Lionel Mark Yow
Testimony to the Grace of God
I was born into a family of two young parents, just 19 years separated our ages. My parents eloped and were married and then went back to their respective family homes to live, telling no one for awhile.
I grew up being treated by my paternal grandfather as if I were a king. I was told that my birth changed his pattern of life. He called me “Big Man” and I called him “Big Pa.”
I was outgoing and very smart, but very spoiled.
As I was about to enter 5th grade, our city's policy for busing its students to racially integrate the public school system was just being put into effect. I was going to be sent into an inner-city school. My parents elected instead to send me to private school, because education was seen to be the highest form of one’s advancement. I was destined to carry on the family name and become a lawyer.
Private school for me was traumatic; I was humiliated and teased for everything that I was seen to be deficient in. I kept it all in, but I was never again the same happy well-adjusted child.
Money became a big issue to me, as did acceptance and pleasing others. I pretended to be someone I was not, with everyone, including my family.
I was robbed of my identity at this age and never recovered it until the day the Lord saved me 42 years later.
I carried these scars and wounds throughout my life and let them lead me into a world of drugs, womanizing, lying and cheating.
I carried such shame and guilt for not being able to become a lawyer and please my parents and paternal grandparents.
I knew I was good at heart because it would come out all the time, but I lived this double life of self-sabotage and hiddenness from everyone until I did not know who I was or what I desired.
I ruined my first marriage by putting everything I wanted above her and lost the relationship that a father should have with my first daughter.
Money fixed all, I thought, so I sunk deeper into its clutches. I was entitled dammit because my “Big Pa” had told me I would be wealthy and I would inherit all the family owned.
This created problems with my dad, who had had problems with his father and we found ourselves in a spiral of generational misunderstanding and a divided house. My sister felt completely overlooked and of no real consequence which led to her life wounds and struggles.
We became wealthy, but remained dysfunctional in just enough ways that we really never noticed it enough to make us change. Everyone has issues, right? We had fun together and my dad prospered and we had the American Dream. We were the typical family that the enemy robs of all God has for them and didn't know it because we could buy out our issues and deficiencies.
We did not do this on purpose but a life without a personal relationship is doomed in many ways, as we would find out in years to come.
I remarried and we lost our first daughter at birth. I was devastated but didn't let anyone know to what extent. My wife, however, found God as He came to comfort and help her.
I sank further into depravity and pulled farther away and into drugs and the pursuit of money and power and prestige and my own desires, which were of the enemy.
My wife and I had our second daughter and moved up in the financial world and thought all was ok, but secretly I was dying. Shame, guilt, pride and money were slowly taking my health and happiness. I could not figure out why I acted like I did.. I hated myself!
One day I got a call to come and see my sister and she told me that she had a form of cancer. The first thing that I thought was that this was my fault and God was punishing my family.
She had found the Lord years before and I had diminished it and thought she was one of those over the top Bible-toters.
She told me that the doctors wanted to see if I would be a match for a bone marrow transplant. So I said yes. A couple of weeks later I received in the mail a test kit for a DNA sample. As I picked up the package I had a knowing that I was definitely a match. So I did the test and sent it back in. They were to notify me in ten days. The eleventh day came so I called them mad that they were late and they told me that my sister had not sent hers in yet. Then I called her and tell her to do it fast because I know the outcome.
Sure enough, we scored a higher match than twins would. I carried on with my lascivious lifestyle, but now, when I was doing drugs — more guilt came in thinking that I might get cancer and could not help my sister.
Wow, more shame and guilt so I use more drugs. I was in a real spiral down and I knew it, but the harder I tried to stop the more I wanted to do it.
My sister called me a month or so after the donor test and asked me to go with her to a place that they pray for healing and have seen cancer leave the body. I said yes.
I became more withdrawn, used more drugs and watched endless amounts of pornography. I was locked in my man cave and I was dying. My wife would pray for me while I was locked in there and try to get me out but I paid no attention. Several times in the next two months I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but I kept on using. The pain was so great that I would numb it at any cost. I tried to talk myself into telling my sister I wasn't going to go, but I couldn't. I kept hearing this voice that said if I didn’t go I would be worse off than I already was.
The night before we left, I stayed up all night doing drugs and barely made the plane. We got there and I ended up in the bar drinking martinis and then find myself out in some part of Jacksonville, Fla. at a strip club. I stay untill closing and then I realized that the taxis I called weren't coming and it was 3:00 in the morning. I was standing in the parking lot, all alone and my phone was dying and there is not a car in sight. I sat down on the curb and noticed a car slowing driving by. Fear overcame me and I asked God to get me back to the hotel and I would take this seriously. Just at that moment an off-duty taxi driver on his way home came around the corner and stopped and said to me, “Are you crazy, you could get killed out here!” He took me to the hotel.
The next morning I was late to the meeting, but when I walked in they were playing worship music like I had never heard and I started to cry and cried all day. I did not know that my deliverance and salvation were already in the works. I went with my sister to her prayer and healing ministry session and was so blown away I scheduled one for myself for the next day. The next day I didn't cry as much but I knew something was going on inside of me. When my session came I was convinced that I had sinned too much to be forgiven and they were not going to be able to help me.
We were given these booklets to fill out about our lives. What they really were was a confession of sins. I filled mine out and burst into tears when I saw how bad I was on paper. So bad I almost skipped my session. I asked my sister to go with me because I was terrified to do it by myself.
Two prayer ministers came over and sat down. The guy's name was Rex and I do not remember the woman's name, but she was a Latino.
Rex started praying in his prayer language, which I had never heard of before, as the woman read what I had written. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes got out of her chair and went and stood in a corner of the room. At this time I just knew I was cooked and going to hell.
Rex came over and put his hands on my shoulders and started praying in tongues and I could feel" things" moving in me.
I stopped weeping as he comforted me. Them the woman came back and sat down in front of me and asked me the following question," Is there anybody in your family that is a Mason, or are you one yourself?”
I replied, "My grandfather Yow is a 33rd degree mason.”
She said that Masonic spirits were controlling my life. And it was becoming a life of being indoctrinated to that kind of worship. She asked me if I wanted that, and I said no, I want to be free from that, whatever it is. I had no idea what was going on.
She handed me these printed pages and told me to read them aloud until I felt like I was free. As I began to read, I felt as f I had read some of these words before. I could hear myself speaking them with proper pronunciation and dialect. I don't know how long I read but I was weeping again and really sweating profusely. I was also feeling weak like I was going to fall from the chair.
I looked up and stopped and told the woman that I was "good." She moved her face close to mine and sternly called me by name, "Mark, Mark, Mark" and on the third “Mark,” I said, “ Yes” and felt something in me shift.
She said for me to continue reading and then my memory gets fuzzy although, I remember feeling like everyone in the room was praying over me and for me. I ended up on the floor covered in tears and sweat, but I felt great.
When I stood up I felt as light as a feather! I remember walking out of the room and seeing several people who were traveling with us, the look on their faces was of amazement and joy.
One of them said " You do not look the same as you did, you have a glow about you.” I realized at that time that the Lord had saved me and returned me to normal. I was free!!
We flew home the next day and I started living for the Lord.
My journey has been incredible and the revelation about who I am in Christ and who Christ is in me has been overflowing in my life. My hope has been restored. I have had subsequent prayer and deliverance sessions that have further enhanced my freedom and have led to a 4 and one half-year journey, filled with prophetic words of my calling and destiny in God.
I have learned my purpose and spent over two years in an intense study of the word both flesh (Rhema Word of God) and written (Logos Word of God), with the Holy Spirit as my teacher.
My family has been restored, trust and love have returned and my heart is new. All the things that the scriptures promise and say about salvation are highly evident in my life since that day, August 6, 2010 at 5:30 in the afternoon at the Ramada Inn in Jacksonville, Florida at the Christian Healing Ministry gathering I was reborn!!
I am a new creation in Christ. The power of the cross my Lord and Savior endured has made me back into His image. Praise God!
Charlotte Parker Yow
Charlotte Parker Yow is president of 13th of Grace Ministry.