Life has been a special journey for Doris J. Williams.
And the 89-year-old two-time cancer survivor said God has blessed her as she continues to live life to the fullest. Williams, a former teacher, is an avid bowler, active Sunday school member, motivational speaker, reading volunteer in public schools and author of the recently released book “On a Special Journey Called Life” (Zulon Press).
“You can’t sit around not doing anything,” said Williams, a member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Baton Rouge for more than 50 years who has been married to Robert Williams for 72 years.
Williams attributes her full and active life to not worrying and to giving God top priority.
“People often ask me why I am so happy,” she said. “ I tell them I’m happy because I put God first in everything that I do. I pray and answer the guidance of the Holy Spirit and I have a personal relationship with God that I know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. I want other people to have the same kind of experiences with God that I have had. Learn to depend on God for everything and you will have an enjoyable life on this journey.”
She admits the journey has had some moments.
“I have gone through many trials and tribulations. Nobody knows that but God. But I know he’s brought me through each one of them. … It made me stronger and it increased my faith knowing that God would work it out His way, not my way.”
Her faith helped her through her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2000 and again when it returned in 2006.
She believed that God would provide in all areas of her life.
“We sit around and we worry about so many things,” she said. “We’re always worrying about so many things instead of giving it to God and letting Him take care of us. … We know that he loves us because we’re made in his image and we are his children. He promised in his word that He would provide everything we need.”
In addition to his love, Williams said God gives us his word, the Holy Spirit and prayer.
“The Bible is our daily guide to lead us day by day,” she said. “He gave us the Holy Spirit, which is our GPS that guides us and leads us. Then He gave us the opportunity to have a connection with Him through prayer. Prayer is fuel to see that we keep moving along.”
It’s up to each believer to use what God has given us for a successful life journey, Williams said.
“It is our responsibility to put these things into action and to study God’s word, not just read it but study it and apply it to our lives every day. That’s what inspired me (to write the book). I wanted others to feel and have a relationship with God like I did,” she said.
She got further inspiration after speaking to a group about cancer in 2013. Many in the group asked her to put her experience in a book.
“I never do anything until I go to God in prayer. I prayed and I got confirmation. I wrote it so others who read it could apply those principles to their lives,” said Williams, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Southern University and taught mostly elementary school for 29 years.
It took Williams six months to write “On a Special Journey Called Life.” She said she would often wake up about 2 a.m. after receiving some revelation to put in the book.
The 175-page book is well-written and showcases Williams’ biblical knowledge from her years of Bible study, as the youth ministries coordinator at Shiloh and as a teacher in the district and National Baptist Convention. But the book also is evidence of Williams’ life of faith.
She writes: “Having faith in God plays a very important part in this journey called life. You have everything you need to enjoy a happy, glorious life that God planned for you from the beginning of time. He promised that He will take care of you. Where is your faith in God? … Your faith in God may cause God to work unknown miracles in your life. With faith in your heart and God, you can face any trouble that you encounter.”
The book has 12 chapters, including “God Cares,” “God Sent Jesus,” “Being Equipped for the Journey” and “God Is Still Working Miracles.”
The book concludes with several heartwarming testimonies from local people, including the Rev. Leo Cyrus, the Rev. Clee Lowe, Patsy Wilkerson and Cynthia Collette McClintock.
“On a Special Journey Called Life” is Williams’ second book. Her first book, “What Every Baptist Believer Should Know,” was released in 2006.
More than 150 youth from around the Baton Rouge area will be sleeping at church — for a cause.
Blackwater United Methodist Church, 1000 Blackwater Road in Central, is hosting a “Sleep-Out” from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. March 27 to help benefit Youth Oasis Children’s Shelter in Baton Rouge and raise awareness of the growing population of at-risk youth.
Youth Oasis, 260 S. Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge, provides emergency shelter and support services to runaway, homeless and abandoned youth ages 10 to 21.
The sleep-out will offer youth an opportunity to experience what it’s like to sleep outside in a cardboard box, said Melissa Enis, organizer and youth ministries director at Blackwater Methodist.
“They don’t realize how people their age can be on the streets,” Enis said. “When they think of a homeless person, they think of someone who’s older, and we want to raise awareness that even kids at their age can be on the street.”
Enis said the event will teach spiritual lessons.
“I think that once the kids experience it, they are going to have more open hearts to those that there are on the street,” she said. “We are going to have a time of explaining how these kids get out there. So hopefully they will be able to show the love of Christ to those who are on the street and realize a lot of them don’t have a choice.”
The groups will camp out in the back field at Blackwater United Methodist Church. Each camper is asked to have a sponsor donating at least $50.
To sponsor a box or make a donation, go to tinyurl.com/sleepout2015 . Mail donations to Blackwater United Methodist Church, 10000 Blackwater Road, Central, LA 70714 with the memo notation: youth sleep out.
For information, call Enis at (225) 261-4646.
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or by email to trobinson @theadvocate.com.