Who is the person behind “Breakfast with Jesus? Who am I?
I was a sinner saved by grace and rescued from eternal separation from God by our Lord Jesus. I can tell you so many things about who I was, but it’s not necessary to know who I was. What matters is who I am. I used to believe that having a career and being successful was what defined me. I was so wrong. I discovered who I am only through Jesus. I didn’t understand that nothing else mattered until Jesus rescued me from eternal death. He chose me while I was a sinner and died for me so I could live. So, today I can tell you that for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. That, however, was not always my story.
I met the Lord for the first time at the age of 22, shortly after being married. I was married to a law student while attending medical school. For nearly four years, my husband and I lived in Washington, DC. We had our first daughter a year later. She was our pride and joy. From that moment on, I dedicated myself to becoming the best wife and mother I could be and to not disappoint my Lord Jesus. All this was nice, but I still didn’t know Jesus intimately. I was waiting for someone to wave a magic wand and introduce me to Jesus. And when that didn’t happen, I committed myself to saving my husband and daughter.
One day, a visitor to our church came up to me and said that the Lord had a message for me. He said, “Celeste, you must step back and let me work on your husband.” I didn’t understand, yet I nevertheless obeyed. I had no idea why, but I suddenly stopped nagging my husband about not wanting to go to church on Sundays, and I began to submit to the Lord in everything. I obeyed. The Lord was using this time to prepare my husband’s heart without my knowledge. My husband started to notice that I was changing, and so he began to search for the God that was changing me. Honestly, I had no idea this was going on.
One day, my Dad came over to meet his granddaughter. I thought that was the perfect opportunity to invite one of my church deacons to my house to bring the plan of salvation to my father. By the time I was ready to serve dessert, things hadn’t gone quite as I planned. Instead of my Dad accepting the Lord, the deacon, led by the Lord, brought the plan of Salvation to my husband.
This was a divine appointment—given that the deacon was Spanish speaking and did not speak English. My husband did not speak Spanish but was able to understand it. How did this happen? The deacon explained that just before leaving his house, the Lord told him to pick up a pamphlet titled “Jesus and Intellectual. Although it sounds weird, but God had His plan for my husband. My husband told the Deacon that he watched everything I did and didn’t do for months. He finally realized that I was changing and wanted the peace that dwelled in me. Since the Deacon couldn’t understand English, my Dad and I served as his translator. On that day, my husband accepted the Lord Jesus as His Lord and Savior.
Shortly after, my husband and I moved back to New York City.
I wish I could tell you that from that point forward, everything was a bed of roses, but it wasn’t. One storm after another affected our lives. And since I wasn’t grounded in the Word of God, my life began to fall apart, and so did our marriage. The birth of two more beautiful girls was the only blessing we found in New York City. Or so I thought.
You see, friends, the trials and storms of this world overwhelmed me because I wasn’t rooted in the Word. I was attacked by one illness after another. While I became s Sunday school teacher, my husband became the Assistant pastor of a local church and a youth minister who led many people to the Lord.
In 1991 I returned to college and got my degree in Education. Then in 1994, I became a NYC Public School teacher.
But something terrible happened in 1999. My father got sick with cancer. He underwent three operations, but none of them resulted in his healing. And that’s when my entire life started to fall apart. I became so angry at God when my father died. I couldn’t understand why He chose not to heal my father.
So what did I do? I turned away from God. Both my marriage and my beautiful daughters suffered as a result. My life was a mess, and my husband and I were separated. I slowly pulled away from the Lord and stopped going to church. I began to give into the desires of the flesh. I was looking for momentary pleasures; I was empty inside. I had no desire to live.
Then, one awful summer in 2008, my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Friends, I didn’t believe Jesus would heal him. Why would he heal my husband and let my father die? But God didn’t leave things the way they were. It was then that God revealed Himself fully to my husband. By this time, he was serving as the Assistant Commissioner to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Although my husband knew he may die, he never stopped believing in God. He began to witness to his family, friends and coworkers. He shared the good news of Who Jesus was.
Never once did my husband stop sharing the Gospel with his coworkers. Although his condition slowly began to deteriorate and he was unable to eat, he never allowed that to stop him from sharing with the world what Jesus had done in his life. Exactly two and a half years after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my husband died. He was 51 years old. Even now, many people still speak about Mayor Bloomberg’s’ Assistant Commission, whose life was a role model to many people.
After my husband died, I continued teaching in the NYC public schools, where I was licensed in 5 areas of studies. I continued to serve the Lord in this capacity until I retired at the age of 59. But God was preparing me for His calling.
After my retirement, I worked with my daughter teaching young children ages 7 months to 4 years old at her private school called Thinkertots in Long Island, New York. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we were forced to close the school. During this time is when The Lord began to speak to me about writing what He has done in my life and share it with others.
Of course, my initial response was, “Lord, don’t you have someone else? I’m a teacher, not a writer.” But God doesn’t care about titles or licenses. He loves to call the unqualified to transform them into qualifiers.
So, I began to write about how the Lord has transformed my life and has turned my “mess” into His message. That’s when “Breakfast With Jesus” was birth.
As I got to know Him more intimately, He began to show me how even in my darkest hours, He was there with me, working behind the scenes. Every storm and trial I have endured, God has used to transform my life.
I frequently asked the Lord, “Why me? You must have hundreds of women who are more qualified to write about their experiences and touch peoples’ hearts.” But, He continually prompts me to keep writing because He is the One penning my story. (Out of the ashes, the dry, dead bones, Jesus has transformed ashes into beauty.
One day, the Lord reminded me about the story of Luke. He was a simple doctor who started to share the accounts of Jesus’ life through letters in the New Testament. He had no idea that you or I would one day read the letters he had written to a friend. He did not know how his letters would reach us or impact our lives. Yet, God used Luke to share the truth about who Jesus was and why He came.
I remember reading the story of Esther. Although God’s name is not mentioned, you can see Him clearly behind the scenes. He chose a simple Jewish girl to be Queen and then used her to save His people.
“For if you remain silent now, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther4:14 NIV)
So, why do I write this? I write because God has transformed my mess into His message. Only Jesus can turn something negative into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victory. This is what Jesus has done for me since 2020.
Today, I’m a member of Pure Grace Ministries, a cowriter for our PG ministries, and a COMPEL member, a writer’s membership site. The Lord shows me the life lessons He wants me to learn, use and share with others on my website, “Breakfast with Jesus.”
My dear friends, Jesus is not only our Savior but our Redeemer, Friend, and Loving Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine in order to go after the one. A wounded sheep needs a shepherd who, when he finds her, carries her back home and nurses her back to health. This is who Jesus is.
Jesus is the source of my strength and my ever-present help in times of trouble. I am one of His sheep, and I only boast about who He is and who I am in Christ. Nothing else matter. I remarried almost two years ago. I have three amazing daughters and six grandchildren. I have an amazing brother, my beloved pastor, three great sisters, an incredible Mother, and Church Family who loves me. Yet, I am still a work in progress until the day the Lord calls me home. The grace of God saved me. He is the One who gave His life so I could find mine.
Lord, I have no words to begin to explain how much you have done and continue to do in my life. May I continue to live for you and keep my eyes on you and abide in You, who are my light? For I know that the more I abide in your light I will see no shadows. You are God; my redeemer; my guide; my Lord; full of grace and mercy for all of us. In your precious name, I praise you and give you honor. Amen