Ministry aims to turn despair into hope

03/14/2012 5:00 AM

03/14/2012 3:57 PM

Linda Coleman Isaiah believes God delivered her from agony so that she can reach out and help pull other women out of distress.

“I believe that all women have a destiny that is bigger than any one role that they play, whether it is mother, wife, sister – whatever,” Isaiah said. “We get so busy in our lives, trying to take care of everybody else, that we are just worn out. My vision is to give women hope so they can fulfill the call to help build God’s kingdom.”

To help give women the hope they need, the Akron, Ohio, woman is launching LCI Ministries with a women’s conference, called Unleashed Hope, later this month in Ohio.

“One of the first things that we need as women is rest. Not only will we be giving women tools to empower them and inspire them, we will give them an opportunity to relax – to get into the pool, sit by the fireplace and just enjoy some solitude,” said Isaiah, 55. “I believe that when we rest, we can see a vision and dream dreams.”

Isaiah, who experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child and a series of difficulties in her life, including marital problems and caring for a seriously ill parent, said she felt God tugging at her heart to use her life as an example to help others. About a year ago, she was compelled to organize a conference to share with other women that no matter what their struggles, they are not alone.

“I pull back the curtains on my life and share with women that even when we feel hopeless and burdened with pain, God is able to bring us out,” Isaiah said. “God is a restorer and he lives in us. He can take every wrong and make it right. God took my misery and turned it into ministry.”

Isaiah, who has been married 31 years and has worked in the day care field for 35 years, is executive director of Kandy Kane Christian Day Care Center in West Akron. She also is coordinator of the church nursery at Akron’s House of the Lord, where she has helped organize women’s conferences for up to 800 participants.

“The last thing I wanted to do was have a conference because I know it takes a lot of work, but I woke up in the middle of the night last March and began to pray. I got up off my knees crying and told my husband, ‘We’re going to have a conference,’ ” Isaiah said. “When God gives you something to do, you do it. I’m walking by faith. I don’t know exactly where this ministry is going to take me, but I believe I’m called to speak the word of God.”

Isaiah said the title of the conference – Unleashed Hope – comes from a God-inspired vision that depicted how many women go through life chained by their circumstances and that Satan pulls the chain, jerking them around, keeping them distracted from living the life God intends for them.

The logo for her ministry – chains breaking and a dove, a symbol of peace, flying overhead – also reflects her revelation. She said the goal of her ministry is to reach out to all women, regardless of race or social or economic status.

“I want to help women break those chains and unleash them so they can go through life with hope, knowing that God can open doors that no man can shut,” Isaiah said. “I know it can happen because it happened to me. I was hard and bitter. I didn’t have compassion. I was so judgmental.

“But God changed me. God changed my heart.”

Bishop F. Josephus Johnson II, senior pastor at the House of the Lord, said Isaiah has been a tremendous asset to the church and he expects her ministry to touch the lives of women who are hurting.

“Sister Isaiah is a very faithful person who is trying to do what God wants her to do. I have a lot of respect for her,” Johnson said. “She has been through a lot in her life and shares her story to touch women who have been abused and women who find themselves without hope.”

Isaiah, who is also a conference speaker and workshop leader, will be one of two featured speakers at the Unleashed Hope Conference. The other speaker will be Jan Silvious, who has served in women-focused ministry for more than 25 years.

Silvious, who has written seven books and is a professional life coach, has been a speaker at Women of Faith arena events, Precept Ministries’ National Women’s Convention and Moody’s women’s conferences.

The Chattanooga, Tenn., resident has known Isaiah for more than 15 years and agreed to minister at the conference because of their relationship and her desire to help women.

“I want to see women get unstuck from the issues in their lives that keep them bound,” Silvious said. “Linda is a woman who knows who she is and who God is, and I want to do what I can to help her spread the love of God to as many women as possible.”

“Anointing comes out of breaking the chains that hold us, and I hope we break some chains at the conference,” Isaiah said. “I want to teach women how to fight to take back their lives and I want them to know that they are fighting the enemy — not their abusers, not the other woman. I want women to understand that you can’t live in a state of grief or in a state of pain. God can help us navigate the waters.”

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