Wednesday, July 8, 2009

He's Our Healer

One day, while in church, a family comes in late and takes one of the back seats. A few curious glances dart their way, then return to worship. Couldn't hardly help but notice. We were such a small group, a penny dropping would catch your attention.

Worship ends. Eyes casts one more look at the newcomers. Husband holds young daughter of perhaps two or three tightly. Son, maybe around the age of 10 stands mere inches from dad. The wife, thin as a reed, eyes downcast, clutches husbands free arm, whispering words only for him. He gives a quick nod, and then they leave.

Had we offended? It was odd, I have to say.
What was even more odd, was when they came back the following week and did exactly the same thing.
Then the week after that as well.
Finally, the leaders were able to learn that the wife, Amy, suffered from an anxiety disorder. She had been unable to leave her house since the birth of her daughter. She's been seeking counseling, and was trying to break free of her prison by short visits to the closest church to their house.

Never ever judge by first impressions. I'm afraid they will lead you astray every time.

Well, this family continued to come for awhile, and Amy continued to make progress, being able to stay longer and longer each time. Then they moved and the drive to our church was too far out of Amy's comfort zone. About a year passed until one of the leaders felt an urge to call and check up on the family.

We ended up reconnecting and taking our small cell group to their house for a short time. Amy still struggled with getting out of the house, and now she couldn't even stand to be alone. It would send her into panic attacks. So her husband managed to find a way to work from home and the children were home schooled.

Yet, she fought. One thing I can say for Amy, small and thin as she seemed, inside lurked a true warrior.

Again, never go on first impressions. Be willing to wait and see what's hidden in the deep places. You'll be amazed.

God had promised Amy that she would be singing before a church congregation within the next year. Every week we prayed with her, standing on that promise. But it wasn't us alone. This became a group effort. Other friends from other churches came to minister to this family as well.

Another lesson. Doesn't matter what building you attach yourself to. We are all part of the body of Christ and we all have a part to play in the grand scheme of things. I saw this in my experience with Amy.

Our time with them only lasted a short while once again. Sometimes you are only called to walk a short distance with people, sometimes you need to pack a lot because the journey may take a lifetime.

I've been able to keep up with Amy's progress through Facebook. With amazement, I watched as she began to take short trips shopping. Each time stretching that imaginary fence, pushing it out more and more until it finally snapped. Her children can now attend regular school. She goes out almost daily. And she has her highs and lows just like the rest of us.

Then one day she posted these videos below, her first time to lead worship. I cried. I praised God. I sent her a message telling her how blessed and how proud I was of her.

She never gave up.
God gave her a word. His words never comes back empty.
She grasped that word. She tended it.
It grew and it became fruitful.
She sang.
She sang in front of people.

Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!!

Enjoy the videos. The first one has her story, the second one she sings a song that sums up all she's been through. Healer. He is our portion, he is more than enough.

Be sure to turn off the music on the sidebar so you can hear this amazing testimony.

Be blessed,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Faith and Prayer #28

Dear Glorious Saints,

In the past I have shared that my desk is covered in little notes that remind me of the truth that the Lord has spoken to me that help me to stay on track. Well I added a few more last week that I want to share with you.

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I was feeling somewhat discouraged and frankly, sorry for myself. God has given me numerous long-term faith and prayer projects that have required years of believing and praying. I am so grateful for the many answers He has given me in the past year. Two sons married to wonderful young women, a granddaughter on the way, and the Marriage Prep classes are no small things to me. I am very thankful. But last week I had my eyes on the answers that are yet to come, the promises that are still unfulfilled. My eyes were not fixed on Jesus but on the unanswered prayers. Not good. It’s hard enough to deal with the circumstances but when my joy is robbed by the self-pity and the hopelessness that comes with taking my eyes off the Lord, then it becomes even more difficult.

Fortunately, the Lord in His kindness spoke to me and He reminded me of some of the things He has said in the past. Some are quotes that I had written down but without their source (so apologies to the writers), others are from the Word.

“When you are following God’s plan for your life, you’re living the life God created you to live.” God created me to live this life with these circumstances. This is the day that the Lord has made. I am running the race set before me. It’s not the race set before you. You have your own race tailor made for you. “Every trial is to bring you to a greater position in God.”

It struck me; if I cannot run this race with joy, why bother to run it at all? What good would it have done for Mother Teresa to have gone to India, given up the “good” life to serve the poor if she grumbled and resented the life she had to live? What good is it for me to wait on the Lord and not take things into my own hands if I cannot do it with joy and trust in Him? God loves a cheerful giver. If I cannot be cheerful in giving my life to Him and waiting on Him, then what’s the point? It will not please Him.

He reminded me that one of the virtues that I choose for my life is joy. “I will not let any person or circumstance rob me of my joy.” My quote. I had let myself be robbed of my joy and my hope by focusing on the circumstances and the length of the wait. No more! By His grace I will keep my eyes on Him, remind myself of His faithfulness, His wisdom and perfect timing. By His grace, in this day that He has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. If I am going to offer myself as a living sacrifice I want to do it cheerfully and full of joy and hope and trust in Him.

Rejoicing in His kindness,


Marianne Paulus is a marriage and family educator. She offers weekly classes in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on Marriage Preparation. She also teaches at the Mid-Cities Pregnancy Center.

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