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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wasted Faith--or Was It?!?

This topic-this subject-in our OBS of the book Greater by Steven Furtick-was a difficult one for me. For any who have read the 'Our Story' blog posts here on this blog, you will understand where I am going here. Could I be the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings? Yes--our similarities are striking. Including her son crying "My head! My head!". The first observable seizure my son had, these were his words, "Ow! Mom! My head" and out he went, almost to the point of being intubated because he wouldn't breathe. My life changed forever that day.

All of my life I grew up watching mighty miracles from God in both my family and my church. I had SEEN His provision, His healing, and His protection. Heck, I was the recipient of those blessings many times, but unfortunately, had my own agenda and didn't take the time to notice it.

Prior to this event with my son, about 5 months to be exact--a postpartum illness and sick newborn--drove me straight into the arms of Jesus. I was never so serious or so dedicated in my WHOLE life, to live for Him.  I wanted to live for Him (not felt threatened too as many in our church made us feel). Regardless of the cost. I often prayed for Him to make me a disciple. To teach me. Well, it has been a tough road but can I say I am thankful? YES. Am I still learning? DAILY--I make a lot of mistakes. I am one of those students most professors dread. ;)

My son's seizures went from bad to worse the more medicine they poured into his little 11 year old body. I was still struggling with health issues. I had a 6 month old baby to take care of (I had lost her twin when I was between 9-11 weeks pregnant)--I also had a 2 year old and a 9 year old. He just kept seizing. This kid would seize over 50 times in a day. The medicine was making him an emotional zombie--he would either be crying, angry or drugged out. We had taken him to the church to be prayed for, he was anointed with praying oil by the church, my grandma, and my family. One day, things came to a head and he went into a massive seizure that almost killed him--he was in the hospital at the time. But GOD was right there. Bryce came up out of the bed praising Him!! is where the Greater study struck me. On pg. 98 of Greater, Pastor Furtick says, " And instead of being given beauty for ashes, they are given ashes for ashes."

Bryce's condition got worse. We were facing 2 brain surgeries. The EEG showed continual seizure activity, even though we didn't always SEE them. 24/7 seizures for a month. BUT THEN GOD....Bryce started to get better. The 'lesion' on his brain causing the repeated seizures 'disappeared' about 1 WEEK before surgery #1, but I thought I had lost the sweet, caring, helpful, beautiful child I once had. . Instead, he was moody, angry, rebellious, sneaky and getting into a lot of trouble. I prayed for not only restoration of my son, but one who was better than before. For God to restore, as He did for Job and to restore what the locusts had taken (Joel 2:25).

Shortly after this, by about 3 months, my other son, Logan, developed extremely high blood sugar. The tests were working him up for Insulin Dependent Diabetes. His tests were touchy, and he was rushed to a specialist. Mamaw grabbed the praying oil and we prayed for him. BUT THEN GOD.......completely healed him! His next round of tests (and those since) have come back normal. He is such a sweet blessing to me.

So, now, sitting here 3 years later can I say that faith was wasted? I was so AFRAID at the time, and crying out to God, "Why? After I gave my life back to you, why?". And do you know, in all of His MERCY, He answered me. I 'wrote' Him a 4 page letter, and do you know that I now know the answers to those questions? Do you know that I now 'know' Him, and not 'know of' Him? I love Him with all of my heart.

Wasted faith? NO WAY!! My boy Bryce? The one with all the issues? HE is twice the kid he ever was. HE counsels me. He is more caring and compassionate than he ever was. AND!! He just informed me that He feels called to ministry! This child, who the doctors said would have MASSIVE brain damage and virtually be a vegetable when the seizures were over........scored NEAR genius level on an IQ test DURING his 24/7 seizures. They didn't even let him finish the test, so we don't know his 'full IQ'.  He is now 15, taller than his mama and about 175 lbs! He lives a happy life! (He was a runt lol) He is hopeful, as are we, to God for full healing, but he accepts these 'trials' as he calls them. He said he had learned, as Paul said, to be content in all things. His favorite to quote? James 1:2-4. The Lord uses my son to teach me about faith almost daily.

And again, WASTED FAITH?!? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Could I say that then? No, it did 'feel' wasted. But you know what? FEELINGS ARE FICKLE. We serve an unchanging, compassionate, merciful, and loving God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby Steps...or Leap of Faith?!?

Small steps of obedience....or a leap of faith? One. By. One. Doing the OBS over at on the book Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick has really stretched me. In more ways than one. 

According to my Bible dictionary, obedience is "the carrying out the word and will of God." and then, "obedience is a POSITIVE, active response to what a person hears." (caps mine). Growing up I was a pretty rebellious teen. Obedience, to me was never seen in this POSITIVE light. I wanted to do my own thing. Perhaps that is why God is calling me to take small steps of Him. Those who know me, I mean really know me, know what I am talking about. I am literally a modern day Saul to Paul transformation once Jesus got ahold of me. So when the term obedience comes up-I shrink back a little. Not in rebellion this time, but because I love Jesus so much that I don't WANT to disobey anymore. My problems, or 'nets'? Confusion and fear.

God has been working on a lot of areas in my life and in my faith walk. To trust Him in big things, not just the small things. As many of you may know, we suffered a year of devastating illness in our family. The last 3 years have been some of the most uncomfortable and unsure years of my whole life. I am a woman who needs structure. Who needs control. Who needs to know what is expected of me. Which leads me to thankfulness for the next scheduled OBS coming up: Let.It.Go. Yeah...He's a working on me. ;)

His whispers to me then, are the same as they are now, "Believe". It is difficult to say what 'small steps' he is asking me to take. From my viewpoint-they seem pretty big. The NUMBER one step, of course is obedience. To hearken to His voice. The second one that I can identify is fear. Fear in general and fear of man (and man's opinions). It is paralyzing my ability to do what He has called me to do. This Scripture runs through my mind often:

Joshua 1:9

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Hmm. Obedience and fear...they go together, no?

I am a pretty shy person 'in real life'. Not because I am stuck up, not AT ALL! I associated with many of Lysa's thoughts when we did the Unglued study last time. What people 'may' be saying or thinking about me. It has been difficult for me to pack up, move to a new place, and find 'godly girlfriends'. But, you know what? He has provided in spite of me. Sweet friends whom encourage me in my walk in Christ, and who are not afraid to 'gently rebuke' me either. Most especially to pray for me--even over the phone!

He has really been calling me to step out of my 'comfort zone' lately. To 'dig ditches' towards my heart's calling--Women's Ministry. All the while digging deeper ditches for my highest calling--as wife, as mother, and as homeschool mom. I dropped a lot of the hats I wrote about in Unglued. Willingly. It's my Martha WHILE being Mary time. To focus on what is important. Instead of working with what I ALREADY had, I was looking for 'greatness' that Pastor Furtick describes. Not working with what I already had. Not thankful for the opportunities already in front of me. Three ditches were dug this week, with possibly a fourth one tomorrow. I am so looking forward to how HE can bless and multiply my loaves and fish when it looks like a hungry crowd is drawing near. How HE can work in me, despite my limitations. All it takes is: SMALL STEPS OF FAITH....working my way towards Him while walking on this stormy water. Not taking my eyes off of Him for a moment.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Burning My Plow AND Dropping My Net

This study couldn't have come at a better time. Honestly. I was beginning to get stuck in what Pastor Furtick refers to as "Spiritual Monotony" (pg. 26). I had prayed for so long to be used by the Lord and then WHAM! Several opportunities came and I jumped at every. one. of. them. Sound like a recipe for disaster? Or burn-out? Absolutely!
 As I mentioned in a blog post for Unglued, I wear many hats. I homeschool my four children, attend seminary classes on-line myself, and was leading two on-line Bible studies. One was made up of mostly local gals and some of their friends/family back home in Ky. Things were starting to clash. I no longer remembered why I was doing some of the things I was doing. I began to murmur. (I didn't want to spend 40 years in the wilderness either--wink wink). As I was doing the homework assignments for this week (along with a 10 page research paper for class), I stumbled upon Matthew 4:18-22. You know, the ones where He told them to come and they IMMEDIATELY dropped their nets and FOLLOWED Him. Ouch. Things got worse, (despise not the chastising of the Lord, right? I LOVE the way He deals with us), when I dug into the notes in my handy NIV84 Life Application Study Bible recommended by Melissa and several other OBS gals (thanks so much!). It says: "They left immediately-they didn't make excuses about why it wasn't a good time." Double ouch. I had felt the Lord calling me away from leadership of the second group. I obeyed and called in a co-leader. Then, I felt Him wanting to change the direction of that group but I was too busy reasoning about how 'important' it was to so many people. *blush* (I am thankful we serve a long suffering and merciful God). After reading that today, I knew immediately what I had to do. And oh, how it hurt! It was where I got my start, my fire, my energy, my love for journeying with other women into a relationship with the Lord. It was an inductive Bible study I reasoned; it's different than what I am doing here in this OBS. *see the excuses here?*
Today, I burned one plow (I know there are others) and I dropped my net all in one action. I felt called to have more passion and be greater in what He has already given me and He provided a tremendous blessing with this OBS opportunity with Melissa and the others. I need to be greater with my family. I need to be more passionate in learning about Him. And I need to quit holding onto the old things, 'just in case', and prepare for the new things He is calling me to.
Now, the other group can focus on where He is truly calling THEM. To exercise THEIR spiritual gifts He has given them. To use that group as a place of prayer (which, since the scheduled reading stopped--really amped up), a place of encouragement, and a place for us to discuss, as able, what we are learning in our journey with Him no matter where we are or what we are reading.
Praying God gives you the strength AND courage to let go of whatever it is that you are holding onto so tightly.

Joshua 1:9

New King James Version (NKJV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (from

Jennifer Newsom
OBS Group Leader