Resilience & the Bible: How to Use Scriptures to Bounce Back From – Losing Your Home

A Thanksgiving Post...

Hello World,

Kimberly Atkins headshot 1Today’ s post is the second installment of my 7-month interview series entitled “Resilience & the Bible” which is about how Scriptures can be used to bounce back from the trials we all have to go through from time to time. Once a month, I feature someone who has used Bible verses to bounce back! If you know of someone who has bounced back using Scriptures and would like to be featured on my blog, please e-mail me at

How to bounce back from losing your home is the focus of this month’s “Resilience & the Bible” blog post. I don’t know about you, but at this time of the year, the Thanksgiving season, I am especially thankful for my home, and I couldn’t imagine if I had no home, but that is what Kimberly Atkins faced in August 2005 as she, her husband and three children lived in New Orleans. Ten years ago in August was the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Kimberly credits three Bible verses with helping her to survive this storm, both literally and figuratively, in her life.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Psalm 91: 1-2

And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. 1 Samuel 1:11

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Please describe what happened when you and your family faced losing your home in Hurricane Katrina.

The storm hit Aug. 29. That was early Monday morning. My cousin who is a pastor in Cincinnati visited us about a week before Hurricane Katrina hit, and she saw a vision. She saw men who were boarding up the house, and she woke up the next day and said, ‘When did those men leave?’ Also in her vision, she saw, I guess they were angels pushing water away from the house. And when she shared that with us, of course, it was before the hurricane, we thought, ‘Maybe she’s going a little wacko.’ But we didn’t say anything because I respect her as a woman of God.

Two days before the hurricane, I had an eerie experience. I had a feeling something was going to happen, but I had no idea what it was. I had no idea there was going to be a hurricane that was a category 4 storm. I had an agitation in my spirit. I thought it could be the group of kids that my son was hanging around. I couldn’t sit still. I was on edge. And I saw my neighbors plowing down the street with loads of plywood. I thought, ‘Well, what is that for?’ I’m from the Midwest, but apparently, they were from the area and knew what to do when there was a warning of a hurricane.

It was also really interesting because my niece was scheduled to have a wedding in Cincinnati during Labor Day weekend which would have been the weekend after Hurricane Katrina, but we had to evacuate because the mayor of New Orleans said to evacuate. We evacuated on Aug. 28th early Sunday morning. And so as we were preparing, I felt compelled to get my garments for the wedding in Cincinnati because I was in the wedding and take them with us. My husband said, ‘You don’t have to take those. We will be back.’ I said, ‘No, I just sensed that I needed to grab them.’ My girls were in the wedding too so I got their dresses, shoes and jewelry. I just felt like we wouldn’t be back. Sure enough, about 5:30 a.m. that morning the 29th, the storm hit, and by then we are at my mother-in-law’s home in Birmingham, Alabama. And we were watching the storm, and we didn’t know what to think. Probably a week later, I had tons and tons of friends who were calling me because they were worried. Cell phones weren’t like they are now, and people couldn’t get through to me. The path of the storm mirrored the path of our evacuation so once we got to Birmingham, we saw trees that had been uprooted. I mean huge trees. And my father was calling my sister saying, ‘They haven’t gone far enough. They need to go to at least Tennessee.’ And if you go back and look at some of the news records during that time, you’ll see there was some devastation even in Alabama and in Georgia.

What did you think about your home and everything else as you watched the news coverage?

As I watched the coverage, I was pleading the blood of Jesus over our home. Actually before we left, I remember going outside in our driveway and just like Jesus, I spoke to those winds. I rebuked the winds. I believe we have power in the name of Jesus. I invited God to sit on our window sills, our roof and to protect our home.

And as I watched CNN, I was amazed. I was thinking about my church members. I was thinking about the kids that my children went to school with. I thought about my friends and where we had just gone to dinner a week or two before. And I knew they were closer to the storm because they were in the central part of New Orleans. And I just wandered would everything be okay. It was so devastating to see people holding the signs and looking for helicopter rides to safety. I was totally numb because I was thinking about the people. I couldn’t believe it. It was literally unbelievable. We were glued to the TV.

How did these Scriptures help you to cope?

In Psalm 91, these scriptures help center me on that space in my home that I basically created as an altar where I can go before the Lord and spend time with Him and become intimate with Him. And when I am in that secret place, I have oneness with God, I am encouraged and I am built up. That is a Scripture that I take with me. I share it with my children. It was a scary time. I mean there was an opportunity to be fearful.

And in 1 Samuel 1, it is Hannah saying, ‘Lord help.’ She went to the Lord, and she laid out on the table, ‘here’s my affliction. I need You to remember me. Don’t forget me.’ And I remember having a conversation with God before the hurricane hit. I went into my bedroom closet, and I said, ‘Lord, please, if everything else is destroyed, please spare my photos because those photos can’t be replaced.’ We have three kids so we had a lot of boxes. And I remember having that conversation with God. I guess it was just an act of faith in itself to leave them, and I trusted that He would protect them. Looking back, I guess I could have just grabbed them and thrown them in a big garbage bag. It was a unique and different experience, and I just didn’t know what to do. That’s why I was just encouraged by this verse to go to God and say, ‘Help me, help me in my affliction.’ Also, during that time, I had been diagnosed with a medical condition for which there is no cure. It was a trying time – a perfect storm. No pun intended.

Psalm 121:1-2 are my mom’s favorite verses. I was really clear on where my help comes from because at that point, I really couldn’t even describe what I was feeling so Scripture really helped me get through it. Despite the circumstances, my help is in God.

What happened after the storm ended?

Once we understood the extent of the devastation, we knew we needed a more permanent solution than to stay at my mother-in-law’s home for a week. So we moved back to Cincinnati back into my parents’ home. The kids slept with grandparents. The two younger kids. And my son and I slept on my couches. I mean we just kind of made do. I wasn’t working at the time so my husband came to Cincinnati and just stayed with us a couple of weeks. Then, he had to go back to Louisiana. He worked at a Folgers plant in New Orleans, and he had to help get the plant up and running again. And that was an ordeal in itself. When my husband went back to our town, he said it looked like it was war torn. He said he had never seen anything like it. Power lines were down. Everything was flooded. Our church was flooded. Our first lady of our church. Her Porsche was floating in water. Our children’s schools were flooded. All of the infrastructure was gone. There were no grocery stores. There were no ATM machines. There were no banks.

How were your children affected?

Our son was more resilient than the girls. I remember taking the kids to a school in Cincinnati for the first time, and one of our daughters was just screaming. It was just the new surroundings and not understanding why we couldn’t just go back home. The school system gave us donations because we just had the bare essentials. We had to start all over with new school supplies, not having birth certificates, all of the critical things we needed were in Louisiana. We had a wonderful woman named Pam Abrams who adopted us. I remember the first dinner that she served us. I mean the love and the reception from the community was just awesome.

When did you find out what happened to your home?

About couple of weeks later, we found out our home had been spared. I mean we had some damage in the back and maybe a couple of shingles were gone, but that was it. I remember my husband telling me that when he went to our house, he saw a water mark on the house that was about seven feet in height. Our yard was flooded. Debris was everywhere so you could tell that water had surrounded the house, but it wasn’t damaged inside. We thought about the vision my cousin had about the men boarding up the house and the angels. It was just a miracle that we give God all of the praise and glory for!

You and your family moved back to New Orleans in 2006 but then permanently relocated to Cincinnati in 2007. Why?

It was very slow in the whole rebuilding process in New Orleans, and I had tried to get on at the Folgers’s plant in New Orleans but I didn’t get the job. So I felt like it was God saying to move back home. Also, I know my mother was praying for me to come back too because she wasn’t comfortable with her daughter living on the Gulf Coast anymore.

As it is the Thanksgiving season, how do you feel now every Thankgiving knowing that you have been through this ordeal?

I am very grateful, and now I see Thanksgiving as just not an opportunity to stuff myself with carbs, but I actually see Thanksgiving as a time to bless others. I have a friend who has a son with an illness, and I called her a couple of days ago. I said, ‘Let me know how I can help you.’ And she said, ‘You know if you could make a couple of sides for me and bring them over, I would really appreciate that.’ That’s just an example of something I do to not focus on my problems and focus on the needs of others because someone did that for me 10 years ago. And I want to make sure I give back.

Kimberly Williams Atkins is an author, Bible teacher, and inspirational speaker. Her articles have appeared in Applause! Magazine and The Albany Journal. A survivor of a debilitating disease with no medical cure, Kimberly boldly proclaims God’s healing power, love, and glory. For over 20 years, she has served as director of women’s ministries for her church and passionately ministers to many women who are rejected and abused.

In her recently released first book Empowering Women To Walk In God’s Glory: A Practical Guide for Real Life Situations,  Kimberly helps women find the path for 9781512708868_COVER.inddwalking in God’s glory. Thanksgiving is a great time, Kimberly says, to consider and learn about God’s glory, because when we understand His tremendous power that works on our behalf, we cannot help but be thankful as we ask for His help. To enter a random drawing to win a free copy of her book, click HERE to subscribe to my blog and receive an email whenever I post AND leave a comment on this post! I will choose the winner next Wednesday!

Kimberly is a senior manager for a Fortune 100 company. She and her husband, Brian, have three children and live in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information about Kimberly, go to

For more Bible scriptures online, go to

Any thoughts?


How Do You Deal With Beggars on the Street Asking for Money?

A Pre-Thanksgiving Meditation...


Hello World,

I’m just going to go ahead and say or rather write what is impolite to say and or write. So beggars get on my nerves. I know they shouldn’t because I’m a Christian and all and what Jesus would do is love everyone, particularly beggars on the street asking for money….but I’m not Jesus…I’m despicably human…But Jesus must be convicting me to change my stance on beggars because I swear for the last month beggars been coming out of the woodwork asking me for money EVERYWHERE I go…like God put a beggar hit on me or something…

It (my month-long encounter with beggars everywhere I go that is) all started one night about two weekends before Halloween. I was heading out to a restaurant on Marietta Street to meet some friends as my friends and I were celebrating a friend’s brand new phase in her life that will be unidentified in this public forum…So it’s about 9 p.m. or so and I was a little lost. I drove into the driveway of an apartment complex so that I could turn my car around and go in a different direction. Just as I was about to cross the threshold of the driveway, a woman whose clothes were disheveled and hair was askew rolled toward my window in an electric wheelchair. Being the defensive driver that I am and knowing what she was about to do, I pretended to think that she merely wanted to cross in front of me so I quickly backed up my car as far as I could. That meant that she was forced to either keep rolling or maneuver her wheelchair all the way back to where I was in the driveway waiting for her to do the right thing – keep it moving and let me be on my way without having to consider her solicitation. I chuckled as I recounted the story to my girls a few minutes later. I told them that I didn’t think she was all that needy. I mean she was in an electric wheelchair! They chuckled along with me. But they also told me an electric wheelchair is pretty standard these days so she really could have been in need and I was acting awfully privileged…

So the friend who was being celebrated texted me a few days later about a woman at a gas station asking her for money. Rather than avoid the woman as I did a few days earlier, she allowed the woman to at least pitch her. She told my friend that she was living in her car, but my friend, who was skeptical, politely declined her request. However, as my friend made her way back to her car, she noticed the woman in her car. She was crying and her car seemed to be filled with all of her earthly belongings. My friend went up to the woman’s car, apologized for her initial response and gave her some money. She told me that since this happened a few days after our conversation, she felt it meant something. I agreed especially since I’m supposed to be Christian and all. Instead of shunning beggars on the street asking for money, I would have “good will” toward everybody.

That lasted until a few days later when a beggar in Panda Express asked me for money. Although I had a hole in my stomach, I stopped when the man walked up to me and said he and his son were hungry and could I spare a few dollars. Since we were actually still in the restaurant, I offered to buy him and his son some food at the restaurant. The man told me he son DIDN’T LIKE Chinese food and that money was his preferred method of benevolence. Okay, he didn’t use those words, but that is what he was saying. I was incensed and hungry. I was like, You know what dude, that’s all I have to offer because I have no cash on me – which I didn’t. Obviously, I went back to my original stance. Don’t start none, won’t be none. If I think you’re about to beg for money, I’m going in the opposite direction.

So every Sunday as I go to church, I stop at the corner of Greenbriar Parkway because there is a stoplight there. For a few years now, there are people who are selling copies of the AJC on one side of the intersection, but for the last several months, I noticed a beggar has set up shop on the opposite corner where he asks for money every Sunday morning. I cannot help but think this man has strategically positioned himself on the opposing corner because many people stop there to get their Sunday newspaper which is the issue to get because it is chock full of coupons but I digress…I’m thinking if you can show up to beg every Sunday, why can’t you ask to get a job selling newspapers with the dudes on the other side of the street or show up somewhere else on the regular and work?

stock option movie posterSo like two Sundays ago, the pastor speaks about the rich man and Lazarus the beggar and how the rich man even refused to give Lazarus the beggar the crumbs from his table and how the rich man went to Hell and Lazarus the beggar (Why is the rich man not named and Lazarus was named…) went to Heaven…I’m like, Okay, Lord, I hear you but I was trying to give a man some food from Panda Express not crumbs and he turned me down. And then like a week later, I was flipping through channels and came across this sweet movie “Stock Option” on TV One. In this movie, which is set in Atlanta, a model ends up falling in love with this homeless guy who used to beg her for money after he saved her from an attack one night. The homeless guy was actually a former stockbroker who made one bad decision and ended up being on the street as a result. So between Lazarus the beggar and the hot, homeless, former stockbroker guy, I’m like, Okay, Lord, I will be nice to all of your children even the ones begging me for money.

But dang it, if I didn’t have two more encounters with beggars on the street asking me for money that canceled out Lazarus and the hot, homeless stockbroker…On Saturday, I went to an Atlanta Association of Black Journalists meeting where food was served. I wasn’t hungry, but I wrapped up a few of the roll-up sandwiches and took them with me for later. Well, later, I still wasn’t particularly hungry and I didn’t want to leave them in my car so I took them with me as I walked around Little Five Points trying to find some cowry shell earrings. I figured if I saw someone who looked hungry, I could offer my sandwiches. Well, within five minutes of leaving my car, a man sitting on some concrete blocks asks me for money. I told him I didn’t have any cash, but I had these sandwiches if he was hungry. Dude said, and I’m quoting here, “I’m good on food.” Smh…And then on Monday, as I was getting ready to go into a courthouse, man, who was color-coordinated in red from head to toe although his lips were curiously dry and his eyes were wild, asked me for money. I didn’t even listen to his sob story because I’ve been so inundated with beggars lately, I just pulled out my wallet and gave him a dollar. I know that’s not a lot of money but that is a long way from backing up my car as fast as I can to avoid a beggar in an electric wheelchair. So the chapped-lipped and crazy-eyed man said, “Thank you” BEFORE telling me he noticed I had other dollars in my wallet. I’m not playing. I nearly lost my religion.

I say alladat to say, how do you deal with beggars on the street asking for money? Because I can’t deal. But I don’t want to go to Hell.


Any thoughts?

’90 Minutes in Heaven’ in Digital HD as of TODAY and on DVD & Blu-Ray December 1!!!

90 minutes

Hello World,

I wish I could craft eloquent words to encapsulate all that I feel about the terrorism that unfolded in Paris last Friday. As many have said, the best thing to do right now is to #PrayforParis and pray for our world leaders as they come together to address these heinous crimes of inhumanity. It disturbs me that “man’s inhumanity to man” knows no boundaries! As pessimistic as this may seem and it is certainly not a reason to be passive, but we live in a fallen world where there will always be “wars and rumours of wars.” It is only in Heaven where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Below is a description of one man’s encounter with Heaven…

Based on the true story that inspired a New York Times best-selling book written by Don Piper and Cec Murphey,  “90 Minutes in Heaven” is a thrilling and touching account of a struggle for life that is nothing short of miraculous. The movie is in Digital HD as of TODAY and will be in Blu-ray with DIGITAL HD, DVD and On Demand on December 1, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Both the Blu-ray™ and DVD versions are filled with inspiring bonus features that take audiences behind the scenes of “an intimate story of survival and faith” (Movieguide®).

During the 90 minutes he is declared dead after a traffic accident, Don Piper experiences love, joy and life like he’s never known. But when he finally wakes in the hospital, Heaven’s bliss is replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil. With the support of his family and community, Don clings to his faith and fights to recover the life he’s lost. Featuring Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, 90 Minutes in Heaven is an emotional and inspiring story of perseverance that will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it.

Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episodes II and III, Shattered Glass) and Kate Bosworth (Still Alice, Blue Crush) carries a film that calls “Powerful and inspiring!” and what critic Joe Leydon of Variety describes as, “…more bluntly realistic than many other faith-based dramas in its depiction of an ordeal that likely would challenge the faith of even the most devout Christians.” Available in time for the holiday season, “90 Minutes in Heaven” is a gift of comfort, hope and encouragement for when we don’t have the right words to say.


Meet the Real Pipers — The Pipers discuss how faith in the midst of crisis brought their family together.
The Making of 90 Minutes in Heaven — Stars Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, along with the cast and crew, share their experiences in filming 90 Minutes in Heaven.
Giving Films — Learn how Giving Films is giving back

Below is former NFL Coach Tony Dungy speaking about the film “90 Minutes in Heaven.”

If you want to be entered into a random drawing to win a free copy of a “90 Minutes in Heaven” DVD, click HERE to subscribe to my blog and receive an email whenever I post AND leave a comment on this post! I will choose the winner by Tuesday, Dec. 1!

Any thoughts?