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Kept In His Hands

I had been tossing and turning all night. I just knew any minute the phone was going to ring to tell me the dreaded news that my best friend was dead. Just hours before, I was sitting in the ICU waiting room wondering if this nightmare was ever going to end. She had gone in for a fairly routine surgery procedure but nothing was ever routine with Lynette. Something went terribly wrong and it went unnoticed until the day after surgery when she became unresponsive. She was immediately transferred to ICU in hopes of getting her stabilized enough to run the tests needed to find out exactly where the problem was. But by the worried and puzzled look on her doctor's face, I knew she might not make it that long. "Your daughter's a very sick girl", I heard the doctor say to her parents. Exhausted and distraught, I reluctantly agreed to go home for the night with the promise from her dad that he would call me if there was any news.

As I laid there in bed feeling frustrated and helpless, I remembered what a pastor friend had told me earlier that day. I needed to pray. "You need to talk to God about Lynette...and you need to listen, he said. I was new to this God thing and prayer seemed so mechanical, so forced, but desperate times call for desperate measures so I prayed because it was the one thing I could do. I didn't know what to say and it ended up being a pretty short prayer. I do remember praying that phone wouldn't ring though.

It was about 3:30 in the morning and I was still awake. I had been through some close calls with Lynette before but this was the closest one yet and I was terrified. I had never lost anyone so close to me before. My whole body was shaking. The day's events kept racing through my mind and the fear of that phone call kept building. I rolled over on my right side, squeezed my eyes shut real tight and waited for unconsciousness.

I saw something. It wasn't a dream because I know I was still awake, but I saw it crystal clear inside. It was like a movie playing in my head and I watched it all from a side view. I saw a cupped hand rise up and when it came into my eye view the hand opened up and I saw myself laying in the palm of it. I could feel the hand under me and it was the most awesome feeling. I don't know how long I laid there but soon I looked over and the other cupped hand rose up and into view and there in the middle of it was Lynette laying in a hospital bed. She wasn't in pain, she wasn't distressed, she was just laying there peacefully sleeping. It became clear to me what I was seeing...God was holding both of us. I was in His left hand and she was in His right. And then these words came into my head. I didn't hear them audibly but they were there..."It's under control" and "I wanted you". I didn't know what to think. It's under control. What did that mean? Was He telling me that she was going to pull through? Was she already dead and with Him in Heaven? Why hadn't anyone called me? I wanted you. What did He want me for? At some point after that I fell alseep. The phone never did ring.

Lynette made it through that night and after 94 days and two more surgeries, she was finally released from the hospital. It was touch and go for most of that time in the hospital and her parents and I faced each day not knowing what to expect. I tried to comfort them as best as I could. I didn't tell them or anyone else about the vision I had. I guess I was afraid of what they'd think of me if I did, but whenever some new medical problem with Lynette cropped up, I would tell them I didn't know what was going to happen but I knew it was under control. They agreed, and each time I said that it seemed to bring them peace.

Two years later, Lynette found herself back in ICU for yet another medical fiasco. It was a long drive home from the hospital on the last day I saw her alive. I was upset from watching her lay there in excrutiating pain and I was gripping and twisting my hands around the steering wheel when those familiar words came back to me. I began repeating over and over "she's in Your hands God, whatever happens, I know You're in control". I got a phone call late that night that she had died.

I don't know who you are or what situations you are facing, but I do believe God's holding you right now and He wants you to know you are kept in His hands and it's under control.

~Karen~


PAST

Here goes, looking back to my days of being a little girl growing up in small towns in the south. My dad was in the Air Force so I moved around a lot. Out of the four kids my mom had, you can say I was the black sheep of the family. At the time I thought I was the only one who knew me.

Being creative got me in too much trouble. When it came to clothes, I seemed to be wearing things I had put together in my own kind of way thinking I'd look normal, but ended up looking like a walking ad for a billboard of some sort. I cut my own shag in the early 70's with mom's big shears. And always being the new girl in school got me many stares and heckles. This, along with a dysfunctional family life, left me with no choice but to do things my way. In and out of trouble and making my own rules.

By the age of 14 I had been a pain in my mom's butt, so we constantly argued. Dad was too busy flying planes and all so he wasn't a part of my battle with mom. At 15 I got a much, much older boyfriend who introduced me to my new world full of color...drugs! Up till that point everything seemed to be in black and white for me. I had curiosity running through my veins and by the age of 16 heroin and liquid Demerol replaced that curiosity. I left home at 16 never to go back.

Being 16 and only 4'11" at 95 pounds got me a lot of big brothers and sisters in the drug scene and I became a mixed-up, drugged out little girl. I tried all the usual 70's drugs and filled my world with Jimi Hendrix and the famous purple haze drug. A part of me wanted so bad to go back home and be loved and protected, but I had gotten myself too far into the world of haze and darkness. The so called "hippie" scene in Atlanta, Georgia, became my new family. Until I got busted in Piedmont Park holding dope for my older boyfriend. The cops pulled me aside and told me they would let me go if I promised to get away from the whole scene. They, too, felt the urge to play big brother to me.

I tried with all my might to get it together so I ended up dumping my boyfriend. That left me without anyplace to go and no food or money or dope. So I did what I saw everyone else doing, I started dealing drugs. That ended me up even more broken. I fell apart and this time there was no big brother or sister to put me back together again. I decided to go see my granny in Bainbridge, Georgia. My hometown. The first morning I woke up at her house I realized I had no money and no way to get drugs. I took a walk down to a park by the Flint River. A place I played at as a little girl.

I found myself feeling so down and so broken. Who was gonna help me now? I kept crying. I found a paper bag on the ground and I wrote a letter to God on it, crying out for help. I crumbled it up thinking "What's the use"? I stuffed it into a hole on the side of a big old oak tree. I noticed a cool hippie van at the end of the park. I knocked on the side door hoping to cop a high. Inside were a small group of hippies. I climbed in and something seemed strange. No smell of pot, no needles, no Hendrix playing?? They were a bunch of Jesus freaks and had been praying for the Lord to touch a soul in the park. And there I was. By the time they got through witnessing to me I had asked Jesus into my heart and I felt like all those broken pieces had been put back together. On my walk back to granny's house the sky looked so big and so colorful. Even that old spanish moss that used to depress me looking like beautiful lace adorning those big old oak trees. My life was never the same. Christ filled that lonely, empty spot that no one or anything could ever fill.

My urge to get high was replaced with hunger for the love of Christ. I moved into a place in Tampa, Florida, called "the Hallelujah House". Street kids were taken in and fed a good meal, given a place to live and fed the Word of God. I grew in the Lord and was loving it. I left there by the time I was almost 18 thinking I could do this walk with Christ my way which got me back in trouble. I slowly stopped reading His Word. I replaced my brothers and sisters in Christ with people of the world. I ended up in Detroit, married to a musician in a rock band, the "Peter Frampton era".

By the time I was 20 I was very heavy in the Detroit punk rock scene in a punk girl band "the Roommates". Again broken into pieces I fell apart, back to black and white again. I got divorced and ended up all alone and mixed up. On my darkest day, at my lowest point, the Lord sent me a new friend. He shined the light of Christ and I could see the world in color through his eyes. I wanted to come back home to Christ. My heart had been broken. My mind was hazy and I was so tired and lonely.

I ended up rededicating my life to Christ and am now married to my friend, Peter. We have been married for 15 years and have a cool son, Roman. We worship as a family and it's the coolest!!! It was harder for me to give up my music than when I gave up the drugs. But the Lord led me to quit my band and put down my guitar to pick back up my Bible. Many years into my marriage the Lord gave me the nod of approval to pick up my guitar again, but this time to use it as a tool to write songs to lead the lost and broken ones to Christ. So Peter and I now are in the band and together are called "Bloodscrubbed" and we are saved!

I now have a blessed life and I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for giving me another chance. I could have ended up like some of my old friends: Johnny, Billy, Julie and a few others that died from suicide, murder, overdose, etc. But God had mercy on me. Even though I turned my back on Him, He gave me another chance. I sometimes wonder why my past was so messed up, I never wanna go back. After seeing the beast for what it is, there's no turning back. I like this new life. And now I can give hope to the lost and broken ones!

~Beaux~


The Witch:

My name is Kayla R. I'm 16 years old. I once lived in a hard hearted urban chaotic city called Atlanta. My whole life I have been surrounded by death, darkness, and sadly the occult. I never knew who God or Jesus was, I didn't care. I was raised in a Catholic household, but we NEVER went, unless someone died or on Easter. My mom had me at 44, and the only siblings I had were at least 25 years older than me. They were grown, married, and had children of their own. My entrance into the world was not really worth excitement. My parents were both heavy drinkers and smokers. I spent most of my Friday nights lingering under the bar listening to them say horrible ungodly things to each other. They hated each other, and never hesitated to let one another know it. But one thing they hated worse of all was me. They tried to get me to smoke and drink while they were drunk, then they would verbally abuse me. They shifted so much I didn't know whether I loved them or hated them. This abuse went back as far as I could remember. Imagine a small child, barely 7, listening to her parents tell her how they wanted to kill each other and get rid of her. As you can imagine, I didn't turn out all right. To make matters worse God blessed me with being highly overweight, oh yeah I was a classic case of "troubled youth". And now that I look back on my childhood I wonder, why didn't anyone try to help me, why didn't my other family members care? It's not like they didn't see it. But that was just how life in the city was. No one cared. Or so I thought.

It was my seventh grade year. I had my few friends I had known since grade school, but they were changing. Blossoming, beautifully. They were perfect, and more importantly they found something new and wonderful that I could never have. BOYS!!! Oh yes, little devils they were. But that's another testimony. They began to see that I wasn't exactly the friend they should be proud of. So they left me. They found new friends, and new obsessions. What happened to the slumber parties we had? What happened to the fights we had over if we should marry a Backstreet Boy or an NSYNC member? I didn't know. It just happened. So I wandered the halls alone. I found a new circle of friends, if you want to call them that. They dressed in black, and wore amulets of stars and moons, and weird creatures. It all seemed so different,yet so right. I began to love them, to want them, but more importantly they wanted me. So I changed. I wore black and cursed and drank and smoked pot. IN THE SEVENTH GRADE!!! By eight grade I was a stoner and a bi-sexual. I had a girlfriend and many friends. Soon everyone loved me. But it wasn't enough, I wanted more. Then I found it. My friend gave me a book on Wicca, and the religion of it. I instantly fell in love with it. The idea of power and romantic rituals! I became a witch, and practiced only the dark magic. I formed a coven and converted many girls to Wicca. I cast spells in class, and condemned all who harmed me. The whole block came to my house for spells, and advice. I became a religious icon, if you will. One day I remember being sent to the principal's office for casting spells. I'll never forget what happened that day. The principal was a stern woman, with a horrible reputation. She came at me with a Bible and said these words "You are going to Hell, if I was your mother I would never let you do this. As a mother I would like my perfect Christain children to hear this. You disgust me". For the most part I knew what she meant. But what was this Christian crap she talked about. I knew about God, but not about his believers or Hell. I went home for two days. When I came back I heard stories of how a group of Christians cornered my coven and forced my best friend to read a passage from the Bible, and how a teacher told the class he would shoot us with a cannon of Holy water. Right then and there I swore NEVER to be a Christian, for it meant nothing more than evilness to me!

The summer came, and my change began. My friend, one of the ones who deserted me, asked me to go to church with her one Sunday morning. Keep in mind, I didnt know that church meant Christians. So I went. I wore all black, black make-up, and a pentagram around my neck, I was ready for action let me tell you. I'll never forget what I saw that day. I saw a man, as tall as a tree, with brown long hair, and the most kind eyes you could have ever known. I loved this man, before I ever knew him. To my surprise he began to teach us. HIM! In this little hot room with just four chairs and a table. He began to speak of things I had never heard of, love of God, Christian Rock music, Salvation. I was curious but ready to leave. You see he looked at me the whole time, but not like in a judging way, in a Fatherly way, you know the real kind of Fathers, the ones that love you. He smiled at me and I felt connected to him, I never wanted to leave his side. So I didn't. I kept coming back, I began to interact with the youth. They liked me! They thought I was interesting! Me, lonely me! It didn't take a moron to know I was a witch, but none the less they loved me and cared for me. I felt welcome. I became part of the youth group, but never got saved or committed until months later.

Our group went to a Youth Convention. It was the first real trip I went on with them, I was excited. The preacher that was there talked of many things, and then he talked of a place called Hell. Oh no! I knew that place! I became stiff. He spoke of Hell's fire and a great worm. He spoke and spoke and spoke, so I listened. His description of Hell and what will get you there brought me to tears. I hadn't cried for years until that day. I ran to the altar and cried out to God! I wanted to be spared from Hell, and I wanted a Father who would love me. So I prayed and worshipped. I felt hands all over me as I did. And then when I turned around I saw him. The kind eyed Father, my reason for staying with the youth group, my reason for coming. He smiled that famous smile, and hugged me. And I wept. Later I got saved, by him of course, and I began my life as a Christain. Vowing never to be like those Christians I had met before. I destroyed all my occult things, at the kind eyed man's request. Out of his own pocket, along with my now youth pastor Steven, he replaced all my cds, clothes, books of my old life, with new things. I changed and was happy.

The real test came the next year. I broke up with my girl friend, telling her that I was Christian and couldn't be homosexual. I left my old friends reminding them that I loved them and hoped one day they would listen to me. Sadly they didn't. They all fell victim to suicide, pregnancey or prison. I faced my life in a deadly city with nothing but my love for Christ and my hope that one day I would make it out of there. That day came the following year.

My tenth grade year I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Fairdealing, Missouri! Hello culture shock! But now as I sit here telling you my testimony I have realized that God called me here. I lived a good 2 years as a Christian in Georgia, ministering, and praising God as often as I could. Now here I am in a Church youth band, called Wisdom's Call, I'm a youth leader and I'm preaching as often as I can to other youth groups. I plan to go to college and become a Youth Pastor. My life has totally changed, and I am so grateful for that love and grace that my kind eyed hero, Barnzee, introduced me to. God has changed my life and now I plan to help change other lives. I won't boast on what God, through me has accomplished in the people I have met, but I will say that as a 16 year old, God has done wonders through me. And I hope he continues to use me.

If ever you think you are too far for God to reach you, just look beside you, because there He is waiting on you to say "Yes, I accept you". I ask for those who read this to please pray for my Barnzee, that he will continue to shine for Chirst, and to pray for my lost old companions. I pray to all those who read this, that God let's my story be a beacon of hope in the midst of despair.

~Kayla~