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Ursula Crable, Walking in Her Purpose

By Tamani Lucy-Thompson Ursula Crable sits back on her couch at the Freeman House and willfully discloses she was the result of her mother’s calculated attempt to trap her father into staying in an unhealthy relationship.

She was born at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. While most mothers eagerly anticipated their new arrivals, baby Ursula had to be rescued by her maternal grandmother because her mother discarded this new life within hours of her birth. Her grandma covered her in prayer and did her best to provide.

Ursula recalls living with her grandmother and uncle when the first day of kindergarten approached. Instead of a vision of welcoming smiles and cheerful faces, Ursula remembers her uncle leading her into the filthy hands of a perpetrator. At the tender age of 5, she was robbed of her innocence. Her uncle pimped her out for drugs and money, and convinced her she had to keep his heinous secret because she was nasty. She held on to the secret out of fear and endured this unimaginable exploitation for five long years.

The trafficking came to an abrupt halt after her family moved to another location, though not before Ursula developed a disdain for older men and a disgust with certain scents she smelled on them. Burying her secret, Ursula became sexually active as a teenager and soon became pregnant. Her grandmother and mother, unwilling to accept Ursula having a child before marriage, sent her away to a home that hid the secrets of unwed pregnancies. No one consulted 15-year-old Ursula before, at six months pregnant, she was separated from her 16-year-old boyfriend and relocated to a place called “Home of the Redeeming Love,” designed specifically for unwed mothers. After delivering a healthy baby boy, she was pushed into relinquishing all rights as a parent and watched as he was removed from her arms.

After being discharged, Ursula was forced to reunite with her mother in California. Her resentment toward the woman who had been absent for most of her life made the situation volatile, and one altercation with her mother landed Ursula on the streets. Unwilling to let her mother witness her pain, she hastily moved in with her then-boyfriend. His mother they be if Ursula were to live with them. Her boyfriend soon proposed, and after she agreed, his family effortlessly arranged a wedding in their back yard, with Ursula’s mother giving permission since she was a minor.

Married at 17, without any guidance or examples of healthy relationships, she didn’t recognize any warning signs. Her new husband was possessive and jealous. He was unfaithful, but often accused her of infidelity. She assumed his adulterous behavior was normal. He also began to physically abuse her, and she couldn’t understand why his family, who claimed to love her, never intervened.

As a child, no one was there to help Ursula. “At 5 years old, if they would just have looked at me, somebody would have known,” Ursula says. Now, she was surrounded by a new family that refused to notice the yells, the screams, the black eyes. “I can relate with women that get punched in the face for no reason – the battered wife syndrome,” Ursula says.

On multiple occasions, she planned her escape, even enlisting in the military and taking a break from him for at least six years. She moved around the country and mentions, laughing, that she acquired eight different IDs while fleeing from him. Even so, she would feel lonely and long for him. “There was something that made me miss him, and I would go back to him,” Ursula says. She recalls being dragged down the concourse at the airport, punched so hard that her pierced earrings fell out of her ears, being shot at with a rifle. She would pray and ask God to change him or send a sign if they were meant to be together. She honored her vows in fear of displeasing God.

One evening, she was waiting for her husband to come home. She found herself at the loaded rifle sitting by their front door in case of an intruder. Ursula studied it and contemplated, in her words, “blowing his brains out.” That is when she describes hearing the audible voice of God. She clearly heard him say, “Sweetheart, you don’t need to do that. It is time for you to go,” Ursula says. Ursula knew that was the confirmation she had been praying for.

She got into contact with an Atlanta agency called Battered Women’s Underground, which helped her relocate to Kansas City. On Valentine’s Day, Ursula packed all she could carry in her car and finally left her husband. She drove nonstop from Atlanta to Kansas City. Unfortunately, the organization’s arrangements for housing didn’t work out, and she was forced into a shelter. While climbing the stairs at the shelter, she spoke to God, saying, “Well, God, there isn’t anything else I can do but go up.” During her stay at the shelter, she found clarity to reevaluate her life. Bible study was a requirement at the shelter, and she appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with God. She learned to embrace her singleness and enjoy the fragrance of God. She was reminded that she was the bride of Christ and all that she was searching for could be found in him. She quickly became known to many as the “encourager” for her efforts to support the people around her. She constantly reminded herself that where she lived did not determine who she was.

Though filled with a new sense of purpose, she still did not wish to divorce her husband, though she had not spoken to him in some time. While Ursula was attending a church service at Rhema Christian Center in Columbus, Bishop Lafayette Scales, now her spiritual father, delivered a message to the congregation that spoke directly to her. Scales laid out three words, each beginning with ‘A,’ from the Bible to mark only times God gives permission to dissolve a marriage: adultery, abuse and abandonment, the latter of which she had felt even in her husband’s presence. This was the breakthrough Ursula needed to divorce her husband and be set free. She now raises her voice for women in hopeless situations: “You can come out. Don’t give up or settle or turn to something that numbs the pain. Because when that stuff wears off, you are going to start feeling life. Pray and have faith.”

From there, Ursula has obtained an associate’s degree in biblical studies, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Christian counseling and pastoral care. She can’t explain how she made it through all her struggles, she says, but clearly understands why. Just a few short years ago, she dreamed of a life where she could provide a safe haven to women who needed a rescue. When she was referred to the visionary Barbara Freeman and the Freeman House, the dream became a reality. The Freeman House is transitional housing for survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. She and Barbara agree that it was a divine appointment.

Ursula moved in on Feb. 27, 2018, and today is the proud on-site administrator. Affectionally called “Mama,” she is working to break the snare that has bound so many girls and women. She gives God all the credit for positioning her. Ursula is confident that she is doing the will of her father. The manifested promise of God is truly made known. “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Ursula recognizes that her life is not her own; she belongs to him. She describes herself as a quilt with holes constantly being patched up by God. His newest patch has been her reunion with her son, who has always held a place in her heart. After years of searching on her own, she was finally able to find him via a Facebook group agency called Search Squad. Her son had been placed in the arms of a loving family who now welcomed her. She emphasizes that God wanted to show her that he was responsible for the events leading to her physically embracing her son on Mother’s Day 2020. Ursula plans to share, in depth, her journey in her upcoming book, titled Ebony Crafted by Faith.

She still can’t imagine what her mother thought when she left her, how addiction could cause her uncle to use her body for monetary gain or how the man who said “I do” could shoot at her. Today, she prides herself on knowing the “why” as God needed to put her to a test, so she could have a testimony. A woman’s life is counting on her. Somebody’s daughter’s broken places will be restored because of her message. “Unfortunately, life is going to offer you some licks. They might not all be the same; you are just going to have to cope with them differently,” Ursula says.

Ursula says she is often in disbelief at how her life has unfolded for her. Now, she is highly respected in the community and is walking in her purpose. She is eager to share the joy and peace she has today because she never gave up.


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