Archive for the ‘Testimony’ Category

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A Stroke of Providence

One-hundred-fifty years ago or so, Charles Spurgeon penned the following words: “I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” Heaven knows I have been afflicted more times than I can even recall, yet little did I know when I posted Spurgeon’s words one month ago that  they would be somewhat prophetic for what was soon to come; a mild stroke was on the horizon.

The emergency room doctor seemed very nonchalant about the whole thing. In all fairness, however, the waiting rooms were packed, and the good doctor did look like he had already been worn clean smooth, as they say in the south. A few questions and the compulsory, “Be sure to follow-up with your physician,” and off he went.

My physician seemed equally indifferent. Stroke damage is irreparable, he explained. When one has a stroke, that part of the brain that was damaged doesn’t ever come back to life. He also explained the probability for a future occurrence (which I don’t accept), prescribed a drug that “might” help lessen the odds, and sent me on my way.

Irreparable, my foot, I said to myself as I exited the building; I will come out on-top of this thing —watch me!

The damage was certainly noticeable, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. For a period of two weeks or so, I sounded like Porky the Pig. By way of explanation for international readers, Porky is a cartoon character who st-st-st-stutters. My thoughts were somewhat intact, but I couldn’t get my words to come out clearly for the life of me. What frustrated me the most, aside from not being able to clearly communicate, was that my left arm, which throbbed most of the time, lost all strength and tended to draw-up on me. There were other problems too, like migraines and repeated face numbness, but I kept reminding myself that God was still on His throne and that “this [challenge] too shall pass.”

I’m not taking the drug. As providence would have it, my family has been, for years, under the care of one of the best alternative wellness providers in the nation, a man who also happens to be one of the most godly men I know. He was, and is, working closely with me to find the root cause so that this doesn’t happen again. [Thanks again, Dr. Ben, I greatly appreciate you.]

I am also doing my part to expedite my healing. I reminded my body that I am more than a conqueror through Christ, my Lord (Romans 8:37) and I let my body know in no uncertain terms that I was going to call the shots, and not the other way around.

Day after day, I fumbled through tongue-twisters and other recitations, in order to force my thoughts and speech to connect. I also forced my arm to move, and work, even when it didn’t want to. It wasn’t always easy. I knocked a lot of things over, and spilled a lot, but still I persisted.

There is much more that I could say about this whole ordeal, but for time’s sake, I will jump to the good news; then share a few additional thoughts.

It has been just shy of one month since I had the stroke and I am currently feeling pretty good, almost back to normal. My speech may still have a few glitches in it, but I sound like myself again. My arm almost has full range of motion again, doesn’t throb and is regaining its strength, and the headaches are diminishing. God is faithful and He has acted on my behalf! I realize I still have a way to go, but I also know that He will continue to see me through. He who has begun a good work will be faithful to complete it.

And now, I want to share something interesting. In that first week or so following my trip to the emergency room, while I was st-str-struggling to get most words out, I could recite Scripture verses almost flawlessly. I marvel that the Word of God is more a part of me, than the very blood coursing through my veins.

I shared with my husband, through broken words, what was happening and how awesome I thought it was that my inner-spirit was not affected the way my body was. On the contrary, at a time when I could have easily been downcast, my faith effortlessly rose-up  in leaps and bounds.

My precious Lord showed me so many times, and in so many ways, through all of this that He was right there with me, communing with me, strengthening me. I had trouble remembering simple things, yet I easily remembered a great many verses to those old, beautiful hymns —verses that I hadn’t heard in many years. The Lord spoke to me, through those old hymns, especially. Song after song played through my mind effortlessly, as though I had  heard them only yesterday.

My theme song for those first few weeks was selected for me by my Heavenly Father. Time after time, I found myself singing or humming, Great is Thy Faithfulness.¹

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

I am not sharing all of this with you, dear reader, to boast of my spirituality —God forbid! No, I am sharing this with you to remind each and every one of you of God’s faithfulness. In fact, the song above was penned by Thomas Obediah Chisholm, a man whose health was so fragile that he was often confined to bed for long periods of time. The greatest hymns, it seems, were often penned by those who daily relied on God’s faithfulness to see them through great struggles and challenges.

Finally, dear reader, may I say that I do not believe that it is the Lord’s desire that His children suffer. I do, however, believe that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). I also believe that God can help us to draw upon our own experiences of suffering and trials in such a way that we can, in turn, be a blessing to others. Charles Spurgeon certainly understood that through our own afflictions, we gain the empathy to speak a word in season to another that is weary. May we follow in his footsteps.

¹Great is Thy Faithfulness. Words by Thomas Obediah Chisholm. 1923

fear not

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inquisitive girl

The office was very small and plainly decorated; not much for a young child to amuse herself with. While her mother was preoccupied at the reception counter, she fidgeted with the few magazine offerings, but not for long. Obviously the child had a very short attention span; this was due in part, or so it seemed, from her insatiable desire to scrutinize every detail of the world around her.

She carefully inspected the carpet pattern, the two wall hangings and the plants. None of those things enthused her any, and who could blame her? But then, something intangible caught her attention.

Instrumental music began to play, filling the room with the symphonic melody of a classical composition. Wonder filled the young girl’s eyes as she searched the room for its source. Aside from one speaker in the ceiling, there was nothing visible to account for the music –no stereo, no wires, nothing.

“Mama, where is that coming from?” she asked while tugging at her mother’s shirttail. Her mother scarcely noticed. Agitated, the girl yanked harder. “Mama!”

Now her mother was the one who was agitated. “I don’t know, sweetie. There must be a stereo somewhere,” she answered, then quickly returned to the matter at hand.

“But where?” the girl implored. “Where does the music come FROM?”

My heart went out to the child. I really wanted to sit her down and explain things more clearly, to satisfy her curiosity, but being a total stranger, it wasn’t my place to do so. Besides, her mother whisked her away only a few moments later.

I think the main reason I was touched by the girl’s zeal for answers is that she reminded me of myself when I was a young girl. I too had a very inquisitive mind, and similarly, my questions were oft ignored or flippantly dismissed.

What about you dear reader? Have you ever had that experience? I hope not, especially when your questions were of a spiritual nature. I truly hope that every time you had a spiritual question, whether you are in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, or not, that someone was willing to sit down with you, walk you through the pages of the Bible and answer your question thoroughly from Scripture.

To those of you who are more seasoned in your walk with the Lord, I hope that you are, likewise, ready, willing and able to do the same. Scripture admonishes us to: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. And that with gentleness and respect (I Peter 3:15 NIV).

Let us remember, also, that after others do receive the gospel message of hope, and join the family of God, they will have many questions and will initially look to other believers for answers. Are we prepared to give them? Pastors are wonderful, but they cannot do all the work; nor should they. It is our responsibility, as believers, to be about the Father’s business as well.

Finally, I want to encourage every person reading these words, whether you have accepted Jesus into your life or not, to read the Bible daily. It does have the answers to all of life’s questions. There is no doubt, with all the chaos and confusion in this world in these troublesome times; we all need those answers now more than ever!

We also need peace, despite what is happening all around us. Those who know the Lord Jesus, and trust in Him, have true peace. And where did it come from? From God’s presence, and from His promises; those promises which are found in the Holy Bible. If you haven’t already done so, why not pick up a Bible and immerse yourself in it today.


p.s. As always, if you would like prayer for any reason, I would be honored to pray for you. There is a contact button at the top of this page.

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100 dollars

And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22b.

I’m pretty sure that the foolish blunder of a certain young man is not what the LORD had in mind when He inspired the psalmist to pen those words. Still, I can’t help but think of this verse every time I think about an incident that happened at my home one summer evening.

This is a true story –everything on this site is.

It so happened that my family and I, and a house full of guests, were wrapping-up a really awesome Bible study. Even the smallest of children were very much involved. Truthfully, I was always awed by the insight that small children have in spiritual matters, and even more awed by that simple, child-like faith that Scripture speaks of –-the kind of faith that would be put into action that night.

During prayer time, the men gathered around my husband and prayed for healing. He had injured his back and was hurting rather badly. Everyone in the study group knew that my beloved had already missed a great deal of work, and trusted that he would be healed and able to work again soon, but they didn’t realize that my husband’s employers don’t offer any paid sick days. Needless to say, we were really feeling the crunch of missing a few paychecks, but we didn’t mention it, knowing that some of those assembled would offer us money they could not afford to spare. None of our friends knew that there was no money for groceries that week.

Even so, one of the little girls, a precious three-year-old with the faith to move mountains, suddenly declared, in her cute little drawl, “Well, I’ll jus’ pray for Y’shua (Jesus) to give you some money.” And pray she did!

I’ve never seen the Lord answer prayer so fast. In no time at all, there was a commotion outside our house. Being closest to the door, I was the one to check it out. Without being too graphic, let me just say that a car full of drunken young men had parked out front and the driver, who was apparently afraid of having a potty accident in his car, decided to water our lawn instead. My timing was awful. Not only did I see what the young man was doing, my presence at the door gave him cause to behave even more indecently and obnoxious. Of course, I didn’t stick around for the show, so I didn’t see what happened next. Somehow, during all his stumbling, and fumbling with his clothes, he accidentally dropped a $100 bill.

After things quieted down, my boys went outside, which was highly unusual because we were getting ready to fellowship and nosh (snack). But my youngest son insisted that he needed a breath of fresh air and his brother wanted to join him. Normally, they would have gone out back, as we rarely use the front yard, but God had a plan, and we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).  Thus, the boys found the $100 bill almost immediately.

There is no doubt that the bill was dropped by the drunken young man; he came back to look for it later that night. Everyone had long since gone to bed when I heard the unfamiliar sound that caused me to look outside. The same young man, this time alone, had parked his car in the same spot as before, and was frantically searching for the money. However, before I could react, he staggered back to his car and drove away. I could not have returned the money even if I had wanted to.

I’m just guessing here, but once the young man realized what he had done, he probably regretted his lewd and irresponsible behavior. After all, $100 is a pretty big chunk of change to lose for such a foolish act. But this was a Proverbs 13: 22 moment; the young man was reaping from the seeds of iniquity he had sown, but my family, on the other hand, was able to go grocery shopping and pay a small bill.

Did I feel badly for the young man? Yes. But at the same time, I rejoiced in God’s provision. I would never have guessed in a million years that the LORD would have provided for my family in such a unique way, but perhaps God used that young man’s indecent behavior to provide for him as well. After all, valuable life-lessons, with their consequences, can be just as profitable to one man as a financial blessing is to another.

Dear reader, I pray that this will be a week of blessing for you as well, no matter your need, or how God chooses to get that blessing to you. May this be a week to expect the unexpected.

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Let’s be honest; too many personal questions can sometimes be annoying. My friend, Barbara, often answers them with one simple word –nunya. (Yep, that really is in the (urban) dictionary –I looked it up).

She and I are good friends, so she has never responded to any of my questions like that. In fact, the first time I heard her use that term; it caught me off guard because I had never heard it before. She explained, “When I feel that someone is asking me a question which is out of line, I lightheartedly reply, “Nunya” for short. She further clarified, “By that, I mean ‘It’s nunya business.”

That’s probably not a word I would ever use much, because my life is pretty much an open book. Having said that, let me tell you that yesterday was one of those days that I just wanted to put life on hold and spend the whole day communing with my Heavenly Father; so I did. Yes, I prayed for the needs of others, but mostly I just worshipped  the Lord, spending precious time in His presence off-and-on throughout the day. I can say with certainty that He was right there, surrounding me with His awesome presence, every single time I called upon His name. For that I am truly thankful.

One of the things that gripped me most yesterday was the gratitude  I felt  knowing that our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS available for us. It doesn’t matter if we just want to ‘sit on His lap’ and enjoy His presence, or if we have a dire need; He is always as close as the mention of His name.

Perhaps you, dear reader, have never really known that kind of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you that you can simply talk to Him as though He was standing right there beside you, and He will answer! I promise you, when you cry out, “Lord, where are you? I need you!” He will never reply “Nunya!” Instead, He will gently speak to your heart and say, “Here I am, my child!”

Even so, it is sometimes difficult to feel His presence. In His Word, Jesus assures us that He is always present, even though our own emotions hinder us from accepting that. During those times, it often feels that the Lord God is so far away that we must diligently search for Him. Even then, He promised: Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

In this Scripture, the Lord God was speaking to the nation of Israel. They had turned their backs on Him, so He punished them by allowing them to be taken into captivity  in a foreign land. Yet, He was still in their midst all along, just waiting for them to call upon Him, so that they might be restored.

I thought about this over the weekend as I listened to a very sweet man share his testimony of how he first encountered Jesus Christ. This man had been told about Jesus, but he was reluctant to accept Him into his life because of his self-imposed belief that Jesus was surely angry at all the bad things he had done in his life, and was still doing (at that time).

Then one day, as this man sat in a bar, drunk, the Lord Jesus literally appeared to him in a vision. As the man recalled the face of Jesus, his own  face lit up with joy. “Jesus was not angry with me!” he said with a rapturous expression. “He was smiling! He loved me and I knew it.” “He was smiling at me,” he repeated.

What the man said next might be hard to believe for some of you, but it’s the truth. In that vision, Jesus told this man to stop drinking and never do it again. With that, the vision stopped and the man was completely sober– instantly! The friend seated next to him, also drunk, noticed this immediate change and asked what just happened. “I  saw Jesus!” he answered. Of course, his friend scoffed –-  until the very same thing happened to him, that is.

 I have no idea what  became of the second man, but the first man obeyed Jesus  and stopped drinking right then. And he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This man now lives his life knowing with full certainty that his Heavenly Father is always with him, lovingly helping him through every day of his life.

Please understand; the Lord Jesus loves all of humanity and longs to be a vital part of every person’s life. When we know our relationship with God is not right, it is only natural to feel a sense of alienation. Never forget, however, that The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV). He longs to restore those whose relationship with Him is broken; and in His great, lovingkindness, He will be quick to answer those who call upon His name.

Finally, let me warn you that the adversary of humanity does not want you to be in communion with God. What of that? My advice to you is simply this: boldly tell that old devil –NUNYA!

Postscript: Thank you G.C. for sharing such a touching and remarkable testimony with us. May God continue to bless you and amaze you in ways you never dreamed possible!!!

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Some time ago, I promised to share more of my own personal encounters with the miraculous. This one is truly shocking –literally.

Four-thirty in the morning was just too early for me to wake up and get dressed, except for shoes, then drive my step-father to the commuter lot, but I had no choice. I needed the car that day and that was the only way I could get it. Along the way, flashes of lightning tore through the early morning sky to announce a coming storm. Although my plan had been to drive back home, dive into bed and pick up my dream where I left off, my step-father decreed something more important.

“You need to go home and wake up your mom and your brother, and ask them to help you take down the antennae before the storm hits.”

I only half obeyed. Suffice it to say that I was sure I could do the task myself. Besides, waking anyone else up that early was never a good idea, trust me. By the time I stood ready to dismount the antennae, it had already started to drizzle; there was about one-quarter inch of water standing on the deck. The cool water felt good on my bare feet, but I knew that going back to sleep was out of the question because the slow, but steady raindrops had already slapped me more awake than I wanted to be. That’s okay, I thought, because I love a nice storm and I’ll be awake to enjoy this one. Little did I know that I was about to experience a miracle; one that I would never forget.

The antennae was taller than I was, and just a bit heavy, but I could have capably managed a quick dismount had it not been for the sudden gust of wind that thrust the top-heavy apparatus right onto the power lines. My body went instantly rigid as the electricity flowed right through my body. My mind screamed, “Get it off!” but my body could not physically respond. Aside from the violent muscular jerking, I was paralyzed, unable to let go.

Have you have ever seen one of those cartoons where something disastrous happens in super slow motion? That’s what the whole trauma seemed like. The ball of energy, which started at the power line, worked its ways through both me and the antennae and entered the coax cable. Connected to the other end of the cable was my step-father’s prized Ham radio. The energy ball wrapped itself around the cable and headed straight for it.

The radio was the size of a large microwave and I just knew that it would blow-up. It did!

Everything probably happened rather quickly, but it sure didn’t seem like it. To this day, I remember having enough time to mentally cry out, “He’s gonna kill me! He’s gonna to kill me!”

I didn’t think I had been able to make any audible sound, but at some point I screamed loud enough to wake my family and bring the neighbors running. It was a bit late; the radio had already blown and I was glued to the deck, still unable to move. Oddly, though, once my mother opened the sliding glass door and stepped outside, the antennae came off the power line. I am still quite certain that it lifted itself, without any effort from me.

Once inside the house, I did receive a scolding. “You could’ve been killed!” she shrieked. The whole incident was so surreal that I hadn’t yet thought about the fact that I should have been electrocuted (I later learned that my disaster knocked out the town’s electricity for four city blocks). My only fear up to that point was the repercussions that I would face from an angry, temperamental step-father who treasured his radio equipment.

I was so overcome with worry that I stayed home that day and fretted. The clock, like the energy ball, seemed to creep towards its intended target in slow motion; it was one of the longest days of my life.

At the appointed time, I retrieved my step-father from the lot and explained what had happened. “You were right, I should have listened to you and woke up mom and brother, but…” My body went rigid again as I tensed, waiting for the verbal slaughter.

Instead, to my utter surprise, he cried. That was the second shock I received that day. When I was growing up, breaking a dish was practically a capital offense, but for this grave blunder no punishment was given. He only had compassion and understanding.

Dear reader, I want you to understand that at the time all of this happened, I did not know God. Yet, He still chose to look upon me with compassion and spared my life. It would be many years more before I would accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and thank Him for that merciful act, but He always looked-out for me anyway.

I hope you are blessed by this true testimony of God’s miraculous intervention. If you are in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I praise God. But if you are not, I want to you to know that He loves you no matter what, and He is looking out for you whether you realize it or not.

Perhaps it doesn’t seem that way to you. If not, it might be because you are trying to do everything in your own strength; thinking you can get through without help. But that doesn’t generally work. Without God, the winds of adversity will surely blow your way and wreak havoc until something finally blows-up.

My prayer for you today, dear reader, is for you to know that God is with you through every storm. He is merciful and compassionate, and He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) because He cares for you very much.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25,26).

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Breast cancer runs in my family like a mighty torrent of flood water, carving its destruction into the lives of every generation. Some have died, others have survived, but all have in some way been affected. I stared the beast in the face about twelve years ago when my doctor confirmed a lump with smaller “bb’s” extending towards my armpit.

If I had to deal with a lump, the timing could not have been better. I had been ardently studying what Scripture has to say about healing –it’s a lot– and I believed with every fiber of my being that God not only CAN heal, but He is very much in the business of doing so.

A second mammogram and sonogram had been scheduled and it was time to engage in spiritual warfare against this aggressive foe. I confided in only three friends because I felt it crucial that we all be in total agreement as to my healing. Others would certainly have prayed for me, but I could not risk any of those “if it be God’s will” prayers. I already knew what God’s will was.

When one of the disciples asked of Jesus, “Teach us to pray…” He answered thus:

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

I believe there are some issues for which it is appropriate to pray “if it be God’s will….” but I knew that to overcome a giant like breast cancer, it was imperative to stand on promise, not possibility.That may sound impious to you, but I had four small children and my life was at stake; I had no other choice but to take God at His word that He hears our prayers and answers them.

Before I proceed in recounting just how God answered, let me explain that I am in no way denying that many of God’s children face very grave sicknesses and diseases, some of which even result in death. I cannot speak to those situations, nor do I understand them. It is evident that sometimes our prayers for healing are not answered. I do believe, though, that we shouldn’t automatically ‘blame’ God nor blame ourselves. There are a great number of things that can interfere with our prayers being answered, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have done anything wrong. Therefore, there is no condemnation to any of us if we battle with sickness or disease.

Now, let’s get back to the doctor. My three friends and I had been praying that by the time I arrived for my second mammo that the lump would be gone. It wasn’t. The technician asked me to point to where the lump was so I clarified (by faith) “It was here,” indicating the spot.

“Yes, I can certainly feel that,” she said and marked it for the sonogram, which would follow later. As she moved to the other side of the room to prepare a few things I whispered to the Lord, “This is unacceptable; I believed this lump would be gone before the second mammogram.” Again, you might think this impious or even sacrilegious, but I was speaking to my Heavenly Father. He made promises to His children in Scripture and I was holding Him to them.

After she finished the mammogram, the technician led me to another room for the sonogram. I spoke to the Lord again. “You know what I hate about these tests, you always have to wait several days before anyone tells you anything; It would be nice if you would work it out so I could hear something today.”

“I’ll be right back,” said a confused technician. Apparently this test was not going the way they had anticipated. Moments later, a stern-looking doctor accompanied the technician to the room. He repeated the question, “Where is the lump?” I repeated, “It was here.”

In no time at all the doctor told the technician, “That’s enough, I’ve seen all I need to.” He looked at me as though I had committed a crime and stated, more like a question, “There’s Nothing There?”

“Praise the Lord!” I exclaimed with glee. “I knew He would come through!”

The doctor’s expression turned sour. “You attribute this to him?” he asked defiantly. “You bet I do,” I insisted confidently. “God answers prayers and I believed that he would remove this lump from my body before my second mamogram.”

Obviously this man did not believe in prayer; his posture and flippant tone gave him away. “Well I don’t know what to tell you. I looked at the mammogram and there is nothing on it; nothing shows on your sonogram either. Just go home and keep up with your yearly screenings, but there is nothing there!” With that he shot me one more disgusted look and huffed out of the room.

I hope you are encouraged by this true testimony of God’s faithfulness. There are many similar testimonies that I could share, and will do so later, but someone needed to hear this account today. That someone might even be me. Despite all the miraculous healings that God has blessed me with thorough the years, I gradually quit standing on the promises of healing like I used to.

In fact, I was laying on the couch this afternoon in tears, feeling defeated at a particular ailment, when the Lord reminded me of the many times He healed me, though the doctors could not, including the above healing. He also brought to my remembrance the words of this Christian chorus:

Whose report will you believe? We will believe the report of the Lord!

My body may temporarily be in pain but my heart is encouraged anew. After all, I know from experience that the Lord’s word overrules every opposing report. And His word promises that He answers the prayers of His children and cares for all our needs.

This brings me to my personal motto: God said it! I believe it! That settles it!

What more can I say?

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