Note: This is 3rd in a 3-part testimony
Around this time, I was being intensely pursued by a local television production company about going on television. Truth be told, I wasn’t interested in the least in going on television at that point in time. Television was expensive and I was going through a long phase of not being sure how I felt about television preachers, period (yes, I am fine with ministers being on television, I wish though that we could have some more moderate viewpoints rather than so many politics and so much extremism). The company, however, wouldn’t let up, and no matter how much I expressed that I wasn’t sure if I could afford it, they felt that I could sell the show based on how I carried myself alone. The contract wasn’t binding; I could leave at any time, so I decided to give television a shot. I thought it might be a sign for a new start, despite my own stubborn concerns about money (that I had whether I did television, or not). I was able to find a sponsor and I took that as a sign.
I hadn’t been able to intercept a copy of the program, nor watch it myself because the television station it aired on wasn’t played in Cary. Once I was able to see what they were doing, I wasn’t pleased with the quality of the program, and I had an assistant who guaranteed we could do the show ourselves and turn out a better product than they were doing. He literally wound up on my doorstep one day in March of 2014, with no place to go, and me being me, I couldn’t let him sleep on the sidewalk. He had been ordained by our ministry and was eager to be of service and to help, and believed one of the primary reasons he came was to help me launch Sanctuary. He acknowledged I needed help, and was ready, willing, and able to offer it. The truth was, I wasn’t crazy about him as a person, and I know that I wasn’t his favorite person in the world, either. To him, I was rigid and staunch, and to me, he was flighty and too lenient. Somewhere, in here, however, we seemed to put that aside and make a decent team.
We spent hours – and dollars – on the television ministry as well as hours spent hunting down a building. Even though I had to dismiss someone from the ministry, things seemed to be, for the first time in about a year, looking up. I had a better outlook and was excited about new writing. It appeared that the haunts of the past year, and the problems of before, were gone. I had some local help that, like or not, was willing to work, and I had other people, one woman in particular, pledging to move to North Carolina to also help, which I took as a particularly good sign. This was the same woman that I was having problems with the summer before and I took her pledge to move as a sign that things were going better between her and me. We had spoken on occasion since our conflict, but things seemed to be peaceable and she seemed to be more respectful toward me. She was getting quite cozy with a mutual acquaintance of ours, which raised my eyebrow, but I didn’t worry too much about. The acquaintance wasn’t well-liked by anyone we knew and I knew they had been friends prior to now and it hadn’t seemed to threaten her relationship with the ministry, so I just chalked their relationship up to a friendship. I was feeling better, I was doing better, and I was not going to let anyone – or anything – upset that.
One day in May of 2014, I was on a prayer line when I got word that the woman who things seemed to be fine with were not. She was running around, spreading vicious rumors that were not true, whose root was with the woman she was “friends” with. They were saying that “God” gave some sort of revelation and that I was a part of it, making plans to go forward with it, when I wasn’t. Let me say, outright, that if something of this magnitude was true, even sinful, I would admit had I been planning on it…but I wasn’t. In fact, it was so far from my mind, it wasn’t even funny. It was one of those things that never even was a thought, let alone a revelation. The two of them were off, concocting this mess, and spreading it. Both of them had papers pulled and I tried to pick up the pieces of the mess they created.
This was easier said than done. The woman who was spreading the rumor was the biggest financial backer of the ministry. Not having her money to rely on every month was going to be a challenge, especially given I didn’t know how I was going to replace it. I figured I still had the sponsor and my mom was always regular with her tithes, so we would make do until the finances could be replaced.
A week later, the sponsor I’d had for the television show didn’t send his monthly payment. He had been emphatic that God told him to provide sponsorship through September of 2014, and it was now only the end of May. I had to contact him repeatedly, only to get a very annoyed response back that he would put something in the account the following month, but he would no longer be keeping his commitment to the ministry because he was getting married. He never gave his final promised funds, and that was that. To make matters worse, a few days later, my mom also lost her job, and was no longer able to assist the ministry like she had before. I had no idea what was next, I had no idea where I was going, and the leader I now had at the time was of no assistance, whatsoever. His answer to all my problems was to get ordained as a bishop, which never happened because he was both unstable in ministry and personally flighty.
Things continued, although quite unsteadily. I was starting to wonder about my assistant. I had the sinking feeling that he was one way to my face, but another way when I wasn’t around. The people who were sort of a part of his vague and leading internet ministry had a tendency to be rather disrespectful toward me. He also seemed to be kicking up. At times prior, he was very respectful, almost to the point of being unbelievably submissive. When he started getting more rude and more vocal, I knew something was up. Unlike times prior, I started speaking up. I didn’t say anything directly about what I was sensing from him, but when it was obvious his people weren’t lining up properly, I would say something about it. He didn’t do anything about what I said, and on more than one occasion, we had an argument. Over all, I watched….and waited…because I knew something was coming.
Not much changed in the months that followed. We occasionally went to look at properties, but they never panned out. The finances were not steady, but thanks to several people moved by God, we made ends meet in ministry expenses. Over time, my assistant grew more and more distant and less interested in helping the ministry and keeping his commitments for the television ministry, that was quickly falling apart. My mom finally sold her house. I was feeling more like my leader’s covering than he my leader, and after a particularly negative incident where he tried to usurp my authority with my own people, I also left his ministry.
It was now January 2015, and I resolved the problems of the past years would not, if it killed me, follow me into 2015. Little did I know, they were not going to. God had a plan, and I had to trust it…but at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. I was starting to pick up on the fact, though, that an awful lot of people who were mighty close to me had been “pruned” for the past 2 years. Most of the people who got axed had been around me for some time, and were supposedly people who would go “all the way” with me and were supposed to be praying. As I went into 2015, I wondered if they were “preying” instead of “praying.” It always seemed like there was so much warfare surrounding the ministry and I had a lot of times when I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break. I wasn’t the type to automatically assume it was as a result of the people who were so close to me, but after the attacks I went through in 2014 and the people they came through, I wasn’t so sure. My assistant was still sort of around, although rather sketchy in his presence. It had become obvious that he wasn’t interested in “assisting” anymore and that he was trying to take authority over me, and, in many ways, subordinate me to himself. I knew this was as a result of the false words spoken in 2014, that even though they did not manifest and were not ever going to manifest as people suggested, they resulted in a spiritual battle for control and headship that was not going to be positively resolved. He had a way of doing what he wanted to do, whether or not I authorized it, and when I started cracking down, he started rebelling. In February 2015, I was invited to attend a church anniversary service held by some dear friends of mine in Burlington, NC. My assistant automatically indicated he wanted to come, of his own free will, recognizing it was a Sunday night and it may very well conflict with his own “online service” (one that was sketchy, at best). When the service and post-fellowship ran over, he became angry and sullen, and refused to speak the entire way back to Durham. He got out of the car, slammed the door, with a sarcastic “See Ya” and did not say another word to me, all week. When I commented on a picture of his, he attempted to start a fight, drag other people into it, and then blocked me when I wouldn’t play his nasty game. I revoked his papers for insubordination and never heard from him again.
And yet…I didn’t mind. He didn’t do as stellar of a job with the television ministry as he promised he could do, and he kept dropping the ball, time and time again, for months. He needed to go. God just knew that He could do it through his inflated, arrogant ego…because that would be the fastest way to get rid of him.
After he was gone from the ministry…things immediately changed, but it wasn’t for the bad. I didn’t care he was gone. He had been a headache and a problem for a long time, and I wasn’t sorry that he left. I also realized that I wasn’t sorry that anyone else was gone, either. It became a “good riddance” moment. For so long, I wasn’t pursuing the things I felt I should be doing, and that was in large part to the surroundings of the ministry. The people who wanted to “help” weren’t being as helpful as they indicated. All of them were gone: the woman in California, the woman in Arizona, the woman in New Jersey, my assistant, the minister who I had worked with here, the woman in Europe, and two former leaders…and as far as I was concerned, they could lead whoever else they wanted to hell…but it was not, any longer, going to be me.
I hadn’t spoken much of Sanctuary in almost a year. Save going to look at a few properties here and there, Sanctuary hadn’t been much on the table. The focus was always on something else: my assistant getting an apartment, internet services, prayer lines, finding finances, and the like. Between the warfare and the television ministry (which did not accomplish much), Sanctuary was clearly not a priority, at least not the one it should have been. When my former assistant left the ministry, I declared that I was not going to have another wasted year in this ministry, jumping from one thing to another, looking from one thing to another. It was not going to be another year of the “same.” Since I didn’t have a lot of help at the time, I didn’t know how I was going to make it work. I gave it to God and let it go at that.
New people came and connected, and some who had been around connected in a new way. The publishing company and sewing company both got revived, and I got word that God had another company in the works for me (I have since discovered what it was, but I’m not telling on that one just yet!). I started pruning complicated, expensive, and unfruitful projects attached to the ministry. It was different this time, something about the whole spirit of everything and everyone involved.
In the meantime, I received a word that it was time to take a project back off the shelf that I’d “shelved.” I knew, somewhere inside, that the word was about Sanctuary, but I wanted to make sure. I was planning on axing at least 1 of the 3 shelved projects, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the project I was looking to eliminate. It wasn’t, and the word was “take Sanctuary off the shelf.” Off the shelf it came, and with it came a flood of ideas and information on how to do the church so it would not become a burden on me and it would not take away from the apostleship. I started putting ideas together and waiting on things. It seemed like we had a possible pastor back in May, but that did not work out. Without getting into the ins and outs of it, he was connected to the former Bishop I tried to work with a few years earlier. In the process, I learned that minister went to jail, and is now still there, awaiting possible sentencing of up to 50 years. I was glad I learned my lesson with him when I did, and backed away before things got so bad. Not everyone I knew was as fortunate, but everyone who was innocent of that situation walked away free, with nothing more than a few fines to pay. (But that’s not my testimony to tell).
We looked for buildings, but didn’t find much. I knew that I knew that the people who were around me now knew Sanctuary had to be. I considered starting at the library, but Wake County only allows nonprofits 12 weeks per year in any public library in the county. That wasn’t going to work. We tried finding places where we could rent, but that didn’t work. There was even another opportunity to try and work with another minister, but that was shut down before it even started (and no, I wasn’t going to go there again). We trusted…and waited.
One day I get a text message about a building on Six Forks Road that’s vacant. We’d been through so many other buildings, I didn’t think much about it. Talking to the woman who was renting the property, however, was a refreshing change. So many of the people we’d dealt with were nasty and rude, and their buildings were overpriced. When I went to look at the building however, part of me knew this was it. The renters were pleasant and accommodating, and there was something about this building. It was as if it was an upper room experience.
I had no idea how we were going to get the money, upfront, for the rent and deposit. So I asked, and people answered. People from all over who believed in this work and trusted in what we were doing stepped up and offered whatever they could so we could move forward in this project. And…move forward we did. There was another building I wanted to look into, but could never find anything out about it. The day that I signed the lease papers, I went by and saw it was rented.
We had our building. God gave confirmation and assurance in more than one way, and I know He wanted me to know that I heard from Him, and He has been here, all along. The past few weeks, I know firsthand He showed me the desolation and wake of those who had come against me and this ministry, allowing me to see that they continued in their alliances unto their own destruction. Several are no longer in their ministry positions or have taken up projects that are causing their own downfall. One is exactly where she was back then, which proves she was never going anywhere, anyway! Life had a way of helping them to fall right into their own pit. I pray they see the connection between where they were and how they got where they are, but I also know that pride can be a terrible thing, and terribly blinding.
Which is why I write this blog, today. I haven’t always made right decisions when it comes to ministry. I have always done the best I could, with what I had, but they haven’t always been perfect. I have trusted in the wrong people, I gave my most important intercessory position to a person who should have never had it, and I pursued avenues that did nothing but teach me hard and long-earned lessons. Yet, at the end of it all, I can safely say: I am still prosperous. I am still victorious. I am wiser, I am stronger.
I am still here. That’s more than I can say for some of them.
And here, I shall stand.