One Life To Live, One Life To Give. Choosing Love
Back in early 2000s, I was working as a makeup artist at Neiman Marcus, located in Plano, TX. It was during my time there, that I met this beautiful young lady named Rachel. I remember her as a great saleswoman, very smart with a beautiful smile. However, I also remember her as a bit of a party animal, a beautiful face and smile with a terrible potty mouth, someone who was always -what I thought to be “hung over”.
We lost contact after I left Neiman’s and we reconnected a few years later. I could NOT believe the changes I saw in this woman’s life. I wanted to interview her and share her tremendous story with you..
Tell me a little bit about how you took back control over your life?
I like to describe Willie and I, when we got married as “triple class losers.” We met at the bar I was working at in Ft Worth. I was using drugs on a regular basis and party-ing every night. Willie and I got pregnant with our oldest son on our second date. 8 months later we were married. We had all the makings for a failed marriage. I’m sure from the outside we looked like just another bad statistic waiting to happen. But our lives are proof that Jesus lives and works miracles in anyone’s life, if they will just yield to Him.
My parents had been praying for us, as well as several other people from my church, who daily interceded for Willie and I. I know that God was working through their faithfulness to stand and pray for us. One day Willie listened to this teaching called the Believer’s Authority. My mom had been somewhat “nagging” him to listen to it on his long drive to work. It was really the “changing point” in our lives. That teaching spoke to Willie, and it prompted him to go get a Bible and find out for himself, if what this man was teaching was true…And it was! What Willie found in the Word that day, sparked something on the inside of him. From that day on, we were never the same. We committed our lives totally to Christ and began a life of fellowship and adventure with Jesus. We were all in, whatever the cost.
Why are you guys out in Africa?
The simple and easy answer to why are we in Africa, is that we are called here. We made a decision years ago to follow Jesus, no matter the cost. If it is God, we are in. The Lord begin to shape in us the call and desire for hurting, impoverished, and poor people groups of the world. It’s our passion, and joy, to get to minister to people that need Jesus, and have little opportunity for the life changing power of the good news of Christ. We get to pour into Pastor’s and their churches weekly. Loving on these people, and really building them up in the Lord. When we as believers, spend time fellow-shipping with our Father, He speaks to us about what He has created us for. That is the greatest feeling in the world. It’s where joy, peace, and excitement about life comes from. For us, our purpose in life- is to be missionaries in Africa. For others, it maybe to start a business, work at a certain job, be a stay at home mom, start a small group. If someone wants to do extraordinary things for Jesus it comes by making the simple decision… If it’s God, I’m in no matter the cost! You don’t have to move to Africa to change the world, just look at what’s right in front of you.
How does life in the America differ from life in Africa?
Life in Africa is drastically different than life in America, in almost every way possible. Truly there are benefits and blessings to living in the US, and there are benefits and blessings to living in Africa. We deal with so many things in Africa that most people would never have to, in America. Everything from frequent power outages, driving bad dirt roads, corruption on every level, culture challenges, and the fact that most people live in poverty- are all daily issues. There are so few luxuries here, compared to America. However, I love the simplicity and slow pace of life. Many Americans can be so caught up in their own lives, and as a result many are very self centered, for the most part. They’re all about their space and their “little world” and they don’t want to be disturbed. The majority of our culture in America has become like this. In Kenya, especially in the rural areas, people aren’t like that. They aren’t on their smartphones, busy with this, and that. They’re ready to shake your hand, and invite you home for a cup of tea to meet the whole family. I love Africa, and it’s become home for us. We have given ourselves to this place, and these people. We will stay for as long as the Lord says.
What does love mean to you?
Love to me has always been connected to giving. I don’t mean anything really to do with money or material things. I mean real love is wrapped up in selfless giving. “For God so loved the world that HE GAVE, Jesus.” Jesus was God in heaven, then God in the flesh. Yet He gave up everything in heaven to come down to earth, to be with us, in a messed up world. Then again, gave Himself, so selflessly and died on the cross to suffer, what no man could. Acts of real love always include giving. Giving forgiveness, mercy, acceptance, time, energy and yes money or material things; all these are love, and the fruits of love. Love to me is shown throughout the bible by the way that God continually gave to mankind. First, in the Garden of Eden, then to Abraham, and David, and so on. God gave Jesus, Jesus gave Himself, and then the gift of the Holy Spirit was given. In this same exact way we can live and love. The greatest way to love Jesus is to love Him by giving Him your life! You have one life to live, and one life to give. The greatest love selflessly gives. We give our lives as a response to the love Christ gives us. We can then continue to love in the same manner. When the Lord speaks to us to do something for someone, we are willing to give them whatever it is. Maybe it’s a coffee date, maybe it’s taking part of your day to pray for them, having them over for dinner, or maybe it’s something bigger, like buying them a car. Tell me about a difficult time you chose love?
You know honestly there’s more than just one major, difficult, time- where I had to choose love. I wake up, daily with the resolve and focus to choose love that day. Life is going to happen all around us all, and there will be plenty of opportunities to make strong decisions to love. If we are around people at any given time, there is going to be an opportunity to choose love. People are people, and they are imperfect, they are hurting, they are selfish, and if we don’t have a “determined purpose” to love the way Jesus loves, (selflessly and freely) we will end up offended and bitter. However the choice to love, will set us free in our own hearts, minds, and lives! This is the way that I desire to live, all the time. In my personal life I’ve had many difficult times I had to choose love, but when I fixed my heart on the Lord, those difficult times no longer seem so difficult. We can move through challenges where we need to choose to love with grace and actually gain strength and grow in mighty ways; if we allow Jesus to remain the focus of our hearts!
Thank you Rachel and Willie for choosing love and being a living testimony to all of us, through your life.