Fighting the Good Fight of Sickness

Fighting the Good Fight of Sickness

universal rehab gig long branch nj 2010

Children of God who struggle with a catastrophic  and chronic condition have the extra burden of dealing with excruciating pain. There are few things one can do except taking medication  which often doesn’t kill the pain. Struggling with all kinds of allergies, lung ailments, Lyme disease and Dystonia (from environmental illness) I’ve had to hunker down with Jesus and God’s word to get through each hour. I pray that you will find peace as you discipline yourself in His strengthening word

We also well know that we are in warfare and we shouldn’t be surprised at this fiery trial that is before us. Though Father never gives us illness, he always uses it for His glory and our benefit. In my case, suffering has taught me about the treasures of an empathetic heart and I find such blessings in sharing my gifts of singing-performing, encouragement and visiting at bedside the sick, elderly and dying.

I’ve also learned that illness often has an emotional-spiritual root, so I’ve had to work very hard to address many past issues of emotional traumas, abuse and abandonment. I highly suggest Henry Wright’s insightful book, A More excellent Way. Father is so faithful giving us the needed grace each day to move forward.

Recovery may also mean getting down to the nitty gritty of deliverance counseling and forgiveness. I have had to work  very hard for a few decades to abide peacefully in the shelter of His wings! Pray and ask Father and Holy Spirit if there is cleaning you need to do win your minds attic. Daily meditation of God’s word especially the Psalms can transform you immensely.

Pray, research, get counsel, pray, research. Be open-minded and open-hearted and see what miracles father has for you.

Duuteronomy 30:19

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Don’t accept what the doctors tell you. God is the only one who has decreed your end. You have choice and treatment options. Do you want to beat this thing or die? It’s your choice!

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Science has proven that the nerves connected speech, so the mouth and jaw are all interconnected with the brain cells and nuero-transmitters!

Psalm 139:14
(New living Translation)
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.

The human body is astoundingly resilient, can heal itself Science still has not uncovered all the mysteries of the human body and its marvelous workmanship.

Psalm 139:17-18
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand.. When I awake, I am still with you.

Imagine God being so in love with you that he thinks about you all day? What a multitude of wonderful thoughts He has towards us and is with us every moment morning til our state of unconsciousness. Every Child of God must learn that Father loves us more than we could even fathom. A stronghold of many is the spirit of unworthiness. We have been rejected, bullied or unnoticed for most of our lives, this often, deeply-imbedded mental stronghold keeps us from truly believing we are worthy because of Jesus!

Isaiah 50:7
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Phil 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Isaiah 43 18-19
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.

Ezekiel 37 12-14
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
The valley of the dry bones has been the most mesmerizing of all scripture to me. I marvel at the wonder of God totally restoring dry, dead bones! He is more than able to do more than we can imagine.

Isaiah 53: 5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 58:8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Psalm 61
I will cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed.

Lam. 3:22-23
His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.

Romans 8:35-36
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Psalm 23

23The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green [1] pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest [2] my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [3]

Jer. 17: 7 &8
…Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Rev 21:5
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Is. 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Rev 21:5
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Psalm 119:33
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Psalm, 46:10
…. “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Psalm, 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Phil 4:8

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Eph 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

A Tailor’s Journey With Her Taylor

private party sparta GOLF CLUB,b

A Tailor’s Journey With Her Taylor

Before I fell in Love with music, I was a skilled tailor by trade. As a young girl, I watched my mother sew with thread and needle. I tried my hand and found I was skilled. By sixth grade, I was designing the medieval costumes for school plays and continued to take fashion and seamstress courses in high school. After graduation, to make ends meet, I tailored for various local seamstress shops and even at Abraham and Strauss.

After several years, I grew restless sitting at a sewing machine all day. I hoped for an out and got one a few months after my new job at a fine ladies dress shop. I altered very expensive clothing and was very stressed. One day, a month into my stint at a fine ladies dress shop, I was working on a suit. My mind drifted. I wasn’t paying attention to the heat of my iron. To my horror, the iron touched the lining of the suit’s sleeve and melted a noticeable hole. My supervisor discovered it the next day and I was fired.

I became very depressed and for over a year, I languished directionless and unmotivated, going to different neighborhoods for garden work and leaf raking. It was a very difficult and uncreative time, but I had to pay my rent. I prayed to God for a miracle and knew that He had something very special for me.

In 1989, I befriended a talented guitar player who asked me to front his Christian heavy metal/hard rock band. Chris liked my voice and I ended up writing lyrics for him and his drummer. We fell in love, soon discovered we had some differences and less than a year later, we broke up. The band also fell apart.

Time healed our wounds. Chris and I resumed our friendship and he has remained my long-time song-writing partner, contributing greatly to my recorded songs. he is one of the most creative lead guitarists I’ve ever worked with.

Fast forward, a few years later, a surprising and unexpected door opened! My friend and spiritual mother and I were enjoying a crisp, fall day at the Collingswood Auction flea market. We were searching the small stores for treasures. At one store, she noticed a handsome, pony-tailed guy eying something in a counter. “Mom” Winnie tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he was a guitar player.

“I’m helping my friend find a suitable guitarist to accompany her for her gigs,” she explained.

Jeff was so gracious and asked her if I had any music he could buy. He followed us to my car where I had a copy of my first, recently printed CD, “I’ll Fly High”. Then we exchanged numbers. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home and found his message on my answering machine!

“That voice! That voice” he gloated. I called him.

“With that gorgeous voice you need to be accompanying your own self on guitar,” Jeff urged.

The next week, Jeff came over with his guitar, sat me down and showed me the fingerings of a few basic chords. He urged me to get comfortable with it and play every day.

By the end of the week, I’d fallen in love with his guitar. Two weeks later, I wrote my first song, an acoustic ballad, Receive.” A month later, I felt confident enough to play my own guitar at a church coffeehouse and a woman even accepted the Lord as her Savior at the end of the concert as we prayed together! People responded so well to my voice, that I bought a jazz chord book so I could experiment with different chords. I wrote “Basket Case” a week later!


Jeff was so impressed that he planned to take me on a shopping spree for my own guitar. We made plans to visit Nothing New Music store, Lakehurst, NJ, Taylor guitars were advertised. When the owner, Ken Sturcke. offered to show his three Taylors he wanted to sell, Jeff’s eyes lit up. He was especially impressed by a certain model because of her rich-bodied tome and cherry wood. After playing a few more leads, Jeff smiled, “Well that settles it, Ken, Anita’s gonna take this Taylor.”

I balked at the list price, but Ken said he would give me a great deal on the Taylor.

“Your angelic voice must be accompanied by this Taylor,” Ken assured me.

I was so excited, I knew this was a God thing! Ken prayed with me that God would bless my artistry and ministry with the Taylor. I knew in my heart that we’d soon be making wonderful history.with her. When I got home, I pondered the sudden timeliness of purchasing such an expensive thing as a guitar, I knew God would make a way for me to pay for her…and He was faithful

Within a month, I had the full thousand dollars. I didn’t even have to pay for the seventy-five dollars tax because I served with a non-profit organization. Our executive director said that my singing/ministering was a part of the organization ministry.

I’ll never forget that day I walked out of Ken’s store with my exquisite Taylor. The following year, I was continually inspired to write new songs, experimenting along the way with the unique jazz chords I’d found in my book. The Taylor kept up her true tuning despite humidity and the cold. My Taylor was so well-crafted that I never suffered the embarrassment of an out-of-tune guitar at the start of my set. My Taylor continued to give me excellent, service for all my gigs as well as funeral/wake service.

Opening for Highway 9, STONE PONY

Fast forward again, a few years later, I had to make an impromptu visit to a friend who was dying of cancer. I’d just came home from grocery shopping and had left my Taylor outside, next to the rear of my car. After dusk, I hurried to start my car and proceeded to back out. Each time I tried to go in reverse, the car would stop. Something was caught by the wheel. As I tried backing out the third time, I suddenly remembered I’d left my Taylor outside. When I got out of my car, I shrieked in horror. The top part of the Taylor’s case was mangled! I almost passed as I bent down to take a closer look. I felt weak with shock as I gingerly opened the case to inspect the damage. The upper neck was in bad shape. Tears fell from my eyes as I ran back to my apartment to call my boyfriend about the terrible news. He calmed me down and then I called my pastor. He prayed with me that the Taylor was not so badly damaged that she couldn’t be played again.

I called Ken, told him what had happened with my Taylor. He suggested a friend who owned a luthier shop in Toms River. I brought the Taylor to Paul Unkert and he said the Taylor was repairable. He couldn’t guarantee that she’d stay in tune, but he would do the best he could. It turned out that the truss rod had not been damaged.

My Taylor had another accident again, about three years ago. She was in her case, standing vertical. The case just fell over, slamming violently to the floor. Again, the upper neck came apart. Again, Paul Unkert came to rescue and again, Amazingly, The Taylor still kept her tune!

Soon after the Taylor’s second accident and repair, I fell ill with a mysterious condition which affected my neurological system. Fearful, my husband and I saw a doctor who diagnosed me with Dystonia. He had no idea what caused it nor a cure to give me relief. My neck & throat muscles pulled and twitched violently. I made strange-looking facial grimaces and was exhausted by mid-day. I lost all interest in socializing, my hobbies, eating, song-writing and gigging. The Dystonia also affected my mouth, teeth and tongue. I felt like a freak. I was always anxious that at any moment, my teeth would comp down hard on my tongue and I’d be a bleeding mess.I was miserable!

Anita strummin' fall 2009
I forced myself to leave the house and make something of my life. I ended up visiting the elderly, ailing and handicapped seniors at Buttonwood Hospital. I found when I made the sacrifice, I was so rewarded giving joy and music to those suffering more than me! Amazingly, when I sang with her, my tremors lessened!

Dystonia has been vicious to me, often robbing me of creativity, motivation and joy BUT God…has always provided me with strength and hope each day as I continue to seek a cure and restore my former life. There’s no room for bitterness or resentment when I see people in worse shape. God is my strength and I live moment by moment, one day at a time.

Playing Christmas Hymms on my guitar with Pastor Matt

As I continued struggling with my symptoms, the beautiful Taylor seems to take on her own voice. Often, I’m in such distress I can’t stop crying. I’d suddenly stop as lyrics flowed through my mind. I grabbed my Taylor and wrote beautiful laments-songs, sometimes within 15 minutes! From this painful year came enough material for a my first worship Psalms CD, “The Anointing.”

“I’ve Come Here To Worship” is one such song that unendurable;e pain inspired me to write. Weeping is always followed by praise and worship when I acquiesce to His presence and get out of my self! Many more songs have come from this place of suffering.

My Taylor possesses another special quality: a magnetic attraction to nature and wildlife. One such episode was when I stopped to relax on a park bench in Marine Park, Red Bank, NJ for some solitude.I faced the undulating, peaceful Navesink river, The skies were blue with puffy white clouds. I noticed a school of fish congregating to where I was. At first, I thought it was coincidence that they lingered right there in front of me. Every time I stopped playing to take a short break, they swan away. As soon as they heard the strains of my voice and guitar, they floated back towards me. It was pretty amazing! I felt like the Pied Piper. Birds and dragon flies are also prone to linger whenever I play and sing.

The most transcendent episode with my Taylor though, has been when I had to minister at a funeral service. She accompanied me at the bedside of a my husband’s best friend’s dying father. I sang amazing Grace and my Psalm 91 and encouraged him not to be afraid of where he was going. I felt like Monica of “Touched By an Angel’

“Do you know how much God loves you,” I tenderly whispered to Claude’s father as I held his hand.

He died a few days later and I was asked to sing a song for his memorial service. I sang Psalm 91 again.

When my husband and I arrived at the Catholic church, we were surprised to find out the cantor had not even expected me to sing. Nonetheless, God gave me favor and the cantor told me where I would be in the program. As I walked to the podium to sing my solo. I noticed the sublime ambiance of the stain-glassed surroundings of the church. My pristine soprano reverberated and I felt like an angel singing glory to God. After the service, family and friends met at the banquet hall nearby. When I went to the ladies room, I noticed a woman pulling my husband aside. When I met him at our table, he told me the woman was an old family friend and had to tell him something.

“I must tell you that your wife has a beautiful voice… the voice of an angel My gift is seeing into the supernatural realm. As your wife was singing,I saw cherubim gathered around her shoulder. They were dancing gleefully and celebrating!”

I was very surpassed to hear that from my husband but it made sense in light of the precious way, the Taylor and music entered my life. It was so extra-ordinary, no one could deny God’s hand in this magical and sublime gift. My Taylor and I were a mesmerizing pair! Another amazing thing is that no one in my family was a musician or had a calling for ministry.

Performing at Buttonwood
At present I am without my Taylor. This spring’s unusual humidity caused my Taylor’s neck to come apart again, so she is waiting for a miracle. I’ve been performing and ministering with Jeff’s guitar and though she is wonderful sounding, nothing compares to my Taylor.

I’m praying to continue ministering at the hospitals, finish the recording of my “Anointing” Cd and to be ready when there is a need for people to come into God’s presence. I know I’m called to continue recording and performing the exquisite psalms my heavenly Father inspires me to write. I wait expectantly to see the next miracle with my Taylor!