Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sexual Abuse and God

I teach a class twice a week for Patsy’s Place.  That’s a ministry in Amarillo that houses women who have recently been incarcerated.  The one year program offers Bible Classes and life skills to help them as they return to the “real world”.  Over the weekend as I prayed about my next class the Lord spoke very clearly that He wanted the topic to be over sexual and physical abuse.  I very clearly told the Lord I didn’t want to do it and I was not qualified to do such a class.  He assured me my lack of qualification was so that I would be sure to get out of His way so He could do it Himself.  I cried all weekend as I wrote the curriculum as He gave it to me.  It was a 1.5 hour class so I can’t share all of it with you but I want to share two parts that may help anyone else who has been the victim of abuse.
#1-  This past weekend my son had a sleepover.  The next day he discovered that $40 had been stolen from his money bank.  I felt outrage.  Someone dared to come into my home and steal my son’s birthday money from him!  I wanted to call all the parents (even though we felt we knew who the offender was) and have them question their sons.  My husband asked me to calm down and just let him handle it.  Yesterday Roman came home and placed two twenty dollar bill on the counter.  “There is Josiah’s birthday money”. . .I gave him a questioning look.  He then rolled up his shirt sleeve and showed me a bandage wrapped around the middle of his arm.  “I just paid the debt with my blood”, he said!  (He had gone downtown to give blood/plasma which pays exactly $40).  He then used this as a word picture to give our children.  Daddy just bought the “birth-right” that was stolen from you back with his blood.  . .I was then able to use this story with the women I ministered to today.  I told them the Fathers heart felt anger and outrage that someone would dare to come and steal from His daughters what did not belong to them.  But their Father purchased that debt back with His blood.  Not a dry eye in the room. . .

#2-  We ended the class with a foot-washing.  I told them that opening up wounds from the past was painful but necessary for healing.  I talked about the phrase “pouring salt in an open wound”.  It’s painful, but it draws out the infection.  I placed Epsom Salt in the wash basin.  I told them that even in the pain God was there to soothe the pain. . .the Epsom Salt had lavender sent.  I played them a song called “Hold Me Now” by Jennifer Knapp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usIOKssjm4c  and prayed over them as I washed feet.  The last thing was to apply a foot balm. 

Jeremiah 8:21  Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

God has a healing balm waiting, but we have to choose to reach out to Him.  God is a gentleman who will never touch us without our consent.  I know that healing the wounds inflicted by abuse does not happen in a short class. . .but healing does begin with that first cry to God.  If you have suffered abuse I pray His salt be poured  on you to clean the wound, and that His healing balm restore your soul.  I pray you accept that your Father paid for what was stolen for you with His very own blood.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2nd Lesson: Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards

I decided to post the series I wrote for the local Newspaper entitled "Lessons from Grandma".  This is lesson two from the article: Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards.

Cherry Pie and a Deck of Cards

 After several years of talking to people that I don’t know very well and commenting on and “liking” a status from mere acquaintances on facebook, I have decided to try and brave friendships without the internet.  Hello Dear Readers, this month your lesson from Grandma is on the value of keeping friendships personal.

Does anyone remember the day (not so long ago) that you had to call a friend and actually hear the sound of their voice instead of just sending an “LOL” text with a little winkie face?  Or go back just a little further to the times when one had to take out a sheet of paper and a pen and handwrite a letter to be sent by mail.  The letter may not arrive at its destination for an entire three days. Whoa! Stop the press! If you have ever received a hand written letter you know it is worth waiting on.  In fact most good things in life are worth both our time and our investment.  Some of the best stories that my Grandmother tells me involve friendships that her and my Grandfather have kept over the years.

  When they first married my Grandparents; Pattye and J.C, were as poor as church mice; as were many of their newly-wed friends.  So what did they do?  Well every Friday night Pattye and J.C would get together with another young couple to play cards.  Tradition was to have a homemade cherry pie and spend the evening gambling with match sticks worth a tenth of a cent.  She tells me that by the end of the night you might have lost (or won) a nickel.  It seems very simple but a cherry pie and a deck of cards is a worthwhile investment when it creates a close friendship.  Most of Pattye and J.C’s friendships have lasted a lifetime.  On their 50th wedding anniversary their good friends, James and Pat Hart, sent them a “Get Well Soon” card joking that it was the only one on sale!  A few years later my Grandmother sent the exact card back to them on their 50th to return the “favor”. (I believe it has been sent back and forth among them since that time.)

More than twenty years ago my grandparents attended the wedding of a good friend’s child.  At the reception each table had a small bottle of Champaign. My grandmother has kept that little bottle for over twenty years, and plans to one day give it to the “newly-weds” as an anniversary gift.

As small as these gestures may seem, they are personal gestures from the heart. I want to have those real friendships that last forever.  I want cherry pie, champagne friendships. They take much more time and energy than a simple “like” on face-book but I believe they will be worth the investment.  So Dear Readers, this month I encourage you to take a lesson from Grandma and instead of sending that e-mail, try sending a card by mail.  Instead of face-booking that you need to get together, call your friends and extended a dinner invitation. I promise you will bring a smile to a friend, and perhaps fifty years from now you too will smile when you receive your “Get Well” card in the mail!
(Note:  friendship may not seem like a spiritual topic but remember David and Jonathan as well as Jesus with His disciples.  We need one another for accountability!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons From Grandma Series

I named my blog Wholly-Holy so that it would cover a multitude of life topics that bring us in wholeness and holiness. . .and because it's also the name of my book ;)

I just got home from a four day trip to spend a Ladies Weekend with my Grandma.  My Grandma is my very best girlfriend and the picture of what I someday hope to be as a wife, mother, and woman.  Several years back I wrote a monthly column for our local Newspaper entitled "Lessons from Grandma".  I have decided to post that as a series for my blog.  I hope you enjoy it.  Below is lesson one. . .first published in 2008.

To Become a Woman. . . Again
Hello Dear Readers, as we celebrate Mothers Day this year I have a confession for you;  I am learning to become a woman again.  As little girls we watch our mothers put on make-up, perfume and jewelry.  We observe all of the Disney character princesses, and dress up our Barbie for a big date with Ken.  One day we seem to change from an awkward little girl to the woman we watched so closely.  The new woman one day meets her handsome prince and they ride off into the sunset.  On the other side of the sunset is a change that the fairytales forget to tell us about.  The beautiful woman becomes a mommy. 

I love being a mother but over the past nine years I realize that I have lost the beauty of being a woman.  My life is about having time to take a shower; forget the makeup.  I help with homework, make school lunches, and potty train two year old little boys.  Many years ago my purse was exchanged for a diaper bag.  When youngest son Jacob turned two years old last year,  I told Roman that I was planning on becoming a woman again.  After eight years of toting a diaper bag my first step to being feminine was to buy a new purse.

This quest to feel female again was part of the inspiration to write about the life of Pattye Louise Hopkins.  In every way a lady.  Yes a wife, yes a mother, but always a woman.  So to recapture the art of femininity a few years ago I started an annual girl’s weekend with Grandma. People have many different learning styles.  I learn by observation.  So I thought what better way to grasp womanhood again than to spend it observing my favorite gal. When I planned the first weekend away,  I had never been away from my children for more than twenty four hours.  I called my best friend and we flew down to Austin to spend some girl time with Grandma.  The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.  We slept in and Grandma had breakfast waiting for us each morning.  Of course sleeping in for me these days equates to about 7:30a.m!  Grandma took us to “A taste of Thyme” for an afternoon tea and after that we went out to tour a wine vineyard.  The tour included a wine tasting and she had us pick out a bottle of our favorite wine to take home. Later that afternoon we went shopping to pick out my new purse.  The next evening Grandma told us to get all “Gussied Up” in our nicest attire. She had made reservations at Russo’s the fanciest restaurant in town.  Russo’s sits overlooking lake LBJ and we had a quiet meal overlooking the water. No one spilled there milk, no one made funny “potty-jokes”, no one asked me to get up and get them anything.  I just sat and enjoyed the company of my best friend, and my best gal!  My favorite part of our weekend however was sitting up talking life, marriage, and just asking Grandma for wisdom and advice.  I don’t know how she managed throughout the years, but somehow my Grandmother never lost the beauty of being a woman.  I know she loved being a mother and a wife but somehow in that she never lost the identity of being Pattye Louise.  I think perhaps the key was in living in every moment.  Every season of life she has fully embraced.  When her kids were young she was in the stands at all of their baseball games.  That side of her life did not stop her from getting “Gussied Up” and heading into town for a date with my Grandfather either. She realized a women is many things all at once.  I wonder if perhaps she read Proverbs 31 and put its words into practice? 

For all mothers out there who may feel a little less than feminine these days, take this lesson and apply it to your own life.  Find time to celebrate the beauty of being wife, being mother, and being woman.  When I returned home I felt refreshed and renewed to do the job this season in my life calls me to be.  After all Dear Readers, what is more feminine than to be called “Mommy”!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A faith lesson for the teacher

The past few weeks have been physically and emotionally exhausting.  It’s one of those times when you wonder if God really knows what He is doing.  Transitioning from training into ministry has been a struggle that has tested my faith many times.  Personal training is financially stable and comfortable for me.  Ministry feels shaky and uncertain most of the time.  This morning I woke up and felt like “calling in sick”.  I was suppose to head Downtown to teach a Bible Study for homeless women.  I woke up feeling empty and like I had nothing to offer them.  I once heard a Bishop say that God is most pleased with us when we are tired but go ahead and serve anyways.  I prepared the snacks and coffee for the ladies and headed to Amarillo.  When I got to the Day Shelter it was filled with men but almost no women.  “Great”, I thought, “I wasted my time today for nothing.”  I ended up having only one woman come.  I decided perhaps the Holy Spirit needed me to minister to this one in a different way so I set the lesson plan aside and just began to talk with her and ask her about her life.  This particular lady has come to several of the other Bible Classes and worship times we have had.  She is a very sweet black woman in her late 60’s named Joyce.  She came from an era when her parents both worked as servants for “white folks”.  She has had a hard life.  In the 1980’s her husband left so she and her four kids moved in with her parents, until they kicked them all out in 1989.  She told me that she walked the streets crying continually for several years, but then one day “the Lord dried my tears”. . .I asked her where she was staying.  She told me, “On the street”.  I asked her why she didn’t go to the Salvation Army or another mission.  “I have done that, but I don’t want the Government or anyone else to have to take care of me, you see, I have a Father, He knows all I need.”  I then asked her if she was ever afraid on the streets at night.  Her answer: “I use to be, but when you know the Father, and when you know the Son, you know nothing can touch you that He doesn’t allow.  You know that He can make even your enemies to be at peace with you.”  Then she said, “all I really need is that Closer Walk With Thee.”  She told me that many times in life it was the old Hymns she learned as a child that brought her through.  She told me all she really wanted or needed was to someday be with Him.  Then she looked at me and said, “I am so glad you come down here, you are His light to this darkness, keep doing what you’re doing and know that I am lifting you up to my Father.” 

Before I go Downtown I always ask the Lord to send exactly who He wants that day.  That He sends the people who need to feel His presence and know His love.  Today, instead of God sending me to minister Downtown, He sent me Downtown to be ministered to.   I went empty but God gave me hope through a homeless woman named Joyce.  Sometimes God shows up where we least expect Him.  I still have questions and frustrations, but I am learning to trust as Joyce trusts.  That the Lord can dry all of our tears, that His hand is with us no matter where we find ourselves, and a closer walk with Him is all we need to sustain us.  Will all of you say a prayer for Joyce today?

Friday, April 4, 2014

When grown men weep. . .

This month the Faith based self-worth class I teach for the homeless grew to 31 people!  (We started in January with 9 people).  As exciting as that was for me it also opened my eyes to how little I truly have to offer.  When we minister to the middle class there is not a whole lot of risk involved.  If someone has lost a job and a bill is late, the Sunday School class can take up an anonymous offering to help out with the need.  If a friend has a teenage child that is rebelling we can go have coffee, listen and pray.  (All of these are good things BTW!)  But ministry for those who are TRULY destitute is a whole new ball came.  After my class I had two grown men break down weeping.  One had been attacked on the streets and severely beaten.  His leg was broken in three places.  He has no access to re-hab and lives in constant pain.  The other has been in a battle with intestinal cancer for the past 13 year and has just been denied all medical aid for treatment.  He is only 29 years old and separated from his family.   I look into the eyes of so many others that have no hope.  I felt , in a small way, as Moses must have felt with the armies of Pharoah on one side and the Red Sea on the other.  Moses had nothing in him that could save the Israelites.  This was a God moment.  It was a position that if God did not move, they faced certain death.  The needs Downtown can never be met or filled by my human efforts.  The man with cancer cannot get medical aid.  If God does not heal him supernaturally, he faces certain death! I hear this and feel helpless.  Then I realize, I am!   God has not asked me to free any of them from bondage; that is His job.  My job is to be a yielded vessel for Him to flow through.  When giants come will I stand firm in Christ, or will I surrender to the flesh and either run away or try to solve the impossible on my own? 

 What is He asking you to surrender to?  What mighty act might He be ready to do through you? Will you surrender to Him or run from Him?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The gods must be crazy

Does anyone remember the old movie, "The gods must be crazy"?  If I remember correctly it's about an African tribe that has a soda bottle fall out of the sky (from and airplane) into their community.  This soda bottle upsets daily life.  They don't know what it is or what the "gods" want from them.  They think the gods must be crazy!  I have had the same thought recently of the ONE TRUE GOD.  He must be crazy when I look at the path He has sent me down.  Me, a trainer and health nut.  He has sent down and odd looking "vessel" that I didn't really know what to do with.  The odd looking vessel He sent is a group of homeless and impoverished people in Downtown Amarillo.  What am I suppose to do with them God?  Are you crazy?  You want me to preach the gospel and reach outside of what I know and am comfortable with.  You want to upset my "village" life by this odd call to preach the Gospel to the poor?

Yes, that is what He was saying!  I have dozens of amazing stories I could tell about this journey but I just wanted to share with you the most recent. 

I currently oversee serving two meals a month in Downtown Amarillo.  The first is open to all at the Guyon Saunders Resource Center (Serve 70 to 80).  The second is for the Biblically based self-worth class that I teach each month at the center (20-25 people).  Next month is Passion Week (April 13th-19th) and I wanted to have a Spaghetti Dinner to serve on Good Friday.  I always pray and the Lord sends the "Laborers" to His vineyard and for this meal He has sent the United Methodist Women to help make and serve the food.  My desire has always been to offer more than 'daily-bread' but to also bring the "True Bread" which comes down from Heaven. . .after contacting the Resource Center they have reserved the large room so that I can bring in a team to hold a Good Friday Service right after the meal!  Is God crazy, or is it that He knows how to accomplish His purposes across the earth even if it takes His people some time to understand the blessings He is sending down.  What if we all just decided to trust and obey even if we didn't understand?  What might God do through us if we fully surrendered instead of question His sanity when He calls us?

Please be in prayer for the service to the Homeless on Good Friday and when God sends something "odd" your way, ask Him why, don't just throw it away!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


    Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.   
(Exodus 1:8)
I wonder how Moses felt about this commission? Too small?  Too insignificant?  Was he over- whelmed and afraid?  I think so.  He spends quite a bit of time arguing with God about it.  (See Exodus 4).  The story of the Exodus has spoken to me a lot this year because I have been on a similar journey.  If you have kept up with my blogs then you know God has been calling me away from "tending sheep in the wilderness" (aka- Personal Training) and into a new call.  A call to minister the Word of God to the Homeless and Impoverished of Downtown Amarillo.  Like Moses I argued with God about my qualifications and my "calling"  but the cry of the people became too great:
"The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob".
(Exodus 2:23&24)
 Finally I gave Him my surrender.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
(Isaiah 6:8)
As of January 1st I am no longer taking new training clients in order that I can step fully into what the Lord is inviting me to do.  This year I have had the opportunity to share the Isaiah Challenge with multiple Churches and Outreaches.  I have been able to preach the gospel to the poor (literally!).  In December I was invited to be a part of a new program at the 2-1-1 Resource Center Downtown.  I teach a Biblically Based self-worth class to the homeless and impoverished.  I have been given opportunity to help bring in a Christian Addiction Recovery program with other faith programs on the horizon!  God has done many provision miracles and sent other laborers into His vineyard to help with the work of Isaiah 61.
"the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,"
(Isaiah 61:1)
This call is to Christ and His Church. If this passage has ever burned within you then this is a HELP WANTED call!  I have many open doors and am praying the Lord to send forth laborers into His vineyard.  Roman and I are expanding NMI-Network (the itinerate ministry we have had for the past four years) to include this work of God's Spirit to the poor.  Over the past several months we have had several meals and "fellowships" to get to know the people being ministered to.  Special gifts such as Valentine Candy and Prayer Beads are part of how the Lord has led us to show His extravagant love to those society calls the "least of these" but He calls "the greatest in the Kingdom".  If you would be interested in helping in any way with this work please contact us! (E-mail challenge@angelaasbill.com)   All ministries need financial support (we are non-profit and tax deductible) but they also need MUCH prayer.  Another need I have is for those who would like to be a part of serving the people, giving a testimony, organizing an outreach, etc.  We are not going Downtown to offer physical bread (though that is a part of it) we are going to offer the TRUE BREAD WHICH COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN! 
This is a new and scary venture for me but:
Where He leads me, I will follow!
(My 2nd self-worth class.  First class 9 attended.  2nd class we increased to 22 people!)

Monday, February 3, 2014


There is a popular Christian song out right now called Oceans.  I admit to being a little old school with worship music.  I LOVE songs by Keith Green and to listen to the old time Hymns, but the song Oceans has spoken to me a lot over the past year.  Here are some of the lyrics:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

This year my life took an odd turn.  You may have noticed that my blogs turned from trainer/wellness stuff to Isaiah Challenge/act like a disciple stuff.  Last January instead of the normal client increase I see at the beginning of a New Year I lost six of my long time clients all at once.  Then in June I was told my services were not longer needed at the gym I was training at!  (No further explanation given).  I FERVENTLY began to ask God to bring me more clients and show me what to do with my “Wellness-Ministry”. . .Did you know that we can pray AMISS when we ask God to bless our plans instead of seeking for His?

James 4:3- 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Well, instead of God opening up more training opportunities He began to open up opportunities to share about the Isaiah Challenge.  (See that blog if your lost).  He also began to lead me to Downtown Amarillo.  I began to ask the Spirit to show me how to pray for God’s desires to be made known.

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

My husband and I both began to hear the same thing.  Training was closing and ministry to those that Matthew 25 calls the “least of these” was opening.  Instead of walking into a gym (my comfort zone) God began to lead me into my “OCEANS”.  (The place my feet thought they could never wander).  He began to change my selfish nature (IN PROCESS!) and put a compassion in me for what I saw in Downtown Amarillo Texas.  At the end of this year I was asked to teach Self-Worth classes at the United Way 2-1-1 day shelter to the homeless and those in dire poverty.  If you read my blog (Challenged to blast my comfort zone) then you know in September I was afraid to even park near a homeless man! (Sprit lead me where my trust is without borders).  I accepted the offer IF I COULD TEACH FROM SCRIPTURE.  This “secular” institution gave me permission to teach as I saw fit. . .and to bring in more studies and classes as I felt led.  (Let me walk upon the water, wherever You would call me)  They have also allowed me to bring in other Christian ministers to offer Biblically Based Addiction Programs!

In this experience God has given me so great a love for the people I have met that one of them has become “adopted” into our family.  He has been more of a blessing to us than we could ever be to him.  (and My faith has been made stronger in the presence of my Savior).

I prayed for more clients.  God gave me more family.  I prayed for opportunities to teach the middle class about health.  God gave me a chance to feed the hungry.  I asked God for a better gym to work at.  God gave me an homeless man to call “brother”. 

And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep

Below is a clip of me sharing this journey at WTAMU Wesley.  If you are struggling to step into deeper oceans perhaps God will use it to speak to you and give you courage to leave the boat.



Monday, January 13, 2014

I don't want to be a good speaker!

Last night my husband and I got to minster together to a group of college students.  Roman led worship and I was to give the Word.  I really felt I had the heart of the Lord and a basic direction on where He wanted to go.  I usually have "word for word" notes written out but this time I felt the Holy Spirit needed to have total control so the notes were more loose.  My hearts prayer over the last several months has been.

#1-  I want to be with You where You are. . .(part of last nights topic)

#2-  I want to be a choice vessel.

I wrote a blog a few months back about the "choice vessel" but if you missed it here is a re-cap. 

In our house we probably have at least 30 coffee mugs.  Everyday, however, I choose one of two mugs to drink out of.  These are my two favorite mugs ("vessels")  to use.  In fact, if both of these mugs are dirty, I will stop to clean one of them rather than use anything else.  Why do I like these two the most?  Well in thinking about it:

#1- they have the thickest ceramic so the coffee stays HOT much longer
#2- the thickness gives it a sturdy and "lasting" feel (not easily broken)

As I pondered this I told the Lord, "I want to be on of Your chosen vessels.  The one You will "cleanse" in order to use.  The on that burns HOT and is steadfast and hard to break." 
I want to be the vessel the Lord wants to reach for each day.  I want to be poured into and poured out of daily, not to sit on a shelf collecting dust.

That has been my prayer and desire. . .so last night comes and I get distracted because a "college" atmosphere in not what this 30-something mom is use to.  I actually forgot to pray before I started speaking!  Now here is the thing.  I don't think the night was a total BOMB, but I also don't think it was what the Holy Spirit would had done if I had truly been a surrendered vessel.  I began to ponder this during the night and He put this prayer in me:

"Lord, I DON'T want to be a good speaker, I want to be a surrendered vessel that YOU SPEAK THROUGH".

You see, my favorite mug (vessel) has NO SAY in what I pour into it.  It can get coffee; tea; or hot chocolate; and it has no control of what is poured in or poured out! 

A good speaker can make a great feel-good speech in the flesh and everyone goes home feeling excited about what they heard.  But a surrendered vessel can only give the Word of the Lord and then people go home CHANGED.

As I pondered this the Lord was so gently with me.  He is a good Rabbi/Teacher and knows my heart was to obey but my mind saw the "waves".  Total surrender is so difficult because I have controlled this body now for 34 years, but my continual prayer will be:

"Pour me out as a drink offering."