I launched my second book, River Never Smooth: Reclaiming Power After Abuse on January 26, 2020. At the launch party, I raised both of my books retractable banners. At the end of the session a kind brother lowered the banners and replaced them in their black and red holders, respectively.
I attended a speaking engagement at the Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) for women on February 11, two weeks later. This was planned to be a motivational workshop whereby I would encourage the women to complete their education. Leaving home, I grabbed the red banner holder which houses the banner used for my book, I Did It . . You Can, Too! This book chronicles my life going back to school at age 44.
Getting there all excited and ready to set up, I unzipped the banner holder and proceeded to raise it. I was appalled. To my dismay, I was raising the banner on the domestic violence and abuse topic, and not the banner, motivating dropouts to go back to school!
What? My first instinct was to become annoyed with whomever lowered the banner and packed it after the launch party. How on earth did this happen? Dang! This is not for real! How can I raise an anti-domestic violence and abuse banner at an educational workshop where I would be encouraging dropouts to go back to school? Dang! This is not happening!
Glad to be alone in the room, I sighed audibly, allowed the banner to slide back into its holder and placed it under the table. I decided I would conduct my workshop without a banner. Setting up my table I heard that still small voice that I have grown accustomed to hearing: “Raise the banner.” Another internal struggle started.
Really God? Why would I raise that banner which talks about domestic violence and abuse when I’d be encouraging the women to finish their education? I continued setting up the table. “Raise the banner,” came that still small voice again. I proceeded to pull the banner from under the table and began unzipping it. “Do you need help?” I looked around to see one of the participants of the workshop smiling, holding out her hand to assist with the banner. “Sure. Thanks a lot,” I responded giving her the banner, and surrendering to the Holy Spirit who was instructing me to raise the banner.
Would you believe it? I met the nicest group of women that evening. They all seemed under 35. They were positive, respectful and full of energy. I didn’t even need a supervisor or escort. However, it stunned me, realizing, mainly their common ground was the fact that they all suffered abuse in one form or other, and for the most part, their reaction to being abused landed them in prison. My heart ached for them. So without even realizing it, my precious two hours with those women were spent coaching them to complete their education while they had the opportunity to do so, but also urging them to rise above their circumstances, showing them how they can live lives free of regrets, and how to embrace their pasts, then toss it. They were transparent. I watched some of them wiping away tears, but by the end of the session, we were all smiling, exchanging hugs. I am becoming a cry baby, even now!
Later that evening, I smiled, giving God praise. He saw me and my presentation way back, knew what banner I would need at the workshop, and He allowed the brother to switch the holders, knowing I would grab the case, and not even check to ensure I had the correct banner. God knew which banner was necessary that afternoon.
Thank God! He knew what I needed and answered my prayer even before I asked. The banner on education wasn’t needed because the women read my book in advance and they took it to the session. Watching how the evening unfurled, I would have been the most miserable person had I left home or didn’t raise the banner – River Never Smooth: Reclaiming Power After Abuse! My awesome God spared me those moments!
Bible Verse: "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." Isaiah 65:24
- Contributed by FH