By LeBetha Casey
Though the weather outside was rainy, the spirits of the more than 50 area women were not dampened as they gathered for a ladies luncheon on Saturday, February 26, 2021, at Cornerstone Ministries Cowboy Church near Logansport. Each lady was allowed to select a colorful “Sisters in Christ” T-shirt upon arrival. Coffee, tea, fruit and other snacks were available as ladies greeted one another.
The pastor’s wife, Pam Matthis, opened the program with prayer and a welcome to the attendees. Sharlyn Cawthorn shared a short devotion about “Persevering Love,” citing scripture references from James 1:2-4, and 1 Cor. 13:7. Two songs were led by a praise team before Kim Pepmiller offered a solo, “In Jesus Name.”
Paula Abbott, who is the co-pastor of Round Pen Cowboy Church in Terrell, TX with her husband, Toby, was the guest speaker. She began by sharing a bit of her history of being rejected by her mother from the womb, being given to her mother’s friend at birth, and then being adopted at 8 months of age by a dysfunctional family whose father was abusive and an atheist. At age 7, she made her first attempt at suicide. Age 16 found her frequenting bars and being raped, causing her to become pregnant. Her parents signed her over to her rapist for a short-lived marriage, and then she divorced, fearing for the lives of her daughter and herself.
By her early 20’s Abbott had given birth to two boys. Her 13-year meth addiction caused her to become homeless and losing custody of her children. To support her addiction, she sold her body. This destructive lifestyle led her to two more suicide attempts. In desperation, she attended a Cowboy Church in Amarillo, TX and heard about Jesus for the first time in her life. On March 7 this year, Abbott will celebrate 25 years of being clean of drugs.
Abbott began her message of encouragement speaking from Joshua 1:6–“Be strong and of good courage. . .’ She admonished her listeners “To prepare” as stated in Joshua 1:10. While in spiritual/physical battles one becomes tired, so afterwards one should “Rest” according to Joshua 11:23. If our spirits become empty, it can be expensive to fill them up again, so we should continuously refill ourselves with God. God can use us even if we are the only one present at the time—-such as when Elijah was the only Godly man among hundreds of others when he called fire down from Heaven on Mt. Carmel during a drought.
Before reading a list of encouraging tidbits, the last scripture quoted was Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; … I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Special prayer was then offered to anyone who so desired.
Abbott made available for purchase copies of the three books she has authored and T-shirts with the message, “After God made me, He said TADA.”
At the close of the meeting, a wonderful lunch of beans, tacos with all the trimmings, and a wide variety of desserts were offered.
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