It’s kind of ridiculous I didn’t realize I was a ‘writer’ until authoring my first book, “Breaking Free from Demonic Forces”. Since I can remember, I’ve penned scripts and mini-books, gifting them to uninterested family, even slipping a tale to my seventh-grade crush. (Hey, don’t judge…the hero of that short story magically morphed into my first boyfriend!)
When I reached my teens, hazy fantasies of importance gained traction as life became peppered with pageant crowns, exotic trips and whispers of stardom spoken in salacious places. The spotlight of the stage dimmed any dream of becoming an author.
At the age of fifteen, after enduring jarring sexual abuse along with the psychological manipulation of an older man, I began to question my instincts: Who could be trusted? Why bother slaving at a keyboard when I could be untouchably worshiped on stage? Lip-glossed beauties with nothing to say (and nothing to stand for) had what I so desperately craved: adoration to feed a dying self-esteem...power to say no…influence to have choices…
Burying my intense feelings somewhere beneath layers of nail polish and Dolce and Gabbana perfume, I traded the dream of sharing my inner thoughts for a silly, gold-plated purpose.
As I ponder my unlikely path, I consider from whence I came…
I’ll never forget folding my four-year-old body into my Aunt Ibis’s arms while asking Jesus into my heart. With eyes still shut, I felt God’s loving presence flood me from the inside out; wrapped in the warmth of His total acceptance, I knew I was God’s Beloved. From that moment all I wanted was to share God’s love with every person I could.
Our life was centered around a strict Baptist community and it was only a matter of time before religion challenged my incredible brush with God. Eventually, I traded intimacy with Abba for a lie: God wasn’t interested in me as a person. He only wanted me to produce good works (kind of like a human factory of benevolent deeds).
As a Baptist, I was told sincere Christian girls had no business enjoying fashion, makeup or dreams edging outside realms of ministry. Quickly getting with the program, I understood I wasn’t ‘enough’. I enjoyed God’s presence but began to question myself: “Had I gotten Him all wrong? Were these ‘religious professionals’, right?”
I struggled with intense guilt for being drawn to things the church deemed unspiritual. Christians are soldiers of God, at war with the world’s ways. This implied Believers don’t dream. Or play. We work! We perform! We perform good works!
As a teen battling perfection within myself…the added pressure of serving a never-pleased-god was overwhelming. When I finally reached the age where I could decide to attend church or not, I left the house of God (and their taskmaster deity) to embark on my quest for freedom and every sense of its meaning. Unloading the mask of perfection, cumbersome deeds and mindless subordination, I discovered a huge relief disengaging from the Baptist community.
Instantly and overnight, an invisible crimson letter seemed to don itself on my chest while hushed gossip in the form of ‘prayer’ passed itself around my former congregation. Fearful of my rebellious influence, the church shunned me. Hurt by the betrayal of everyone I knew, I comforted myself, commemorating my new found liberty with a constant reminder of God’s love…a tiny heart tattoo…
From the age of nineteen, life began accelerating its southbound detour. It was exciting discovering the big, bad, scary world my mom and church sheltered me from. But, I began to notice my very essence being chipped away. I was turning callous, cold and independent (not the kind that was healthy or mature.) The heart no longer mattered. At least, not as much the size of my chest…or those growing digits in my bank account. By the age of thirty-three, I was feeling the brunt of a lifestyle devoid of God; mentally, physically and spiritually drained. More than a mess, I was a barely-hanging-on-disaster but losing my pride was exactly what I needed to cry out to God. And when I did, I was utterly shocked…He answered.
I learned God isn’t a hard taskmaster…it was religion marring His true identity as my loving Abba. The more I pressed into God, the sweeter He was and the more I felt I could trust my heart and life with Him. Things began to change. Sin and rebellion were no longer appealing because I was being wooed by the tender heart of my Savior. After all He’s done for me, how could I not honor Him? During our time together, God continually reveals my true giftings, which has led to the discovery of my true purpose.
Today, I start my day empowered--armed with a journal and an open heart, ready to receive my kind and generous Father’s pouring out.
Why I named this website Abba’s Heart…
In recent years many Christians find themselves freely using the title Abba as a way to express intimacy with our Heavenly Father. To them the meaning runs close to the English word, ‘daddy’. Some staunch theologians argue using Abba in such a way is an act of irreverence. The more research I did, the more I realized this sweet term is truly a touchy topic to rigid biblical scholars.
“We’re talking about The Great Almighty, for crying out loud!” Seemed to be their collective sentiment. According to those opposed to its casual usage, Abba’s true definition simply reflects the protective aspects of our Heavenly Father; its meaning does not imply endearing intimacy.
“Whelp.” I utter while clearing my throat and adjusting my imaginary tie…
I’m no biblical expert but I certainly adore using the tender, affectionate title of Abba. Although my God is The King of Kings and The Lord of Lords, He gently cradles my heart in the palm of His hand. So, to me, replacing Abba with a more formal title is akin to tossing on a wool sweater in mid-July; itchy, uncomfortable and…pretty inappropriate!
But…who the heck am I?
As a writer, I see myself as a word-smith. To me, terms of endearment have always been powerful emotional ties that drill far deeper than any definition of Webster’s. But, more than that, I’m a girl who simply adores Her Abba, one who refuses to recoil from anything drawing me closer to Him.
My thankful heart can’t help but utter the precious, meaningful title that expresses the kind of intimate devotion it feels. Anything less hampers the glory of a sinner totally redeemed and accepted into the family of God.
As an artist, and a respectful, loving daughter I take creative license to call my dear, amazing Abba anything He gives me peace about. And…trust me when I say this…I have more than peace; I have joy, intimacy and I know who’s I am…
For more about my testimony please check out my other website: ShalomBeWithYou.com
I also have some YouTube videos: