Now an evangelist, Kirkland has written an account of her life up to this point, titled “The Great Come Back” and released in October by Xulon Press, a Christian self-publishing company.
Kirkland grew up in Childersburg. At 19 she married the man she had dated since ninth grade, and they had two children. “They’re good kids, and I thank God for them,” she said.
The couple stayed married for two years and she says it was a bad time, marked with fighting and violence.
“Many times our directions get cloudy because of difficult days. We find ourselves getting detours that keep us in a dilemma, not going forward nor backward, but standing still,” says the book’s abstract. “If we are not careful, we will become so depressed, so engulfed with our situations that we will cause our future destinations, blessing and prosperity to be put on hold.”
Her book is the tale of “what I went through and how I arrived at where I am now,” she said. “I was really healed.”
Accepting the positive changes that came in her life required forgiveness, Kirkland said. “You have to release that for God to bless someone else. I had to let it go,” she said.
She remarried 24 years ago, and says her second husband, Pastor Frederick Kirkland, was instrumental in her healing. She remembers the neighbor who introduced them, and their first date at a steakhouse restaurant in Sylacauga. “I’ll never forget. We had such a good time. He was such a gentleman.”
They married after a few years’ courtship, and he became a pastor a few years after that, said her son, Demetrius Griffin.
“Then he brought her to ministership, then it dropped down to me,” said Griffin, who also is an evangelist.
Griffin has a chapter in her book explaining how he grew in faith. He says he was “a troublesome teenager” suffering from the emotional anxiety of his parents’ divorce and from peer pressure, and that led him to making destructive decisions.
“I overcame that and became a youth minister myself,” he said. “Things began to get better as I began to let God instruct my life and learned that there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Kirkland, who has worked her entire adult life for her parents, Joe and Florence Lee at Lee’s Upholstery, said copies of her books are available from xulonpress.com, amazon.com and booksamillion.com. She will also have copies available when she signs copies on Friday, Nov. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Childersburg’s Earle A. Rainwater Memorial Library.