Miracles, Book Signings, and Wonders

waitongod-8679 (1)It was the perfect night for a book launch party. Hours before, the sun decided to come out for a visit, warming us with his presence after days of hiding behind dark dismal clouds and cold winter winds. The moon had now taken his place for the evening and was keeping the temperature at a crisp but comfortable 50 degrees.

I could feel the tension rising in me. I had tons more to do, more details to tend to, but only a smidgen of time to get them done–0.25 hours to be exact. In fifteen minutes I would need to get home from the beauty salon, take a shower, get dressed, beat my face, and drop off the decorations at the venue for the decorating crew to get everything ready for the crowd. It wasn’t going to happen. Then the phone rang.

waitongod-8626 (1)Tina, a close friend of mine had seen my text warning everyone that I would be late and saw my car at the beauty salon on her way to help decorate.

“I’m going to have to drop these things off and then go back home to get ready,” I said exasperated.

“I can take the decorations with me so you can go on home and get dressed,” Tina offered.

“I have a lot of stuff in my car, Tina. It’s going to take a while to unload and reload all of it.”

“We can just switch cars,” she offered.

She was such a life saver. I had already had a million things on my mind like what if more people showed up than I was expecting? What if I couldn’t feed or seat them all? All of these worries stemmed from the fact that I over invited. Three hundred plus invites sent on Facebook and an ad in the newspaper to notify all of Sumter County for a building that only held 108. What was I thinking? Well at least getting the decorations there on time was one thing could be crossed off my list of what ifs. Next I had to go home and try to make sure I didn’t get my freshly done curls wet in the shower. That would be a challenge.

After some time I did mwaitongod-8741anage to keep my hair dry, beat my face, and jump into the slinky, plum-colored dress I had finally chosen as my coming out look. I was finally ready but still in a panic. I felt like it was my wedding day all over again. People would be waiting for me, the author of the hour, to arrive. Everything needed to be perfect.

And it was in all the ways that really mattered. In my haste I forgot the power cord for my laptop, which I needed in order to play a slideshow I created especially for the event. It had a picture of my grandma on it that I wanted to show in memory of her, but I still got a chance to talk about her in my acknowledgements. I wanted to have certain moments during the event videotaped with my handheld video recorder, but I forgot the batteries. Then low and behold I noticed one of my covenant partners who happens to be a professional videographer, pointing a video camera at me. He was shooting video of the entire party, and I didn’t even ask him to do it.

waitongod-8827Needless to say all was well. I should have known it would be. I had prayed about it, my Pastor had told me not to worry, and in times past God had worked things out in my favor before. This night was no different. God worked a miracle and turned all my worries into wonders. The crowd–perfect; the food–perfect; the venue–perfect; the outfit–perfect; the book dedication ceremony–perfect; the book sales–perfect. My husband’s introduction of me even though I forgot to bring his glasses so he could read the very small printout of my bio–perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. Now on to more books, more signings, and more wonders!

***The “Wait on God” book signing and launch party was a huge success thanks to my Enon covenant partners, family members and friends both new and old. You all helped to make it great, and I love you for it. Be blessed with God’s best.

If you would like a copy of “Wait on God” visit http://www.BrianaGWhitaker.com.

Purposed Prayer (In Honor of Veteran’s Day)

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groaning too deep for utterance.  And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.  Romans 8: 26-27 (Amplified)

There is no way I’m getting up tonight.

It was 3 a.m.—the witching hour, according to some.  It was also time for me to get up and pray as had been my routine for the past week.  I had been led to get out of bed and find a secluded spot in our quarters at this hour to spend time with God, and it was becoming a routine.

This particular night though, an arresting sense of disease kept me still in my cot.  I scanned the room, not seeing anyone unusual.  My two roommates appeared to be in their cots.  No one was stirring.  All was quiet.   But the thick red haze lingered.  Lying there, I could feel fear sucking out my courage.   I blinked to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but the thick red haze remained.

My heart raced…it had nothing to do with nerves, although I wished it had been.  Something this sinister could only be a work of satan himself.

Only he could be responsible for the red cloud filling the room; the burning smell of sulfur that slapped me in the face.  If I hadn’t been awake before, I knew I was now.  I lied there stock still in my cot underneath sheer mosquito netting, which was now for me a safe haven, trying to make sense of what was happening around me.

I was in the same room with the same people, but it seemed like there was a different presence there—an evil one.

So I began to pray intensely.   Like my courage, words escaped me.  I remembered what I had been taught about a function of the Holy Spirit—when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit will intercede for us.  I let Him do His thing.  It was a blessing to be filled at that moment.  I prayed and prayed right there on my back until I could feel my courage come pouring back into me and an extraordinary peace surround me.  Sleep soon came, and so did the morning.

The next day, I didn’t mention the previous evening’s strange happenings because I didn’t think anyone would understand.  What was I really going to say?  “The devil was in here last night.”  Heck, I didn’t even know how to explain what had happened.

Later that evening, as my roommates and I sat around talking, a revelation hit me.

“The weirdest thing happened last night,” said Sgt. Toth, one of my roommates.  “Somebody was in our room.”

“In our room?”  I asked, fearing the unknown.

Who knows what his intention may have been:  to steal something from us, rape one of us, or maybe even kill one of us.  Whatever it was though, thankfully, God did not allow it to happen.

“He was standing over me, and I was in such a deep sleep that I just swung my arm at him,” she said.  “When I realized someone was actually there I grabbed my flashlight to see him.  That’s when he ran.”  She chased him out of the building, but could not catch him.

My mouth dropped in disbelief.  It was the same night I sensed the demonic presence, but I was completely oblivious to everything else she recounted.  I must have drifted back into a deep sleep after praying.  It was all so confusing and bizarre and unexplainable because I had never encountered the spiritual world in that way before.  Ironically, I never got up to pray again not because I was afraid, but because I no longer felt compelled.

After sharing that incident with a few people they helped me to see that those nights of intense prayer leading up to that night was preparation and protection for what was to come.  The Lord needed someone to stand in the gap and pray on all of our behalf, and I was the one chosen for the job.  Who knows what satan would have done had I not been obedient to the Lord leading me to pray for covering for everybody in the building and possibly even everyone at Camp Anaconda?  At the time I didn’t know what I was praying for, but I’m glad I was sensitive to the voice of my spirit.

And I am even gladder I didn’t get up that night.

Has something similar ever happened to you?  Has the Holy Spirit used you to intercede for a future situation?

Written in 2009 to recount an event that took place during my year-long deployment to Iraq back in 2003.

Under Attack (In Honor of Veteran’s Day)

Iraqi Freedom

This is a picture of the Coalition Press Information Center (CPIC) crew in Baghdad, Iraq back in 2003. I am the 3rd one from the left.

It was a typical morning in Baghdad about eight months into our yearlong deployment.  Daylight was beginning to peek into our window and a thick haze lurked about the polluted sky.  Morning prayer chants blared from the local mosque loud enough to wake the dead.  But they didn’t bother me though.  I was immune to them by this time because they were as regular as our meals:  three times a day, every day.

I was slowly stirring from sleep just before my alarm clock was set to sound, when all of a sudden I heard a loud thud.  Followed by another.  And then another. 

“What the…?” I muttered to myself.

We were under attack again.  We had had false alarms before, but something was different about this one.   

“Boom!” I could feel my bed vibrate on impact.  The Iraqi hotel we were staying in, which was once inhabited by Saddam Hussein, felt like it was going to crumble with us in it.

The tremor jolted my battle buddy Thompson and me from sleep. We shot out of bed.  Scurried around the room trying to find our vital belongings.  The sudden unrest made us forget all that we had learned about properly responding to an enemy attack.  But we were not trained for this kind of attack.  We had been trained to fight in the woods, camouflaging ourselves and digging foxholes, not escaping a 12-floor hotel in the middle of the city.  Unlike what we expected, our enemy was not a foreign soldier in uniform. It was terrorism riding on the backs of rocket-propelled grenades launched from hundreds of meters away.  Adrenaline took over.  Our agenda was to get out of there as fast as we could and that meant staying on our feet.

We threw on our shoes.  Grabbed only what was necessary: weapons and ammunition, ID cards, bulletproof vests, and helmets. 

Then we heard banging on our room door.

“Get out of the building!” yelled the Gurka security guard, going from room to room confirming our fear.

“Let’s go Wright!” my battle buddy yelled, thrusting open the door.

Not knowing what to expect on the other side of our door, we hurried out into smoke, debris, and eerie darkness amid cries of help from other frightened individuals.

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This was the second attack. The Iraqi insurgents had their sights better set this time.


And then panic begins.

You open your eyes.  Open them so wide your head hurts.  You order your lungs to slow down, NOW, you need to breath, need it NOW.  But your airways ignore you.  Your chest heaves, contracts, expands, and suddenly you’re gagging on smoke.  Your eyes squint and your face winces and all you can manage to do is cough and sputter.  Your hands reach and feel.  Somewhere a cold front has passed and chills envelope your body…… You want to cry.  You would if you could.  But tears would only worsen your vision.

Panic.

“Thompson!  I can’t see!” I screamed to my battle buddy who was already way ahead of me at the staircase.


“I’m right here Wright!”  She roared.

“Where?  I can’t see you!”  I cried in desperation.

Then I felt her grab my hand and lead me to the staircase.

What I remember next is the cramped stairwell as we scurried down ten long flights.  I remember turning my thoughts heavenward, praying, pleading for my life not to end like this. 

“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty… He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty!”  I stammered over and over again to myself.

Someone was yelling.  No, not just yelling.  Wailing and bleeding.  I saw men carrying an injured lady, blood trailing behind them.  Thompson and I pushed our way through the hoards of people on the stairs.  They were moving too slowly, and we wanted out.  Fast. 

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Rocket-propelled grenades were fired from across the street, about 300 meters away from the hotel.

Once we made it to the bottom floor we stood in the middle of the lobby, panting uncontrollably, trying to locate familiar faces.  I wondered if we were now safe or if we’d actually have to defend ourselves.  Seeing the infantry soldiers and the military police swarming around the doors made me feel safer.  I looked around the room at the people, thankful for peace, thankful for friends, thankful to be alive. 

We were gathered to hear further instructions about evacuation.  I could see many crying, some hugging coworkers, and many looking frightened and puzzled as to what had just happened.

We soon found out that a group of insurgents had set up a bright blue trailer loaded with about 20 rockets about 300 meters away from us.  Apparently they pulled it there, dropped it off and left knowing that at approximately 7 am the rockets would hit their target and change our lives forever.  We also learned that one Army colonel’s life was claimed in the attack.  A rocket had flown directly into his room window, exploding with him in it.   

At that moment I realized the devastating, raping effects of terrorism which leaves its victims defenseless.  Although in a crowded room I felt vulnerable.  With a loaded weapon, bullet proof vest, and the military police surrounding me, I felt vulnerable.

Suddenly a thought hit me.  If it had not been for divine protection, I could have been the one dead instead of the one experiencing the aftermath. 

My battle buddy turned to me and asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Thanks for coming back for me.” I managed to say between sobs, hugging her for the first time ever.

“You know I couldn’t leave my buddy back there,” she said.

That was the beginning of a most eventful and life-changing day in Baghdad, Iraq—one that I will never forget for as long as I live.  In that 15 minutes of fear I learned alot; the importance of preparedness and teamwork, but most importantly I gained a new appreciation for life, which can be here one minute and gone the next.

There were more scary days to follow during our deployment,but none like the day we were under attack.

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A view of the side of the hotel. I actually think this was the first attempt (target practice) to attack the Al Rasheed Hotel and its inhabitants.

I wrote this in 2004 after returning home from my year-long deployment in Iraq.  I thought I’d share this in honor of all the Veterans out there who truly sacrifice their lives for their country.