The way God spoke to me concerning what He was requiring of me was through different sermons in which the message was always, “Don’t ask God what is wrong with everyone else; ask Him what is wrong with you.” It seemed every time I turned around, I was hearing, “Ask God what is wrong with you.”
The Lord had to show me that men were “idols” in my life and that He had to become my “all in all,” and then the desires of my heart could be accomplished, as He was the One who gave me my desires to begin with. You see as long as you are trying to make someone your God, you will always be hurt, disappointed and disillusioned because your expectations can never be met. The reason we try so hard to find it in man is only for one reason—God put that innate desire within us so that we would be lovesick for Him because man can never satisfy the longing in our hearts.
The Lord had to show me that He was the only one who could bring fulfillment to my lonely and aching heart. He had to teach me about not controlling or manipulating people to get what I wanted but to “trust Him, trust Him—as many times as I would pick it up, put it back down at the Cross where He defeated Satan.” In 1981, the Lord gave me this word through a woman in the hospital who was sent to speak this word to me to help me understand that I was trying to control everything myself in my relationship with this man and in my life in general. The Lord had to teach me that He was in control of all, including my relationship. I was not to try to make things happen but to keep my eyes on Jesus, and He would bring to pass those things that He desired and that were best for me in His perfect timing. Anything I attempted was of the flesh and availed to nothing, so this was my first step in a faith walk I knew nothing of. I had to be trained that no matter how bad things looked and how bad they got, if God said something, it would surely come to pass as long as I kept my heart right.
The key to receiving all that God promises you is making sure your heart is right with Him. I made many mistakes during those twelve years in which I got into tremendous fear thinking I had surely botched things up now. There were times that I believed because of my own mistakes that it wasn’t God’s fault that I could no longer have His will, but it was all my fault, and I deserved whatever was happening. But our God is so wonderful; He doesn’t give up on you, and you can never botch things so badly that if you truly desire His perfect will for your life, you will not receive it. My testimony is proof of that.
The Lord taught me that as long as there was no rebellion in my heart—no matter how many mistakes I made along the way—His promises would surely come to pass. All we have to do is look in the Old Testament at all the patriarchs and the many mistakes they made, but did God’s promises come to pass for them? Yes! They came to pass for one reason and one reason alone—they loved their God and desired His will.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
Remember the word to Abraham about his descendants being as the dust of the earth
“so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.”
We see how Abraham made many mistakes in trying to fulfill this promise of God. He had relations with Sarah’s maidservant, and she bore Abraham a child. He believed this to be the way, as years had passed with no child by Sarah, and she was way beyond her childbearing years in the natural. Sarah even laughed when the Lord Himself told Abraham she would have this promised child. But Abraham’s heart remained faithful to the Lord, and God fulfilled His word to Abraham, and so today we see that Abraham’s descendants are indeed as the dust of the earth. Studying the Old Testament will build your faith and show you all that God says, He does. How invaluable all this training was for me during those hard twelve years.
The long years rolled along as I grew in my desire to please the Lord more than I desired anything or anyone. I often wondered how I would know that I was delivered of this sin problem of idol worship. Eight years later, He showed me in a dream that I was free and that He could begin to bring to pass all that He had purposed for my life. During those years, I received many prophetic words from various people, as God endeavored to encourage me and show me His plan for my life. I came to know that I had to have the “one” man that He had called to be my husband to bring to pass the ministry that He had purposed for me, and that was why none of the relationships were lasting that I had been involved with.
In 1992 at the age of 42 (twelve years from the time I had met the “Christian” man), I received another prophetic word that God was about to move concerning all that He had been revealing to me concerning my marriage and ministry. I was stunned and excited to see that now things were really lining up and could be about to happen—how my faith was soaring. This man, Alvis Arthur, whom I had loved for twelve years, was about to become my husband. How good my God was. But wait—bad news. I received a call one Saturday morning around 9 a.m. that Alvis had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital with tremendous pain in his abdomen. I was later to receive the worst news that could have ever been delivered.
He was rushed into surgery and later diagnosed with a rare cancer — high-grade, aggressive leiomyosarcoma of the lower bowel — less than a 1% chance of survival. I was devastated. How could this be with all that God had said? My mind was in a whirlwind. Surely God was not requiring this of me after standing for so many years. Could this be my answer to prayer as I sat one day praying, lifting my hands to the Lord—“Use me, Lord; give me greater faith to use my hands for healing; use me to deliver Your people, to set the captives free and to bind up the broken hearted”? Was this what He was doing? Were we going to see some incredible miracle of healing?
It was too much for my heart to bear. In so many words, I said, “Father, I can’t do this. You’re asking too much. I lost my grandmother, my mother and my father to cancer. I don’t have what it takes to endure this. Please, not this!” Later that evening, out of the clear blue, a friend called with God’s response. She had no way of knowing what I had said to God earlier that morning. She said, “If you were not ready for this walk of faith, God would not have allowed it.” I was strengthened because my Father had spoken.
Alvis’ first surgery was in September 1992, and we married in November 1992. The pain in my heart, during the wedding and afterwards, trying to be excited as a new bride, striving to attain the faith that I believed would be required to save his life, was unbearable—then began all the trips from Dallas to Houston to doctors, surgeons, cancer clinics, emergency rooms, even seeking medical help outside the country. The doctors called his disease a surgical disease, meaning the only hope was to remove tumors as they appeared. Chemotherapy had no known effect with this rare cancer, and they expected various tumors to appear within a year of the first surgery and sooner after that—possibly every three months.
Well they did appear exactly as was told us. He lived three and one-half years and had ten major surgeries in total. Only by the grace of God was I able to endure the pain. I learned something about what God meant when He told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I knew that God was carrying me. I was physically, mentally, emotionally spent, but I still knew God had a plan and I could not give up. “I must, I must enter in to that place of God’s call” was my heart’s cry.