366by Candace L. Strand, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America delegate to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.”  As I reflect upon my life as an African American woman who may have been a statistic of domestic violence myself during 1977 to 1983, I give God the glory, honor and praise for my deliverance.  When I think back to that part of my life I know that it could have been worse.  But God and the mercy and grace factor stepped in.

I had two wonderful daughters to raise while I went through the mental and drug abuse situations.  I was married twice.  In the first marriage I was young and ignorant.  There was fighting and an adulterous situation was present.  Sex was often forced. In the second marriage, I came to know the Lord and our relationship went south.  At first the drug issue was a part of my life, but when I became saved my ways changed and my companion’s life did not.  There were women in the home when I was not there in that drug atmosphere during that time. I prayed a lot during that time period of my life.  Life was hard financially and things were cutoff in the home.  My two daughters and I were without heat and electricity during those difficult times in my life.  Yet, I was very spiritual.  This seemed to compensate for the ending of that marriage and that season in my life.

Presently, I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have survived from that sadness and oppression.  I have remarried.  I have been married for seventeen years.  My husband is a Christian.  My daughters are grown and I have five grandchildren.  I feel so blessed. I had to be humble during those years.  I am still humble and I believe that the Lord took me through my adventure for a reason.

So many times life throws stumbling blocks into our path.  I would have never thought that I would have gone the way that those situations locked me into.  I was always a hard worker.  I had several jobs and I was also on welfare at different times too.  But God………..

Oh, but by the way, I did not mention that I am a college graduate with two bachelor degrees. I am presently a senior under the MDiv (Master of Divinity) program at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.  Thank you Lord!  As you can see, life goes on.

What’s next for me?  Well, the leading of the Lord is my guide.  I have learned that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.  Through disappointments, sorry, pain and love, I have endured hardness as a good soldier.  I have learned that I have to take one day at a time.  Sometimes when I desire to be in a better financial state or be living in a better home or even be rich, I think about Jesus and the life that Jesus lived.  How can I complain?  God is good……Thank you Lord!  As a 58 year old woman I feel stronger and wiser each day.  Women are powerful too!  Peace………