A little about me for those I minister to…
I grew up a little here and a little there until 8th grade. Mostly in Oklahoma, but I did have about 3 years in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 8th grade I moved to Wellston and began growing roots. My parents had divorced when I was 1, and my mother (whom I lived with) was remarried. My maiden name was Traci Francis, but in school I used my stepfather’s name (a long story that I won’t bore you with)…Higginbotham. I so often am remembered by this very looong name!
My mother was abusive. During my senior year at Wellston the DHS was notified and took me out of her home. My dad lived in Florida at the time and I was sent there! I was devastated because what upheld me during the abuse I lived with was the love of my classmates and boyfriend (who is now my husband). I didn’t know my dad very well. As I got to know him, I realized that not having him in my life was another abuse of my mother. He is a very sweet man who was told he would be acting in my best interest by not disrupting the family life I had with my mother, stepdad and brother. We grew close very quickly. And I was very happy to have someone who was kind to me. However, my heart was still in Wellston. So when I turned 18 (February 1989) I came back to graduate with my class. I lived with my best friend’s parents (very sweet and caring people) and started college as soon as we graduated just like everyone else. But I was experiencing some freedom that I’d never had before, so I decided to see what all was out there.
In December of 1990, my dad made a trip from Florida to see me. He brought me the good news of Jesus Christ! I was not raised in church. I knew NOTHING of the bible. I had visited a couple of churches with friends, Jeff or my dad. But I was so intimidated because I didn’t know anything about what they were talking about I couldn’t wait to get out of them! So when my dad came to talk to me about salvation I can’t even remember a word that was spoken. I just remember being in a car with him in the parking lot of a Braum’s and feeling like the car was being picked up and twirled around and sat back down. I remember crying and my dad crying and a squeezing of my heart that was like nothing I’ve ever felt. Again I don’t know what he said, I don’t know what I said, but I DO know that God was there. And I knew that He was good and I needed Him.
As I walked away from that experience and my dad went back to Florida, I didn’t know anything about living for Jesus. I returned to my life desiring to be a good person, but really having no idea what that meant. I based my “good” on being honest and responsible. So I explored, played, and dabbled with all kinds of sin. I thought it was ok as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone (I only considered people in this thought, not the Lord) and I was paying my own way. Hence, I looked like everyone else around me. I was even honest so many thought well of me. I lived this disgraceful life for more than 20 years. As I look back I can see why I did it, I can see how God is using it, but only thru God’s grace can I look back and forgive myself for all the pain I caused the God that saved me from hell. The God that saves me each day from my own self. The God I finally allowed to teach me what true love is. The God that has healed my heart. The God that has delivered me from so many bad choices and the God that has saved my kids from living thru the hell I did.
It was only after I had been divorced twice and seeking another marriage, that I finally realized that Traci couldn’t do this anymore. I needed something bigger than me, something wiser than me and something stronger than me. Somehow I knew what I needed was God (He was drawing me thru my salvation). I fell on my knees every day and read the bible every day for a year begging for Him to fix the messes I’d made. I begged Him to heal the wounds and show me how to be “good.” It took about 6 months into that year before I started seeing Him really work, but I saw it! And I craved more of Him! I finally knew where goodness came from…lasting goodness and I wasn’t about to turn it loose. I devoured the bible. I studied it, read it, fell asleep with it, sang it, and started trying to preach it. I wanted everyone to know what I had found out. I quickly learned that everyone didn’t want to know what I found out. So I withdrew and buried myself in God’s Word, prayer, time with the Master, church and my daughter. As I did God started answering all my prayers. He was mending me. He was teaching me. He was loving me.
This all took time…about 8 years and counting. I am still being mended, still being taught, and PRAISE GOD still being loved. He’s shown me how to love and others. He’s given me the grace to forgive those that have hurt me. He’s broken much pride and sinfulness in me. He’s blessed me beyond measure and He’s saved both of my daughters for eternity.
The third marriage I was seeking was to my now husband, Jeff Danker, in 2005. We are living proof of God’s goodness and grace. We have a family built around Jesus! My girls and their love for the Lord overwhelm me with joy!! And also encourage me to keep fighting… keep fighting for all those girls like I was…lost and confused. My girls have also taught me so much from their pure minds and hearts and have led me to this ministry of GWAP. Thru Jaylee’s prayers and obedience GWAP was started 3 years ago as home bible study for a few of their friends. Now it is a growing group of awesome girls that I am blessed to serve. I don’t know all of God’s plans for us, but what I do know is this. I love Him! I love these girls! And I will beckon Him for every step we need to take, and will wear my knees out so that He will be the love of these girls lives. I want them to know where true goodness and love comes from and I want to serve the God that has been so good to me.
There you have it…me in a nutshell. I hope this gives you insight into this ministry and into this teacher. And I hope it gives you peace that my motives are pure and bathed in prayer and biblical teaching. I am an open book…so if you have any questions I will be happy to talk to you. I will you give the answers I have and seek the ones I don’t.
May God continue to bless us and lead us where we don’t even know we can go!!