The Truth About the Crusades

The Truth About The Crusades
At the same time that our mission station was being bombed by the National Islamic Front government in Sudan, fellow missionaries were organising ‘Reconciliation Walks’ to the Middle East to apologise for ‘The Crusades’.
As our church services and schools were under aerial and artillery bombardment by Jihadists, this seemed rather bizarre. Some claim that the Crusaders were “The starting point of hostility bet-ween Islam and the West” disrupting “five centuries of peaceful coexistence”.
However the Crusades only started after five centuries of Islamic Jihad had conquered and annihilated, or forcibly converted, over two thirds of what had formerly been the Christian world. Shortly after the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem in 638, Christian pilgrims were harassed, massacred and crucified. Muslim governors extorted ransom money from Pilgrims and ransacked churches.
In the 8th Century Muslim rulers banned all displays of the Cross in Jerusalem. They also increased the penalty tax (Jizya) on Christians and forbade Christians to engage in any religious instruction, even of their own children! In 772, the Calipha al Mansur ordered the hands of all Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be branded. In 923, a new wave of destruction of churches was launched by the Muslim rulers.
In 937, Muslims went on a rampage in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday plundering the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection. In 1004 the Calipha Al-Hakim unleashed a violent wave of church burning and destruction, confiscation of Christian property, and ferocious slaughter of Christians and Jews. Over the next ten years, 30 000 churches were destroyed and vast numbers of believers were forcibly converted or killed.
In 1009, Al-Hakim ordered that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem be destroyed. When the Seljuk Turks swept into Jerusalem in 1077 they murdered over three thousand people, including many Christians. It was at this point that the Christian Emperor of Byzantium, Alexius I, appealed for help to the Western churches.
Pope Urban II challenged the knights of Europe at the Council of Clermont in 1095: “The Turks and Arabs have attacked our brethren in the East. They have killed and captured many and have destroyed the churches. On this account I…persuade all people of whatever rank, foot soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians…”
Nowhere in the call for the launch of the Crusades was there talk about either conquest or conversion. They were merely to remove the Islamic invaders from the lands that had previously been Christian, to restore religious freedom to the Holy Lands.
The myth that the Crusades were unprovoked, imperialist actions against the peaceful, indigenous Muslim population is simply not accurate. Similarly, the characterisation of the Crusaders as greedy for loot, only out for personal gain, is simply out of touch with reality. Those who participated in the Crusades saw it as an act of sacrifice rather than of profit. The Crusades were in fact prohibitively expensive.
Many Crusaders had to sell their property to raise money for the long journey to the Holy Land and knew that their chances of returning alive were slight. Most who did manage to survive and return came back with nothing material to show for their efforts.
Similarly the modern myth that the Crusaders attempted to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity is a politically motivated fantasy. Search as one might through the writings and records of the Crusaders, one will not find any mention of Crusaders seeking to convert the Saracens or the Turks. The Crusaders saw themselves as Pilgrims seeking to recapture and liberate Christian lands from vicious invaders.
MYTHs of history
The depiction of Saladin as merciful and magnanimous is a myth. When Saladin captured the Crusaders at Hattim on 4 July 1187, he ordered the mass execution of all the Christians: “They should be beheaded in accordance with Quran 47:4 ‘When you meet the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike their necks’.”
Saladin’s secretary Imad reported, “With him were a whole band of scholars and Sufis and a certain number of devout men and aesthetics; each begged to be allowed to kill one of them and drew their swords and rolled back their sleeves. Saladin, his face joyful, was sitting on his dais; the unbelievers showed black despair.”
In 1148, the Muslim Commander Nur ed–Din ordered the slaughter of every Christian in Aleppo. In 1268, when Mamluk Sultan Baybars seized Antioch, he ensured that all the men were slaughtered, the women sold into slavery, the crosses in every church smashed, the Bibles torn and burned, the graves of Christians desecrated. Every monk, priest and deacon was dragged to the altar and had their throats slit. The Church of Saint Paul and the Cathedral of Saint Peter were destroyed.
On 29 May 1453, the greatest city in the world of that time, Constantinople, was conquered by the Jihadists. The Muslims “slew everyone they met in the streets, men, women and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the golden horn”. The Muslim soldiers even entered the Hagia Sophia, and slaughtered thousands of Christians worshipping in what was then the largest church in the world at that time.
clear DANGER
From the first century of Islam, Muslim armies were invading Europe. Spain suffered under Islamic occupation for 8 centuries. In the 14th Century, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Croatia fell to Muslim invasions.
In 1426 the Egyptian Mukluks conquered Cyprus. In 1395 the Muslims conquered Nicopolis on the Danube River. In 1444 the Muslim armies seized Varna in Hungary. In 1456 the Turks besieged Belgrade, and even tried to conquer Rome, but were thrown back. The Muslims first attempted to seize Vienna in 1529. As late as 11 September 1683 Muslim armies besieged Vienna, but were routed by
30 000 Polish cavalrymen led by Poland’s King Jan Sobieski III.
The constant depiction of the Crusades as a failure is not justified by the historical record. The Crusades bought Europe time. The Crusades succeeded in seizing the initiative, throwing the Muslim invaders onto the defensive, for the first time after five centuries of attack. The Crusaders bought Europe time – centuries in fact.
At a critical time, the Crusades united a divided Europe, and threw the Muslim invaders back; bringing a peace and security to Europe that had not been known for centuries. As a result of the tremendous sacrifices of the Crusaders, Christian Europe experienced Spiritual Revival and Biblical Reformation which inspired a great resurgence of learning, scientific experimentation, technological advancement, and movements that led to greater prosperity and freedoms than had ever been known in all of history.
For a picture of what Europe might be like today had Islam succeeded in conquering it, one can look at the previously Christian civilisations of Egypt and what is today called Turkey. The Copts in Egypt now make up just 10% of the total Egyptian population and are severely oppressed. What is today called Turkey was once the vibrant Christian Byzantine Empire, the economic and military superpower of its day. Today the Christian civilisation which had flourished there for a thousand years has all but been extinguished. The population of the last Christian city in Asia, Smyrna, was massacred by the Turkish Army in 1922.
The Crusaders were reacting to five centuries of relentless Islamic Jihad. The Middle East was the birthplace of the Christian Church. It was the Christians who had been conquered and oppressed by the Seljuk Turks. Many of the towns in the Middle East welcomed the Crusaders as liberators. Far from the Crusaders being the aggressors, it was the Muslim armies which had spread Islam from Saudi Arabia across the whole of Christian North Africa into Spain and even France.
Muslim armies sacked and slaughtered their way across some of the greatest Christian cities in the world, including Alexandria, Carthage, Antioch and Constantinople. These Muslim invaders destroyed over 3200 Christian churches just in the first 100 years of Islam.
defending the faith AGAINST ALL ODDS
When we think about the Middle Ages, we inevitably view Europe in the light of what it became rather than what it was. The fact is that the superpower of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades were a battle against all odds with impossibly long lines of supply and cripplingly inadequate logistics. It was a David against Goliath enterprise from the beginning. The chances of success for the first Crusade were highly improbable. They had no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines and no detailed strategy. The first Crusade consisted simply of thousands of dedicated warriors marching deep into enemy territory, thousands of kilometres from home. Many of them died of starvation, disease and wounds. It was a rough campaign that always was on the brink of disaster. Yet by 1098, the Crusaders had liberated Nicea and Antioch, and in July 1099 they re-conquered Jerusalem.
Professor Madden, the author of ‘A Concise History of the Crusades’, has observed: “From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the names of political ideologies. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. “
“The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam’s rivals, into extinction.” But for the Crusades Europe would have probably fallen to Islam and the USA and South Africa would never have come into existence.
the Crusades was not a looting frenzy
As the Christian History Institute has pointed out, the characterising of Crusaders as only in it for the plunder and the loot betrays an ignorance of both geography and history. The vast majority of the Crusaders were impoverished and financially ruined by the Crusades. Crusaders, through great sacrifice and personal expense, left their homes and families to travel 3000km across treacherous and inhospitable terrain – and the shortest crusade lasted 4 years. Considering that only 10% of the Crusaders had horses, and 90% were foot soldiers, the sheer fact of logistics is that the Crusaders could not possibly have carried back enough loot to have made up for the loss of earnings and high expenses involved with these long Crusades. Many Crusaders lost their homes and farms to finance their involvement in the Crusades.
upholding the honour of the lord
Perhaps self-seeking materialistic agnostics in the 21st Century cannot understand that some people could be motivated by something other than personal financial enrichment, but the fact is that many people make sacrifices for their religious convictions, and in order to help others.
In the case of the Crusaders, the historical record makes clear that amongst the motivations that led tens of thousands of volunteers to reclaim the Holy Land was a sense of Christian duty to help their fellow Christians in the East whose lands had been invaded and churches desecrated by Muslim armies, and a desire to secure access to the Holy Lands for pilgrims.
There was also a desire to fight for the honour of their Lord Jesus Christ, Whose churches had been destroyed and Whose Deity had been denied by the Mohammadan aggressors. In other words, to the Crusaders this was a defensive war to reclaim Christian lands from Muslim invaders. We may not share their convictions, or agree with their methods, but we ought to evaluate them in the light of the realities of the 11th and 12th centuries, and not anachronistically project our standards and politics back upon them.
The word ‘crusade’ does not appear in the Bible, nor is it commanded in Christianity. However, Jihad is the sixth pillar of Islam and the second greatest command of Muhammad. It is not only commended, but commanded in the Quran.
The Crusades ended many centuries ago, however Islamic Jihad is carried out to this day. Millions of Christians have been slaughtered throughout the centuries by Islamic militants – such as the 1.5 million Armenians murdered in Turkey in 1915. Christians have continued to be slaughtered by Islamic militants in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sudan and Nigeria to the present day.
Therefore, before Christians fall over themselves to apologise for the Crusades, which ended over 700 years ago, it would be wise to first learn from reliable sources what the Crusades were all about, and study the Islamic teachings and track record of Jihad over the last 14 centuries. Those who do not know their past have no future.
By Peter Hammond

Can Christians be Demon Possessed?

Can Christians be Demon Possessed?
The spiritual world exists and is more powerful than what we may think. That’s why when God touches our lives, we can be transformed in an instant. In the same manner, there are people whose lives are influenced by demons and evil spirits. In the Gospels, Jesus Himself cast demons out of people and set them free. Demon-possession is real and cannot be denied. However in Matthew 12, where Jesus speaks about deliverance, he was speaking before the Cross and was referring to a wicked generation, not to the Church. So, my point is this: do born-again Christians, who have repented of past sins, and truly surrendered their lives to Jesus, still need deliverance from demons?
I cannot find a single case of born-again believers being set free from demons in the early Church of the Bible. Either you are born-again, or you aren’t; there is nothing in between! Before we came to know Jesus, we were under Satan’s control. We didn’t know God; and we were all in fact, under the influence of evil spirits, or possessed by them (Ephesians 2:1-5). When an unbeliever truly repents of his sins, and believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God Almighty Himself comes to live in his heart. Colossians 1:13 explains it thus: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the nature of sin that controlled us previously has been replaced by the nature of God. Often, it isn’t even necessary to pray for deliverance. The unbeliever is already under so much conviction and so willing to surrender his life to Christ, that he is set free by the power of the Holy Spirit in a split second. In other cases, prayer for his deliverance is necessary. You may rightly ask, therefore, what all these demonic manifestations in churches today are about? The answer is that many people only come for healing and deliverance, to be blessed, and not to seek God first and foremost. And, not being born again,
demonic influences continue to rule their lives. However it’s impossible for truly born-again Christians still to be under the power of demons, unless they backslide to the point that they have completely broken fellowship with Christ, have denied the Lord and opened their hearts and lives to demonic activity. For, how can the Holy Spirit possibly dwell in the same body as a demon? Many of the problems and issues attributed to demons have their roots elsewhere. If we are not on the foundation of the Cross, we quickly find ourselves swallowing all sorts of false teachings and strange doctrines. We blame demons for anything and everything that goes wrong…
It must be clear that, as a Christian, just because I find myself in trouble with the _ esh, does not mean that I have an evil spirit in me…but rather that I have simply yielded to the passions of my flesh. Of course we can be tempted, but we must differentiate between being tempted and being possessed by an evil spirit. It is only when I deny myself, am prepared to give up my rights, and lose my life by taking up my Cross, that I can have the victory in that speci_ c circumstance. I have no need, whatsoever, for any demon to be cast out; I am already demon-free!
God has opened a way for us not to bow to our flesh, or to surrender to its desires. It is the Cross. That’s why our lives have no connection with demons. The Spirit of the Lord lives in us. He intercedes for us and helps us, by God’s Grace, to crucify that _ esh. What God wants to do in your life through the walk of sanctification cannot be substituted with a prayer of deliverance. Don’t let anyone try to cast out of you the demons of anger, laziness, jealousy, etc. Likewise, you cannot solve the problems you have with your spouse, your children, or another Christian by trying to cast out a demon… These are manifestations of your flesh; the fruit of a life not surrendered to the Lord. Many believers today are discouraged because they know what they should be; but, faced with the reality of what they are, feel only failure and defeat. So they resort to deliverance. Victory is in the Cross. Be ready to lose your life and you will see the results… We can be weak in many areas, but still manifest the life of Christ. We are demon-free, and walking on that road to perfection; Glory to God! For a description of the works of the flesh, just look at the list in Galatians 5:19-21. And, let me tell you, you don’t need to be delivered from demons to give you victory over any of these things. Simply take up your Cross!
It’s important for us to understand the purpose of the message of the cross for our lives. We must be willing to be identified with the death of Christ in order to carry His life and be free. As soon as the Cross is set aside, we look for a short cut, or a substitute like deliverance, a kind of press-a-button Christianity. Yet in Galatians 2:20, Paul’s statement, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” is such a wonderful declaration of his way of life. Through the revelation he received, Paul learnt that he needed to identify his life with Christ’s, to deny himself, to crucify his flesh. He lived that revelation and was able to preach it; his life was a testimony of the transformation the Cross brings. The message of the Cross is a constant warning and a reminder that exposes the weakness of our flesh, and allows us to see our real state. It brings us to repentance, to deny ourselves, to return to the Cross once again.
So, dear brother or sister, if you are sure that deep down in your heart, your life is surrendered to Christ, then do not confuse the weaknesses of your flesh with being demon-possessed. You may be a weak Christian but you are nonetheless demon free. Hallelujah! That is why Apostle Paul spoke so much about the dangers of the flesh. He was fully aware of its weakness. Remember: “If the Son of man has set you free, you are free indeed!”


Retrenched! What Now?
What do you do when one day, you get to work and there is an email  waiting for you that says “I’m sorry Steve, but we have to let you go.”
Instantly your heart starts to pound, your mouth goes dry, your throat closes up and the room starts spinning. Thoughts of betrayal, shock and disbelief fill your mind.
“How can this happen to me?”, “I thought my job was safe…”, “What about the bond and school fees?” “Where is God in my life!”  You sit back in your chair speechless, when suddenly your phone rings – it’s your boss and he wants to speak with you.
the times we live in
When things go wrong in our lives, the first thing we tend to do is to blame God and to doubt our faith. It’s almost as if, all our years of serving God and experiencing His blessings are tossed out the window when the carpet is ‘pulled out’ from under us.
Statistics SA shows that in the first quarter of 2009, companies retrenched 25% of their staff. These figures are huge, considering that supposedly 1 in every 4 people you know will be ‘let go’.
So the question is how do we as anointed, blessed, protected, saved, set-free children of God cope with what is seemingly out of our control? How do we reconcile our faith with our circumstances? I think we need to tackle retrenchment (or any negative situation for that matter) on three levels –  spiritual, soulical and physical.
spiritual reasons
We live in a fallen world, and as believers and members of Christ’s Kingdom, we are enemies of the devil and his evil kingdom. Therefore we must understand that he will try to derail God’s plans for our lives and discourage us in our walk. However, we need not be ignorant or prey to his devices as we have the Spirit of God in us, who through Christ has made us more than conquerors! (Read Rom 8:30-39)
Too many Christians walk around with a defeatist attitude as they don’t realise that Christ has overcome the world and that He lives in us!
However, I must also say that God is Sovereign and that if we belong to Him, we know that the footsteps of the righteous are ordered by God (Psalm 37:23). That means nothing takes God by surprise. He knows the plans that He has for us (Jer 29:11) and He will bring good out of every situation (Rom 8:28).
So in order for us to get through the difficulties of life and particularly retrenchment, we must go back to the Word, hear what God is saying to us in this situation and seek His Will for our next step. Perhaps this is a test of our faith and we need to work through a few things? As long as we open our hearts to God and close our hearts to bitterness, we will get through the test.
soulical reasons
For the sake of this discussion, I am going to take the word soulical slightly out of context (bearing in mind that the soul refers to your mind, will and emotions) and use it to illustrate the importance of our mental attitudes. It is a widely accepted concept that ones soul is the unregenerated part of your makeup as a human being – hence why Paul instructs us to renew our minds (Rom 12:1-3) and to take every thought captive under the submission of Christ. (2 Corinth 10:5).
Sometimes when we are faced with an unexpected situation like retrenchment, we may think that it ‘came out of nowhere’. In some instances, this may be so, however we must remember the principle that Galations 6:7-9 teaches: “…A man reaps what he sows…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
your actions
If we are sowing sloppy work, bad attitudes, a misuse of company resources (such as the phone, internet and stationery), then we cannot be surprised when our bosses dismiss our performance. If we are not working as if unto the Lord , we musn’t be surprised. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favouritism.” (Col 3:23-25)
If we are not actively attempting to grow our skills base and our contribution to the company, then we cannot be upset when the pink slip lands on our desk.
physical reasons
Much of what has been discussed under the soulical level, applies to the physical. In other words, there are real (non-spiritual) reasons that may have led to your retrenchment. Some of these are out of your control (eg: the recession, a company liquidating, a slow-down in demand for your product or service or just simply, bad business practice by company management).
There is nothing that you can do about these external factors. Bemoaning the economy or your previous employers will get you nowhere. What you can do though, is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Prov 3:5-6
Some of the reasons you have been retrenched may be within your control (ie: your performance, attitude or personal decisions). If that is the case, you need to evaluate what you have done wrong, and determine not to fall into the same habits again. Christ has given us every skill, every talent and every opportunity that we will ever need to fulfil our God-given potential and destiny. We need to step up to the plate though and work our talents, improve our skills and seek out opportunities.
A brilliant quote reads: “Most people miss out on opportunity because it shows up at their door in overalls dressed like work.”
practical solutions
If you have been retrenched there are a few practical solutions that you can employ (pardon the pun!) to find new work.
• Don’t be afraid to humble yourself and offer to work for free (for a short period of time) for a company in the same Industry, to prove yourself and hence secure a new job or at least, temporary work.
•              Re-evaluate your CV, make sure that it’s up-to-date, impressive and original. Personally deliver it to companies you would like to work at, and follow up consistently!
•              Think out the box – try working in another industry (even if it is in a junior position) and gain new skills. Maintaining your pride is not worth being unemployed.
•              Speak to friends and family. Use the social networks you have built up over the years to scout around for new opportunities.
• If it is allowed, approach your previous clients/suppliers and see if they have any work for you. They already know you and may be willing to take you on a consultancy basis.
•              Place notices up either at your church or your local grocery store. Search websites on the net (like career junction or biz community) that will allow you a free listing and provide a catalogue of jobs. Also check your local newspaper. If you are looking for work, you will find it! Just be creative.
• Chat to your minister or pastors. Ask them to pray with you. They may also allow you to use the church database to advertise your skills – you never know. Just ask!
• Approach people in your church for vacancies. The Body of Christ should be our family, so we should not feel        
    embarrassed to call on them for help.

Angela Thomas: A Woman of Beauty and Grace

Angela Thomas: A Woman of Beauty and Grace
August marks the celebration of women in South Africa, and we thought it fitting to feature the remarkable Angela Thomas, a lady of strength, humility and incredible faith. Avid readers will be familiar with Angela, an acclaimed author and anointed women’s speaker. Angela has visited South Africa several times with ‘Beauty for Ashes’ (an annual ladies conference that takes place countrywide) and is due to grace our shores again in September.
I spoke to Angela recently (who had just got home after fetching kids from school) and asked her a few questions about her journey as a media mogul and single mom of four kids.
What struck me most about the Southern belle during our conversation, was her gentle spirit and her incredible honesty. It is no wonder that God has blessed her ministry and raised Angela up as one of the most respected and impactful women speakers in America and the world.
• She’s 46 years old with 4 kids:
    Taylor (19), Grayson (15), 
    William (13) & Anna-Grace (11)
• She came to Christ in college
• She graduated from Dallas
    Theological Seminary in 1986
• She has authored 12 books,
    most notably the best-selling title:
    ‘Do You Think I’m Beautiful?’
• She recently celebrated her
    One year anniversary with husband
    Scott Pharr.
as a single mom for several years, how have you managed to ‘keep everything together’?
These last seven years, wrapped in a whirlwind of emotion and activity, have been the most difficult yet the most rewarding I have ever known. Loving four children through their crazy lives, providing for us all, managing a home, and thinking about caring for myself felt a little like running the whole, wide world.
Many of the single moms out there know that. But in these years, God has given me a passionate pursuit.
I want to live an amazing life. I don’t want to wait until my kids are grown up to become the best version of me. I want them to have that kind of mom now. They deserve the very best version of family that I can wrap a house around. God has been faithful throughout the tough times, and the fact that I am now married to my sweetheart, is testimony to God’s goodness.
you have been married for a year now to your college beau. having been through a tough divorce, was remarriage ever part of your plan?
Actually no, not really. The day my marriage was finally all over, I walked from room to room, nauseated, physically shaking, wiping tears, and packing three laundry baskets with whatever children’s clothes I could find.
I strapped two kids into their car seats, picked up the other two at school, and drove an hour to my parents’ house. Mama made dinner, and my kids thought it was just a fun sleep over – except we slept over for three months!
Honestly, I’m not really sure how I made it through my first year of being a single mom. I look back now and know that a survival instinct kicked in eventually. Unfortunately, the will to keep going took a while to materialise. For the first few months, there were no living instincts inside of me at all. Just a desire to evaporate.
In the time we lived with my parents, I was a mess. I would get up in the mornings, drive the children fifty minutes to school, drive back to my parents’ house, go downstairs to my bedroom, and lie on the bed until it was time to pick them up again. God bless my mom and dad.
They truly carried me through every single day. Mama cooked dinner and helped keep the clothes clean. They both listened to me talk about the same things night after night and left me alone when I couldn’t say any more.
your family’s support was invaluable. How was your relationship with god affected?
I think my divorce is one of the most tragic things our family has ever been through, and I hated doing that to them. I still hate the tidal waves of pain it has caused so many people in my life.
Talk about walking by faith. I was physically healthy, and I promised God that I would do anything I had to do to provide for us. But when we moved into that house, I was completely in the dark about what that would be. The only plan I had was to work hard and live with integrity. There seemed to be only enough light for that one decision. From there the way wasn’t clear. It was one baby step at a time.
you penned ‘my single mom life’, a book of stories and practical lessons gleaned from your journey. what is your advice to others in a similar situation?
I realise that many women are single moms for entirely different reasons. Two of my friends recently lost their husbands to tragic deaths. In an instant these women became the only remaining parent in each of their homes. Another friend’s husband just succumbed to illness.
My heart grieves with you if you have suddenly found yourself widowed. I won’t even pretend to know how you feel or to understand the emotions you face.
When I used to tell people that I was a single mom, he or she would look at me like I was crippled. One Christmas Eve the kids were supposed to be with their dad, but it turned out that they were able to spend a few hours with me.
We all went to the Christmas Eve service and I was so grateful to not have to go by myself! The church was packed as the five of us filed into a row. And though I was happy and counting my blessings, I made the mistake of looking around and seeing all the other families flanked with a mom and dad. I know there are other single moms at my church, but at that service I couldn’t spot anyone who looked like us. And my heart ached.                                                              
how has life changed since you remarried?
I had thought that I would remain single indefinitely, or at least until all my kids were out the house. So to be married now to Scott is a wonderful surprise! I have known him since I was sixteen and we even dated a bit in college.
When we met up, I had a lot of trust issues to work through (with regards to marriage) and I didn’t want to embark on anything that would harm my children.  But, God brought the most beautiful man I had ever known into my life and today at 46, I am a happy newlywed! Scott has always wanted a family and he had no kids of his own. He is incredibly supportive of my ministry and gives me the freedom to travel around the globe. I am hoping that Scott and the kids will join me at the conference in SA this September.
how do you balance work and family?
I have a passion for women and as I study the character of God, I see His response to His daughters and the enduring love that the Father has for us. My desire is to see women set free to love and be loved by our precious Heavenly Father.
It is never a burden for me to work for the Lord, but sometimes when I’ve had book deadlines or have been travelling constantly over weekends, I take time out to treasure my family and focus solely on them.
as a high profile christian woman, what role does your church play in covering you and the ministry?
My pastor and the elders at my home church have completely blessed my ministry. I attended that church in Tennessee for over 10 years (I now live in North Carolina with Scott and the kids) and the elders would come and pray with me regularly. God used my church in such a powerful way to be my safe place and my home during the tough years, and to protect me from any harm the devil tried to throw my way.  I am still in regular contact with them and regard my pastors as true shepherds.
any words of wisdom for lonely ladies?
Being lonely can’t kill you, even though it feels like you will surely die. You will wake up tomorrow and God will give you fresh mercy. Whether it’s a lonely year or the odd lonely day here and there, as women of God, we must face loneliness with integrity.  People make the dumbest choices when they are lonely (like entering into dangerous internet relations or calling ‘that’ guy from your past) and we have to be on guard. Even though you face this sad place, you can bring Glory to God!.