Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Once again the Holy Ghost, our comforter, has unctioned me to write unto you and share with you the faithfulness and graciousness of God our Father! The One who’s Mercy endures forever!
I recently wrote and shared with you EXERCISING FAITH – DON’T STOP!!!! Well within two weeks of submitting that testimony, a response came from a Ms. Pamela! Her response so encouraged me that I felt absolutely compelled to share with you about the STOLEN CAR!
Once again I must reiterate, I am a single parent with two children. My children are all grown up, and I now have two energetic grandchildren. This happened during the Christmas season many years ago.
I was working in a retail clothing store at the time; the commute to work was about 15 minutes. As I mentioned earlier it was during the Christmas season, and as a parent, you know how that goes! My kids were constantly saying to me,
mama I want this for Christmas, and mama I want that for Christmas!
In all honesty, being paid 6.50 per hour, what do you have to look forward to? Absolutely nothing!!
Just to express a few things from a single mother’s point of view! Being the head of the household is not easy, especially if you have a heart to seek, please and know the Almighty God! That’s me, that’s what I want —- I want to be successful at loving the Almighty God in the way that He has chosen for me to love Him. That means that I cannot concoct manipulations to get what I want—-that means that I cannot accept bribes—that means that I cannot just lay down this great salvation that God has given me and go the route of exchanging sex for money one or two times for the sake of avoiding disappointment.
I say this because as a single mother I was presented with all of this and more. As the head of the household, temptations to manipulate, lie, scheme as well as exchange sex for money were often offered to me. And some of you may also be familiar with situations and circumstances in the process of life that has had you entertaining and receiving offerings from a place that is not acceptable as Holy!
I want to share with you such a time in my life, a time of desperation. A time where the pressures of single parenthood caused ME to make a DECISION that brought my family a loss! And me—– much embarrassment, shame and guilt. I am going to go ahead and express this right now, BUT GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I stated earlier my children had many plans for Christmas that well exceeded the financial status of my purse. Nevertheless, my heart longed to give my kids SOME of what they wanted. But I had not a clue as to how to go about that. This would be on my mind every day. And one day I began to tell my woes of being incapable of providing my kids a Christmas, to a complete stranger! He listened to me, and while I was talking to him—–he devised a plan for me.
We were outside, not far from my job. And he directed me to look over towards the waffle house, which was less than two minutes from I-10, so I looked. He said to me “Do you see that big 18 wheeler parked over there?” I said “yes!”
He said, “I am a truck driver and that’s my truck. I am carrying a load that has all the things that your kids asked you to get them for Christmas. I have all kinds of electronic games and other toys on this truck and I can help you out. But first I need you to do a favor for me.” I asked, “What do you need?”
He said, “I have an appointment later on the today, I need for you to let me borrow your car, I will only be gone for about 1 hour and I will come right back and then you can go on the truck and your children will have their Christmas!”
Now this was in the afternoon and the man asked me if I could actually meet him at the waffle house around 8pm. I agreed, this space of time would allow me to think. So during this time I did think, but once again, all I could think about was giving my kids the Christmas that they had asked for. That thought alone dominated my thoughts. So of course, I showed up at the waffle house that evening, ready to help this man.
When I showed up at the Waffle House, I was not wearing a jacket. I only had on a long sleeved shirt and it was quite cold outside! What the man said to me, did strike me as odd!
“Where is your jacket?” He said.
I said, “I left it at home, I am only going to be out a short time.”
And his response to me was, “you are going to need your jacket!”
The tone and the spirit in which this man spoke this to me was so filled with compassion that It struck a place inside me, but I did not dwell in this place for a long time. I needed to get back home to the kids.
We chit chatted for a short period of time, and I gave him the keys to my car, (which God had blessed me with by the way), and he was on his way.
So I sat there waiting. One hour passed! Then two hours passed! Then three hours passed!
By this time it was completely evident to me that this man would not be returning with my car, so I sucked it up, called the police and reported the car stolen. After completing the report, I began to hitch hike my way down the dark highway to make it back home. It was cold and it was dark. I felt so alone and so defeated—-Defeated by my own despair. At this point I did not know how to even begin to converse with God. Because I had been willing to go on this truck and take (STEAL) these things for my kids Christmas. I was so deeply convicted by my actions of willingness that I did not have a whole lot of time to be mad at the man. The light of the Almighty God was shining into my heart and exposing its contents. And the contents of my heart were not very Christ like! I repented and asked God to forgive me and to lead me as to which I was to go from this point! And you know what, My Father did forgive me, immediately! Because He is Faithful and He is Good! But then there is the task of forgiving myself!
A lot of thoughts ran through my mind as I took this walk in the dark, and ohh how my heart ached for the return of my car!
What was I going to say to my children when they find out that we no longer had a car? How was I going to live this down in my own mind—I was ashamed and embarrassed! Here I am the head of the household and I have made this terrible decision and lost out only mode of transportation!——————Oh my, oh my, how was I going to face my earthly father.—-You see, my earthly father blessed me with the car.
I went to my heavenly Father and I asked him for a car about a year before this incident, I was 26 years old (very fresh in the faith) and I had two kids and we had never had a car! I had never owned one in my life. So when I asked my heavenly Father for a car, He spoke to me””He said, “Do you have an earthly father? And I said, “Yes Lord!” Then my heavenly Father responded to me and said, “Then go ask your earthly father for a car!”
You see I love my earthly father, God rest his soul, but I had never asked my dad for anything like that! And for whatever reason, I was afraid to do it. But I wanted to obey the Lord, It took me some weeks to work up the courage, but I did it. It was not a problem to him at all, he directed me to the car lot of his choice, and told me to pick out what ever car I wanted. I chose a Nissan Sentra.
And now the Sentra was GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind as I walked towards home and by the grace of God some one that knew me, saw me, and gave me ride. When I got home it was late, and because I no longer had possession of my keys, I had to knock on the door! My oldest daughter opened the door; she realized I did not have my keys. So of course she asked me that dreaded question, “Mama, where is the car?”
I immediately lied, and said, OH the car is in the shop baby!
And she trustingly said, “oh, OK!” and calmly went back to bed!
But me—- I could not sleep, I was worried about what my children would think of me if they found out about my irresponsible decision. I felt so defeated and undone. But my heart ached for the return of my car!
The next morning, I continued to lie to my baby girl, telling her that the car was in the shop. We said our group morning prayer and they headed off to school. We had been praying together every morning for over a year. And either before our prayer time as a group or after””I would have my one-on-one with God the Father! And every day, I mean every day I would always pray, “Father let your will be done—not mine!” I had come to realize long ago that my will, my knowledge and my understanding alone, often lead me and my children to places of unnecessary suffering! Like the one I was currently facing! I truly wanted another leader for my family, one who could see, understand and operate in a wisdom that would produce the best for us! (You see I had a record with MYSELF, about MYSELF——that my past decisions had hurt my family and I was simply sick of that outcome! I will have to testify about that another day!)
I got to work and it was early, there were not many customers in the store at that time, so this allowed much time to think. And while I was thinking the Spirit of the Living God approached me, and gently spoke to me these words—-“You have to go home and tell your children the truth!”
I heard Him plainly say this to me, but you see I could not do that, because I was embarrassed and my pride at time would not allow it. He did not say anything else to me, and that one day seemed like it took 20 years to pass. I got off work and started the hitch hike home. I arrive home and children greeted me at the door. Both of them—–“Mama, when is the car getting out of the shop?”
Once again I lied, “oh it’s getting out of the shop next week!” My heart was heavy because of the deception. But I did not know how to tell my children the truth of what I had done! My embarrassment and shame was just too big! I repented for the deception, but did not know how I could keep from digging myself in deeper!
We spend the evening together and go to bed.
The Next morning we say our group prayer and out the door we go! Facing another day! They head off to school and I began my hike to work. I get to work and once again we are not that busy. So I spend most of the morning thinking. As I am thinking, I kid you not, I literally felt someone POKE me in my shoulder with their index finger—- then I hear the Spirit of the Living God gently speak to me these words——IF YOU WANT TO GET YOUR CAR BACK, THEN YOU HAVE TO GO HOME AND TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH!!!!
All of sudden I was enlightened as to what God was saying to me! And I began to respond, “OH MY GOD, HE SAID IF—HE SAID IF!!!!!!!!!!!!!” “HE SAID IF!!!” “OHHHHHHH MY GOD, HE SAID IF!” That meant “YES!” to me. YES!yyyEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I COULD HAVE MY CAR BACK! God has promised to bring my car back to me, all I have to do is follow the instructions.
Let me explain, when I was in my senior year of high school, I was introduced to computers. And my teacher decided that she wanted to expound on how a computer program was written. And we came upon the IF-THEN statement. The IF-THEN statement, in actuality, is a control factor. IF the conditons in part A of the statement are met, then the desired results in Part B will be automatic! So this is what was enlightened to me, “IF YOU GO HOME AND TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH, THEN YOU CAN GET YOUR CAR BACK!” All I had to do was follow God’s instructions precisely and I my car would be returned to me! Halleluyah! Our God is GOOOOOOOOOD and His Mercy endures forever!!!!!!!!
I began to rejoice with great joy and I know that my co-workers thought that I was crazy, but their thoughts of me were of minute significance! The King had shown up, to undo what I had done!! I kept rejoicing and praising the Lord. Because HE SAID “IF!!!!!” And to me “IF” meant “YES” you can have your car back!! So I rejoiced!!!!!!!! The truth of His Word began to rise up within me!!! WITH GOD all things are possible—ALL THINGS!!! Even though I felt unworthy, and I was extremely disappointed in myself, even though I had lied to my children and I had no idea how recover from this decision! The God of Heaven remained faithful to me! And by HIS MERCY, HE approached me, and gave me direction and filled me with hope by his spoken Word!
This was my answer, all I had to do was respond exactly as the Almighty directed me and I believed with all of my heart that he would bring the car back to me!
I excitedly got of work, hitch hiked home and called the children to the decision making table (the kitchen table) and began to tell them the whole truth of the matter. I told them the car was stolen, how it got stolen and my reasoning for putting myself in that position!!! And they listened to me intently—AND THE GLORY OF GOD MANIFESTED AT THAT TABLE! As I was sitting there telling my children the truth!””The Spirit of the Living God interrupted me while I was talking to them—to speak to me—–He said, “Now, I want you and your children to come before me as one household and I want you to ask me for that car back ONE time!!!!!!!!” He inflexed His voice when He said these next words to me—He said, “DO NOT ASK ME FOR THAT CAR AGAIN, BUT EVERY MORNING FROM THIS TIME FORTH, I WANT ALL OF YOU TO LIFT YOUR HANDS AND THANK ME FOR BRINGING IT BACK!!!!!!!”
I immediately relayed this message to my children! And we prayed in expectation as we asked God the Father to bring the car back!! ONE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!ONE TIME!!!!!!!!!!
At that time, I had an easel and a board in my home—so—I wrote the expected end on the board in big RED letters—-THANK YOU FATHER FOR BRINGING THE CAR BACK!
We got up the next morning, prepared ourselves for the day and came together as a group just before we walked out the door. We prayed then we purposely lifted our hands and together we thanked God for bringing the car back!!
During the process I personally never doubted, and by the outcome of the matter, obviously neither did my precious children! I remained in faith and expectation that God would do it! I had a WORD to stand on—– AN IF_THEN statement!!!!!!!!!! And I refused to be removed!
I continued to hitch hike to work with joy in my heart, knowing that God the father had me in His! I ask the Father a few times —–” I know that you can see my car” “where is it?” and every time I asked Him this question, I could see that my car was sitting somewhere, it was not being driven, it was just sitting with a lot of other stuff around it!
My household remained in agreement and thanksgiving concerning this matter for about 21 days. I must reiterate WE never asked God for that car again! WE remained in agreement and thanksgiving!
Then one day I was on my way to dumpster to take out the trash, and I saw a policeman pull into the parking lot! While I was standing there watching him, the Spirit of the Living God spoke to me—“He is looking for you—He has come to tell you that they have found your car!” I did not move, I just stood there and watched him. He departed his car and made it to the side walk. He then went towards my apartment building and began to climb the stairs. I am still watching—-He goes to MY door— I immediately break out into a run as fast as I could—–I get to the stairs and I run up the stairs quickly!
And ask, “Sir, are you looking for Stephanie Brimage?”
He says, “Yes I am! Are you Stephanie?
I said. “Yes!”
He says. “Well ma am I have come to tell you that we have found your car!”
I was so elated but I had to contain myself because I wanted to know where my car was, so I asked.
The officer said to me, ” Ma am your car is in storage! Whoever stole your car did not go very far, they went to the next county, and abandoned your car at the waffle house within hours of you reporting it stolen, It sat at the waffle house for 5 days and the waffle house called and had the car towed.”
He gave me all of the information and I was on my way to get my car!
PRAISE GOD—-NOW YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT IN MOST CASES STOLEN CARS DON’T COME BACK! BUT… WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!! This was MY mess and my Heavenly Father so graciously cleaned it up! While also cleaning me up. He shone his marvelous light into my heart, to show me and convict me of deeds that were not acceptable to Him! He left with me and my children a principle of Thanksgiving— That in all things, all things, all things—-the good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing, the shameful, FACE IT, TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT IT AND THEN GIVE GOD THANKS FOR HIS WILL CONCERNING IT—-FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU! TO GOD BE THE GLORY! FOR THINGS HE HAS DONE!
I want to encourage you today. We most definitely live in times of trouble and uncertainty—but I encourage you to learn to thank God in the midst of it all—–Pray with your family as a unit, grab hands, each grown up pray out loud! Even if you think you do not know the words of prayer—remember this—-OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND HE WILL FILL IT! Let your children see your belief in Jesus in action through prayer! Let them know that you believe in Jesus at home too! So much so that you will invite him into your home, that you will invite Him to your decision making table, so much so that you will invite Him to be the head of your household!
This is not a cliche ” A FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER! This is major BONDING wisdom to keep your family intact! But it is up to you!
Don’t JUST believe it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!—–DO IT!