On March 22, 1978, I was born in New Bremen, Oh to Barry and Joyce Mousa. This wonderful arrival came during a huge New Bremen snow storm. Tammy, my older sister by three years, was excited to finally meet the new baby from mommy's belly. Jeff, my younger brother, arrived to the Mousa household just 20 short months after me.
Shortly after I was born, Barry's job relocated the family to Roanoke, Va. Barry was in Administration at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Even though Joyce graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, she did not have to work outside of the home. Joyce had the privilege to stay home to raise their children.
While in Virginia, my family attended Christian Missionary Alliance Church. Each member of my family had an active role in this church. Barry was the music director and member of the finance board. Joyce was part of the Women's Ministry and taught one of the Pioneer Girl's classes. And each of the children participated in their age related program and children's choir.
Tammy, Jeff, and I all attended Roanoke Valley Christian Schools. During class one day, my first grade teacher presented the plan of salvation to the class. At snack time, I made the decision to ask Jesus Christ into my heart for forgiveness of my sins and to secure my path to Heaven. This decision for salvation carried me through the many trials I faced in my lifetime.
From the outside looking in, my family would be classified as a typical, white collar, upper-class family. We lived in a two-story colonial home, which Barry and Joyce had custom built. The hospital Barry worked for provided a family country club membership, an annual private day at the local amusement park as well as many other incentives. Unfortunately, this season of my life was short and ended abruptly.
During my third grade year, my parents separated. Their divorce was final a year later. I was playing "house" in the basement when my mother had to inform me of the terrible news of their separation. It was at this time that I learned to take shelter from disappointment by tucking my feelings deep down inside and never letting anyone see that I was hurting.
The day came for Barry to move out of the house. I stood on the stairs, Jeff stood in the foyer close to the kitchen, and Tammy stood in front of the door while Joyce watched from a corner in the family room. Tammy and Jeff cried as their Father hugged them and told them good-bye, but I stood tall and firm making sure not to show any emotion. This is how I learned to build walls and pretend that I did not care when people hurt me. I did not understand why I was not crying like my sister and brother. I was determined that I was not going to show defeat. It was at this time that I learned to be strong to carry me through the many disappointing trials in my life.
Then, as my Father kissed me on the forehead, I forced a tear to roll down my nose because I thought that my Father would be upset with me for not crying. This is where I learned to put the concerns of others above my own concerns just to try to make them love me. Barry wiped the tear and walked out the door without looking back. Later that night, while they were gathered together watching TV, Jeff lay curled up on our mother's lap and I said, "Do not worry. We are going to be fine". At this time I learned to be strong and carry the burden for the others when they are weak.
Divorce was very uncommon to the friends and family of Barry and Joyce. Many people from the school, and church, as well as close friends all tried their best to console and encourage Joyce and the children during this time, but no one had the right words for the family. It seemed like everyone looked at the broken family in pity and as if they were strangers rather than having been close friends for last ten years.
The transition to single parenthood was not an easy move for Joyce. Without much of a warning she was thrown into the role of mother and father to three elementary aged children. Coming from a family that had not experienced the pain of divorce, Joyce quickly became overwhelmed in the whirlwind that was trying to destroy her and her children. After thirteen years of marriage and partnership, Joyce was left to provide, protect, and support the kids by herself. She knew the Lord was with her and He would give her the strength she needed to continue raising the children she had dedicated back to Him.
Joyce did not want to cause more disruption to her children than what had already taken place. The Lord provided her a job utilizing her nursing skills. Even though this position provided for Joyce and her children, it was not enough to maintain the lifestyle they had grown accustom too. Joyce made the decision to move to Greenville, SC so that she could gain help and strength from her parents.
Joyce, Tammy, Jeff, and I had a hard time adjusting to all the changes that taken place in our lives. Christian school was not an option now. Unfortunately, public school opened a new world to us. Things that were once not known to the Mousa children were now being introduced to us. Even though we had had been raised under Christian standards, we still made choices that were not honoring to the Lord. Our life that had once been so secure was now changing rapidly.
Joyce did all that she could do to raise children, provide for the family, and be the support needed for quickly growing children. There were many job changes, many moves to different houses, and no one faithfully going to church anymore. The children chose to follow people that influenced them into doing things that we knew were against the biblical standards we had been taught. There was not anything stable in our lives since the time of our parentís divorce. Barry was inconsistent regarding the phone calls, gifts and visits. The ever changing situations caused me difficulty to trust the people around me. For there was not anyone strong enough to offer me the support I needed.
After many years and much heartache, Joyce found her way back to church. It was a small but strong Independent Baptist Church in Greer, SC. Joyce and the children were soon attending church on a regular basis. Each person soon began to become involved with the activities of the church. The Lord even provided David Kaylor (aka: Butch), to be a husband for Joyce, and step-father to the children.
Butch bravely took on the task of marrying a lady with three teenaged children, even though he did not have children of his own. This was not an easy task for Butch. Little did he know that he would be spending the first six months of their marriage getting Tammy and I out of serious trouble. Butch never backed down from the battle of raising us. He always showed us that we were worth the fight. It was at this time that I realized that God really did love me. I realized that other people loved me as well. And that I was an important part in the family of God. It amazed me that God cared enough about Joyce and the children that He sent a total stranger to care for us and love us.
Not only did God send Butch, but He also used a variety of men in the church to share their lives with the children. Each man had a special purpose in the molding and making of the children. Each man filled a void that was once left in the children. Filling these voids brought joy back into the household. It was at this time in my life that I made a total commitment to God. My dedication to filling my life with the heart of God has carried me and brought me far beyond my thoughts and dreams. Many people could see and even commented on the difference in my personality from the time of this commitment. This truly was a fresh time for me. I felt much release from the burdens I once carried.
Butch and Joyce thought it would be best to move their family closer to their church. This turned out to be one of the better moves for the family. This gave me the opportunity to have a fresh start. This move required a change of schools which allowed me to leave behind all the people and things that once influenced me into making the wrong choices. I came into the new school with a refreshed outlook on life. Many great changes were in the future for me. I could feel the positive plans God had for my future.
My last two years of high school brought great joy to my life. In 1993, I made a commitment during a "True Love Waits" rally to God, my parents and my future husband to remain pure so I could enter into a biblical marriage relationship. Following this commitment I studied the scriptures intensely. I began reading and studying the word of God to find out how to be the best lady I could be for Christ. The impact God made on my life during this time developed me into the God fearing lady I am today.
After high school graduation in May 1996, my dedication to the Lord and His service brought me to Word of Life Bible Institute (WOLBI) in Schroon Lake, NY. The decision to go to Bible College fourteen hours away from my family was not an easy decision for me. In fact, it was not even an option that I allowed to stay in my mind for any length of time. Until one day, while riding in the car with my mom, I confessed that I felt God directing me to WOLBI. Just as I spoke those words to my mom, a peace greater than I had ever felt filled me. At that moment, I knew that it was Gods will for my life to attend WOLBI.
The preparation for WOLBI began the minute I decided to accept God directing my path in that direction. School supplies were gathered. Clothes were packed for a cold upstate New York winter. Everything was planned and I was ready to go. But, no one could have prepared me for the first day of this journey.
Butch, Joyce, Jeff, and I rented a van; packed it full of my belongings and headed north. When we arrived to the campus I felt a lump in my throat, my eyes filled with tears and my heart sunk. Everything was dark and gloomy. Nothing was like it was advertised. This was the ugliest place I had seen. Why did God bring me here? Was this really Gods will? Was I making a mistake? Everyone quickly pitched in to help me get settled in my dorm. Butch and Jeff helped carry my belongings to my room while Joyce helped Janelle unpack and arrange my things.
As the day moved on, the family toured the campus, registered me for classes and made our way to the bookstore. I was becoming more comfortable with this decision, until now. While in the bookstore everything became so overwhelming to me. My mom could tell this was not going to be as easy as we thought. She took me outside to comfort me. We prayed and I once again felt that peace that I knew this was what God wanted me to do.
The end of the day came and it was time for me to separate from my family. I still felt the peace but knew this could be a sad moment. I hugged each person, then quickly turned to go to my room before the tears flowed down my cheeks.
As I woke the next day, I was reminded of the scripture that joy comes in the morning. I walked out the door of the dorm only to see the most beautiful blue sky with the brightest yellow sun in it. There was a lake that reflected all the gorgeous creation of the most awesome creator, God. This truly was a day that the Lord had made and I rejoiced and was glad that I listened and followed Godís directing to WOLBI.
At WOLBI, each student is required to participate in an outreach ministry in order to develop their talents to minister to others the way of Jesus Christ. This was not easy for me. I felt as if God had not created me to be talented like I had seen talent in others. I could not sing or play any type of musical instrument. As I struggled with my decision for outreach ministry God was preparing me for exactly what He needed me to do. Finally, the decision was made for me. I had run out of time to choose a ministry so WOLBI automatically placed me in the ministry that had an opening, Open Air Evangelism. This was the ministry that I had been trying to avoid.
This was not what I wanted to do. This ministry scared me. The ministry for Open Air Evangelism was street evangelism in New York City and camp counseling during the teen winter and summer camps. This meant that I had to talk to total strangers about God. I had to approach random people on Wall Street and in the projects of Bronx, NY and Newark, NJ about the saving grace of God and the unselfish sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This was something that made me very uncomfortable and I did not believe that I could make a difference for God.
It was during Open Air Evangelism Ministry (OAE) that I became burdened to see souls saved from eternal condemnation. OAE gave me the experience needed to gain the boldness to tell others about Godís amazing love. I had the privilege to witness to all types of people during a week in New York City. The OAE team spent time on Wall Street, in the Bronx, and Newark, NJ doing rope tricks, childrenís stories, and street ministries all to reach out to those who have not heard of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Then during my snow camp counseling experience, I was privileged to lead my entire group of teens to salvation within several hours of them arriving to the campus. My experiences during my short stay in Bible College were enough to begin in me the seed for Lady of Virtue Ministries.
Another aspect of WOLBI was their dedication to the nightly devotions. During the weekdays the entire dorm gathered together as an assigned person share what God lead them to share. Again this was not an easy thing for me. It was very difficult for me to speak in front of others. My assigned night of devotions was not a time that I was looking forward to. As my night drew closer, I became panicked. I did not feel God directing me to speak on a usual topic as the other girls had done. This was very terrifying to me. It was at this time in my life that God showed me the value of my testimony. God directed me to share with the girls how He was working in my life. How God had supplied my every need. And most importantly, how God became the number one person in my life. This started my ministering opportunity. I realized at this time how I could use the voice of the words of my testimony to touch others for the cause of Christ.
Then another tragedy struck in my life. During my time at home while on Christmas break I fervently prayed for a miracle. I knew that my financial situation would not allow me to return for the last two semesters to complete my years study at WOLBI. This did not affect my faith in my ever supplying God. I knew that God always supplies. As I arrived back to campus to gather my belongings, my first stop was straight to my mailbox. I had faith that if it was Godís will for me to continue that He would provide the money for me. With all expectations, I opened all of my mail, but there was no money. I still was not discouraged; my next stop was the business office. My faith was still strong for I believed with all my heart that my guidance counselor would say that someone has already paid my bill in full. But there again, that was not the case.
By this time I was very saddened, but not destroyed. I did not understand why God would bring me here for such a short time. Why would God make it so clear that this is where I was supposed to be yet not meeting the financial need to keep me here? What was happening? What was the next step? Questions such as these just flooded through my mind. I had fulfilled Godís plan for this part of my journey of life. It was now time for God to begin in me a new journey. Butch and I gathered all of my belongings. I said goodbye to my roommates and they left WOLBI.
Upon returning home from Word of Life Bible Institute, God placed the desire for Lady of Virtue Ministries in me. I began by developing Lady of Virtue Ministries into a program for ladies of all ages based on the example given to us in Proverbs 31. Then after two years of study and prayer, my dream and ministry began. With testimony and unconditional love, I have been able to reach many with the message that Godís word and way remains the absolute truth.
As I began my journey to becoming a Lady of Virtue I read many books regarding womenís topics. Books about being a Godly lady, about loving God with all your heart, about organizing your life to make sure God is not lost in the shuffle. I continued by researching the scriptures. Finding out why women were created, what purpose God had for women; and of course, how God wants ladies to live their daily lives. As I absorbed everything God was showing me, I realized that God had already given ladies the four major keys needed to be a Lady of Virtue. Lady of Virtue Ministries equips women to learn how to use these keys.
There are four main parts to Lady of Virtue Ministries: 1) A Lady of Virtue 2) A Helpmate 3) A Mother of Love 4) A Worker in the Field. Being a Lady of Virtue is based on "The Basics". The basics are: salvation for the soul, meditation for the mind, sanctification for the heart and purification for the body. These four things are the key elements to developing the Lady of Virtue that God created in each lady.
The symbol for being a Lady of Virtue is a "key". The reason for the key is simple; the key locks things to keep them safe and unlocks things that are hidden away. As unmarried girls are given the opportunity to commit themselves, not only to abstinence, but also to becoming the Godly lady as presented to us in Proverbs, they are given a silver key to remind them of their commitment. Married ladies involved in mentoring girls in the program are presented with a gold key to remind them of their commitment to be an example to those that are watching their every move.
In January of 2000, on her wedding day, I presented Chad with my silver key. Chad now holds the key to my heart as well as my body. As a surprise to me and to show their support to me and Lady of Virtue Ministries, Butch and Joyce presented me with my gold key during the unity candle ceremony. I know that as a virtuous lady, my price is far above rubies. And as a virtuous wife, I am a crown to my husband. I will do Chad good all the days of his life. Being a Lady of Virtue begins with being saved and ends with learning how to present your body as a living sacrifice to God. I have been an example to others and I continue to let my light shine that others may see my good works and that I might bring glory to my Father in Heaven.