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 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.
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