I guess we start at the beginning. How did I get here. I have been saved, meaning a believer, having professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior since I was nine. I remember sitting on the avocado green couch in our living room with my mother and asking her if I could be saved. I asked because I only saw old people or adults, in church testifying, singing, praising, and praying to God. My mother answered yes, I felt the love of my mother and the Lord so strong that I began to cry. I remember one of my eight siblings coming in asking “what’s wrong with Eileen?” And my mother saying, “she’s alright.” Hence began my relationship with the Lord.
I would pray for God to bless my family. I knew we didn’t have much when it came to money, but I knew God was our provider. I would go to church with my mother often, because that was time I had with her alone. But in those moments, I would see and hear about crazy moves of God. Testimonies of cancer being healed, a young child’s burnt skin healing miraculously, God anointing a missionary to play the piano on the spot, no lessons or previous knowledge. I believed. My mother would ask me to pray with her about situations and she called me her little prayer warrior.
Throughout my life God and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. I strayed a few times, had premarital sex, , lived with my boyfriend, smoked a few joints and had a baby out of wedlock. Having my daughter is what brought me back to a true relationship with my Savior. During my pregnancy I realized that I needed Him more than ever. Then two weeks before my wedding, my fiancé (my baby daddy) told me he cheated on me and got someone else pregnant before I got pregnant. I know, I had an opportunity to get out of the relationship free and clear, but I fell for the okey-doke, thinking he would choose me, because we were together the longest, but that wasn’t the case. I remember going into labor asking God to deliver me from the heartache of my boyfriend while I am delivering this baby. And He did. Later that evening, my baby daddy came to visit us, I can honestly say, I had no feelings for him when he came to see her, and I couldn’t wait for him to leave.
I continued to serve the Lord in the music ministry. My daughter also had a great ear for music as well. Everywhere I went, she went. It was just me and her. I had some moments of wishing things could have been different with me her dad, but God knew he was not the one. My daughter was about three when I met my current husband, Derrick. Our relationship developed so fast. He was a student athlete at the University. I loved how he could carry a conversation. He told me that earlier in the year he had attended an Athletes in Action event and had given his heart to the Lord. He was still learning how to walk in his faith, and he was hungry for the things of God.
On Sunday, July 4, 1993, Derrick and I had been dating for a year and I noticed that my dad had came to church with my mom. The 4th of July was my parents wedding anniversary, so I thought what a nice gesture for my dad to come with my mom. We are in service the choir had just sung and I was sitting in the choir stand. The pastor got up and made a statement that Derrick Deadwiler would like to come in his own way, meaning have a few words to say. As I sat in the choir stand, I was wondering what is Derrick going to say. Our pastor occasionally allowed up-and-coming deacons and ministers to give exhortations, so I wasn’t surprised. But Derrick then asked if, “Eileen Austin would come to the front.”
Immediately I felt heat all over my body and was like what is happening. When I got to the podium where he was, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so surprised and shocked that I said nothing, and I heard the pastor say, “are you gonna answer him?” With tear filled eyes and quaky voice, I said, “yes.. yes.”
We were married January 22, 1994, and 11 months later we had our first child together. Derrick had come into the marriage with a son, and I had my daughter, who is five months older. Our first year of marriage wasn’t easy, but we made it through. Five years later we had another addition to our family another baby girl. She reminded Derrick of his mother, who we had lost two years earlier.
After 29 years of marriage, 4 grown children, 1 son in love, a 5-year-old puppy (still a puppy to me), 4 granpups and a grandcat, we are still journeying through with God at the helm of this family.