My name is Ellen Harlow and I am here to praise the Lord Christ Jesus for being “my everything”!
You know, the Lord is the very essence of my being. I cannot do anything without him because I know I’m not capable of making decisions much less carrying them out without his direction. You see, this has been proven time and time again in my life and, “by George I believe I’ve finally got it”!
I, like so many folks, was raised in a good old Baptist environment. I was baptized at the age of 12 and I can remember the days when “Amen” was said out loud while the preacher was a preaching! “Praise the Lord” was heard every time someone felt blessed. Now, you hardly ever hear “Amen”, not to mention “Praise the Lord”! I’m not just talking about the Baptist, I’m awfully sure there are a plenty of other denominations out there that this will also apply.
You see, my life has been a life of a whole lot of keeping quiet. I was sexually abused until the age of 10 by a couple of adults. I’m not really sure exactly when it began although I do remember being told that I could not tell anyone because my mama and daddy would get really mad at me and they wouldn’t love me anymore. I was also told that no one would ever believe me.
This was not hard for me to believe because my parents were not the type that showed a lot of affection very well. In fact, my mama just about died, literally, when she gave birth to me and I can’t remember her ever holding me much less ever kissing me. My daddy was the only one who would let me hug and kiss him even though he was never the one who initiated it. Mama never did care for hugging. She said that was mushy stuff and she didn’t like it.
I depended on daddy — I was his little girl. He would take up for me when mama started to give me a whooping. His taking up for me never stopped the whooping but it helped to know someone cared about me.
My mama wore the pants in our family. My daddy had no education — but, boy, did he have common sense! And, as unusual as it sounds, he could add, subtract, and multiply in his head in seconds. That always amazed me! My mama, on the other hand, had a ninth grade education. She was the one who had to manage the bills and make sure everything was handled properly.
In 1973, at the age of nineteen, we found out that daddy was dying. I felt like I was in a dream and I just knew that I was going to wake up any minute but unfortunately that was not the case. The doctor’s gave him about 6 to 12 months to live. They said the cancer was too far gone and they could not do anything for him.
In March of 1974 we received word that my mama’s daddy had killed himself. That has always been debatable, but nonetheless, mama went to her home place to help her sisters make all the necessary arrangements while I stayed at home to look after daddy.
It was a scary time for me because daddy got real bad off after mama left and I had to take him to the hospital. Mama was back and forth until her daddy was buried and then came the time we had all dreaded so bad. It had only been a couple of weeks since mama’s daddy died and now here she was with her husband on his death bed.
I can remember that night as clearly as if it were yesterday. Daddy was in a coma. As I laid on the bed with him I heard one of the little old ladies from the community saying, “Why, he could lay there for days like that”! You know back then when someone was about to die, the entire neighborhood showed up! Anyway, when I heard that, I was laying on the bed holding daddy’s arm in mine and I said, “Dear Lord, please don’t let my daddy lay here and suffer”. It was at that very moment this little voice (Holy Spirit) said, “Sit up and look at your daddy”. When I did, I watched him release his last breath so easily. I could not believe what I had seen. I left the hospital that night in a daze. As I drove home, I can remember listening to Jim Crocie singing “Time In A Bottle”. Funny how things like that stick with you.
After the funeral is when I really got mad at God! I could not believe how he was leaving me with that old hateful woman, my mama! I walked away from God! I was working a full-time job, so getting back to work was a good thing.
The one thing that I did not plan on, was being seduced by a woman who was old enough to be my mama. She loved me like I had never been loved before and that was new and exciting and in some ways it was comforting. This went on for about a year after daddy died. Then, I became restless and decided it was time for me to leave home and be on my own. I thought that moving away would help me get my life together and somehow I would find the peace, love, and acceptance I was looking for. Little did I know that, as soon as I moved and got settled, an old friend from high school would show up and want to take me out and show me around the big city. Little did I know that I would find myself in gay nightclubs drinking, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, which led to cocaine, acid and all kinds of other drugs. I was lost.
Twenty years of my life was spent in several relationships with women, partying and singing in gay nightclubs and continuing the drug scene. I was a mess! I just couldn’t seem to get it together. You see, in gay relationships, you move one partner out while bringing another one in. Homosexuals have very little down time between partners and before anyone wants to jump on that and debate it ….. yes, there are exceptions, but in no way does the exception make it right.
I remember one night in particular, I spoke to the Lord for the first time in 20 years. I said, Lord, I am so tired of this life but I can’t get out of it by myself! I told him that if he was really there, he was going to have to get me out of this relationship because I was not capable.
It was about a year after that when the girl who was living with me told me she was leaving. I was crushed because, you see, I was always the one doing the leaving — I always had someone waiting to take their place. This time, I was being left and I had no one waiting to do anything! I was alone for the first time in my life since my daddy died. Again, I heard that little voice (Holy Spirit) say, “You asked for this”.
I cried out to Christ Jesus! I fell on my knees in the middle of the living room floor and screamed at the Lord. I shouted out to him, “If my lifestyle is really wrong, then you show me!!!! You let me know that it’s wrong!” I said, “You can show me in your word [the Holy Bible].” I jumped up from the middle of that living room floor and started to search for that paperback “Living Bible” that I sent off for from a Billy Graham Crusade when I was a little girl. I could hardly see on account of the tears while searching box after box for that Bible.
I finally found it and I said, “Lord, if I’m living wrong, then you show me. I’m just going to get in the bed and you will have to make sure I open it and start reading where I’m suppose to because I don’t know where to look!” I got all situated in the bed and propped my head up on one arm and opened the Bible and stated to read. This is what I read:
“Don’t you know that those doing such things have no place in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals — will have no share in his kingdom. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
I flew up out of that bed and commenced to speed walking through that house crying, praising and thanking Christ Jesus for answering me. I know if anybody had of been outside of my house they would have thought I had lost my mind! Needless to say, that night I slept like a baby.
The next morning on the way into work I was on “cloud nine” (so to speak) until this little voice said, “Huh … you know that was that old Billy Graham translation and you know that you have always heard that the King James Version was the most accurate translation”. All of a sudden, my balloon was busted! I was deflated for the entire day!
When I got back home, I hurried inside because I remembered I had a huge family Bible that I had found in a vacant apartment that was packed away in another box. I thought it might be a King James, and sure enough it was. I opened it quickly and read the passage and homosexual was not mentioned anywhere. I was back where I started.
I fell back down on my knees and began to cry and plead with Christ Jesus to please help me! I said, “Lord, I have always heard that we aren’t suppose to question you, but if you will show me one more time, I promise I will never ask you again!” I said, “Please just show me like you did last night.” I jumped up and grabbed that same Billy Graham Bible not realizing that this translation was the reason I was asking him to show me again in the first place. I jumped into bed as if to reenact exactly what had occurred the night before. I said, “Lord, I’m just going to open it up, so please direct my eye’s just like you did last night.” This is what I read:
“That is why God let go of them and let them do all these evil things, so that even their women turned against God’s natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other. And the men, instead of having a normal sex relationship with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and as a result, getting paid within their own souls with the penalty they so richly deserved”. (Romans 1:26-27)
This time I came straight up out of that bed and hit my knees crying and thanking and praising him with all of my heart and soul. I knew he was there! Then, this small little voice (Holy Spirit) said, “Stand up, go and look in the King James” …… needless to say, it says the very same thing, and my life has to this day never been the same!
Christ Jesus has directed my life ever since that day in 1992. I promised him that night that I was giving myself to him for a mighty work. To bring praise and glory to his name. I prayed and asked him for several things that night.
#1 Lord, please allow me to continue to sing and write songs. I promise I will do it all for your glory and not for my personal gain.
#2 Lord, please clean up my nasty mouth. Every other word that came out of my mouth was trash.
#3 I give myself to you for a mighty work that will bring praise and glory to your name. Lord, I will tell everyone what you have done for me but you know that I can’t do it while my mama is still alive.
#4 Lord, please don’t let my mama ever die and leave me with any guilt or regret because, Lord, you know I could not live with myself.
My first request was answered immediately. I wrote two songs and recorded them. My second request was answered a few days later. In fact, it shocked me so bad because the word “shoot” came out of my mouth and believe you me that was definitely not the word I was going to say! Bad language ended that day!
My third request came very unexpectedly a few years later. My recording studio approached me about taking a poem that someone had written and putting it to music. When I finished re-writing the words and adding the music, I was so touched that I paid to record it myself. It was a song titled “Memories & Times”. It was a song about your mama dying that I had made my own. I took it home and mama and I listened to it in her automobile. After it finished playing, she punched me [affectionately] on the leg and said, “See there, that’s the way it is, you don’t miss us till we’re gone”. We laughed.
Little did I know that one year later this song would begin to play out in its entirety. It was Thanksgiving Day and, as always, I went home to take mama out to eat.
I knew she had been to the doctor and he wanted me to call him when I arrived. When she opened the door for me, I knew something was terribly wrong! I tried not to show my concern because I didn’t want to worry her.
I had to help her in the vehicle for the first time in my life and help her out when we arrived at the restaurant. I had to fix her plate also, which is something I’ve never had to do. She hardly ate anything. I tried to be encouraging and said things like: “Oh, he probably just wants to tell me that you need some help at home or something like that”.
We left the restaurant and I drove over to the hospital and went inside while mama waited in the truck. They paged the doctor and told me he would call back in just a minute. He did and when I answered the phone and heard him tell me she was going to die, a part of me died at that very moment. He gave her maybe 6 months. I was devastated.
You see the Lord was in total control. He was answering my 4th prayer request in order to fulfill my 3rd prayer request.
My job gave me a leave of absence. I was able to come home and take care of my mama. For the first time in my entire life we were able to talk and tell each other how much we loved one another. She told me how proud she was of me and of how my life had changed and how thankful she was that the Lord allowed her to see it. I had the chance to tell her how proud I was to have her as my mama and how much I appreciated her raising me to know the Lord. We also had the chance to talk about her seeing the Lord, daddy, and her mama, etc. Most importantly, we prayed together asking the Lord not to let her suffer but to take her on home to be with him.
The Lord allowed me to have from Thanksgiving Day 1997 through January 13, 1998 with my mama. He allowed me to hold her hand when she drew her last breath. What a mighty God we serve!
Last but not least, the song “Memories & Times” played out in its entirety — every lyric and every emotion … even down to the weather outside. You see, Christ Jesus knew from beginning to end. For perfection is his entire being. Won’t you let him direct your life from beginning to end? I promise he is the only one who can turn what seems to be an impossible situation into a possible one, sadness into joy and confusion into peace. If you haven’t yielded your life to Christ, please don’t let this moment pass you by, because you may not ever have another opportunity. He stands knocking if only you will answer. If anyone who reads this should desire to speak with me about overcoming homosexuality, please feel free to contact me. I’m only an e-mail away.