Creflo Dollar - Left Empty
What do you do when the person who you hold dearest to your heart suddenly dies? Our guest today, Kristi, is reeling from the sudden death of her mother, her rock, her confidant, and her best friend. Since then, Kristi has been battling thoughts of suicide, depression, and anxiety, unable to cope with her grief now for over four years. Now, you may have heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds," but for Kristi, her depression has only gotten worse. Kristi climbed onto her balcony to jump, believing no one would ever miss her. An intervention of grace stopped this from happening, but what hasn't stopped is Kristi's uncontrollable suicide urges. She's here today not just for her own sake, but for the sake of her nine-year-old son she would be leaving behind and leaving alone. Now today, we're going to help this woman. I'm Creflo Dollar, and this is "Your World".
Creflo: Our guest today feels lost and alone, battling thoughts of suicide and depression since the loss of her mother. Would you please help me welcome Kristi Buford to "Your World" today? Kristi, welcome, thank you so much for being here with us. First of all, I wanna thank you for having the courage and taking the time to help so many people. Because, through this show today, you and I are gonna team up, and we're going to create a tool that's gonna help a lot of people in a lot of places relate and understand this issue that you're going through, and how to deal with it, and what to do. And we're gonna get some answers today. We call it "Your World," so we want you to bring all of us into your world of the relationship that you and your mother had and all of those special things that makes her special with you. So, let's begin there.
Kristi Buford: Well, my mother and I was very, very close. She was actually more than just my mother, she was my friend. Coming up as a little girl, I just watched my mother go through so much, just as a single mother. She was in a relationship with my biological father at the time, and I just watched her battle verbal abuse, physical abuse, and she was going to school full-time while working three jobs trying to provide for me and my older sister. I will never forget when my mom used to have to take me to class with her. She was going to school full-time, so she was an inspiration to me. That's why I'm, like, the strong person that I am today, because I remember every single thing that my mother went through when I was a little girl. When she finally got out of that abusive relationship with my biological father, we was actually able to kind of see the light, because then she met my stepfather who was a much better man to her. So, as the years went by, I finally had my child. I was 17, in high school, when I had my son. My mama was still raising me, so she practically helped me raise my son and bring him up. And in 2015, I just think she was just tired, and she had a heart attack in her sleep.
Creflo: So, without a doubt, your mother is your hero.
Creflo: Yeah, and would you say that she was successful in imparting into you and your sister all of the necessary virtues of being a well-rounded, strong woman, able to take care of yourself and to do the things that you need to do as an adult? So, even the night where she passed, I find it very interesting. Describe that night when you were asleep, of her passing, and the things that happened there. Describe that night.
Kristi: Well, actually, when my mother passed away, I had my own place, but we were so close, again, that I happened to be there that night. I spent the night at her house, because I was always under my mom. We were best friends, literally. I'll never forget, I made it there, my stepdad had called me, he said, "Your mom hasn't been feeling well today," and I was like, "Okay, I'll be there later". So, I went, and, you know, she was asleep when I got there, and she was in the bed, and I kissed her. I was always kissing and hugging on my mom anyway, so that was not out of the norm. Later that night, I was asleep, and I don't fully understand this part. My alarm went off. One o'clock that morning, my alarm went off on my phone. I'm like, "Why would I"...
Creflo: At home?
Kristi: Yeah, I'm like, "Why would my alarm go off at one o'clock"? So, I just, you know, hit snooze and went back to sleep. At four o'clock, my stepdad woke up just screaming and yelling, "Kristi, Jaden," that's my son, "Your mom's not breathing". So, I just panicked. I knew that, okay, this is it. I don't know why I felt that, but this was four o'clock at the time, so they called paramedics. Paramedics took forever to get there. They took at least two hours.
Creflo: Two hours?
Kristi: They took at least two hours to show up.
Kristi: Literally, and I was just standing there, and I remember one of the guys from the ambulance walked past me, and I heard him say, "She's been gone since about one o'clock". It that just, like, completely destroyed me. I just couldn't believe it. Like, to this day, it still feels unreal. But God has been slowly revealing to me, you know, that he does things, he doesn't make any mistakes, because my mom was no-doubt ready to, you know, go to heaven or whatever, because she lived a holy, righteous life. And she was walking with the Lord, and every day I just asked God, and I feel selfish at times, because sometimes I'm questioning God, and I feel like this is selfish, but I can't help it, and I'm like, you know, "Why my mom"? Like, why did it have to be my mother to pass away? And it's like, I don't know.
Creflo: Well, it's not out of the norm, you know. You would call it selfish, but it's not out of the norm, it's the cycle of life and how things work. But I wanna drill in on some things. Is there any guilt about her dying that you carry for some reason or another?
Kristi: Kind of, sort of, because when I was coming up as a young girl, I didn't have the wisdom that I have now. I was naive, and, you know, my mom was practically my biggest fan. She wanted the best for me, but, you know, when you're young and naïve, you can't see clearly, you're blind when you're out here and you think you got it all together. And my mom was one of the people in my corner that was trying to actually lead me down that path that I needed to go. But instead, I was following, you know, the crowd, and thinking that, you know, I was in a toxic relationship when I was younger, and my mom was the main one telling me, "You know, this relationship is not for you. God has better, you know, things in store for you, and I feel like the relationship that you're in is toxic," and I didn't listen to my mother. I do feel guilty at times because I feel like I should have listened to my mother more. I just feel like we needed more time together.
Creflo: More time with her to feel, what? Better about not being what you think would be a better daughter, is that what you're talking about dealing with? And you have to understand that, you know, and you know this now, because you have a kid, they don't have to do anything for you to love 'em. They don't have to really do anything for you to be proud of 'em or to congratulate. I mean, they're yours, and there's nothing else you could have done to probably get her to love you even more than what she already loved you. It's just, that's just how it is, and all the things that you talked about, I mean, that's a normal part of growing up, and discovering, and making bad decisions, and learning from those bad decisions. And as parents, you know, that's just what we do. There's nothing that you did, or could have done, that would have ever impacted, I'm talking about a healthy parent, that will ever impact it. Because this is how the old folks used to say, "You still my child". I don't care what you do or nothin', you still my child, and I'm gonna still love you. And sometimes it takes a while for us, for children, to understand how much they're loved by their parents. So, I want you to understand that. What I wanna drill down now on is just where you are right now. Because she's been gone for what, four years?
Creflo: You know, from a spiritual perspective, for somebody to try to understand death and not understand what the Bible and what Jesus has to say about it, it's almost futile, because, you know, to try to explain it without Jesus, and to try to explain it without the Word, it becomes very difficult. What we do understand from the Word of God is that man is a spirit, you have a soul, that's your mind, your will, and your emotions, and you live in a physical body. So, what happens is, I'll use this pen. What happens is, this is your spirit, this is your soul, and this is your physical body. Death takes place, your spirit and your soul depart from your physical body. Your physical body is there, and there's no life in it. But to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, if you're a born-again Christian. The body, which is the house you lived in, remain. You sold that physical body into the physical earth where it came from, like a seed. And when you plant something in the ground as a seed, there's a harvest that's gonna come, and that would be the resurrection and the glorification of that body. But now, right now, today, from God's perspective, your mom is absent from the physical realm, she's in the spiritual realm, and she is more alive today than she was when she was in this physical body. One day, all of us are gonna go through the same process, and just like in a moment, in a twinkle of an eye, we're gonna find ourselves in the spirit world, we don't even know we died. You need to understand me when I say this. She is alive, but she's alive in another realm. Is it okay for me to cry and to miss her? Of course, it's relationship. It's as if she would move to South Africa somewhere and you didn't have transportation to go see her. It hurts, it's painful, but the end is not a part of this story. And so, you cannot allow your grief and your negative emotions to drive your life. So, what do I do? You're gonna have to deal with your thought life. Every time this thought of grief, "I lost my mother," as if it's the end, you gotta think differently. She's not lost, I know exactly where she is. She's absent from the body, present with the Lord, greatest joy she ever has, now be happy for her, because she graduated that night at one o'clock, and now she is living real life. You follow me so far? Now, in this situation, the enemy likes to try to take advantage of people and destroy them, and he likes to use grief. Now, grief is associated with loss. If you continue to see it as a loss instead of a gain, then it can torment you. Grief is something that you must not allow place in your life. That needs to end today, and how does it end? You are gonna take authority over your thoughts. You don't control thoughts with thoughts, you control thoughts with words. So, every time those negative thoughts of grief come in, open your mouth up. "Nope, my mom's not lost, she's with the Lord. Hallelujah, I'll see her again". You got to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, man, and she's rejoicing in heaven. She's rejoicing in heaven. Kristi, I believe the enemy tries to take opportunity to destroy individuals when their loved ones go home to be with the Lord. And I can remember reading your testimony where you felt like your mother was like a crutch in your life. Tell me about that.
Kristi: So, I've never hardly called on God. I didn't pray a lot. I called my mama for everything, all the way down to the small things. I can be in traffic, somebody can break out in front of me, and I'll call my mama, "Let me tell you what this man did," you know? And I don't think it was healthy. I think I used my mom as a crutch. My mom was basically my God.
Creflo: Yeah, your source, yeah.
Kristi: And I never prayed to God, ever. If I needed something, I called my mama, and I just feel like that's one reason... and I'm not saying that this is actually the reason, I'm not assuming, but I really feel like, because over the years I was questioning God, like, "Why did you take my mother, out of all people? You took my mother," and I'll never forget, I was just laying in my bed, and I was just crying, and just... I had so many thoughts. It even got to the point of suicide, like, really bad suicidal thoughts. And I was just praying, like, "Lord, why did you take my mother, out of all people? You always saying, like, you won't never leave people, but you took my mother". And then, it's like I heard God say, not verbally, but in a sense, I just heard him say that my mother was ready to come home. Like, we all gotta go someday, and because I worshiped, practically, my mother, I think that God was just showing me that he is the only God, and that he's the only one that should be worshiped.
Creflo: To feel the guilt, or to think that somehow God is gonna take my mother so he can teach me a lesson is just not true, but it's the enemy that will say, "Now is my opportunity to try to prove to her that God's mad at her and that God's gonna get her back, and God's gonna use death to try to teach her something". That's not God, God is so full of love, and so full of kindness, and a lot of people think think, "Well, you know, God did it," because in moments of great sorrow and grief, that's when the enemy tries to initiate a plan against you to disrupt not only your relationship with God, but the plan and purpose for your life. He wants you not to enter into the plan and purpose. He wants you not to use the things that your mother has imparted into you to help equip you for the plan and the purpose. He wants you to stay in grief, and stay mad at God, and stay upset with this, and get into blame, and shame, and condemnation, and all these kind of things, and what does that do? It paralyzes you, and for four years, paralyzed. Where would you be? What is it you're supposed to be doing? What are the things that are supposed to be taking place that the enemy constantly tries to stop and paralyze you from doing? And I know he's shown you some things, and I know you've taken some steps to go towards those things, but I believe today that God wants to remove the burden and destroy the yoke. And you are one decision away from that burden being removed and that yoke being destroyed. It's called the anointing. You have an anointing on your life. There's a purpose for your life. There's a plan for your life. And the enemy says, "What file can I use to slow her, stop her, paralyze her, and maybe block up the will of God for her life? Oh, I'll play with her emotions, and I will deceive her into thinking you don't want to serve God, he took your mother. You don't want to have anything to do with God, he's responsible for you almost wanting to commit suicide and to kill yourself. Why would you serve a God who would take away my mother, of all the people he could have took". Now, look at what he's doing, he's now using the very thing that makes up his personality, selfishness, and I'm telling you, when you know the truth, when you know that the God of love, and the God of mercy, and the God of grace not only accepts full responsibility of welcoming your mother into a place that's gonna give her life and give it to her more abundantly, but he's your God, and he's ready to give you peace that passes all understanding. You following what I'm saying? So, now dealing with this practical part, you're gonna have to take authority over your emotions. You must not live an emotionally-ruled life. Emotions are feelings on the inside designed to move you in directions. But emotions can move you in a negative direction, or emotions can move you in a positive direction. But those emotions are gonna be determined by what you're thinking. And what you're thinking is gonna be determined by what you're hanging around. And if you'll spend time in that Word, and get the true impression of who God is, and not an impression of what you kind of heard he was, then you're gonna find out that I had no need to grieve. My mother is not dead, she is yet alive. She's away from me right now, and I plan on seeing my mama again. And you say to other people, "Y'all ain't sending me to hell, I got to see my mama again," and that becomes a motivation for you to live a life and to make Jesus your Lord and personal Savior. Now, here's where we are. I wanna give you the opportunity to invite Jesus into your life as Lord and personal Savior for yourself. May I pray the prayer of salvation with you?
Creflo: Repeat these words after me, Kristi. Heavenly Father. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that he's forgiven me for all of my sins. And I believe that all of his finished works have been made available to me. Lord Jesus come into my life. Save me. I make a decision to receive you as my Lord and my Savior. And I thank you now that today I Am Saved. Amen.
Creflo: Welcome to the family of God. Welcome to the family of God. I wanna give you something to mark this day, I call it a Grace Covenant. It's given and presented to Kristi Buford. "I, Kristi Buford, accept the Grace Covenant provided to me by Creflo Dollar, and agree with the following statements. I believe Jesus loves me and nothing will ever change that. I believe that grace in the person of Jesus Christ has already provided everything I will ever need to have a healthy, fulfilling, and prosperous life. I believe everything in my past is in my past. Jesus has chosen not to remember it, neither will I. I will daily proclaim I am the righteousness of God. I will daily live by the belief of understanding grace, empowering to change, to better equip myself for success, and to better serve those individuals around me. I will daily flood my life with the Word of God and the praises of his saints," and there's a place in here that I'm gonna sign the top of it, right under pastor and encouragement, and then I wanna give it to you, so you can sign right above the righteousness of God, because that's who you are. You are the righteousness of God. So, what do you think, you got a plan together now?
Kristi: Yes, I'm just gonna try to... well, I am gonna move forward and just continue to have faith that God will remove the grief completely, and just everything will eventually get better for me.
Creflo: Well, you got your pretty smile back on your face, so that's good news. Don't y'all appreciate her today? God bless you, sweetheart. It takes a little time, you'll think about her every day, and the thoughts will become more fun, and you'll start telling people, "Boy, if my mama was here," and all that kinda stuff. But they're a part of you, and will always be, and that was indented to be that way. You know, coming to terms with the sense of shock of losing a loved one is a process, and can make you feel lost and unable to cope, but listen, God has not left you. He has never, never left you. God has healing on every level already set aside for you, and he's just waiting for you to accept it.