It was the year two-thousand on July Eleventh and it was a day I will never forget.

I hopped on a luxury bus with some of my closest friends and started the thirty-mile trek to the infamous Crazy Horse in Irvine, California. In just a few short hours I would headline and debut my original country music to a sold-out crowd on the same stage as Buck Owens, Randy Travis and Johnny Cash.

When we pulled into the parking lot there were hundreds of people already lined up to see the show. It was like they got the wrong info and thought Reba Macintyre or someone equally amazing was playing that night. Oddly enough, it turned out they were actually there to see me. I was a 33 year-old single mom and hairdresser from Rancho Cucamonga, and basically a nobody. I had never performed live music outside of singing worship at church and I was surrounded by stellar musicians and background vocalists that gave the impression I was far more seasoned than I was. It was a great concert. Everything went perfectly and I sat for hours afterward signing autographs for my new fans. I had dreamt of becoming a professional singer my whole life but after going through a divorce, building up a local hair clientele and making just enough ends meat to feed my kids and pay my bills, I truly thought that dream was over. But…God had other plans. It just took me a couple years to figure out they weren’t the same plans I had.

 

God has a funny way of giving us what we think we want so we can figure out it’s not what we want and then move on to what He really wants. I’ve learned the hard way that God is relentless in His pursuit of us and if we truly surrender, He will steer the ship and deliver us to the right destination. Two years after my career as a country singer began, it ended. It was my choice and looking back, I know without a doubt it was the right decision. Although it was fun recording albums, touring with a country band was not the life for me and my kids. Even so, God did some pretty amazing things during my short-lived music career. My best friend Kimmi and I had the opportunity to pray with countless people we would’ve otherwise never had access to. We sowed seeds, loved people, wrote inspirational songs that softened the hardest of hearts and even had the privilege of helping reunite a separated couple in our band. They are still happily married and writing amazing worship songs to this day. God is awesome isn’t He?

Several years later, after I married my husband Ken, God prompted me to give away my wedding ring to drill a clean water well in Africa and guess what? To my surprise, other women followed suit. Without any formal training…again…God called me to start a non-profit called With This Ring to encourage women to give radically in Jesus’ name so that our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world in places like Africa, India and Central America could have access to the gospel and clean drinking water. Eleven years later, With This Ring is receiving wedding rings from around the globe and is using them to help provide men, women and children in Liberia, Africa clean water and the free gift of salvation.

As I have been asked to speak in churches and conferences in the U.S. and even in third-world countries I visit, I am amused at the fact that I am not really a speaker. I am just a storyteller. I learned to candidly share one-on-one with my clients behind the chair as a hairdresser and I learned to communicate to an audience on the stage as a country singer and songwriter. I love to recount the crazy things God has asked me to do and I love to share how completely unequipped I am to accomplish the tasks He puts before me.

In May of 2017, God gave me another assignment. On September first, after eleven years of service, I have officially stepped down as the Executive Director of With This Ring to launch She Will Rise and the Royalty Tour. I am humbled at the opportunity to serve women around the world and point them to the cross.

These days, I am able to identify the whispers of God in my life when I have no idea how I’m going to do what He is asking. When I read the scriptures, I am reminded that I am in good company. God called women like Esther, Deborah, and Ruth to do what seemed insurmountable, and then He met them as they took each step in the direction He was calling.

We are no different.

Jesus is calling His daughters to step into the great unknown so He can use us to do powerful things only He Himself can accomplish. If you aren’t qualified for the task, good. Neither am I. We are however, unequivocally and undeniably Appointedby the King of Kings.

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:14b

~Ali