My name is Cindy Granger let me tell you my story…
Even as a child, my days seemed to be empty and extremely lonely. Going through day to day doing everything you’re supposed to do – nothing special – no real friends – no activities, other than school and then back home, playing with the neighborhood kids, dinner, bath, homework, bed and get up the next morning and do it all over again. This spilled over into my adulthood - a vicious cycle of nothingness. Dad and Mom both worked full time and we kind of hung out in the house or in the neighborhood after school and just before it was time for them to be home from work, we’d run in the house and race like a mad dog to get our chores done in the 30 minutes before they drove up in the driveway [this is where the 10 Minute Prep & Simmer Spaghetti Recipe was born!]
When I was 11 years old, we moved to the West side of Pensacola, Florida and as we were settling in, Dr. Alton Butler, Pastor of Myrtle Grove Baptist Church came to invite us to church. He was so nice…and before he left, he asked us, “If you were to die today, do you believe you would go to heaven?” Mom and Dad said yes and I wanted to know more. So, he kindly began to talk about the Lord and how we could invite Him into our hearts and have a personal relationship with Him. THAT was the beginning of my awakening!
The next Sunday we went to church and I remember during the altar call, I wanted to go up so badly and receive Christ as my Lord and Savior; but for the longest time I had a white knuckled grip on the Pugh in front of me and after almost three stanzas of “Just As I Am” I finally let go and began to walk up to the altar. I was only 11 but I cried like a baby – I had been forgiven of all my bad doings – whatever that was at 11! – I felt so loved and accepted – more than I had ever felt in my life. Soon after, I was baptized and even while my hair was still wet from the baptismal waters, the enemy came in to attack my mind with thoughts and accusations from those close to me. I began to think maybe they’re right – maybe I wasn’t saved after all. I couldn’t even control my anger … I joined the youth group and went to Sunday School and Training Union. I also joined the Youth Choir and that’s where God began to train me up for ministry later on in life. We went on Choir Tours every summer to different places in the southeast singing, playing the guitar and hand bells, holding Vacation Bible Schools at Camp Grounds for children traveling with their parents and we also did some community services to help out local churches to blanket areas with services and with flyers for upcoming events. Here I was again just going through the motions, that’s what people do who say they know the Lord.
When I was an older teen, I found myself drifting here and there. Even though I had experienced the joy of ministry – I didn’t really understand its profound impact. I knew how to do some things but I didn’t know the Lord for whom I was doing it! I thought I had received Him as my Savior but I didn’t even know who he was (it wasn’t until I really met the Lord did I find out that I was on a journey to Him). Church relayed stories from the Bible and a couple of brief life applications and that was it. I drifted farther and farther away from the Church and into the partying lifestyle and hanging out with the wrong crowds.
I didn’t know how spiritually starved I really was until revival had broken out in Pensacola, Florida at the Brownsville Revival (who ever heard of revival lasting more than two weeks! This lasted for years!) and my brother and sister-in-law had been talking about it and sending me pre-revival teaching tapes of Pastor John Kilpatrick’s, pastor of Brownsville. I would pop a tape into my van’s tape player on the way to work and another on the way home – this went on for weeks. I learned about the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Blood and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit! God was pouring into me and my spirit was soaking it up like a dry sponge! The more I listened the more I wanted to hear. Finally, I was hearing someone talk passionately with conviction about the Jesus I wanted to know personally and intimately! My Spirit was on fire to know more. It was like this great spiritual awakening blowing through my inner being like a cyclone! I was HUNGRY FOR MORE OF GOD! Late at night when everyone else was asleep, I was in the kitchen cleaning and listening to worship music and would find myself dancing before the Lord.
Several months after the Brownsville revival broke out, I attended a morning service. As worship began, I lifted up my hands and began to sing along. The atmosphere was so thick – it looked cloudy in the sanctuary – I felt something dripping on my hands and I remember looking at them expecting to see drops of water or something on them – thinking I need to wipe off my hands – Then Pastor Kilpatrick said something like - the Holy Spirit is handing out gifts today! Hold your hands up and receive, receive what the Holy Spirit is giving you right now! That’s what that was! Cool! How exciting! This is real! And before I knew it I was at the altar repenting and committing my life to Him – but now with an understanding that I didn’t have at 11.
Still after all that, I didn’t know the Lord of the experience!
After this my husband and I went through a tumultuous time and even divorced for a few months. Then suddenly, while we were living separately in central Florida, God gave my husband a vision of us sitting with other couples at Brother Greg’s house in Pensacola, Florida sharing and talking about the Lord. And when he shared it with me, it bore witness with my spirit and God began to heal and restore our marriage! We packed a U Haul, quit our jobs and headed for Pensacola – knowing that’s where we were supposed to be. During this time God was opening up my understanding especially with these scriptures he seared onto my spirit:
Hosea 4:6 – “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” I was not discipled!
Matthew 7:7-8 - 7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8”For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” I never really sought God, asked Him for anything, or knocked on His door!
Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Although I had read the Bible, I never earnestly sought Him with expectancy of the reward of His manifested presence!
Brother Greg laid down his life to begin to disciple me and several others who had been drawn to them for leadership. When I began to seek the Lord through his Word and through discipleship and Word studies, God became more real to me and I understood how to enter into a personal relationship with the Lord and began to experience His manifested presence many, many times – so much so that early one morning while still laying in bed, half awake and half asleep, I sensed the presence of God hovering over me and I heard Him say, “I have called you, I have chosen you.” WOW! This was the loudest whisper I had ever heard!
After discipleship and training in Brother Greg’s school of ministry, I was ordained by Brother Greg in April of 2005 and am now a member of Gideon’s Army and am honored to be a House Church Leader for Vine Fellowship Network Lakeland in Central Florida. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
God is real! His is Sovereign! He cares and wants to be a part of all our lives! Now I have a peace that passes understanding. I no longer just know of Jesus, I know Him and He knows me by name! Even though trials and storms come and go, I’m not worried because I now KNOW whom I believe in and also know that He is able to take care of every situation in my life. All I have to do is Love God, Love Others and Lead Others to do the same!