those words to Erin I started feeling a little guilty about not going to church. Some nights I would actually decide not to go out to a night club and I would stay home and read my Bible. I have always enjoyed the Old Testament stories because they read like novels to me (even though they are true life stories).
Although I went out to night clubs a lot, I could never go on New Year’s Eve. I was always compelled to attend church. There was just something about beginning the New Year in the house of God that seemed so right to me. The church I attended every New Year‘s Eve was Revival Center Ministries in Dayton, Ohio. I still had not committed my life to the Lord though, and the reason for this had a lot to do with the fact that I couldn’t finish any of my hot and steamy novels – so I could publish that nonsense and then serve the Lord (crazy talk, I know. But those were my thought non-the-less).
Then I met this lady by the name of Louise Jordan. She worked with me and we used to go to lunch together everyday. Louise was a Christian, but that didn’t stop me from telling her all about my night club exploits. I filled that poor woman’s ears with all of the garbage I had allowed into my life. She never judged me; she would just smile and listen. But Louise was a praying woman and she would go to early morning prayer every day before she came to work, and little did I know, she was praying for me.
I laugh when I think about this now, but if God is after you, He will get you by force or by choice – you pick. Anyway, One Friday evening Louise and I were leaving work at the same time and she asked me which night club I would be attending that night. I started to answer but then I hesitated, thought about it and said, “I’m not going out tonight. Matter-of-fact, I don’t think I’m ever going out again.” And that is exactly what happened. But I will say this about Louise – she is a smart woman because she didn’t start shouting and announce to the world that she had been praying that I would stop going out, she waited. See, although I had decided not to go out anymore, I still hadn’t given my life to the Lord.
In the same year one of my close friends died. She had only been twenty-six and I couldn’t understand how a heart could just stop beating on someone that young. It devastated me and caused me to face some simple truths. I wasn’t ready to die and if I had died at that point in my life I know for certain that I would have gone straight to hell. But still I was powerless to do anything about it. I became very depressed at this time because I knew I was destined for a place I didn’t want to be. Then my sister, Debra became a Christian and gave me a Bible for Christmas. I must admit that although that Bible was the best Christmas present I have every received, I didn’t know it at that time and I laughed at my sister for giving me that Bible.
A few weeks later I had a nightmare and believed that I was in hell. I woke up in total fear. I grabbed the telephone and called my sister, I asked her if she wanted to read the Bible with me that morning (yeah, the same Bible that I had scoffed at, I now wanted to devour). Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided that I would go to church. The church I attended on January 14, 1994 was Revival Center Ministries, the same church I had attended for several New Year’s Eve services. At the end of that service when Pastor Willie E. Mitchell Sr. made an altar call – I finally knew with in my soul how I could make a change. I stood up and walked down to the altar and fell in love with Jesus. I then went into the bathroom and fell on my knees. I told the Lord, “I will serve You, show me how.”
I had no idea that writing Christian fiction was how I would serve the Lord. In fact, because I now truly understood what it meant to be in love with my Lord Jesus, I wanted nothing to do with the thing that kept me from the Lord for so many years – writing. So, I said that I would never write again, I even stopped reading novels (which I loved almost as much as writing my own books). For two years straight it was just me Jesus and the Word of God, and believe me when I tell you I devoured my Bible. I had to buy a new Bible in less than a year’s time, because the one my sister gave me was falling apart.
I then began asking God to show me my ministry. Most people only think of pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets and singers when they think of ministry within God’s kingdom. I didn’t feel lead to do any of those things, but I believed that God wanted to use me for His glory – I just didn’t know how. I served as a greeter, director of the churches drama department, director of the singles ministry, and worked on several committees but still had no clue what God what me to do.
One day when I arrived at work there was a book on my desk. I recognized it as a novel immediately and I actually became frightened. Why was this book on my desk, I wondered. Then a friend of mine (Scott) came to my cubicle and told me that he’d left the book on my desk for me to read. I told him that I no longer read novels, and he informed me that the book on my desk was a Christian novel. I was floored. I didn’t even know that Christian fiction existed. The book was This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and I read it from cover to cover. I then read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Those two books convinced me that Christian fiction was definitely a ministry – and from that time to this I have desired to minister to God’s people in such a way that they would grab hold of God’s unchanging hand and never turn back.