- The Truth Is the
- Kensington Books/Dafina
- A Blessed Trinity
Novel (Book 6)
The newest member of Followers of Jesus Faith Worship Center
stirs up more troubles than blessings when he decides to rededicate
his life to God
- As the son of a well-known
minister, Clarence Walker knows his decision to leave his fathers
flock and join Pastor George Landriss mega-church ministry
is a controversial one. But little does he suspect it will ignite
a firestorm of revelations that will shake the heart of the congregationand
his very own family
- From a long-buried secret
that will bring the paternity of not one, but two women, to light,
to a parishioner whose long awaited love match may be thwarted
by resistance from an unexpected source, hidden truths are coming
to the surface. But most shocking of all is that Clarences
own father, Reverend Marshall Walker, may not be the pious figure
he claims to be. And since evidence of his transgressions lies
in the hands of his arch nemesis, its only a matter of
time before Reverend Walkers lifeand his churchfalls
like a house of cards.
- Perceptive, moving, and emotional,
Vanessa Davis Griggs once again celebrates church life with its
triumphs, tragedies, and all-too-human mistakesproving
that without truth, there can be no light
- Praise For
Vanessa Davis Griggs
rich stories of faith in action always hit the writing trifectathey
make you laugh, cry, and yearn for more.
Benson, National Bestselling Author
Vanessas books are fascinating, full of wisdom, occasional
humor, [and] a little romance.
Robinson, author of Sweet Georgia Brown
- A smart novel
that addresses an issue that many in the church shy away fromdivorcewith
[and] characters who are refreshingly (for
inspirational fiction) imperfect.
Journal on Practicing What You Preach
- Vanessa is a
her Christian-based stories will inspire
- Vanessa Davis Griggs is
a motivational speaker and the author of The Rose of Jericho,
Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Blessed Trinity, Strongholds,
If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach and Goodness
and Mercy. The recipient of several awards (including the
Arts and Letters Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Birmingham
Alumnae Chapter and The Greater Birmingham Millennium Section
National Council of Negro Women Inspiration Award), this married
mother of three grown sons resides in Irondale, a city just outside
of Birmingham, Alabama.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone
of the corner.
Crown me! said the ninety-nine-year-old man with
dark chocolate skin, who didnt look a day over seventy.
He sat back against the flowery-cushioned chair and folded his
arms, all while displaying a playful grin.
Crown you? said a matched-in-tone thirty-five-year-old,
resembling a slimmed-down teddy bear as he shook his head while
mirroring the old mans grin. Crown you?
Thats what I just said, so quit stalling and get
to crowning me.
The younger man first started to chuckle before it turned
into a refrained laugh. Gramps, Ive told you twice
already: Were playing chess, not checkers. The rules are
different. Theres no crowning a piece when it reaches the
other side, not in chess.
You say that there is my queen, right? Gramps
touched the game piece that represented his queen.
Well, if theres a queen, then theres got
to be a king with some real power a lot closer and, frankly,
better than this joker here. He touched his king. So
quit bumping your gums and crown me so I can get some real help
in protecting my queen.
Gramps nodded, proudly flaunting his new set of dentures,
as he grinned at his favorite grandson.
Clarence Walker couldnt do anything but smile and shake
his head in both amusement and adoration. Ive told
you. Because theres already a king on the boardhe
pointed to the kingwe dont crown in chess.
Just admit it. You dont really want to learn how to play
chess, do you? Thats why youre acting this way.
I tried to tell you from the git-go that Im a
checkers man and strictly a checkers man. When you get my age,
its hard for an old dog to learn new tricks. I know how
to fetch. I know how to roll over and even play dead. But all
this fancy stuff like walking on your hind legs and twirling
around . . . Well, you can take that to some young pup eager
to learn. Teach the young pups this stuff. With checkers: I move,
I jump, and I get crowned when I reach the other side. Just like
Heaven. He pointed his index finger and circled it around
the board. I get enough kings, I set you up, trap you,
wipe the board with you, and like normalgame over.
Gramps stroked his white, trimmed beard.
Gramps was on a roll now. All this having to remember
pawns, knights, rooks, and bishops, which direction each moves
in, how many spaces they can move when they move . . . I aint
got time for all of that. Then to have a king thats less
powerful than his queen? Check and checkmate? Nope, I cant
get with that. You know what your problem is, dont you?
You dont like me whuppin up on you like I normally
do. Youre trying to find somethin thatll confuse
old Gramps. Now is that check or checkmate?
No, Gramps. Im merely trying to help keep you
sharp. Thats all. Studies show that when you do something
new and different, it exercises your brain. You do know that
your brain is a muscle, so it needs working out just like the
rest of your body does.
Humph! Gramps said. If I was any sharper,
merely passing by me too closely would cut you. Gramps
sensed his grandson had something on his mind he wanted to talk
about other than chess. Gramps leaned forward and placed his
elbows on the table as he put his clasped hands underneath his
chin. Okay, so whats going on with you?
Clarence sat back and became more serious. Gramps, Im
getting baptized this coming Sunday night. I gave my life to
Christ... for real this time. It wasnt just going forward
to shake a preachers hand like when I was twelve and my
daddy made me do it to get it over with. Do you think youd
care to come and see me be baptized on Sunday?
A smile crept over the old mans face as he leaned back
against his seat. So you done finally seen the light, huh?
Yeah, Gramps. Ive finally seen the light. And
Im not running from the Lord anymore. Something happened
to me on Sunday. I cant explain everything about it. But
I know that the same man that walked into that building is not
the same man that walked out. Something changed on the inside
of me; it was an inside job. I see a difference.
The old man nodded. Oh, you preaching to the choir now.
I understand exactly how you feel. I ran from the Lord for a
long time myself, both physically and figuratively. Gramps
readjusted his slender body more comfortably. I know your
mama is happy about all of this. My baby girl has been doing
some kind of praying for you, yes, she has. And knowing your
daddy like I do, Im sure he acted like the father of the
biblical Prodigal Son who finally returned home after wallowing
for a time in a pigsty.
Mom is too excited. She kept grabbing my face and pressing
it in like she used to when I was a little boy. Like she wanted
to be certain that I was really realthat it was actually
me she was talking to and not some dream or figment of her imagination.
Now, Dad, on the other hand, probably would have been happy had
I done this at his church.
Gramps leaned in. Hold up there, whippersnapper. You
mean to tell me you were somewhere else when this miraculous
conversion occurred? You telling me this didnt take place
at your daddys church?
No, Gramps. It didnt happen at my daddys
Well, look out below! Im sure that went over like
a boulder falling off a tall building in New York City during
You know my daddy.
Yeah. Me, of all people, knows your daddy. Not one of
my favorite folks in the world, thats for sure. No need
in me trying to pretend he and I are bosom buddies, especially
not after the way he treated my daughter. But Clarence, your
father did give us you and your older brother, Knowledge. So
I dont count him being in her life all bad.
Clarence tried to force a smile. I told him about me
being saved and about my scheduled baptism for Sunday. I asked
him to come.
Gramps scratched his head. You dont even have
to tell how that conversation went. To him, you getting savedand
in another preachers house at thathad to be the ultimate
openhanded slap to his face. In his super-religious eyes, you
are officially and publicly humiliating him. And everybody whos
anybody knows your father loves the spotlight and equally detests
being disgracedintentional, accidental, or otherwise.
Thats the part of this that I dont understand.
The greater point should be that Ive repented of my sins
and that Im changing my ways. What difference does it make
where it happened and with whom, as long as it happened? Daddy
took it like I was deliberately trying to make him look bad .
. . like I was purposely trying to embarrass him by getting saved
under another pastors leadership instead of his. But I
heard God speak to my heart just as clearly. And in that moment,
I knew I had to move right then and there. I realized where I
end up spending my eternity depended on my receiving Jesus.
Gramps picked up his bishop off the chessboard and held it
up. He began to make air circles with it. Are you following
what God is telling you to do? he asked.
Then Clarence Eugene Walker, in the end, thats
all that really matters. Gramps set the bishop back in
the same spot hed picked it up from with a deliberate thud.
Marshall Walker aint got no Heaven nor a Hell to
put nobody in. Cause the Lord knows, if he had, Ida
been in need of an eternal air conditioner ages ago. In fact,
on more than a few occasions Marshall has flat out told me which
of the two places I could go, and believe me, it wasnt
Heaven. ButGramps smiledas you can clearly
see, I ignored both him and his hearty request. Thats what
you gonna have to do if your father is bothering you about this.
Dont let him get you off track, you hear. Gramps
struggled somewhat as he made his way to his feet with a slight
assistance from his grandson.
Im all right, Gramps said, asserting his
independence to get up without help. Ive told you
I can stand up fine. It just takes me a little longer to get
my motor started, thats all. Eventually, I get it going,
then watch out. He looked at Clarence, now shaking his
head and grinning. Gramps nodded. You can come pick me
up Sunday evening, Gramps said as they left the activity
room of the nursing home that he had called home for the past
year. If the Lord be willing and the creek dont rise,
Ill be here waiting on you. Theres nothing Id
love more than to see you be baptized. Gramps beamed.
They walked to Grampss room. Inside, Gramps started
grinning like a Cheshire cat as he looked down at Clarences
attaché case. So, did you bring my stuff? I dont
want you conveniently leaving here without giving it to me. I
might be old, but as I just told you, my mind is still sharp.
I aint forgot, in case youre counting on me forgetting.
Gramps, you and I both know I shouldnt be doing
Boy, what did I tell you? Im grown ...past grown,
in case youve failed to notice. Now, did you bring my stuff
in that fancy case of yours or not? Gramps gingerly sat
in the tan leather recliner with a built-in massager his daughter,
Zenobia, had given him Fathers Day. He reached over and
turned on the blue retro-styled radio, a modern-day replica of
a 1950s automobile engine, that sat on his dresser. Stand
by Me by Ben E. King was playing. Gramps closed his washed-out,
brown eyes and began to sway as he softly sanghis voice
as strong as when he was twenty and just as smooth and calming
as milk chocolate. There was no question where Clarence had inherited
his singing voice.
Now, thats some real singing right there,
Gramps said as the song trailed off. Ben E. King, Nat King
Cole, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Bessie Smith,
Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Marvin Gaye,
Aretha Franklin, Frankie, Ella, and Lena. And those are just
a fraction of some of the greats of my time. Gramps held
out a hand to let Clarence know he was still waiting on his stuff.
Clarence opened his black case. Gramps, we have some
great singers in our time, too. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson,
Patti LaBelle, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Alicia
Keys, Vickie Winans, Ms. Tramaine Hawkins, goodness! Smokie,
Donnie, Kirk, Yolanda, Babyface, Raheem, Whitney, Celine . .
. dont get me started. Clarence pulled out a blue
insulated lunch box. Then there are groups like Earth,
Wind and Fire and En Vogue, who I hear are back. Clarence
handed the lunch box to Gramps. Here. But I want to go
on record that I dont feel right about this. I just want
you to know.
Gramps unzipped the lunch box, looked inside, and began to
grin as he pulled out its content as though the wrong move might
cause it to explode. Ah, he said, placing the still
warm, wax-paper-wrapped item up to his nose. He inhaled slowly
and deeply, then exhaled with a sound of delight. The smoky aroma
escaped into the room. Just the way I like it, wax paper
Clarence nodded. Yeah, three rib bones with extra barbecue
sauce, the sweet not vinegar kind, between two slices of white
bread, wrapped in your favorite BBQ Joints signature paper.
Clarence shook his head. You know youre not supposed
to have that.
Yeah, well, you just make sure you keep your mouth closed
about this. Dont tell your mother and well be fine.
Shes the only one trying to keep me from my barbecue rib
sandwiches. Like I got these teeth, which incidentally cost a
pretty penny, merely for show. Waste not, want notIm
putting these bad boys to work. He clacked his teeth together.
Youre a good grandson, Clarence. You really are.
Now sing that song I love.
You mean the one by Douglas Miller? My Soul Has
Yeah, thats the one. Gramps placed the sandwich
on the dresser and handed the now-empty lunch box back to Clarence.
Clarence put the lunch box back in his attaché case,
then began to singholding back his full voice so as not
to disturb any neighboring or passing residents of the home.
Gramps closed his eyes briefly as he seemed to take in every
note and every word with a metronome-like tick-tock of his head.
When Clarence sang the final note, Gramps opened his teary eyes
and nodded. Yes, he said, pumping an open hand upward,
my souls been anchoredhe swung a fisted
hand while smilingin the Lord!
Clarence nodded, hugged his grandfather, told him that he
loved him, then left.