Jan 31, 2012

SHINE girl spotlight....

Happy Tuesday, SHINE friends! If you are new to SHINE, we post a SHINE girl spotlight every week.

Each girl chosen, shares her testimony (or anything she wants to share), and then she picks the SHINE girl spotlight for the following week. Got it?

So, last week's SHINE spotlight was Courtney Butler. Don't we love Courtney? Her story touched all of our hearts...and then some.

Courtney has chosen the next SHINE girl spotlight, and here is her introduction. Be blessed. Very, very blessed. (grab your kleenex box, again.)

Courtney's Introduction:
If I could’ve hand-picked my mama, I can assure you that the one God chose for me would be the one I would’ve selected.  I am beyond proud to say that my mama is truly my best friend.  Her family is her life and, to this day, she will do ANYTHING for us.  Her love never fails. 

My mom is a warrior.  She has battled through so much in her life.  She has handled all trials in her life with class and it is because of her that I have been able hold my head high through my own trials.  Her incredible strength has certainly showed me, as her daughter, how to persevere and never lose hope, for God is in control and He never fails us.   

I hope that each of you appreciate all that your mom is in your life.  If not, I beg of you to make amends with her.  You never know when it might be too late.  Just as we are important to our children, we as children, still need our moms too…no matter how old we get. 

I am PROUD to introduce you to my beautiful, strong, and fabulous mama, Freda.

I’m not a writer, but I’m a survivor!
by Freda.

~Freda and her grandchildren~

~Freda and her Mike~

“Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid…for the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and He will be my Savior.”

Without a doubt, these words have been the greatest source of comfort and strength to me. I first heard them sung in church almost 30 years ago by my children. Our church‘s music department presented “ The First Song of Isaiah”  every Mother’s Day and it was quite the production with all of the church choirs participating. My children have since taught their own children these beautiful lyrics and our family continues to be blessed by them.

I married young…my husband was three years older and I loved him and trusted him will all my heart. We were blessed with three beautiful children and life seemed perfect to me. One day after almost 21 years of marriage my husband announced he wasn’t happy and that he was moving out. To say I was shocked is an understatement and my children were crushed beyond words. I was so worried about them and all I could think about was protecting them and keeping their lives as close to normal as possible. I never expected my children to be the product of divorce…but it happened and it hurt…and yet we grew so much from that pain. 

 At night, I sat in bed and read my bible. I was desperate to find answers and was so scared for all of us and our uncertain future. The words my children had sung were so true. .Surely it is God who SAVES me! I will trust in Him and NOT be afraid! We survived that year and I received strength, hope, courage and blessings beyond belief!

Five months after the divorce God put a plan into motion that changed my life completely. Events that only HE could orchestrate resulted in a blind date that led to a nineteen year marriage that has blessed not only me but my children and grandchildren, as well. My husband is a generous, kind and loving man who tells me constantly that he loves me and my children (and he has three children and six grandchildren of his own)! We have a wonderful life and I am grateful for it every day.
Nine months after our wedding I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Unfortunately, we don’t get the opportunity to say “no thank you”, so chemotherapy and radiation followed. Being bald with no eyelashes or eye brows on your first wedding anniversary is NOT cool !!!!! My children had just “lost” their father and now I had to add to their worries with the threat that they might lose me too! As mothers, we can’t help but worry about our children and all I could think about was protecting them and keeping their lives as normal as possible. Once again, God lifted me up and gave me the courage I needed to survive!   

Almost six years ago our entire family experienced my saddest time ever. You met my beautiful daughter Courtney in last week’s blog

Watching her come home from the hospital without her baby was the hardest thing I had ever done. The entire situation with baby Harrison was such a shock to us all and no one could have ever expected the outcome. It didn’t matter to me that she was all grown up ….she was still my little girl and all I wanted was to protect her and make everything ok. Guess what? She didn’t need any of that from me! She was so strong and God had lifted her up and protected her and filled her with His love. She said to me “How can I question God’s plan for my baby”?  We are so blessed to have had him for the time we did…some families never have that chance.

 She was so strong and truly carried our entire family. I am so proud of her but even more grateful to God for His many blessings to me and my family. Trusting in God and not being afraid is the only reason we survive the difficult times we face. How blessed we are to have a loving, caring God who protects us and saves us!

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world!   Isaiah 12:2-6


  1. Freda,

    when Courtney emailed me your story last night, I sat on my bed and read it several times.

    you TRULY inspire. i love your courage, strength, and faith.

    thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. it takes courage to share our testimony, and we are all beyond blessed that you shared yours.

    much love,


  2. Don't know you Freda, but love you! What a wonderful sister in Christ! I, like Courtney had the wonderful model of a Mama! She was married almost 65 years to her childhood sweetheart...and lived to be almost 90...but loved her daughters this love you have spoken of. I, like Courtney, rise and call her blessed as Courtney has you! My sweet sister was married 19 years and went through the break in her marriage that affected all of us...her husband a true brother to me..I'm weeping as I bond with you and what you've been through..she also has the most wonderful 2nd marriage one who has blessed our whole family..he's a bff of my husband and brother inlaw...and sooo good to her children and grands. I'm the sister who came home without a baby...and had to be off my feet to carry my youngest. Mama had the breast cancer...and survived...hallelujah!! as well as many surgeries in her life...We are all stronger..as you say..and we all say "Look what the LORD has done!!!" Thank you, Freda, for allowing me to be so blessed this morning! :) <3 Thanks Courtney! What a wonderful surprise!! ;)

  3. Two beautiful, strong women. I know your stories touched lives and will continue to do so. God's Blessings on you.

  4. this is so inspiring, Freda. thank you for being real, and sharing your heart with us. i was certainly blessed reading it.

    i met your beautiful daughter at the SHINE party. now we know where she gets her beauty!

    hopefully we will meet at the next party.

    much love~

  5. Anonymous1/31/2012

    THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for your testimony. You shine bright!

  6. Thank you for sharing this with us. Very inspiring.

  7. Thank you Shine Girls for your sweet remarks. I look forward to meeting you all some day soon.Have a blessed week.

  8. Anonymous2/01/2012

    Mrs. Freda~ you are a treasure! so thankful to have met you, be inspired by you, and share your love for Christ! your story touches my heart. your love, strength, and endurance for your family is what i always long to show in my own family. thank you for your leadership and opening your heart to us all. you shine bright! love always, erin spinks:)

  9. Anonymous2/01/2012

    Thank you for sharing Ms. Freda. You wrote that beautifully. So glad the Lord has blessed you, and I hope he continues to do so for years to come. May He shine His face upon you and your family all the days of your life. I needed the reminder this morning that He is our source at all times. Thank you! Sarah Frachiseur

  10. Anonymous2/01/2012

    Your headline should have read "I AM a writer and a survivor!" Your story was beautifully told and so moving. Thank you for sharing your testimony. - Dana


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