(ST. CHARLES, Louisiana) — Social media has made the time-old challenge of wondering what others are thinking less of a task.
While it doesn't give us a complete picture of someone else's life (and not counting people who feign their identities primarily for stalking and other questionable purposes) it does provide readers of any given account with a good idea of one's interests.
In this day and age, we see an exorbitant amount of selfies, problems and successes; activists involved in a noble cause; from parents, we learn about their children; from others, posts about food, jokes or, of course — work.
For Deborah Dillihant, of St. Charles, Louisiana, the state where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico — it's all about Jesus and the holy Word of God.
On a near daily basis, via Facebook, Dillihant shares Scriptures more than anything.
"Reading the Bible for yourself is everything. It is where His Word comes alive for us and backs up what His Word says for us and if we don't read it then do we trust to leave it up to man to tell us the Truth?," she told tautalatala via Facebook.
"I have read the Bible three times, from Genesis to Revelation. Three times. I love the message Bible the best and the Dake Bible. I got it long ago that just 'cause the man of God is saying it, don't mean HE is saying it — and if it don't match up with what the Word say I will discard that memory chip."
Dillihant was born in Phoenix, Ariz., raised in a two-parent Christian household, where both her mother and father worked.
"My mother was the one who dragged us to Church and my grandmother played the piano for the Church, so I was surrounded by praying women," she recalled. "Now daddy didn't go unless it was on holidays or a special occasion...he always was leery about a Preacher with their feet under his table. I had a good bringing up and a happy childhood, every Sunday, but that was as far as Church would go unless there were other activities that we were involved with."
Knowing the Lord on a personal level, however, didn't come until later in life when she "didn't have that safety net to keep me from falling."
"Two babies, an abortion, drugs, bad marriages and men is where Jesus met me and showed me His loveliness," Dillihant said.
"There was a time when things had gotten so hard and I had gotten so desperate that I was seeking a quick fix to life and I could remember that thinking Buddhism would do that for me."
One day she was sitting in a Buddhist temple "and all of sudden something came over me, a dread-like feeling."
"While they were worshipping Buddha, I got up and ran home and it was a distance too but I couldn't be there and this was the first time that I understood remorse, because I had put another god in our Father's face," she said. "I cried so hard behind that but afterward I knew I was forgiven and it was the start of a long love affair."
Dillihant says it wasn't that "I loved Him."
"But that He loved me first when I couldn't love myself," she said. "Things didn't change right away 'cause I hadn't changed my stinking thinking. But He was and is faithful and at every point of despair in my life, at every death door, at every mind altering situation in my life He was there, faithful, putting up and keeping me in my mess."
She loves Church, but Dillihant notes: "I just don't want to play Church anymore."
At one time she was quite busy serving in the Church in Phoenix, hosting Bible study sessions in her home on Wednesdays, then Church on Sundays, and whatever she could do in between.
"And when I couldn't get the recognition that I thought I deserved I'd sit out for a whole year, until one day I was having this conversation with God and he showed me that offense came in when I was so busy serving man and not Him," said Dillihant.
"So now I do like to be in corporate prayer and to hear the Word but I'm no longer overwhelmed with man," she said.
"I'm more guarded with not being religious but more Christ-like. For me, it is personal! I am a member of New Life International Church with Pastor Norman Thomas, located here in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Pastor Thomas is an awesome man of God and the Word and its anointing rests heavily upon him."
Each time Dillihant set herself up to read the entire Bible, it has taken one year "with consistency."
"It was so worth it!," Dillihant said with enthusiasm. "Whenever life is trying to punch me I go to His Word and it lifts me in so many ways like Psalms 31 or Psalms 63 and Luke 2:52 is another Scripture where I put my name in Jesus' name — and it can be quite liberating."
She tries to read her Bible daily but it doesn't always work out that way.
"I like to start the day with my coffee and the outdoors...and read a few chapters and if I don't do a few chapters," Dillihant playfully adds, "He is still in love with me."
Her given name, Deborah, is is found in the Bible. There is Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah chronicled in Genesis; and in Judges, Deborah the famous prophetess, who judged Israel and encouraged Barak against Sisera. There is a well-known song of Deborah and Barak which commemorates the victory of Israel over Canaan.
Interestingly, Dillihant's favourite verses are not those from which her name is derived. She best identifies with Revelation.
"Revelation 3:7-12. If you ask me who I am, that is who I am," she told tautalatala.
In the King James Version, those verses from The Revelation of St. John the Divine read: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and has kept my Word, and has not denied my name.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Is knowing what others are thinking, as enabled by social media, a good or bad thing? Writers and business owners (and terrorists and Russian spies most likely) would probably answer with a resounding "yes!" For social media users who don't fall into any of those categories, the jury is still deliberating.
To Dillihant, Facebook is but another avenue to proclaim her faith. She does it coolly, convincingly and with such confidence, her story is being told all the way in the South Pacific in an island paradise called Samoa.
Simply put, Deborah Dillihant, a beauteous African-American who doesn't fancy photographs, stands out from the social media crowd as a proud Woman of God.
That solitary fact right there — is absolutely, positively — everything.