I’m a pure bred Okie. Born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma, A dysfunctional home was all I knew. My parents divorced when I was 5. My mom tried hard to keep things as normal and consistent in my life as possible, and I am so grateful for that. We were “good” people and had a respect for God and Country and even went to church sometimes. Experiencing more difficulties in life, when I was 13, my mom had an idea. It was a cold January, Monday night as we stood over the floor furnace and listened to the snow sizzle as it fell off our shoes. My mom said, “We are going to start going to church, and we are starting this Wednesday.” And we did! We were at a church where the gospel was clearly preached every time the doors were open—and we were there every time! Within a few months, my mom became a changed woman in Jesus Christ. I had gotten baptized young, and knew the answers to being a Christian, but I was empty. I had no peace at all. When I laid my head down at night, I can remember being so unsettled and hoped I wouldn’t die. I was at church all the time, but I was empty and doing things my own way.
Later one night at a retreat, somehow the Lord used the brokenness of my best friend, to turn on a light switch for me. Immediately, the lack of peace became clarity. I saw that I had no peace because I was still Lord of Brandi and doing life my own way while going through the motions of church. I saw clearly that I needed Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. He can’t be just a Savior (saving us from hell); He has to be Lord, too, or He is neither. I realized that being Lord meant turning away from my sin and giving Christ everything I knew about myself to everything I knew about Christ. In Luke 9:23, “(Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” That was what I did March 20, 1984.
I thought how in the world will I change? I was a pretty good person—not many vices to change. That was the cool part to watch. Finally, I could hear the Holy Spirit speak to me—not audibly but His still small voice in my heart was louder and more real than the person next to me. His voice clearly convicted me of sin. He clearly grieved my heart over sinful music, sinful movies and TV, sinful attitudes, words, and actions. He began to direct each day in personal way as I sought Him out. It was so real and so rich to be a part of. That was a very long time ago, and praise the Lord, I have kept the course. He has taken me down roads I never thought I would go, and He has shown me that He is enough for me down any of those roads. More and more each day, I look forward to seeing Jesus when He returns on the clouds in His all splendor. I don’t know how my story will finish, but I do know I want to finish strong. And by that, I realize that finishing “strong” may even look like a weary woman that crawls into glory who has worked until her energy is all spent on serving her family, doing good, making disciples, and sharing the gospel until it costs me (1 Tim. 5:10, Dan. 7:21-22).
What is your story? If doesn't include a life change like the Bible teaches, then your story may be one without Christ. I pray your story will encompassed with Christ and finish strong as we crawl into glory together having given all.