And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
hen I tell you how beautiful, you're not going to believe
how much so. In fact, beautiful doesn't even
to describe it or give it justice.
I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I'm getting ahead of myself here. I hate when someone starts in the middle of a conversation as though you've taken part in what was apparently going on in their heads before they began to speak and you have no
they're jabbering on and on about.
To those who don't know me, my name is Esther Crowe. Those who know and love me best call me Esther, Aunt Esther, or Miss Crowe. A few folks even call me Zion from my days when I had a dance group called the Daughters of Zion many forgotten years ago. The miss part of Miss Crowe is actually a
statement. There I go again: my attempt at a little humor and playing on words. I love words. For anyone who may have missed it, I was playing on the word misstatement.
I was born Esther Morgan, no middle name. I married into the last name of Crowe. My husband died young (much too young) early into our marriage, from complications of an illness called lupus, to be exact. I don't like talking much about it. Suffice it to say: I never remarried; I never got around to finding anyone special enough to fill his space.
Then there was that terrible automobile accident that pretty near claimed my life here on earth. I was spared, although barely. For ten years, it was as if I didn't really exist. But then my nephew, Dr. Zachary Wayne Morgan, stepped into that Chicago nursing facility, bringing with him someone near and dear to my heart: my dear, sweet Gabrielle Mercedes Booker all the way from Birmingham, Alabama and all grown up now.
Gabrielle dropped the last name of Booker and goes by Gabrielle Mercedes. That poor child has indeed lived a hard life. That wretched woman who was given charge over the almost four-year-old at the time was actually the cause of Gabrielle (eight years old when I first met her) and I becoming acquainted. I was out in the community on a summer jog and Aunt Cee-Cee (Mrs. Cecelia Murphy) was out there treating that sweet child like she thought her name was Cinderella (before the glass slippers). I laugh sometimes because Gabrielle has told me on more than one occasion that I was like her very own fairy godmother.
I suppose it's true what some folks say: What Satan meant for bad, God will use it for good.
I figured out a way to get that precious little girl some joy into her life while she endured being treated even worse than a redheaded stepchild. At least I'd like to believe I brought some good into that child's life. But Gabrielle could dance, oh my
, she could dance! The first time my eyes fell on her running around picking up after those four other children like she was their hired help, I saw the greatness in her. I often described her movements as like the seeds on the feathers of dandelions being carried in the wind: Graceful with a capital
. I saw the greatness in her future.
Gabrielle's aunt Cee-Cee tried to say I believed Gabrielle was the child I never had. She even said jokingly (or so she claimed after she didn't get the response she'd apparently hoped for) that I could have Gabrielle outright, for the right price, of course. If I could have gotten Gabrielle without the insult of seeming to buy her, I would have taken that child in a heartbeat, in a
. After I learned how badly Aunt Cee-Cee had done Gabrielle after my automobile accidentâtaking the money I'd paid for Gabrielle to attend Juilliard, then throwing her out on the streets with nowhere to go . . .
I don't even like thinking about that. Why couldn't I have been here? I wanted so much to see the look on her face when she received the information about Juilliard. But to think: That wretched woman took that money, stole it is what she did. . . . Well, needless to say, Cecelia Murphy's day of reckoning is coming. And you can believe
. Those that live by the sword shall die by the sword.
I didn't think of Gabrielle as the child I never had. What folks have to understand is none of us
own anything or anybody here on earth. Everything belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 provides the title and the deed. “The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” My father used to say, “If folks think they own it, then let them die and see just what they
own. You brought nothing into this world and for certain, you'll take nothing when you leave, not even these earth suits we fondly call our bodies.”
I miss my father. Our parents taught us that if we saw someone in need, especially a child, we should try to do what we could to help. That's how things were back in my day. Yeah, I'm close to sixty years old, short by almost two years. Nowadays, if you say something to a child, not only might the child cuss you out, but nine times out of ten, when the parents find out, one or both of them will hunt you down and cuss you out.
Yes, I meant cuss and not curse. Having been a schoolteacher, I know the difference between the two words. Cussing is a whole other word and a whole other level than cursing. High-society folks, who make their subjects and verbs agree, curse. Folks who want to get you good and told cuss.
But back to what I was saying. I don't want to get off on that because that's a whole story in itself. I was in this horrific automobile accident. Everybody, including me, believed my life as I'd known it was over. Then Gabrielle stepped into my room and danced me back on my journey to recovery. There was such an anointing in my room that day, oh my goodness! I felt the glory of the Lord sitting . . . the weight of His glory on me. There's nothing like the glory of God to lift you up.
Yes, God raised me right up off of that sick bed. I heard Him speak to me just as clear as you hear me speaking now. “There is more that I require of thee. Get up, Esther! There's too much still left for you to do.”
So I girded myself up. I began putting on the whole armor of God. I held up my sword, I'm talking about the Word of God, and I was ready to get back on the battlefield.
If God has ever told you to do anything, please know that God equips those He calls. He raised me up off that deathbed, and in a little less than a year's time, my speech has become ninety-five percent clear again. My dance returned, not so much in my legs and feet as in my heart. There's something glorious to be said about dancing from the heart.
People come up and say, “Esther, how are you doing?” And I say, “I'm still kicking, just not as high.”
After God got me back on my feet, He told me I had to go help Gabrielle one more time. That there was a huge battle coming, and I needed to be there to assist. All I needed was one Word from the Lord. Over the objections of my family (mostly from my sister-in-law Leslie Morgan, also Zachary's mother), I packed my bags and told Zachary what time to pick me up from the airport. These new flying rules are horrible. I feel like Rip Van Winkle with everything that changed while I was out. What's all this taking off your shoes and folks with purple plastic gloves patting all over you? I'm almost an old woman. What exactly do they think I'm going to do?
There I go again: another subject for another time.
In mid-November 2010, I left Chicago and arrived in what had been my hometown for a few years. When you obey God, things fall into place even if to us it doesn't appear that's what it's doing. God knows what He's doing.
thought I was coming to Birmingham, Alabama, to help Gabrielle plan a wedding she and Zachary were taking much too long to move on. There was also that little unfinished legal matter between me and Mrs. Cecelia aka Cee-Cee Murphy, better known now as “the defendant.”
So after a beautiful Christmas with Zachary and Gabrielle (not to leave out my biggest surprise of all, little Jasmine Noble, who can dance just as wonderfully as her mother Gabrielle), who would have guessed that at the beginning of 2011, all Hell would break loose. No, I did not cuss here. When I say Hell, I mean Hell in every biblical sense of the word with the devil, his imps, and the fire and brimstone. Well, all of Hell broke loose. It's definitely what you would call the
side of divine.
God knows in advance of spiritual warfare when prayer warriors are needed to be called to arms and in place. God sent me to Birmingham (the home of U.S. Steel that helped give Birmingham its nickname The Magic City because of how fast the city grew, although some say it was because of the smog that caused the city to seemingly disappear then “magically” appear again), for such a time as this and . . .
You know what? Instead of me telling you everything, why don't I just let you see for yourself?