Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story … They cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them from their distress. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love. –Psalm 107:2
I experienced what I feel is a SPIRITUAL VICTORY in my life, and I wanted to share it with my GFBC family! I’m sharing it as I spell out the word VICTORY ….
Some of my family members had a misunderstanding with other family members which resulted in hurt feelings, tears, and division within the family.
Thoughts kept coming into my head saying, “Maybe I’m the cause of the misunderstanding. Maybe I caused the division in my family. Maybe I should stay away!” Then I remembered the Word of God teaching me that the enemy seeks to divide, destroy, devour. Hmmm, could this be an attack from the enemy?
Stay Alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8
Cries to God for help …
I cried out in my insecurity and feelings of hopelessness to God and asked Him to give me wisdom. “Lord, I don’t know top from bottom, or right from wrong! Please help me discern Your way and Your will,” I prayed.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. ~ 1Peter 5:7
God tells me to rest and to trust Him. I sleep … I awake worried several times but each time I pray again. I whisper the name of Jesus into the darkness of the night …. Finally, I rest!
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. ~ 1 Peter 5:6
When I awake I have a song going through my head. My spirit sings and I’ve awaken a new person. I am feeling strength … God’s strength! I am able to think clearly. A new plan comes to my mind. Not a plan of separating myself from my family. Instead, I desire to seek peace with my family members. God has answered my prayers.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I make a phone call to a family member. We talk through the conflict and we make plans to meet together with another family member to talk more later in the week. This was such a “God-moment” as I realized what could have happened to my family relationship if I had listened to those first thoughts of staying away. What joy I feel as I realize that God is mending the most important relationship I have here on earth – my family relationships!
Yes, God’s promises are true! Yes, Jesus does not forsake us in the conflicts of life! Yes, He is faithful!
Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS! Do not be afraid and do not panic before your enemy. For the LORD your God will PERSONALLY go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deut. 31:6
Thank You, Father, for being close to the brokenhearted. Thank You for never leaving us nor forsaking us. You draw near to us when we cry out to You. Teach us to wait on you because we know Your way is best. Thank you for VICTORY … in our home, in our relationships with others, and in our relationship with You.
I can remember thinking this as a young girl…. Is this really going to be my life? My fate?
There were so many times that I thought I wouldn’t rise above my circumstances, and that the choices my parents made would follow me everywhere I tried to go.
I was young, so young, yet I felt trapped! There was so much negativity, gloom, and sadness around me.
I watched as Godly parents turned to the world to console their aching hearts, but I knew there was only One who could satisfy and I pursued Him!
I remembered the loving Jesus I had heard about in Sunday school and I knew I needed Him. About age 9 or 10, I began walking to church, alone .. it was a very long walk in the same dress week after week just to feel close to Him. I knew He could help me; I knew He was my Hope!
It turns out that Jesus was pursuing me!
Jesus loved that broken little girl and He knew my heart. Sometimes we can’t control our circumstances and it feels like things will never be different for us, but …
RUN TO GOD!! He is the Game Changer!!
It wasn’t material things that I needed way back THEN; and, it’s not the material things I need NOW. What I needed then was HOPE, and what I need today is also hope! HOPE changed my life forever when I was that little girl seeking something better than the trap I felt around me. Today, HOPE is that positive flame that is lit in me each time I read the promises in God’s Word, my Bible!
I may be a little overboard with positivity sometimes, but I don’t ever want to go back to a defeated life. I do not want more things or better stuff….my bucket list simply says give me more Jesus!
Be blessed today! HOPE has a name…His name is JESUS!
“This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” ~1 John 4:10
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
YOU (God) are my refuge and shield; Your Word (Bible) is my source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. ~ Psalm 119: 114-115
Married, beautiful house, dog, and a heart’s desire for a child. That’s where we found ourselves. The doctor’s office became normalcy in our lives. Two or three visits each week … pills, procedures, and no answers left us with broken hearts, uncertainty, and questions.
Would we ever become parents? Why us? Will our marriage be the same if we can’t have a family? Will we be lonely when we are old and gray? Is it something we have done to deserve this punishment?
At times that’s exactly what it felt like … punishment … torture … pure agony! Our friends were pregnant or already had families …. A simple trip to Wal-Mart could be so tough when you saw a complete stranger pushing a baby in their cart!
My husband and I hit our knees daily begging for God’s peace and direction. This “valley” became our best time together. It drew us together as we recklessly abandoned ourselves to His will. Our hearts were soft, and God was ever so present. Even in the most difficult time, there was a peace I can never describe. At my very last visit when the doctor sat me down in her office and looked me in the eye to say, “This is the end of the road” … There was peace!
God used this time to help us find something we only thought we had … Focus. True surrender.
Proverbs 19:21 ~ “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
James 1:27 ~ “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
The LORD developed our home into a mission field. Our desire was no longer about what WE wanted; our desire was to serve God and love the children he brought into our home through foster care or adoption. The truth in God’s Word about being adopted into God’s kingdom became personal to us as our hearts desire to adopt grew and grew.
Our first two foster sons returned home after seven months of loving them and trying our best to bring healing and Jesus into their lives. The boys returned home new … They both received Jesus into their hearts before leaving our home.
Only SEVEN days later, we were chosen! Chosen to be parents to the child a seventeen-year-old girl was carrying. God’s timing was perfect!
A short SEVEN months later, we discovered that I was carrying a baby girl! One journal entry read, “Sitting here being poked and kicked by baby girl … and watching my baby boy sleep. Overwhelmed by God’s mercy, unexpected blessings, and the gift of life eternal. God is good.”
I experienced a healthy pregnancy and we soon welcomed our second child. God heard our prayers and he is allowing us to parent these two blessings. We thank Him for hearing our prayers and completing our family.
“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
Today we must leave our new friends in Haiti! We dress and complete our packing. People arrive outside and quietly stand and wait.
Three beautiful children are sitting outside. They wash dishes and sing as they work. I take them a coloring book and a box of crayons. “Keyon! koule!” the children exclaim! “Crayons! Color!” They finish their work and the big brother takes the dishes into the house. The two little sisters color.
The bus arrives and immediately, the big sister begins to cry. When she sees the bus, she realizes that the Americans are leaving! Their mom takes the girls into the house. We hear the girls wailing. They cry. We cry. Eventually they stand in their doorway and we can hug and kiss them goodbye. Our hearts are bound to these sweet people!
Ministry is hard. We love without boundaries. It hurts and cuts our hearts apart when it is time to leave. It hurts us and it hurts the Haitians!
We trust that the LORD will allow us to come back again to see these people.
A three hour bus drive on Market Day was most interesting! Driving on both sides of the road. Motorcycles driving on the left as well as the right. Hundreds of people lining the streets. Tap-taps everywhere over-filled with people holding on the back of the pickup. The LORD protected us as we almost ran into a crowded tap-tap as well as when a donkey wandered into the highway in front of us.
We laugh at ourselves as we reflect and realize how relaxed we are in this foreign land. We’ve slept each night with doors open and in rooms with no windows. We bathe with cold water mixed with stove-warmed water. Our meals mainly consists of rice, a few beans, and pasta. We spread peanut butter on soft tortillas and roll them to make sandwiches. We are satisfied and thankful, realizing that we are eating better than the people surrounding us. Throughout the days of serving in the medical clinic, we have water…clean water. The people come empty-handed with no water and no food. They are thankful for the services we provide.
Our plane is delayed. We finally load and return to Miami. We then must navigate customs, claim our baggage, recheck the bags, and find our gates. No time for food. We snack and load the plane. Another bus ride takes us back to Birmingham.
It’s time now to say goodbye to our team members~Our family for this trip. Bittersweet! God planted us to work together in Haiti and our hearts were bound with love for the Haitian people.
Thank You, LORD, for safe travels! Thank You for healing the 934 Haitians and we ask You to send Your Spirit to woo these sweet people to salvation in You! We are privileged to be used by You to meet needs in Haiti. Bless Pastor Elise, the church, the school, and the community. Your will be done in Haiti, in America, and throughout our world. Amen.
“Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest … One plants and another one harvests.” John 4 : 35-38
“Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God’ gets help. But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? “
Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it? The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. Romans 10:13-17 NLT
Bittersweet! Our hearts are pierced with love for these people. The children have a chapel service in the church. They sing, recite poetry, and play games. Lots of smiles! Beautiful children! Talented teachers! Innovative principals!
Our medical doctors are gone today, so the dental team and vision team work to meet the needs of the limited numbers who have tickets to be seen. Our pharmacy is almost depleted and we asked the LORD to supply the antibiotic and pain relievers needed for the dental team.
The 23 pre-approved people multiplied into 61!! Forty-nine glasses were shared. A young child with lazy eyes was brought to us, and our RN made eye patches from gauze and tape. A man who had recently experienced a motorcycle accident was bandaged. God provided energy for the exhausted team. An older gentleman who could only see blackness received a pair of glasses. He smiled big. “Can you see better?” The interpreter asks. “Wi! (Yes!) “Mesi!” (Thank you!) He reads for us. He can see!
The afternoon allows time to rest and play with the children. Some adventurous team members climb a mountain in 90 degree heat! We tour some unfinished areas of the compound, see the goats, and play a friendly game of basketball. Dinner tonight is a feast of sweet potatoes, carrots, white potatoes, cabbage, rice, and goat. We eat and thank our cook. He brings hot tea and fresh ground sugar for our evening snack. We are satisfied. We’ve had more than enough.
We clean up the dishes, sweep and mop the floors. Suitcases are packed. As we meet at 8:00 pm to debrief as we’ve done each evening, we cry out in prayer to our LORD for these people. Our hearts are overflowing with loving concern for these people who have such hardships! Our efforts this week are a small drop in such a big bucket!
Dear God, please multiply our efforts. Meet needs. Give health. Provide for these people! Pour out your Spirit here. Allow these people to see our work to be the direct hand of God. Shine, LORD JESUS. Shine your Spirit here in Haiti. Bless Pastor Elise as he leads. Amen.