NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES
BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
THE SEED IS PLANTED
THE SEED WANTED TO GROW
THE SEED NEEDED WATER
DELIVERANCE FROM IDOLS
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
THE KINGDOM of GOD
I have “journaled” for years – keeping a personal diary of daily activities and events in my life. But I had never really thought of myself as a “writer” until one night God woke me around 3:00 am and said, “You are a scribe.” I really didn’t even know what a scribe was. I remembered reading where Jesus was talking much to and about the Pharisees and scribes. So my initial reaction to this word was not encouragement. I got up and looked up the meaning of the word and found, to my relief, that there was a positive side to this word. The world book dictionary simply said:
Scribe: a person whose occupation is writing. Before printing was invented, they copied manuscripts. In many parts of the world people, who do not know how to read or write, used scribes to write letters or documents for them. It also says that anyone of various officials that performed clerical or secretarial duties.
Vines dictionary further explains that scribes in the Old Testament were found much with the Pharisees and even the chief priests. They were considered naturally qualified to teach in the synagogues…originally found among the priests and Levites. They became leaders of the people. They were to teach the law, develop it, and use it in connection with the Sanhedrin and various local courts. They occupied themselves with the sacred writings. They attached much importance to ascetic elements, by which the nation was especially separated from the gentiles. Piety was reduced to external formalism. Life under them became a burden. Because of their traditions, the law, instead of being a help in moral and spiritual life, became an instrument for preventing true access to God. This is why the Lord strongly rebuked them and the Pharisees.
God told me He would use me, in some fashion, to be a bridge-builder…to bring unity, harmony, and the love of God to a creation starving for the lack of the presence of God in their lives. I still can’t imagine how I could be used in any way by God, but the one thing i know, God is my life. I choose to allow him to have the reins and seek to know him better every day.
God has moved on me to write this book – an autobiography – if we have to categorize it, but I’m believing He has a much greater purpose than simply to document the events of my life.
So many of God’s children are struggling in areas of their lives and have little to no comprehension why they are in the place of continual challenge when God promises victory to his children.
Perhaps this account of how God had to deal with one person – bringing about total yieldedness – taking total control of that life – commandeering a body that he can work through – will be an encouragement to some that are having problems laying all they are and all they represent at the feet of Jesus and allowing him to have His perfect will in their lives. Only things done under the leadership of the Holy Spirit will produce lasting fruit. God just wants a people that love Him enough to listen to Him—to consult Him about every issue of their lives—and to not take a step without Him – no matter what the circumstances look like.
Even before we were born, God had a plan how he would use each of us to be bright lights shining in a dark world – a voice crying in the wilderness. Seek the Lord with your whole heart and find out what your purpose is and move into the place of service that He has created just for you!
THE SEED IS PLANTED
For as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by words. I would try to use big words even as a very young girl (not always correctly, I might add). But the “improve your word power” section of the Readers Digest became one of my chief sources for improving my vocabulary.
Words from a song of my childhood era always had a special meaning to me — “those far away places with the strange sounding names are calling, calling me.” I would lie awake at nights thinking about what Baghdad must look like…why did they change the name of Istanbul….but I had to think that the sound of Constantinople was so elegant…there must be grand palaces there…perhaps more like castles with deep motes surrounding them…draw bridges to protect their inhabitants from invading armies.
As the only sibling in a single parent family, I was left to amuse myself. Funds were very limited and fear and depression had made great inroads toward control of my Mom’s thinking. These factors really limited our venturing out into new areas of exploration. Going to a public library was too risky in my Mom’s eyes. But reading became very important to me — my chief outlet for expanding my own thinking, the school library, became my favorite place at school and my chief source of supply to feed my mind. There was a lot to challenge me even in our own library and our librarian understood the restrictions imposed on me and would order in special books for me upon request. That really expanded my opportunities to learn.
Since school was my only approved outlet, it became very important to me and I refused to even take a study hall. I wanted to glean all that I could while I was there. Music seemed to feed my very soul. From my first year in junior high, I usually was involved not only in band, but orchestra and chorus as well. My Dad had purchased a piano for me when I was very young — a beautiful old upright with intricately carved figures on the door covering the sound board and Mom and I had moved it from place to place in her quest to provide adequate housing for both of us.
With no male influence in my home, men were always a mystery to me. My Mom had never really forgiven my Dad for “deserting us to marry a much younger woman.” I knew she still loved him very much and how hard it was for her to see him happy in another life. She never remarried… Never even dated… And her bitterness toward men became a controlling factor over her life. I was told often that I would be better off if I never married. I never heard any positive affirmations concerning men… only my Mom’s negative assessment based on her own personal experiences. She had been married the first time at age 21. This man had also “deserted her for a younger woman.” While she waited eleven years before marrying my Dad, the results were still the same… separation, desertion, and lots of pain. So all she could see was: men would simply use you, abuse you, and then discard you. She certainly did not want that for me.
My Mom was the youngest of 9 children and she spoke in great loving terms of her Mom. Both of her parents were dead before I was old enough to remember them. But she often spoke of the harsh discipline her Dad brought — especially to the boys in the family and how opposed she was to his apparent unfairness. She was pretty feisty from all I heard from her sisters. On one occasion, her Dad had been too severe with one of her brothers, according to her observation of the situation, and she picked up a piece of firewood and cracked him across the shinbone to get his attention. Even in the midst of this situation, he never spanked her. She said he always told her she was his favorite. She was the only redhead in the family and the last child of his later years, and a girl. I guess that was a magic combination for the old Irish man and it softened his heart toward her. But I’m sure that many of the things she experienced in his home helped to mold her image of men and ill prepared her for some of her own challenges.
When I was around age 9, my Mom and I were moved into a duplex that my Dad had purchased. Quickly I became fast friends with a girl living just around the corner. She, too, was an only child. Visiting her home occasionally was my only opportunity to experience the love of a family not ravaged by divorce. I was not jealous, but it sure did make me want to grow up and have a “normal” life with a loving husband and children that had the security of both parents.
I knew little about anything spiritual at this point. I heard my Mom talk about the “dear Lord” a lot, but we did not even own a Bible. I was sent to Catholic School when I was five. It was during World War II and schools were crowded. You could not even pay and send a child to school early. Then kids did not start to school until they were six. My Mom knew I was bored at home and she enrolled me at St. Ignacious academy, even though I’m sure it created a financial hardship on both she and my Dad.
While my parents were divorced when I was only 18 months old, my Dad insisted on Mom staying home and raising me and he took on the bulk of the financial responsibility for both of us. She did do some sewing and occasionally kept a few children to help with expenses, but he carried the most of that load.
By age ten, the parents of my friend, Benita, began asking my Mom if I could go to Sunday school and church with them. Mother was very reluctant at first, but she saw how much I really wanted to go and knew I loved learning above all else and she finally agreed for me to go. Before long, she was even joining me. Our transportation was always provided.
I loved the learning opportunity and I loved the exposure to music… Even though I thought it strange that there was not even a piano in the church. All singing was done without the use of musical instruments. This group of believers did not think it right to have musical instruments in their church. They did not even have a cross in their church. My time in the catholic school was the only other example of any type of church I had to compare. There were crosses everywhere and musical instruments in their church. But, many of the sermons I heard in this church were against the Catholic Church, so I still wasn’t sure what God felt about those kinds of things.
One Sunday my aunt and uncle came to visit from Dallas and my Mom stayed home from church to be hospitable. I was allowed to go on to church with our neighbors. This particular day the church was having what they called a revival. They had invited a young evangelist to come in and preach in place of the regular pastor. I don’t know what was so different about this young man…except he had a great enthusiasm for God. He took the time to explain in the simplest terms just what it meant to be saved… How Adam and Eve had been given only one commandment by God: “do not eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil.” Yet, they did not obey God and chose to eat of that tree anyway. He explained how this alienated man from God and how God had sent His own Son in the form of Jesus Christ to live on this earth and to die a cruel death on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven. He said we could be reconciled to God by believing that Jesus was the Son of God and receiving him as our Savior. He also warned that we would spend eternity in a fiery place called hell and that we would forever be separated from God if we did not choose to accept Jesus.
In the Catholic School era of my life, I had learned the Lord’s Prayer and our class was brought into the sanctuary at least twice each day and given opportunity to pray to God. I did not have any real understanding of God, but I believed He was real and I would spend some quiet time talking with Him every day. I would tell Him about what was going on in my life. I would tell Him about what was bothering me. I would make some simple requests of Him… Just whatever was on my heart.
When I heard about hell, so graphically described by this young evangelist, I decided right then and there, that if hell was a real place, I did not want any part of it, so when an invitation was extended for anyone in the congregation to come forward and receive Jesus as Savior, I ran to the front of the church. It was taught there that full immersion in water baptism was also essential for salvation. So, without any instructions, I was given a long white robe to put on and I was baptized immediately following my sincere confession of belief that Jesus was truly the Son of God.
When I arrived home, i was so excited. I knew I had taken a major step in my life. I felt so clean. I had been told that all of my sins had been washed away and I believed it and I felt it! When I arrived home with wet hair and explained what happened to me at church, I was shocked and very hurt by my Mother’s violent reaction to my good news. My aunt was smiling from ear to ear. My mother went into a rage. Her biggest complaint: I took this action behind her back instead of waiting for her to be present with me. I was made to feel that all important events in my life must be shared with my Mom.
I was very confused and hurt. One minute I felt so clean, whole, and complete. The next moment, I was made to feel guilty, full of shame, almost needing to apologize. I had carefully listened to that evangelist. I thought all of my problems were now solved, but instead, it seemed they had only just begun. No one explained that a war had just started. I had stepped across an invisible line and chosen sides with God and I had stirred up a spiritual army that did not want to lose my allegiance. The devil was angry. I did not understand that He was only using my Mom to attempt to discourage me from my decision to put Christ first.
My aunt said little, but I could feel approval coming from her. Suddenly I remembered all of the times she talked to me about God. My aunt’s name was Agnes, but I called her “Mammy”. She told me many times about the night her Mom, my precious grandmother, went to be with Jesus. Mammy was lying in her own four-poster bed the night of her Mom’s death. This bed was so high off the floor that even though my aunt was a tall woman with long legs, she had a lovely little stool beside her bed to assist her getting into this grand bed. She said that this particular night, she had just gotten comfortable and was struggling with the loss of her Mom and crying out to God to comfort her… To give her some understanding…to bring her peace, when she opened her eyes and saw four huge angels in her bedroom… Up near the ceiling. Actually, they were slowly moving in a clock-wise direction around the room. Every time she re-told this story to me, she would get tears in her eyes and i knew she was reliving that special experience all over again. She said that the presence of the Lord was so strong in her room that she wanted to get out of bed and get on her knees, but she could not move.
All of my aunts and uncles had told me so many stories about my grandmother that I felt as though I had actually spent time in her presence. She died in her mid sixties when my Mom was only 21. Every story I heard was a testimony to this lady’s belief in God and the ability He had given her to pour His love out on those around her. She was a tall, stately, English lady, born somewhere near London, brought to America as a young girl, and settled in Georgia, where she met her short, Irish husband. They moved to Texas after two of their 9 children were born and settled in Arlington. My grand-father had taken a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad and they raised their family there.
My grandmother was the neighbor that always showed up with prepared food when there was sickness or death in a home. She was the one to care for children when a neighbor was hospitalized. Everyone loved her. Her own children gave her much praise to me even many years after her death. I am blessed to have heard these stories and even more blessed to have inherited such a legacy. Grandmother raised her daughters to follow in her steps. As they got older, they were sent with the food, or sent to do the baby-sitting when a neighbor was sick in the hospital or having another baby. My Mom verified the same stories, but always spoke about how she resented having to take care of someone’s children just so they could have more children.
Sometimes my Mom and I would ride the greyhound bus from Ft. Worth to Dallas and visit my aunt for the weekend. My Aunt Agnes was my Mom’s favorite sister and visiting her home occasionally was one of the few outings Mom and I ever had before I was sixteen. The bus line ran within a block of my aunt’s home and the driver would let us off there. My aunt would most times be standing in the front yard or if it were cold or raining, she would be sitting at the bus stop in her two-tone green 1949 Chevrolet waiting to pick us up. Mammy was a great cook and she loved to entertain. Many times her sisters would all come together for a Sunday dinner when Mom and I were there. I loved those occasions… using real silver and china… real linen and crystal.
The only negative i ever remember to being in my aunt’s home involved the conversation following some of these grand meals. Inevitably the sisters would sit around in the afternoon and reminisce about things from the past. It was fine when they were talking about my grandmother and her wonderful love that she poured out to everyone, but when they would begin to speak negatively about others in the family or some past friend of the family, I would have to get up and find an excuse to be outside. My aunt raised rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, and even had a horse. It was great for me to have an interest to leave the room. Even at an early age, I was sensitive to spiritual matters and somehow I knew that this kind of talk was not for me.
When I was 15 years old, we were living in one-half of a duplex that my Dad had purchased. The house burned to the ground one cold January day in Fort Worth, Texas, my hometown. An unsupervised two year old in the next door apartment, had stuffed the Sunday morning newspaper in an open space heater and half of the home was engulfed in flames before Mom or I even knew we had a problem. We grabbed the few belongings we could carry in our arms and barely escaped with our lives. My beautiful piano was so burned and water-soaked that it was beyond repair. My goldfish, parakeets, and even my precious dog, lady, did not survive the trial. I had tried to catch her and take her with me in my hurried exit, but she saw the flames and fear gripped her. She ran under a bed and refused to come out. I kept moving the bed and she continued to hide beneath it. As soon as the firemen arrived, I told them about her and they really tried to help her. She was still alive when they brought her out, but all of these efforts did not spare her life. I was left in a pair of jeans, a plaid outing, long-sleeved shirt, my long hair half-rolled on curlers, and nowhere to live. My Mom had managed to save her purse with what little cash and identification she possessed and her fur coat (a treasure from better days).
My Dad came to our rescue and made a deal with a friend that owned a “tourist court” on Jacksboro highway. We were given a small room with a bath to live in until Daddy could rebuild the duplex. He had my “expert” help after school and on weekends. Can you imagine a man in his mid fifties counting on a 15-year-old girl being his assistant in a construction job? Well, my Dad was no contractor and I was not a qualified helper, but I believe we had some extra help nobody could see, because we were able to totally reconstruct an eight-room home. My Dad was a patient teacher and I got my first opportunity to hang sheetrock, learn the business end of a hammer, get some skill with a paintbrush, and even learn to apply wallpaper.
Daddy was able to salvage the hardwood floors, but they all had to be sanded and refinished because of the smoke and water damage. Guess who got to learn some more neat things? You got it! After all, I was built a lot closer to the ground than Dad.
I sure never complained about anything I was asked to do. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to spend time with my Dad and that was such a joy. He was remarried and had a couple of small children and lots of responsibilities with his own business. He had been taught the automobile repair business by a gentlemen that took him under his wing when he was in his early 20’s and he was blessed to now own his own business. Not only did he repair cars, but he painted them as well. He had added a wrecker service and a service station to his establishment through the years, so he was a busy man and had little time for me. I always knew he loved me and he did his part to see that I never did without the necessities of life, but there was not money for any extras and little time for the thing I craved the most… His presence.
I had been allowed to date one of the boys in our neighborhood beginning at age 16. He was 5 years older, graduated from high school already, and had a steady job and a nice car. He could easily see how important I was to my Mom and how much fear was on her. He was greatly generous toward her. He took her on more dates than he saw me alone. We would all go to the drive in movies together, sometimes just get in the car and take a nice drive… That was especially nice in the summer with all of the windows down. Mother and I never had a car and this was such a luxury. My favorite thing to do during that era was get some nice sirloin steaks, potatoes and whatever else we three liked, drive to a roadside park along a highway, fire up a charcoal grill, cook steaks and eat outdoors. To this day, cooking out and having a picnic are very important to me.
Mom was not healed of her man-hating and fear. She saw me as her insurance policy for future survival. So, in spite of all the kindness of this young man, she finally won over my emotions and I allowed her to influence a break up with him. Wedding plans that had already been made had to be canceled. We had been dating almost 5 years. He had patiently waited for me to graduate from high school. He was even planning to purchase a home with a cute little cottage behind so Mom would have a place of her own. I was devastated by the abrupt change of plans in my life and even more aghast when this man, three weeks later, married someone else on the rebound. Suddenly, some of the negative things my Mom had always spoken about men were starting to take root.
As my pain from the ending of this first relationship started to subside, I began to view this young man as a person sent by God to help me through a tough time in my life and I was grateful for the wonderful times we had together, the broadening of my own experiences because of his presence in my life, gratitude for all the nice gifts he had given me, and I buried the pain… The broken hopes… The shattered dreams… children, already named that would never been born. Little did I realize that this way of dealing with pain would become a learned behavior exercised many times in my life.
I continued to live at home even after graduation from high school. I had been blessed with an opportunity to take two years of typing and two years of shorthand in my high school as a pilot project. Thanks to the good skills given me there, I was able to get an immediate job in the office of a wholesale furniture company in downtown Ft. Worth. Unfortunately the owner of the company had more reasons for hiring me than doing his office work and spent much of his time at my desk paying attention to me. I knew I could not stay there, so I applied for a job at general dynamics – a large aircraft manufacturing company in Ft. Worth. I was blessed to be hired in their engineering department — making more money than I could have ever dreamed. I was actually earning $3.10 per hour and would get a two week paid vacation should I stay in their employment one full year. I now owned my first car and had a decent paycheck to take care of the immediate needs of our two-person family. This relieved my Dad of the lengthy financial burden he had so willingly carried.
My quest for knowledge really rose to the surface in the work setting. I was daily surrounded with college graduates… Mostly men from around the country that had graduated from engineering school and come to Ft. Worth because of the good financial opportunities with this aircraft company that produced planes like the b-58 “hustler” this low-level reconnaissance plane with lightning speed and capability to follow the earth’s contour, coming in undetected below existing radar, was a meal ticket for me and for many from around the country that joined forces producing it. There was good camaraderie throughout the engineering department and it was satisfying being part of a team with a common goal.
I felt very inadequate with only a high school diploma among all of these educated team members. So, I enrolled in classes at Arlington state – then a two-year junior college – now a four-year university – University of Texas at Arlington. I would drive to Arlington at least two nights per week to attend classes while I was working full-time. My Mom forbid me to drive there alone at night and insisted on riding over with me and sitting in the car during the three-hour class so I would not have to be alone on the highway. She had regretted having to drop out of school to help with the finances in her family when she was growing up. She always told me “education is one thing that cannot be taken away from you. So we both made sacrifices to get yet more knowledge in me.
I think today when so many parents do not want the responsibility of having children and abort them before they are born and how many more abort their responsibility of raising their born children by leaving them with grandparents, day care, baby sitters, whoever they can pawn them off on… I was blessed to have a mother that cared about me and was willing to do what she could to protect me and help provide for me. There were times that I resented being under such strict rules, but I always knew Mom cared and was only trying to save me from some of life’s hurts and I always knew she would be home waiting for me.
There was a time, however, when my own Mom did not want the responsibility of a child. She was in an unstable marriage and saw that things were already not going well. I’m sure she was afraid and concerned that she could not provide for the child she knew was growing within her. She had a certain amount of nurses’ training at one point and she knew enough to attempt an abortion. She had to have really been desperate to try such a thing. I was that child inside her and God had his hand on me. I was protected and birthed into the midst of that shaky marriage and it took many years before I had clarity of just why God had placed me in that particular situation and why He continued to protect me… Preserving my life for some specific reason.
Seven months after I was born, Mom found out she was, once again, pregnant. Circumstances had only worsened in the marriage and this time she succeeded in causing an abortion, but she very nearly paid for it with her life. She was in the hospital for almost 6 weeks. During this time, I was in the care of my aunt in Dallas. That was when I was given the nickname, “Sunny.” My aunt told the whole family that she had never been around a child with such a sunny disposition and she felt that really was my name instead of the one on my birth certificate. By the time Mom came home from the hospital, the name had caught on and everyone in my Mom’s family referred to me as Sunny from then on.
The seed planted in my Mom that grew into Sunny was somehow protected and preserved. While death tried to attack, that plot was thwarted. Pneumonia attacked me when I was only 7 weeks old. Once again, I was protected. Various surgeries, accidents, natural disasters, etc. Were all potential threats to my life. But in each situation, God was always there to bring me through. Death seemed to always be lurking around. It did not produce fear in me, but there did seem to be an unusual amount of negative stuff going on.
The seed of Jesus Christ had been firmly planted in me at age 12 and there was a real desire in my heart to know this Son of God and His Father better. Somehow I knew this was going to be the only lasting personal relationship I’d ever have with a father. Before my teen years were finished, I had begun a quest to know who God really was. I had a Bible now and I spent a lot of time reading it. King James was written in language hard for me to understand, but I heard myself praying for understanding. That seed was determined to grow!
THE SEED WANTED TO GROW
Time passed at general dynamics. I was totally surrounded by men…the only gal in a group of 37 engineers. Because I was so young, everyone treated me like their little sister, including all the sibling harassment a sister receives. I had lived such a sheltered life that much of their conversation was over my head. Some of them liked to say off-color things just to see me blush, if I knew enough to even know what they were saying.
Just before my 22nd birthday, a young man I had met the summer before came by my desk at work and, after a pleasant conversation, asked me to go out to dinner. It was not until I had agreed to go and we were in the middle of dinner that I learned he was my supervisor’s son. He was now home after graduation from the University of Texas.
We dated a few times and were married December 19th, 1959. Thirteen months later, we were parents of a fair-haired son, Mark. He had big blue eyes, a button nose, and a smile as big as all outdoors.
I had already experienced a lot of disappointments for my years and had received a lot of negative words spoken over me and had begun to believe a lot of them. So, my self-worth was pretty low in some areas. One area where it really manifested was – I did not feel I deserved this special gift, our son. I really can’t further explain it, but it was many weeks before I experienced the kind of love for this child that I think a mother should really know and enjoy. It was like I had put up a protective barrier. Somehow I felt he was going to be taken away from me and I was protecting myself from the hurt by not giving myself completely to him. Today, I understand that I was under a spiritual attack by a lying spirit of deception. He was trying to get me in agreement with his lie, so he could bring it about, but the attack failed.
When Mark was three months old, he had pretty serious surgery. He was born three weeks early and a muscle wall had not closed properly and had to be repaired. They brought him to me immediately after the surgery was completed and he looked as though every drop of blood had drained from his body. He was such a lifeless little bundle. The love that had been bottled up in me, spilled out and I couldn’t stop crying – not just because he had survived the surgery and not just because I knew he was going to be okay, but because I loved him so very much.
During the years of our marriage, we either attended a southern Baptist church, where we were married, or we attended an Episcopal church, where my husband had been raised. I did not want our home divided on any issue and I went through the classes and became a confirmed Episcopalian. We moved from Texas when Mark was only 4 months old. A significantly better job took us to Grand Rapids, Michigan. There we rented a home for a few months from a family that were affiliated with the Dutch reform church. Several members of the family had been in a near fatal auto crash a few years earlier on their way to church, so they no longer attended church, but had services in their home, complete with organ, piano and some pretty good sermons. We were in a rural area and it was convenient, so we met with them for quite a while until we finally purchased a home in town.
Through my school years in the Catholic Church, the many years of attendance in the Church of Christ, my time in the Baptist Church, even the years in the Episcopal Church and now this home fellowship with the Dutch reform, there was a continual hungering within me that was never satisfied. Somehow I just knew there was more to god than I was seeing and hearing in these different places I had traveled. I had such a desire to know God better and to seek him in a deeper way. But in the meantime, I had little or no victory over sin in my own life. I wasn’t out robbing banks or murdering people, but I knew there were things in my life that needed change and I cried out to God for the change to come. What I did not know
Was: this seed of Christ that had been planted in me at age 12 wanted to grow. It was crying out to be fed…. Crying out to ultimately take total control of my soil so that it could produce the kind of fruit that would last for eternity.
Before we had been in Grand Rapids a year, we found out God was blessing our marriage with a second child. I was very pregnant when we were given a better job opportunity in Columbus, Ohio at North American aviation. Leer Sigler in Grand Rapids had been good to us, but it was time to move on.
One morning I got my husband off to work and, pregnant as I was, I found a wooden stake and made a very home-made looking “for sale” sign. After I had affixed the sign to the stake, I took my trusty hammer and walked out into the front yard on a cool, crisp fall day and began pounding that sign into the damp ground… praying all the while . “Oh, God, you know we have to leave in two weeks and you know we need a buyer for this home. God, you know right where those people are. Please bring them here so they can see this sign. Thank you, God.” As I was completing the installation, a car drove by, slowed down, backed up, and an elderly couple came in and looked at the home and subsequently purchased it in time for us to make our move unhindered. This was one of the first “miracle” answers to pray I had observed. It had quite a lasting impression on me. And it wasn’t even prayed in a church!
Precious David was born in Columbus, very shortly after we got moved. I won’t say settled… Just moved. It was already cold and we had experienced one bad ice storm. I had slipped and fallen and had cried out to God not to let anything happen to my baby. But, three weeks before his expected arrival date, the doctor said I was ready. David was the one actually ready and we were, once again, blessed with a handsome son… this time one with dark hair, dark eyes, and a distinctive nose. Motherhood was still pretty new to me. I didn’t know all of your children would look differently – if you had a dozen. When David was featured so different than Mark, I had the hospital check the records just to be sure we got the right baby. He was very handsome, but he was not fair-haired and blue-eyed… what I thought would be true of all my children. It is truly wonderful that God has fashioned each one of us differently – all His – but all unique in our own way.
1962 was a nasty winter in Columbus, especially for a southern girl that had hardly seen snow until we moved to Michigan. The snow in Michigan was consistent — I didn’t see the ground from September until May and it snowed a lot and stayed beautiful all winter. In Columbus, it would snow one day, rain one day, freeze, thaw, turned to slush, get dirty. I did not enjoy the weather. I began to ask God for a change of climate. I think I may have had some place like Florida in mind, but I did not get specific. Within months, a really good job opened in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area at Ling-Temco-Vought in Grand Prairie.
I had started writing a girl in England when I was first year in junior high school. Now, all of these years later, we were still fast pen pal friends. She was also married. They had decided to immigrate to the United States and we invited them to come live with us for a while until they could get established. So, when we came back to Texas, we leased a four-bedroom home, knowing we would need the extra space for a while. They came to America in October and one month later on November 22, 1963, Diely Plaza was forever written in history books as the place in Dallas, Texas where President John F. Kennedy was shot by an assassins’ bullet.
Family and friends in England had already been fearful that Pat and Bob were taking off to make a new life in such a wild place as Texas. All they knew was what they had seen in the western movies. They were convinced that all Texans carried guns, owned horses and had at least one oil well on their property. When the disaster of President Kennedy’s death reached the news in England, our phone was ringing continually. Everyone was advising our friends to get on the next plane and get back to civilization.
Six months after Pat and Bob’s immigration, they were settled in good jobs and had purchased their own home. It was about that time that I decided to go back to work, at LTV also. We had a precious Christian lady take care of Mark and David while I worked. She came into our home, cleaned, did our laundry, cared for the boys, taught them Bible verses and Christian songs, and things could not have been more perfect, at least on the surface.
But somewhere along the way, I kept hearing this voice that told me “you are an intelligent young woman. You have a fine mind. You are destined for greater things than being a housewife and mother. You need to surround yourself with intellectual people. You are bored. You need to get out of here.” I did not know this was a voice talking to me. I just thought it was my own natural thoughts. I did not know that I was under spiritual attack. I sure did not know that my home was under attack and that soon our marriage would no longer exist and that all of our lives would be forever changed.
I had come to believe a lie about my husband. The lie had been fueled by several circumstances and I finally became convinced that I could no longer live a married life – and certainly not with him. I did not know that deception was operating heavily in my life. I did not know that a spirit of heaviness had virtually overtaken me. And I sure did not know that I had any power or authority in the spirit realm and that I could have taken authority over these negative powers and sent them on down the road and made my life so much better.
Our marriage of almost seven years ended in divorce and my children went to live with their Dad. In my own heart I knew that they were better off. By now, I had been more than assured that the lie I had believed about this man was just that – a complete lie and I knew that I was headed down a path that sure looked like it was leading to just what my Mom had lived in all of her life… fear and torment. I did not know that I was placing a judgment on my Mom, when I made statements like “I’ll never be like my Mom” or “I would not divorce my husband, no matter what, and make my children live in a broken home like I had lived in.” I also was not aware that when you place a judgment against another person, the judgment you place is sure to come back on you somewhere down the line. So, I had this judgment trying to manifest against me and I saw myself becoming more and more like my Mom and I knew that would not be a healthy environment for my children.
My ex-husband remarried within a few months. And while this should have brought me peace to know that the boys would now have a balanced home to grow up in, it only brought me more torment. One of the hardest days of my life was when I heard my youngest son call this woman “Mother”. I let him know that she certainly was not his mother and he was not to call her that and I made a big scene about it. It hurt all the way to the bone. Today, I do not even remember how God brought me peace through this test, but I know that He did.
Guilt and condemnation ate me alive for years. I always felt that if I had been a stronger Christian, I would not have fallen into the trap of listening to the tormenting spirits and allowing my marriage to be destroyed. I saw the pain my boys experienced in some areas and it really devastated me. When people become convinced that divorce is the only answer, seldom do they take into consideration the life-long effects that decision will have on everyone else in the household. Usually it is only long after the decision has been brought to fruition that the reality of the action sets in. At least that is how it was for me.
I certainly did not desert my children. I spent great weekends with them. We would take a Texas map and use it as our target and the boys would take turns each time we got together throwing a dart to select the destination for a weekend trip together. We did this on an average of once a month and would stay in town and do other things the rest of the month. I well remember the challenge of driving round-trip to Del Rio one weekend. It was a very long trip, but we were greatly rewarded. About 5:00am Saturday morning, I spotted movement next to the road and saw a huge herd of white tail deer down near Alpine, Texas. I woke the boys after I had shut my lights and engine off and coasted to a stop. We counted over 400 deer on both sides of the road. It was an awesome sight. No, that is not a “Texas tale!”
THE SEED NEEDED WATER
Well, the first two chapters of this book have not all been pretty pictures. But I believe the truth will set anyone free. Once I was able to face the reality of things that had been hindering me in my walk with God, I was set free! Few people understand that salvation complete, but the full manifestation is a process. The act of Christ dying on that cross and shedding His blood, becoming the perfect sin offering for us was a “provision”. But our applying that sacrifice to our own life and allowing Him to change us into His likeness, is a “process.” I had the head knowledge of His provision at age 12 and had even seen a few supernatural events through the years, but I was not walking in the power and victory that my “pattern” had walked in. Jesus is the only pattern we have to teach us a daily walk of victory.
So many times from age 12 to 37 I would find myself doing things I totally did not want to do… things I knew did not please God, yet I seemed helpless to overcome the action, whatever it might have been.
In 1969, I met a pleasant guy from Kansas. We both liked to dance, loved people, and liked to travel. We were lonely and each of us had more than our share of need for adventure. This man was already skilled in a trade and willing to share the art he had developed with me. The first year we were together, we took off to Puerto Rico and spent more time sailing or lying on a beach somewhere than anything else. For me, it was the most peaceful time I’d experienced. Little was expected of me. I spent my days on a boat, lived in a swimsuit, got brown as a Puerto Rican, learned to speak a little Spanish, and was completely fascinated with learning about the culture and history of Puerto Rico. We visited almost every city on the island and made friends everywhere we went. We sampled the food of each region, loved the bustling areas of old San Juan, basked in the smells of the rain forest, and set up residence on most of the beaches.
We had a “motor home” before anyone had heard of such a thing. We converted a Chevrolet step van into a pretty neat pad. We had shipped it from Miami to San Juan. We lived a very “free “ lifestyle… free of problems, free of responsibilities, free of income, free of debts, and rich in pleasures shared, new friends, beautiful scenery, perfect weather, and lots of new adventures… a lot of glamour… the world would say. But no one knew the void inside me. I was away from my children and my Mom for many months. I also knew that my current lifestyle was not pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit began to bring me under conviction. I asked God to change my own circumstances more to His pleasing.
And it wasn’t long before we were married in New England – our next area of adventure after returning to the mainland from Puerto Rico. I loved New England – loved the countryside, the people, the quaint old homes – so different from the ranch-style homes of Texas.
A couple of years of faithful practice sessions with a strand of wire and a pair of pliers produced a skill that became a way of life for the next 27 years. I became adept at fashioning all types of personalized jewelry from gold wire. We sat up commercial exhibits booths at fairs, rodeos, livestock shows, major expositions, and many malls around the country. We were some of the pioneers in this field and we had a great circle of friends everywhere we went. Our booth was always crowded and people found excuses to order from us year after year. In my wildest dream, it never occurred to me that what the people really were seeking was not the jewelry at all, but the love of God that flowed out through us to touch their lives. So many things we took for granted.
Success came in floods, but it never seemed to affect our lives too much. Oh, yeah, we bought a littler nicer clothes and up-dated our traveling home to an old greyhound bus converted into a nice motor home, but our focus was still always helping people and we were now in a position to help a lot of people and substantially.
We did purchase a 40-acre parcel of land an hour southeast of Dallas and the boys got to try their hand at raising everything from dogs, cats, pigs, and cattle – to horses. We found the more than hour long drive to Dallas somewhat inconvenient, while the boys were still in school, because we attended as many school activities as possible when we were home.
My husband became a great step-father to my two sons and he not only allowed, but encouraged them to spend their summer vacations with us – traveling all around the country. They really seemed to like being with us and the very different lifestyle we were maintaining. One of my fondest memories of those years was: one evening the boys really wanted to go see a particular movie and it was only showing at a drive-in movie somewhere in Connecticut. We were all wanting to enjoy the wonderful New England seafood available, so we drove to the shore and bought several live Maine lobsters, drove to the drive-in, parked on the back row, and proceeded to boil lobsters and watch the movie. One of the boys had to keep wiping the front windshield with a towel to keep it clear of the condensation that accumulated while the lobsters were cooking. We all agreed it was a perfect adventure for our family.
My two sons continued to spend their summers with us on the road until high school. By then they were so busy with their own school activities, social activities and girl friends that they only came on the road occasionally – flying in to help work a show now and then. We only worked a few months each year, so they still spent a lot of time around us. We had purchased a nice boat that accommodated several people and we could take their friends to the lake on skiing trips. There was always plenty to do and we were an active part of their lives.
About this time, I was having a couple of serious physical challenges. I went to the doctor and then got a second and third opinion. All agreed that surgery was necessary. So, at age 37, I entered a Houston hospital in the spring of 1974 and underwent a couple of major surgeries simultaneously. I was sure something went wrong, when I woke up with a worse headache than the pain in the incision areas. A baseball size knot was on the back of my head and more pain than I could tolerate had taken me over. Before I was dismissed from the hospital, it became apparent that:
a) I had been dropped by the medical staff
b) I had stopped normal functioning at some point during the second surgery. No one ever admitted it, but since the third surgery planned was canceled, it was pretty obvious what had happened.
The real progress report in all of this was: the night before surgery, I was feeling some fear and I went before the Lord and told Him I knew my life had not been completely lining up with His plans. I told Him if He had another use for me somewhere else, He had my permission to take me home, but I had to be sure I had a home to go to. I went through a pretty thorough re-declaration of my faith and asked to be forgiven of the things that had not pleased Him. Peace overtook me and I went to sleep. I had no memory of going to surgery.
But when I woke up, not only did the headache get my attention, but that peace I had experienced the night before was still with me. I just felt somehow different. I wanted a Bible to read. I wanted to watch any Christian TV I could see. All I wanted to talk or think about was God. It was like I was a totally new person. I knew nothing about being “born again” – sure didn’t understand the difference between “salvation” and making Jesus the “Lord of my life.” But that is what happened to me in that hospital. I gave Him my will and asked Him to take hold of the reigns and lead me down His path.
That seed planted in me at 12 was now getting the necessary water it needed to take over the garden and produce a life-giving flow that would water other gardens. It was no longer being choked out by weeds and drought. This does not mean that all of my actions were now lining up with the walk Jesus had chosen for me, but it does mean that a quantum leap of spiritual progress had taken place.
The doctors had told me I could expect as long as a six-week hospital stay; but I was released on the sixth day after surgery. I returned to our greyhound bus parked nearby. We had prepared for the “long haul” by having a phone line installed. I only had two close friends in Houston. Both of these ladies were Christians. They had each been to the hospital to visit me. One of them called the Tuesday I was sent home. She had gone to the hospital to see me, only to find that I had already been dismissed. She said the Lord had spoken to her that she was to invite me to Wednesday night service at her church, but she only got the understanding when she found out I was already at home.
I readily agreed to go with her to a little Baptist Church in Humble, Texas. When the pastor gave an invitation – or an “alter call”, as some call it, I could not stay in my seat. I ran down to the front. The pastor handed me the microphone and I found myself giving testimony to what had happened in that hospital and how I found myself totally changed.
The next day, my second friend called and her conversation sounded almost like a tape recording of the call yesterday. She, too, had been directed by the Lord to invite me to attend her church. But her church had Thursday night “miracle services.” I readily agreed to go. I sure didn’t want to miss anything God had for me.
In the middle of the service, one of the co-evangelists came to the microphone and announced, “I know there are many who have come to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Please come forward and move into the large room at the end of the hallway. There will be others to minister with you.” I had no idea what she was speaking of, but everything in me said, “go”. As I moved into the room at the end of the hall, there was a couple reading scriptures aloud, mostly out of the book of Acts concerning the infilling of the Holy Spirit that believers experienced in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. An anticipation had overtaken me. I just knew something great was about to happen.
A lady came and prayed for me. I was “slain in the spirit” – the power of God was so strong on me that I could no longer stand in His presence. I was not aware of what was going on around me in the natural. I was too consumed with the awareness of a light so bright I could never adequately describe it, and a feeling of peace and joy beyond any earthly experience. I felt – as if I were in a cocoon of love and nothing could touch me. I never had experienced this feeling peace so strong – of being in a safe place – loved and nurtured.
When I gradually became aware of natural events again, I realized there were many people surrounding me as I lay on the floor and all willing to help me get up. A few wanted to speak to me, but all I could think of was what I had just experienced and the indescribable joy I was feeling.
My husband had been with me during this time – he was my best friend and we had shared everything together, so far. All I wanted to do was get outside and try to explain to him how I felt. I was assuming he had also had a similar time of special peace and joy with the Lord. As we finally stepped outside the fellowship hall into the cool spring night, I felt like my feet were not even touching the ground. I was walking in a level of joy I had never known. As I reached out to my husband to share “isn’t this the greatest feeling you’ve ever had?” His honest response almost knocked me back to the ground. He said, “I think this is a load of bologna!” Let’s get out of here.” I could not have been more hurt or surprised. It was many days before I had any understanding of my husband’s response. At this moment, he was not even a committed Christian, so he had no understanding of what had happened to me. Flesh does not understand spirit. There was a very real war going on and I had felt the heat of the battle immediately after the greatest spiritual experience of my life.
We drove back to the greyhound bus in silence. I was hurt and confused and almost feeling guilty that I had such joy and was not able to share it with my husband. All I could do was cry out to God for help and for understanding.
I had been given several Christian books by my two lady friends in Houston. My husband had picked up one of these books and started reading it. “The Late, Great Planet Earth” was the book he had chosen to read. I was also reading a book called “PIGS IN THE PARLOR” and thinking….”How will I ever remember the names of all these different demonic spirits?” It was the first time I had ever considered that I had power and authority over the demonic forces. I realize there is much controversy on this subject and today I better understand why. I’ll discuss this later on, but these events recorded here were actual happenings that kept me on the quest for truth in this area.
I had never seen any sort of “apparition”, but as soon as those books came into the house and I began to read them, all sorts of things began happening – even before we left Houston. I always tell people that the devil has no power unless you choose to give it to him. He was defeated by Jesus when He was crucified and raised to life. Satan would never have considered trying to kill Jesus if he would have had any idea what was going to happen.
While our bus was still parked near the hospital in Houston, and I was recovering from the surgery, I was lying on my bed reading one of the “deliverance” books given me. I had paused from my reading and was getting up. I sat on the side of the twin rear bed of the bus. My jewelry briefcase [weighing well over 40 pounds] lay flat on the far side of the other twin bed. The next thing I knew, this briefcase was off the bed and had landed, corner-first, on the top of my bare foot. I heard bones crunch. I felt incredible pain. Suddenly, many of the things I had been reading flooded my mind and I began to speak aloud and take authority over the circumstances of my situation. I bound the pain, swelling, injury, etc. Etc. Etc. And I also took authority over the “spirit” that had manifested and caused the attack. Instantaneously, the pain disappeared and I never had any swelling, bruise, etc.
My husband was in the bus with me when this happened and I’ll always be glad I had a witness because this was so super-natural, it would be easy to think it never really happened… or perhaps it was a dream, etc. But, I assure you, it was very real and only the beginning of several events that occurred during that season in my life.
Remember that, at this time, my husband was not yet a committed Christian. He could not deny what had happened to me, but his understanding was certainly limited. Within 24 hours, he had some proof of his own that there were “others” in that bus besides us. He had been outside checking tires with a large mallet. The mallet was lying on the kitchen countertop. As he walked past this area, the mallet was suddenly on his own foot. He had not even touched the counter, much less knocked anything off. I believe this was all part of his coming into an understanding of the reality of spiritual matters and part of the steps to him finally making a commitment to Christ a couple of weeks later in Ft. Worth.
We drove back to the DFW Metroplex as soon as I was released from the doctors in Houston and we set up a jewelry display in a department store for Mother’s Day. We had seen a marquee at the Tarrant County Convention Center announcing a meeting. Hal Lindsay, the author of the book my husband was reading, was going to be holding this meeting in just a few days. My husband insisted we shut down our jewelry booth long enough to attend this meeting. I knew it had to be the Holy Spirit. I had never seen him close a booth for anything and I certainly saw a new kind of enthusiasm within him to attend a meeting. In any event, it was during this meeting, that he made a public profession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God. A lot of the battle in our home had been won, or so I thought.
Within a short time, we had purchased a home in Dallas, and were feeling the need for fellowship in a local church. We took off one Sunday morning with the boys in the back seat of the car and drove around looking for some place that “looked right.” I happened to be driving that morning. Suddenly, the control of the car was no longer in my hands and the car was turned into a parking lot of a large building that did not display a name of any kind. I knew it was God and I was excited. We ran into the building only to find that it was “First Assembly of God in Dallas, Texas.” For the next ten years we fellowshipped in this body of believers. We continued to travel a lot, but we had a heart for the work there and the months we were home, we were not only faithful in our attendance, but we were able to bless the church as well. We were led to purchase another greyhound bus to transport the youth choir on ministering trips, to provide a way for seniors to make economical tours, and to have reliable transportation during summer vacation bible school. During these years, the Lord blessed our business financially and we were able to help many people on the mission fields around the world. We were the sole support for a couple of missionary operations. What a privilege to allow God to pour finances through you to those that are doing His work!
DELIVERANCE FROM IDOLS
In October of 1980, I kept feeling I was leaving. I didn’t know where I was going, but I kept getting direction to teach my husband the administrative end of our business. Bookwork was not his strong point, but he finally submitted himself for teaching one hour each day until it was completed. I honestly did not know if I were going to die or be sent on a mission, but we were prepared either way.
It wasn’t until January, after a trip with our oldest son to California, that I heard my husband speak “I think you are going somewhere. I think you are going back to California and continue working on the mining project we have invested in.” At the time he spoke this, the three of us were set up with our jewelry booth at a major show in Denver, Colorado. My son had finished a year of college and asked to spend a full year of time on the road with us. He expected to have clear direction about his future career at the end of this year.
My husband instructed me to pack my bags, make airline reservations, and volunteered to take me to the Denver airport the next day and put me on a plane for California.
For the next many months, I was on the road… California, El Paso, back to Texas to help with a couple of other major shows, and back to California. I stayed in motels, slept in my van on occasion, and finally had the use of our bus at the end of our show season. During the time, my husband and I prayed often together on the phone about different opportunities to help ministries financially; and each time we would get clear direction what to do.
One day, my husband said he “woke up” and felt like I had spent all the money he had worked so hard to make and he had nothing saved for his old age. Fear gripped him and he refused to agree to any further “giving”. Within a short time, funds started drying up and before much more time had passed, even the marriage had come to an end…14 years of fun, adventure, and being used by God suddenly came to an end! Before this book ends, perhaps you will have some understanding just why this occurred.
There were a couple of natural events in my life, in particular, that had great spiritual significance. One event occurred in the 80’s at a major show in Columbus, Ohio. This was the “all American quarter horse congress”. It is held every year in October at the state fair grounds. This particular year had been very good, financially. It was Sunday, the last day of the show. We were tired, hungry, and time was short because we had another show starting in Louisiana in two days.
Our usual procedure was to store all of our displays in the “possum belly” area of our greyhound bus. This time, however, the suggestion was made that we go to a nearby “restaurant row” and get a meal quickly and just get on the road without removing anything from the van. I did not have a good feeling about it, but agreed, knowing it would be a good utilization of time and effort.
When our meal was over, we came outside and found our van had been stolen, along with all of our displays, tools, raw materials, completed merchandise, etc. Someone had been watching our operation and saw us take in cash money and believed they would “make a haul.”
We called the Columbus police to report the theft. My husband was concerned about our bus back at the fairgrounds, so he caught a ride to check on it while I waited for the police. As I stood on that restaurant parking lot in that cold October air, I was amazed to realize that I was feeling no anger. Instead, I had an urgent desire to pray for the people that had stolen our van. All I could see was the possibility of – in their hurry to get away – they might wreck the van and injure themselves or some innocent people on the highway. After I finished praying, the Lord spoke to me. He let me know that He had allowed this theft to rid me of an idol. He showed me just how much of my time was being consumed by this business… How I was cheating Him by not spending time with Him and how I was cheating my family as well.
Somehow I felt I would be released from this occupation entirely and probably sent off to a mission field to teach the natives about Jesus. Why do we always think we have to go half way around the world to be a missionary? Much to my surprise, within three weeks, new display cases had been built, display merchandise had been made, and we were set up in a mall working for Christmas. From that point on, I would give 110% of my effort on the job, but when we closed a show, and I had time off, I gave my time to the Lord and to my family. This was one kind of “deliverance” I experienced.
The second event that so drastically affected my life was the divorce that came in 1984. It surely was yet another type of deliverance, but it was the heartbreak of my life. I honestly thought I would not survive the pain. One more time, I was shown that this man had also become an idol in my life. He was so important to me and I’m sure I did allow him to get between God and me many times. But there was another factor at play in my life. Only God could have shown me the depth of this and only He could have delivered me of it. I did not see or understand the power that was controlling me until 1991. But it greatly influenced the break up of this marriage and prevented me from accurately hearing God on many occasions. I’ll discuss this at length a little later on.
In 1986, I again married in Denver, Colorado, at the national western stock show in the main rodeo arena. The rodeo cowboy church was holding their Sunday morning services in the huge coliseum and there were hundreds of folks there. Some were commercial exhibitors, most were ranch folks attending the show to exhibit livestock, and there were a few TV cameramen. A cowboy preacher, Ron Conatser, conducted the marriage ceremony that Kenneth Copeland had written. Gary Copeland, a minister in the Denver area, sang a song for the first time -“An Oasis of Love”. My boys were both there. A clothing manufacturer from Denver had provided outfits for my attendants. The ceremony was broadcast on three major television stations in Denver and even broadcast on a nation-wide radio farm report. None of the details of the service were planned by us. People just kept coming to my booth and offering to help in different ways. I would never have done anything so splashy, but I felt I belonged to God and if this was the way He wanted to use me to be His witness, who was I to interfere?
Many super natural events occurred to convince both my new husband and me that we were in the center of God’s will, doing just what God wanted us to do. Neither of us would have ever considered the marriage otherwise. My husband joined me in my business and we traveled and worked together for 6 years. We spent a lot of our summers in Colorado enjoying the mountains and doing a lot of trout fishing.
But deep inside me, there was some kind of war going on. I became aware, on occasion, that my personality would drastically change and I would become very controlling… very unpleasant. The only comparison I had was my Mom. Was I becoming just like my Mom? She died in March of 1989 and these personality changes seemed to become more noticeable after her death. The idea of my becoming like my Mom really scared me. It was during this time that I began to learn more about generational curses and verbal curses… what we have, many times, inherited or even spoken over ourselves, and the power and authority we have over these things through Jesus.
Through the years, I had read many books and listened to many tapes about the ministry of deliverance… casting out demons. From the first books given to me in Houston after my surgery, I had received lots more. Friends had also sent me many cassette tapes on the subject. I had attended my first deliverance “session” in Beaumont, Texas the year after the Houston surgery. I went there with three friends and the person doing the ministry had come from the Chicago area to minister in this small home fellowship. When he prayed for me, the first spirit he called by name and cast out of me was: “rejection from the womb.” You will recall that an attempt was made to abort me before I was born. This really got my attention. No other person present at this meeting had any knowledge of this event. I was certainly convinced by this “revelation” that the minister had heard from God and that “deliverance ministry” was real.
Later on, I even went to Louisiana and studied for a short time under a pastor and his wife that were in the “deliverance ministry.” I keep putting quotation marks around this terminology, because I find nowhere in the Bible justification for a ministry of this type. In fact, what I do see is that deliverance ought to be a part of everyone’s ministry, but no particular emphasis should be placed on it. Jesus certainly cast out devils, but I don’t think He went around looking under every rock hoping to find a devil. It was only as He confronted them that He took care of the problem in a simple, authoritative manner. The demons trembled and fled. It was no big deal to him — just part of his everyday walk to instruct those disciples following Him.
I had known for quite a while that there was a ministry call of some sort on my life. Through the years, the jewelry booth had been my “podium to preach from” … a tabernacle in the wilderness… moved from place-to-place. Many who came to my booth heard the truth about Jesus Christ. They left knowing that Jesus was the only way to the Father…that his shed blood would wash away all sin and put them in right standing with the creator. In the 27 years on the road, I saw all aspects of life right there in that booth. I saw many spiritually awakened in the booth – after hearing the truth about Jesus. A lot of counsel was given with love, and a lot of tears were shed, as prayer went forth for broken marriages and broken hearts.
Being behind the jewelry booth was, in some ways, kind of like being a bartender. I believe many people spend time in bars because they so desperately need to talk to someone. The bartender is a captive audience. Subconsciously, people knew that Jesus was in me and they could come and talk to Him whenever they wanted to without any commitment to a church, attendance at regular meetings, or financial obligations. It was a liberty for them. They could get their spiritual needs met and it wouldn’t cost them a dime and they wouldn’t be put on a guilt trip.
Gold Wire Jewelry might seem like a funny name for a church, but it certainly was a type of tabernacle and God used it in many ways. Most of the shows I went to were established – that is, I went there year after year — some as long as 25 years. A “congregation” was built at each location through the years. People would come to get their souls fed. Those that could would make their contribution by purchasing some of our wares, but we were not salesmen, we were friends to so many that had no friends. No pressure was ever exerted to promote a sale and really no mention of jewelry was made unless the person brought it up.
It was always amazing how, even in the midst of a busy time at a show [like the go-in for a rodeo], a person would come along with a serious need and it seemed like the crowds would separate and the time would be there to minister to the person. But as soon as the ministry was over, it was “back to business as usual.” I truly believe that manifestations like this type are evidence of being led by the spirit of God. He makes a way when there is no way.
For the next 4-5 years, my husband and I had a special anointing to minister from that jewelry booth. The “splash” of the wedding really set a stage for us in Colorado. We had many people stop us on the street and want to talk about God. They recognized us from the news broadcasts of our wedding and knew where we were, spiritually, from all that was spoken on their local evening news about our wedding and how God had brought us together. Understand that the bulk of the TV broadcasts were our testimony of how our lives had been changed… not just another wedding ceremony. It really was amazing that the television stations would have even broadcast what they did!
Several things happened within a short time span that got me thinking. I was experiencing confusion concerning the “deliverance ministry” and seeking God for answers and confirmations of things I had learned from books and personal study under other persons ministering in this area. I finally lay all of my questions, concerns, and curiosities at the feet of the Lord and purposed not to be involved in any type of deliverance again until I heard something from the Lord.
Five years into this marriage, I was sure I had a serious problem. The adverse personality manifestations were not the only evidence of a problem. I began to fall asleep at the wheel. As you can imagine, in that business, I did a lot of driving. On one occasion, I drove off the road and knocked out a windshield and ripped a large mirror off the right side of my van. Only God kept me safe through all of this. I had spent the night of Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City with my oldest son and family. He was now in the jewelry business full time, married, and had two children. He was set up in a mall for Christmas. I had helped my husband set up in a mall in the valley of Texas and was now on my way to Columbus, Ohio. I had a good night’s rest at my son’s and set off down the highway about 10:00am. As I drove through Tulsa, OK, about 11:00am, I found myself falling asleep again on the highway. I pulled off the road and checked into a motel. I spent the day doing “piddly” things to pass my time and wear me out so I could get another good night’s sleep before the long drive to Columbus. I probably fell asleep around 9:00 pm.
At 10:30pm, I was awakened with a start. I was spread-eagle on my stomach in the middle of the bed. There was someone on top of me, their hand on the back of my neck, forcing my face into a pillow in an attempt to suffocate me. With the last breath I could muster, I cried the only name that has power – “Jesus.” Instantly, the weight was off my back, the pressure was gone from the back of my head, and I could breath without any hindrance. I had walked in the “deliverance” teaching long enough to be sure that I had just experienced the manifestation of a demon spirit. I was positive that my battle was over and that I was alone in that motel room, because I had taken authority over the spirit and commanded it to go. But my flesh demanded to be satisfied. In deference to my flesh man, I flipped on a bed lamp and confirmed what I already knew. I was the only physical person in the room. I turned off the light and tried to calm my flesh. My spirit was really peaceful. I felt a real difference within myself, but had no explanation of what had visited me and what it was all about.
As I calmed down, the Holy Spirit spoke and let me know that I had been plagued by a spirit of deception most of my life and I was delighted to hear him say I had just been delivered of that harassing, tormenting spirit. It was the hand of God that had set me free!
Shortly after I had lay all thoughts of a “deliverance ministry” down and committed to not minister in this way until I heard from God, the Lord had taken me into the written word and showed me a very simple scripture in Joel 2:32 that said: “and it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the name of the Lord will be delivered.” That sure sounded a lot more simple than learning the names of all the demons and how they function and the proper thing to say to get them to give up their happy home – if they were indwelling a person. It also sounded like I was to totally trust in God… and nothing of me could take any of the glory for the deliverance. That really sounded like God to me! I had read and reread this scripture and now I had the chance to see this truth in action. Jeremiah 33:3 says: “call to me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Not only had He delivered me from the spirit, but had even taken the time to let me know what had been cast out and how long it had been there.
I got up the next morning, refreshed, and drove all the way to Columbus, Ohio, without any further problems. I never once felt drowsy. Does a spirit of deception always manifest itself by making you sleepy when you drive? I don’t have a clue! Ask God, He has all the answers and is only too ready to share them with you. The one thing I was sure about… I felt different and before many more days had passed, I saw that I was looking at many things through different eyes. A veil had truly been lifted.
But heartbreak was not yet over. This 6 year long marriage was about to blow up in my face, in spite of all the great opportunities we had been given to help others – witnessing about the goodness of God. We were both so sure that our marriage was “made in heaven,” but things came to a halt in 1991. It’s always easy to look back and see the warning signs you could not recognize at the time. It’s usually easy to see in retrospect what you might have done to make things better.
For most of the marriage, I was being influenced by that spirit of deception. One of the ways it would affect me… it would speak to me as though it was God. My own spiritual discernment was greatly affected by this spirit. I’m sure it works closely with religious and anti-christ spirits as well. It certainly shrouds itself in “religious apparel” to disguise its true identity. Most times, it tries to get it’s host involved in some laborious religious duties that will wear him/her down. It successfully convinced me to begin a drug rehab program in our home. We took in a few people with drug-related problems and began to do what we could to help them get their lives headed down a pathway to liberty.
In the meantime, my husband was also being tormented by spirits that finally convinced him all of his money was going to help others and he, himself, would wind up in the poor house. He felt under such monetary pressure that he began to stay on the road all the time working shows with the jewelry to provide needs of the household. Now there was no spiritual covering over the home and some very hurtful things happened that brought a lot of pain and finally the end to our marriage. I knew that the enemy of our soul had a big victory and I was very sad. We had both played right into the evil plan. Satan has no power unless you give it to him. And we had been very cooperative.
I plunged into a period of pretty severe depression. I did continue to work shows for a while… the will to survive was mostly my motivation, I suppose… But all I really wanted to do was spend time alone with God – searching for answers and allowing Him to do whatever it took to deliver me from any other forces that might keep me from being used by God in the way He desired. Little did I realize that I would be pulling away from all organized religious groups, severing all of my connections to any churches and pastors, and spending more time in prayer and in the written word, and seeking the face of God for answers from Him directly.
Soon, the major part of my time was spent at home in study. This time, the Holy Spirit was opening up the scriptures to me and I was seeing things with new eyes. Never again would deception keep me from the comprehension of spiritual matters. No longer would I hear a voice and wonder if it were God. This time I knew, because I knew, because I knew, that God was speaking.
During a time of intimate fellowship with the Lord, He revealed to me that one of the idols in my life was a desire to have a godly husband that walked in awesome spiritual wisdom and understanding… someone that I could really look up to and respect for his position in God. I willingly lay down this idol as soon as God showed it to me and he filled the void by showing me that I’m not to look to man but to God for all things. Another liberty had come into my life and I immediately felt the freedom.
In May of 1991, I was in the bookstore at Christ for the nations here in Dallas purchasing a book. The Lord had spoken for me to buy the book and the only place in town that had a copy was this small campus store. It was very quiet when I arrived around 11:15am. I asked why there were no people in the store. The foreign student overseeing the store explained that Benny Hinn was holding a seminar on campus. I asked who Benny Hinn was. His book “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” had just come out. She picked up a copy and explained he was the author of the book, a TV evangelist, pastor of a church in Orlando, Florida, etc., etc., etc. I picked up my purchase and prepared to leave when a great influx of people inundated the store. Before I could leave, the Holy Spirit spoke. “Leave your packages on the counter. I desire for you to meet this man.” [The student had pointed out Benny Hinn as he came through the door a few moments earlier.]
I walked over to the crowd of people surrounding this man and called aloud “Pastor Hinn.” He immediately responded by pushing a tall man aside and coming straight to me. In such a kind manner he said, “Yes, my sister, what can I do for you?” I could hardly wait to hear what I was going to say because I did not have a clue why God had directed me to this place. But I heard myself say, “Sir, I believe I am being directed to study further on the subject of ‘deliverance.’ Could you recommend a balanced ministry to me?” He thought a minute and had me write down a phone number. “This is my secretary, Nancy’s number. Call her and have her give you the contact information for Derek Prince.” I thanked him, wondering what this was all about.
Before I could leave the bookstore, a young man came to me and let me know that a Russian lady living on campus was doing all the desktop publishing for Derek Prince and she could give me the information I needed. He insisted on walking me to her apartment, where I met a lovely girl from the Ukraine. She was delighted when I shared with her what God had spoken to me about a trip to Russia. She was even more excited when she found I was knowledgeable in deliverance. She said she had recently been through a time for deliverance with Derek Prince and his wife Ruth. She was so joyously set free from some things in her own life, that she had been praying for God to send people to the Ukraine and have them minister deliverance to her family and friends there. It never ceases to amaze me how God will lead you by His Spirit.
Two months later, I was directed to attend a crusade being held in the Dallas convention center. Benny Hinn would be in that location for three days ministering healing to those in attendance. I had no idea what a crowd I would encounter and what was about to unfold in my life.
The first night of the convention, Benny Hinn asked that all people called to full time ministry, whether they were yet serving or not, please come forward to the podium. Many people, including me, made our way to the front of the auditorium. He prayed over the entire group and then pointed at me [7-8 rows back] and asked me to come forward. I came up onto the rostrum and he prayed for me and then began to prophecy. He said there was a great anointing on me for a healing and deliverance ministry and that he had received his healing anointing through Kathryn Kuhlman and God had spoken to him and told him to lay hands on me and transfer that anointing.
He further stated that God was going to give me a trip to Israel. He said I would be in Israel in November… that I would be there on my birthday, the 24th, and that the entire trip, but particularly that day, would be very significant. He said I would not be a typical tourist. He stated that the purpose of the trip would be to birth a ministry. He exhorted me to be continually alert while in Israel… that God was going to show me many things and speak to me through many people.
Before the night was over, brochures were passed out informing people that Benny Hinn’s ministry was taking a tour group to Israel in November of 1991. In my own spiritual immaturity, I thought because this man had prophesied this trip over me that I was to go on that particular tour. So, without seeking the counsel of the Lord, I simply booked the trip and paid for it. I assure you that everything Benny Hinn prophesied was truly of God, but I had not sought the Lord concerning timing of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Consequently, I was allowed to book the trip, pay for the trip, but I was not allowed to make the trip. I lost most of the money I had paid for the trip and God never prompted me to give the trip to someone else. Apparently, I had to experience the total loss to teach me the necessity of “checking in” with God before making any decision.
It was one year later that God, supernaturally provided for the fulfillment of this prophecy. I will share more about this trip later in the story.
Earlier I mentioned the Israel trip that Benny Hinn prophesied. I had paid for this trip, but not allowed to actually make the journey. It was a costly error and one that I still did not understand, but I knew God was at work and one day I would see clearly just what was going on.
Almost 18 months had gone by since the prophetic word had gone forth and many times I had wondered… Did Benny Hinn really hear God clearly concerning this trip and me? Was Benny Hinn a false prophetic? Did I dream this? Was it a creation of my imagination? But, I knew it was God and I had pieces missing to this puzzle.
I had just finished working in Columbus, Ohio, at the quarter horse show there in October and I’m driving south on my way back to Dallas. As I’m passing through Nashville, I have a strong unction to stop and call my friend, Lolly Arnold. Sure enough, her immediate response was “where are you.” When she learned I was on the highway passing through her area, she said “Please come to my home at once. I’ve heard from the Lord and I need to share some details with you.” I trusted Lolly’s ability to hear from God, so I immediately drove to her home.
She said, “You and I are on our way to Israel. God spoke to me about this in a dream last night.” I made my meager excuses…“I’ve been on the road for weeks, I’ve got to get to Dallas. I’ve got bills to pay,” etc., etc., etc. When I asked the details, I learned she had booked a CBN tour months before and that her sister from Hawaii would be meeting up with her in New York and they would be going on to Israel together. I asked if she had booked another passenger. She assured me God had spoken and He would make a way. As an answer to all my resistance, she spoke “There are 500 people going on this trip. If we call and there is a cancellation, will you take that as a sign from God and join us?” I agreed. Lolly made the call, and a cancellation had been made just minutes before, so we booked that opening and I had 7 days to drive to Dallas, get my immediate business affairs in order, pack and be ready for 21 days in Israel.
I had the information that there were two complete airplanes filled with people going on this tour. Lolly was the only person I knew going. I didn’t want to interfere with her vacation she had planned with her sister. They had not been together for a long time. But, I did want to be somewhere near them on the plane and, hopefully, in the same hotel. As God had planned it, I not only was on the same airplane, but also seated on the same row just one seat away from them and we were in the same hotels at every stop. We were also assigned to the same tour bus. A dear lady from Florida was sitting in the seat between Lolly and I on the airplane. Her daughters had prayed that God would send a person on the trip to be her companion. And they had prayed that person would speak Spanish, as their Mom had been born in Cuba and still had some difficulty with English. Sure enough, I was her roommate. My limited Tex-Mex Spanish did make communication a little easier for her and we became great friends.
The entire trip was a dream come true for me. As I packed my bags, the Lord spoke to me and instructed me to take along a little bit of my jewelry-making tools and raw material. In the natural, I was concerned to travel with it – hoping I would have no problem at customs, but knowing the Lord had a plan, I knew I’d be covered.
Making jewelry turned out to be a great “ice-breaker” to meet people. There were 10 tour buses that we occupied. Ben Kinchelow and his wife, Vivian, from CBN were our tour coordinators and we had 10 Israeli guides – one on each bus. Lolly and I quickly got a reputation for lagging behind and holding up the tour at points of interest. I would get busy making a piece of jewelry for someone or Lolly would be involved sharing Christ with someone. Lolly was limited in how much walking she could do. She was experiencing a couple of serious health problems. But, God just poured His love through her to all those nearby.
A couple from Colorado Springs was on our same tour bus. The man, Dick Schnitker, had a good sense of humor and was many times harassing Lolly and I about our tardy arrivals. One day, Dick and Betty were led to move from the back of the bus up to where Lolly and I were seated. He started sharing with me a vision he had about a ranch in Colorado and some key things God had spoken to me about a ranch in Colorado surfaced in this conversation. As a confirmation, Dick pulled out one of his journals and allowed me to read what I had just spoken aloud. To this day, we are close friends. They now live in Dallas and we still have a lot of questions about Colorado and all of the things God has spoken to each of us about a work there. It may have just been a project of intercession for each of us and not something that we are personally to see come to completion in our own lives… but it was astonishing that we would each receive such details concerning the same place and how it was to be used for the Kingdom of God.
For me, the high point of my Israel trip was the last full day we were in Jerusalem. It was the day we went to the upper room and celebrated communion with other groups of believers from around the world. As we walked into this upper room, there was a special anointing that permeated the area. It was like the very atmosphere was charged with great spiritual energy. While I was trying to “drink in” the “flavor” of this special place and somehow imagine myself there at the time that Jesus was on earth, Lolly came to me and said, “Sunny, I believe that man over there is trying to get your attention.” I looked up and saw an attractive Israeli-looking man motioning for me to approach him. I asked Lolly to join me and walked over to see what this man wanted.
With a strong, precise voice, and eyes that pierced my very being, the man announced, “you have not come to Israel as a typical tourist. You have come here for a holy purpose. You have come to birth a ministry.” He also told me that I was standing on holy ground… that the ground of Israel is holy only because the blood of Jesus Christ is mixed with this soil and that makes it holy. He spoke many scriptures from the Old Testament… From Isaiah, from Jeremiah, from Ezekiel… and those words were like bullets going into me and becoming part of me.
Then his tone changed, but he never broke eye contact through all of this. He said “The Lord desires you know your Israeli name and he spoke the name ‘Orly.’ He said it was difficult to translate. He said it meant a form of light. After a moment, he spoke that it meant “the light of Christ in you.” He then broke eye contact for the first time and looked down at my CBN tour badge and when he read “Sunny” aloud, he said, “the name, Sunny, means the same thing. He declared: “Sunny is not your birth name, but it is the name God chose for you.” He said the Lord pointed me out to him when I walked into the room and that he had difficulty seeing my facial features because there was so much light emitting from me. Virtually everything this man spoke was a part of the prophecy that Benny Hinn had spoken over me back in Dallas at his convention 18 months earlier in May of 1991.
I was glad Lolly was standing there with me listening to all this man spoke. I really was glad God had sent a witness with me. I also had my tape recorder going the whole time he spoke, but there was a lot of background noise – different groups singing hymns as they each had a communion service for their group.
It was not until the following June that the Lord spoke to me and instructed me to have a legal name change. I was told to change my name to Sunny Orly. I did not even have the filing fee to apply for this name change, but God quickly provided and I obeyed. It was not until August of 1993 that the court hearing ruled in favor of this new name. Sunny had been given me at age 7 months by my spiritual mom, my favorite aunt, and it was not until now, at age 55, that I fully realize God used her to choose His name for me. Another realization came. This was God’s way of totally removing all of the past. I had no name any man had given me – not even my earthly father.
Author’s note of interest:
In August of 1999 Roger and I were studying a new teaching from Charles Weller in Ohio. In the teaching we were given the understanding that it is in the Holy Place [that area within Moses’ tabernacle that correlates with Pentecost] that we receive the white stone and our new name, as stated in the book of revelation. I was really excited when I learned this, because it was in the upper room [the original location of the first Pentecost] that I received confirmation of my new name. It was also on the day of my earthly birth. That seems very significant to me today.
In Israel, a person’s name declared their nature. In so many different situations in the Bible, God changed a person’s name when He changed their nature: Jacob, the supplanter or deceiver, became Israel after he spent an entire night wrestling with God. Obviously God won and Jacob experienced total change. Abraham and Sarah are other well-known examples of God’s nature transforming lives and their names being changed as His plan comes forth.
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
The next four years were spent much in the presence of the Lord. That might sound dull and boring to many who have never experienced this kind of personal relationship with God, but I assure you, there is no more exciting walk on planet earth.
The Bible had taken on a whole new excitement for me. It was one of the ways that God was communicating with me on a regular basis. He had me reading much in that book so the Holy Spirit could make the word come alive and speak to me about the present issues in my life. I believe that is what is meant by the “living word.” Without the unction of the Holy Spirit, the Bible it is just a dead letter – “the letter killeth, but the spirit bringeth life.” [II cor. 3:6] but through this special time of being called aside, the Holy Spirit was truly fulfilling the teacher calling and showing me things in the scriptures that had always been there, but I never had eyes to see before.
It was during this time of intense training that the love for Jesus grew to such proportion within me… I chose to not only make Him the Lord of my life, but He became everything to me. He took the place of those that had judged, ridiculed, rejected, disappointed, and even turned their backs on me. God says He will become the Father to the fatherless, and He proved it to me. He assured me He was my provider and if I would come aside and trust Him, He would provide for me… He just wanted my undivided attention at this time.
On April 1, 1992, he had awakened me about 3:00 am and had me read the entire book of the Song of Solomon. It is a beautiful love story and a simile about Jesus and his bride. He let me go back to sleep, but when I awoke, He showed me in such detail and great love, that I was a chosen bride of Christ and revealed to me much of the depth of what it means to be in that assembly. I cannot tell you the depth of completeness that consumed me. It was like I had been a large piece of Swiss cheese and He had come in and filled up all the holes and made me solid, in him. The awesome love that was being showered down on me is beyond imagination. Our fleshly attempts of showing love are a poor substitute for the “unconditional love of God” being poured out on an individual.
For a long time I had no understanding of some of the changes that were taking place within me, but as time passed, God either brought books or tapes of anointed people into my hands to give me explanations and understandings of the work He had done in me during this four year period.
Up until this time, I had little to no understanding that the Jewish feasts are symbolic of the steps of growth in a believer’s life. Now, knowledge and understanding came flooding into me from many sources, giving me clear vision of what was really going on in my life. God had already saved my spirit. My acknowledgment of Jesus as my Savior was proof of that salvation. But now God desired to save my soul as well. He wanted me healed in my emotional realm so that I would not be swayed by any spirit other than the Holy Spirit. He wanted my mind cleared of all questions, memories of past hurts, etc., so that I could obey Philippians 4:8 and think only on the lovely things, the things of good report and be freed of all the “stinking thinking”. And last, but certainly not least, He wanted my tongue to be used only for praise of what He has done in me and those around me.
God showed me plainly that when we come into total union with him.
We do nothing except He direct it
We speak nothing except He give it
We think nothing except it be to glorify Him.
At this point, our triune being will be lined up [in agreement with] His triune being and we will be empowered to walk in divine order just as Jesus walked – doing nothing or saying nothing except as He was directed by the Father.
Many have read about the gifts of the Holy Spirit – all nine of them bringing glory and honor to God. I see the gift [not gifts] as one fruit – a cluster of grapes. I see them as all being joined together, interrelated… Not receiving each separately, but all together; the spirit manifesting the particular characteristic that is needed in a situation, but all being continually available at all times to do His bidding.
Many of us have read about the anointing of God on a person for a specific task. And we have put the search light on our own walk and wondered why we are not walking as Jesus walked. We know we have experienced salvation and many have received the further infilling of the Holy Spirit, but who do you know that is on the exact walk of Jesus… Where everyone they are directed to pray for is healed and everyone coming in contact with them has experience of a changed life? Yes, we are lacking the power that Jesus walked in and yet the promise to us is that we will walk in that same power and authority. Why isn’t it happening? I believe it is because we have not come into complete unity with him – so that his power can flow through us unhindered. He desires us be “Sons of God”, totally led by His Spirit, walking in the same power and victory Jesus walked in.
I believe we are entering a time [kairos – in the fullness of time] – a spiritual time, when time, as we know it, [kronos – or chronological time] will be virtually without affect on us. I see by Jesus’ example that He frequently went to a quiet place and prayed all night. His disciples were unable to keep up His pace, but time seemed to have little affect on Him. I’m seeing God waking me at all hours… Sometimes only laying down a few minutes and getting up refreshed and ready to read, write, pray or whatever, as he directs. More and more, I’m sleeping less and less. But when sleep comes on me, it is deeper than I’ve ever experienced and produces sufficient rest for my body is less time.
GETTING BACK TO THE STORYLINE…
I was still working a few shows with the jewelry – just to sustain life. One show I maintained was the quarter horse congress in Columbus, Ohio. I had mentioned it in an earlier chapter. A lot of significant things have happened to me at this show and the 1994 show was no exception. For starters, I showed up in Columbus exactly one week early. At first, I could not understand why the motel had no record of my reservation. To solve the problem, I determined they at least had an opening for me that night and moved all of my clothing, etc. In the room, prepared to sort out details the next day after I rested from the 1,100-mile drive.
As I was taking the last of my things out of the van, a new Buick pulled up and two very well dressed ladies stepped out. I heard myself say “well, if I’ve never seen two preacher ladies, I’ve seen them now.” If you have never had god bypass your brain and speak clearly through your mouth, you are in for a treat and certainly a surprise as well. But when god is at work, it is always exciting.
These ladies responded by believing I had just arrived in town to attend a conference of Christians – many in ministry. I asked location and time and was told the first official session would start at 7:30 pm. They even agreed to take me to the evening service. I had a couple of hours to bathe, rest, and dress. I agreed to accompany them. I knew god was at work and it was no “mistake” I was here before my scheduled horse show and at the very beginning of this series of meetings. I should have known God was up to something when I left Dallas. As I was packing clothing, I found myself taking as many “churchy” things as western outfits for the horse show.
This convention was to be the start of a much deeper walk with God than even the time He had called me to be alone with Him. So much of what was spoken in the next few days only confirmed many things I had been shown by the Holy Spirit, but I had not been released to discuss any of the details with anyone. I really didn’t have words to describe some of the spiritual teachings that God had been bringing to me. Yet here were people from around the country and from as far away as England and Australia that had been shown many of the same kinds of things and been given the anointing to teach them as well. It was soon confirmed to me that God is in the process of bringing forth the Sons of God at this time. As you may know, they are the company that is totally led by the Spirit of God. They are the ones all of creation is groaning for their appearing.
Many such confirmations were to come forth during the days of this convention, as well as by way of tapes and books I picked up during the meetings. One of the first things that captured my attention and let me know I was in a company of people operating differently than any I had seen; there were no prices on any of the tapes or literature available on any of the resource tables. Everyone’s attitude was “freely have we been given, and freely we give.” It was the first time I had been to any large meeting of “Christians” in recent years and not seen some form of “merchandising the gospel.”
I also do not recall any offering buckets being passed during this convention. I do know that most of the people I have gotten acquainted with that attended the convention do not take up offerings at their churches and do not ask for money in anything they are led to do. They very simply believe that if God has ordained a work, He is more than able to touch the hearts of those that He has chosen to bless the work financially. Certainly in this setting, one can experience being a cheerful giver when God has spoken directly and instructed the giving. There is no doubt that the money is being placed where it will do the most good and no doubt of a blessing coming from this spirit-led obedience.
It was during one of the nights in the Columbus motel, that God woke me at 3:00 am and said, “the reason you don’t have a husband is because you don’t know what you want!” My quick response to this statement was “Lord, I didn’t ask for one.” But I was also fast to say that I truly wanted the Lord’s will in every area of my life and if He saw this was the best walk for me, let His will come forth.” I just asked the Lord one special request, “please don’t put me in the dating scene.” He assured me this would be a “family-arranged” marriage and I would not be exposed to dating. I rested in that promise.
When I came back from Columbus, a female pastor in Ft. Worth, who walked close to me for a season, told me of a dream she had. She saw me behind my jewelry booth, and saw a guy dressed in western clothing standing at my booth. He had on a western belt with a big eagle buckle at his waist. She knew nothing of the word the Lord had spoken to me in Columbus, but she said she was sure this man was coming into my life. She could not see his face, but she knew he was from God and that he was to be my husband. She never saw the details of his face, but described his body structure and mannerisms in detail.
October was now over and winter passed without incident. The thought of a husband had now faded. One Wednesday night in late March, I was directed to drive the almost 60 miles from my home to the tiny chapel of my pastor friend in Ft. Worth. A man from Tulsa, OK was in the small group of worshipers. After service he introduced himself and asked for my phone number. He said he knew the pastor and he was sure his present direction was from the Lord. He asked me to trust him and he would explain later. Sure enough, he called me late afternoon the next day from Tulsa and we had a very brief conversation. He called once again on Saturday morning to let me know that he was giving my phone number to his cousin and his cousin would be calling me. He gave me the man’s name and, once again, asked me to trust him. He assured me he was being directed in what he was doing. I still did not connect this event with what God had spoken to me concerning a husband.
I was out of town most of the weekend, but Roger, this man’s cousin, tried to call me a couple of times. He left messages for me to return his call. My Mom had always taught me: “ladies do not call men.” So, I prayed and turned it over to the Lord and did not call. Roger finally reached me Monday morning and we talked for hours each day until Thursday. He told me his cousin was coming back to Ft. Worth on Friday and asked if I would see him and talk with him in person, if he joined his cousin on this trip to Ft. Worth. .
God worked things out that my sister and I had dinner with the cousins from Tulsa. This was the first weekend of April 1995 and Roger and I were married on the 27th of April. We both knew it was God and God had spoken very directly to each of us. I was not alone with Roger but one time from the first phone call until our wedding and then only for a short time, but God surely displayed His own sense of humor in that hour.
We had been visiting some of my friends on the second weekend he and his cousin came to the Ft. Worth area. We had planned to meet my sister and his cousin for a special dinner. We quickly dropped by my home for him to change into dinner clothes. He later shared with me that God showed him many things in this home that day to confirm he was truly in the place God wanted him to be
When I came back to my home that night. It was late and I was tired. I headed straight to my bedroom, but the Lord kept directing me to the guest room, where Roger had changed clothes. When I walked in, there were his boots sitting on the floor next to the bed and there, on the bed, was that belt with the big eagle buckle on it. My first thought was “I’ll have to find a box and ship these to Tulsa.” But God, exhibiting his great humor, said, “that won’t be necessary… The eagle has landed.”
There is a large tapestry framed under glass that hangs in my home. At the time, it was over the living room fireplace. I had acquired it from an India import shop in Connecticut. I was told it took an artist in India three years of his life to complete all of the stitching. It has semi-precious stones worked into the design of an eagle in attack mode – about to descend upon a reptile. For Roger, this eagle, as a focal point in my home, was one of the great confirmations for him that God was truly providing the home He had promised for so long… That restoration was truly in process. Roger had always had a keen interest in eagles and had even taken the name of “lone eagle” as a citizens band radio name.
We were married in that tiny chapel in Ft. Worth. Appropriately enough, it was named “New Beginnings.” My pastor friend did all she could to make it a special time for us. Her ministry was to men coming out of prison, mental hospitals, off the street, etc. We had a most interesting audience for our wedding, but it was just as God had chosen and arranged.
Two total strangers came together with only one apparent thing in common: we both loved the Lord. When God had spoken to me back in Columbus and told me I didn’t know what I wanted in a husband, He required me to sit up in the bed at 3:00 am and make a list of the attributes I desired in a man. I well recall that the first item was “someone that loved Jesus more than I did.” It wasn’t until we had been married a year that I finally read that list aloud to Roger. The one thing I know… If you ask God for a fish, He will not give you a stone. He gives good gifts to His children.
God had well prepared me over a four-year period for what I was about to face in this first year of marriage. What God had kept from me was: Roger had a serious, but most unusual addiction problem. He had worked as a paint contractor for 27 years and, all of that time; he was, simultaneously, pastoring small churches. None of the people in his churches knew that, much of the time when he stepped into the pulpit to preach, he would not remember the sermon when he stepped out the door. He had a heart to help people and served in ways many full-time pastors never fulfilled. He was faithful to visit his people in hospitals, prisons, and in their homes. He had a true pastor’s heart. Most of his parishioners were low-income folks and he could never ask them for money, so he continued to work full time during his entire time as pastor. But it was the grace of God that kept him going and his family suffered much because of his being driven by the addiction.
The negative power that drove Roger was an addiction to the chemicals in paint he applied. He did both residential and commercial paint contracting and applied all types of coatings. Apparently lacquer was one of the worst offenders and he sprayed 40 gallons in one day on many occasions.. A lot of people have died from this occupation. Many of these chemicals cause severe damage to the brain stem. On many occasions, he pulled men off jobs… dragging them outside into fresh air, so they could come back to their “right mind.” He said many were actually bleeding from their various orifices as a result of inhaling the fumes.
I had never been around anyone with this type of addiction and had no natural knowledge to draw from, so I just relied on God… After all, He has all the answers. Day after day, I sat beside Roger’s bed and prayed for him and read the Bible to him. He went through a year of living hell. He had headaches beyond anything I had ever witnessed. He would cry out in his sleep, toss and turn trying to find relief. For one full year, neither of us worked at all. Roger was not able and I was not allowed to leave his side. It was not until after that year passed that the Lord showed us in the Old Testament the custom of the newly married couples in Israel. They did not work at all the first year. It was to be a time of bonding… planting a firm foundation for a lifetime of love, trust, and understanding… The basis for a successful marriage.
Year two was still not very productive by the standards of the world or the organized church. We were sent to help with an old fashioned tent revival in Ottawa, Kansas in august and we did travel to Maine and preach two back-to-back revivals in November and saw God do some mighty healing, but there were still headaches to deal with. They were more infrequent now, but still a lot of healing going on.
I was so blessed to be a first hand observer of a progressive miracle. [Some are instantaneous and some are progressive.] When Roger came to Texas, he could not read a book at all. He could not even watch a movie on TV and retell the story line. Adding a column of figures was impossible. I say none of this as criticism of him or even what he did to get in the state he was in, but rather to give glory and honor to God for the miraculous healing I saw take place in my husband over a two year span of time. Each time I would start thinking I should go to work or go out and minister on my own, God would reassure me. “If you want to do something for Me, just love this man [Roger].” I tried to do everything I could do for him, just as if Jesus had come to live in my home. I’m not telling this to make me look like some super-saint. I’m just telling you this was the walk I was on and what was required of me, as God loved on His son, Roger, and nursed him back to health, physically and spiritually. I virtually saw God raise a man from the dead before my very eyes over a period of time.
Roger and I each have two sons and we’ve tried to make all four of them feel a part of our lives and to feel welcome in our home. They are all grown and have their own families and a marriage like ours is always hard for grown children to accept, especially if it is a divorce situation rather than a death.
So many Christians have found themselves in the divorce court and guilt has been heaped on their head by judgmental people in the churches. There is a lot of false teaching going around about divorce and how God views it. Most certainly it is not the ideal situation and I’m not preaching in favor of it, but immaturity in the spiritual realm in one or both of the marriage partners makes it impossible to see their spouse as he really is. Judgment passed on the actions seen has been a great factor in destroying good marriages. Most divorces could be avoided if both partners walked in spiritual understanding and divine order. Marriage is a covenant between man and God…not just between two individuals. God sees the marriage as a life long relationship… a secure place for rearing children… an environment to love and respect God. No situation is too hard for God to change.
Some days I wonder how many marriages today are really ordained by the Lord. I believe a large percentage are the end result of flesh wanting to be satisfied and God is not even being considered in the decision… even within the Christian community. There is little sound teaching to prepare people for the seriousness of marriage and how it is a parallel of our relationship to God… How it is the perfect proving ground to allow God to “rub us into His perfect stone.” So, when the going gets to be a challenge, many abandon ship for what they believe will be an easier way. Few realize that the imperfections in their own life will simply be taken along to another relationship and still have to be dealt with somewhere along the line. I certainly don’t advocate anyone staying in a relationship where violence is manifesting, but Holy Spirit-led counseling can do much to help those that want help.
You might be thinking… ”Who are you to give any kind of counsel about marriage and divorce since you have been through divorce more than once.” Hopefully God has used all of these experiences to build some kind of knowledge and wisdom into me. For me, the bottom line is, “don’t even consider marriage until you come to the place of maturity in your relationship with Christ that He is all you need… until he satisfies you in every area of your life.” Then you may well be ready for marriage, if that is a walk God has chosen for you. Certainly if He has, then He has the perfect partner for you. Your job is simply to allow him to “keep you” until his time is right to bring forth this person and then continue to give him full control of not only your life, but the marriage as well.
When I have occasion to counsel young women preparing for marriage, I tell them the above information and then I explain that until you are complete in Christ, you are likely to expect your marriage partner to fulfill things in your life that only God can do and it will open the door to disappointment. We must trust God with all of our problems and look only to Him as our source of supply in every area. This type of spiritual preparation for marriage will certainly close the doors to a lot of potential problems in the future. Conversely, when we place our faith and dependence in another person, we will always be disappointed. And this dependence on another person, rather than God, puts added strain on the marriage relationship and gives room for much frustration. God will never let you down. He gives good gifts to His children and He is really the only one able to fill every emotional need.
KINGDOM OF GOD
Little did I realize that the “not by chance” encounter I had at the motel in Columbus, Ohio, in October of 1994 with two ladies from Kansas would be a major turning point in my spiritual life. That meeting at a local convention center would bring me in touch with people that would be my mentors for the next five years and not only confirm to me the things God had been speaking to me in my spirit, but would give me the overview I so desperately needed to put all of these bits and pieces of information rolling around inside of me into some kind of proper perspective. Actually, it was not until a second Ohio meeting in August of 1999 that the icing was put on the cake and the “finishing school” of the spirit was complete for me… Not that you ever stop growing in the things of God, but you can and do arrive at a place where you know beyond any doubt just who you really are, whose you really are, why you were created, and where you fit into the greater plan of God. Only then can total peace and joy have their rightful place in your life.
We’re told we are “birthed in a furnace of affliction.” And we are also told that while tears are in the night, “joy comes in the morning.” I believe that both of these refer to the birthing of the Sons of God – coming through all of the tests and trials – and awaking to the joy that is ours in Christ Jesus when He is given full reign in our lives. It is then that we are truly overcomers – manifesting sonship.
The teaching that helped me most to grasp a natural understanding of what was happening to me in the spiritual realm was the revelation of the tabernacle of Moses and how it is a type and shadow of the progressive walk of a believer in Christ Jesus. I kept feeling a prompting to learn about the Jewish feasts and could not imagine why. I was given a booklet by George warnock “The Feast Of Tabernacles.” My friend assured me it would answer all of my current questions. I somehow knew she was correct, but I just never could really get into the book. God had another plan. Charles Weller from Hilliard, Ohio, had attended that 1994 meeting and there were a few booklets and tapes on his table and there were no prices posted anywhere on the table. I picked up 2-3 booklets. One was titled “The Rapture, Literal Or Spiritual” and another title that captured my attention was “The Feast Of Tabernacles.” I remember thinking “God must really want me to read about this.” Sure enough, I was able to read Charles Weller’s booklet and it started me down the path of understanding as I learned the correlation between the outer court and our own salvation or “quickened” experience. The outer court has as its light source the natural sun – representative of our own carnal mind still in operation. The brazen laver and the brazen altar are furniture found in the outer court – representing action that is taken at that stage of spiritual progress in our lives. The altar and how it relates to a believer today is symbolic of the death of all that represents self – our old, carnal nature. While the laver is representative of baptism – the power available through the blood of Jesus to completely cleanse – transform the life of a believer… a “changing your mind” to trust the power of Jesus’ sacrifice and a faith to apply that sacrifice to your own life.
Charles Weller’s teaching helped me see the significance of the Holy Place with its golden lampstand and the table of showbread. It is there that we experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit and have the Bible as our only light source. The lampstand has 66 parts – representing each book of the Bible.
It is not until we comprehend that the veil separating the Holy Place and the most Holy Place has been removed [it was torn when Jesus was crucified] that we can now come boldly into the presence of God and makes our petitions known and has face-to-face fellowship with him. There is no longer any need of a mediator. Jesus has torn down the separation and has made the way for total restoration of fellowship with the creator of the universe – our heavenly Father – our Creator – the one that loves us more than He loved the life of His own Son.
I was called to be a true “Son of God” and my life is not my own. I have been purchased and the price of my life was the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cross of Calvary. No longer can I live a self-directed existence. Now, I must give God control of every area of my life – every room of my house. I am the temple that He has chosen to dwell in. Yes, He has come again – within the walls of my temple. And He chooses to manifest His presence in me – to use my voice, my hands, my emotions, and my personality – to express His unconditional love to those around me. What a privilege to be available and to watch him at work among His people.
Allow the Lord to use the anointed writings on this TEXT CD to be an encouragement to you in your walk with him. A note to one of the authors could make the difference in their own day. Be sure and let them know how you heard about them.
Seek the Lord with your whole heart while He may be found and allow Him to have total control of your life, knowing He has the full plan and you only have small bits of information. He will lead you and guide you into the exact place He desires you serve and give you all you need to be a winner in Him.
He may even change your name, but just remember that He alone has the NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES – JESUS – the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Holy One – the perfect sacrifice – without spot or blemish – the Savior of the world, yet He desires to be your best friend and dwell within you and love the world through you!
When Father gave me the publishing date for this TEXT CD, he simply spoke 4-11-04. I went to the calendar and discovered, much to my delight, that it is the date of Easter this year of 2004 – the commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, the anointed one.
Recently Father spoke to me and said: “I desire you change your focus: stop focusing on the crucifixion and begin to focus totally on the resurrection.” JESUS WAS YOUR PATTERN, but CHRIST IS YOUR POWER. It is the resurrected Christ that imparts HIS POWER, thus enabling us to walk as Jesus did. Rejoice in this knowledge and allow Holy Spirit to place your feet on the path that was chosen for you from the foundation of the world.
©2003 by Sunny Orly Coffman. All rights reserved.
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this book so long as the content is not altered and it is not sold in any fashion, including “given in exchange for an ‘offering’.”
THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, Chapters 1-7 [Sunny Orly Coffman] ~ BOOK 1