My name is Renee Hamilton let me tell you my story…
God doesn’t make excuses on how he works in the lives of his children. For some he requires great suffering and mighty moves of his presence to be expressed. And for others his moves are more subtle or not discernable to the naked eye at all. In mine he used a mix of both. He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy and compassion on whom he will have compassion.
Like so many others of my generation (the Baby Boomers), I grew up in a Christian like home. My parents loved and provided for all my needs and those of my older sister. My mother was a good woman loved others and took us to church and vacation bible school and after school summer camps. She her self professed being Christian and long standing member of the First Baptist Church, but I never saw her attend. My dad never went to church, but he was a good man and provided for and loved his family and together they raised good children who loved others went to church but still had no idea of who Jesus was or that we were supposed to have a relationship with Him. We were raised in tradition like their parents before them. Little did we know that tradition did not get you into heaven? I was scared into receiving the Lord as my savior during a revival when I was 12 years old. Don’t think I had any idea of what the significance of that act was supposed to bring into my life.
So upon entering my teen years and beyond I ceased going to church because it held nothing for me, but repetitious sermons and old hymns. We were taught that good little girls and boys went to Sunday school and church on Sundays. We weren’t told what to do the rest of the week. So it got boring being a good little girl. I wanted to experience life and the world and do the exciting things my friends were doing like dating, joining sororities, partying, drinking and smoking pot. The drinking and pot smoking never really held that much pleasure for me, but the socializing and dating did.
The year I graduated High School I met who I thought was the love of my life. He had been in the marines and experienced an exciting life that fascinated me and I thought he was a real man’s man. I loved him and thought that expressing that love physically could not possibly be that wrong. We were going to be married one day any way. So you guessed it, I got pregnant; and we had a lovely shot gun wedding at the court house. Just what every bride dreams of. NOT! So I never finished college. I was too busy being a supportive wife for my husband’s education and a mother. And before long son number two came along. And I was still helping support my husband’s pursuit of higher education.
I never received any benefit of that higher education from my husband, but his other two wives did. So when my boys were 8 and 12 we called it quits, because I found out he had an affair with one of his college friends he studied with and he wound up marrying her two months after our divorce.
We never did see eye to eye on how to raise our sons. I was too lenient and he was way too harsh. We never had enough money to fix up our house the way I wanted and he never fixed the things that needed fixing he was too busy justifying why he needed a new sail boat, camera equipment or recording equipment. It was reel to reel back then. He loved pursuing his hobbies.
By this time I had fallen in the habit of only crying out to God when I was in great distress or trouble. I still did not realize he wanted to meet me on an every day basis when things were going fine too. I cried out when my boys were giving me trouble and causing me grief. I cried out when finances were bad. I cried out when my older son was destroying his marriage and going to lose his son due to his anger issues. I cried out when my younger son was playing around with drugs. How could things have gone so wrong? He had been my good boy my sweet heart. By this time my heart was so broken I didn’t want to live. But who else would be there for them if I was not in the picture? In the beginning I never knew the extent of pain ones children could cause especially when you have no one to help you shoulder the burden. I didn’t know that Jesus wanted me to give my burdens over to him to carry so I kept them all to myself. I didn’t know that’s why he died on the cross so I could have healing to my broken heart and forgiveness of my sins and victory in my life and that of my children.
So God allowed me to suffer the ultimate fear of all time, trying once again to get my attention, and that was nearly loosing one of my children. My youngest son by this time age 19 with a child of his own suffered a stroke cause by a leaking blood vessel in his brain, an Arial Venous Malformation, a congenital condition that had been a ticking time bomb his whole life. Emergency brain surgery to correct the leak saved his life I thought, even though I prayed desperately to God to save my son I still gave credit to the wrong source.
He was left with left sided paralysis of his body. This improved some what with rehab therapy over time, but he also had bad head aches, depression and emotional issues, that caused him to fear being in crowds or even small groups of people. I was just happy to have him back with me in any condition. He eventually tried to go back to work, but the weakness in his left hand and other issues proved to be too much for him and the doctors said he would never be able to hold down a job or function normally again and he went on disability.
By this time my older son was working for a man of God that changed his life, by introducing him to the living God, the Man Jesus Christ. This was during the days of the Brownsville revival. His encounter was so profound it changed his life forever and eventually spilled over through him to change his brother’s life and mine too. He showed us that we too could experience a relationship with this living God if we would give our lives up to him and seek his face with our whole hearts. If Jesus could change my oldest son He could do anything. And this is precisely what he (God) had been trying to convey to me all these years through my times of crying out when in trouble. I always seemed to come through each and every trial and storm. "O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?” (Deu 3:24 NIV) It was at this time I turned from my old life and accepted Jesus Christ’s as my Lord and Savior and began to wholehearted follow Him and His voice. Truly His plans are so good for us, so much better than our own.
God has showed us that by stepping out in obedience and faith he will move mountains for us. However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--(1 Cor 2:9 NIV)
My oldest son has had his son restored to him and been gifted with a beautiful god fearing woman as his wife and two more lovely children. He has also given my younger son custody of his oldest son and that is a miracle and another story along with a beautiful godly wife and three more great kids, two houses one was free the other half price. He is working full time as a supervisor at his place of business and God showers his favor on him all the time with bonuses and raises. Before my father died he accepted the Lord at age 85 and was baptized. My Mother also re dedicated her life. And I know they are both with Jesus in heaven.
God sold my house for me when it was fixing to go into foreclosure. I had poured so much money into it and it still needed more. The Lord showed me in a dream it was a house on sinking sand and I needed to give it up and stop trying to save it. It was truly a money pit that needed a lot of saving, but I was not to be the one to do the saving and God freed me from that burden. Both sons and I now work in the same ministry and we are closer than we have ever been and more fulfilled as we labor together in bringing God’s kingdom to earth. The Lord has healed a lot of hurts in our hearts we caused each other and given us the grace to forgive as he forgave us. He has showed me that the gift of eternal life comes with a responsibility to share His love with those who do not really know him. He wants me to be a participant in bringing his kingdom to earth not just a by stander sitting at the gate of salvation, but a follower along the path working out my salvation.
Christ sustains my physical life and holds my eternal life in his hands; He is my hope, my joy and my peace. I am limited in and of myself, but in Christ Jesus there is no limit to which I can rise. Will you continue to cling to the world and its fears and anxieties because they are more tangible and real to you like I once did, or will you cling to hope on faith? I choose Hope!