Day 83, Friday, March 29th
From now until the end of our Challenge (Friday, April 3rd) some of the True Beauty ladies were willing to share a testimony about their personal lives. I pray that all who read will be blessed!
God Story One:
God has spoken through His actions and words over and over again in my life. His love for me abounds. You would think that knowing these truths, I would be calm in all storms in life. Sadly, I sometimes still focus on the “waves” and not on Jesus. However, deep in my soul, I have a peace that passes understanding when facing adversities. Here is one example of a storm in my life:
My dad was the director of all the small elementary schools in our town back in the 1960s. He was loved by all the elementary teachers for his fair and compassion ways working with them. Therefore, I was loved by all my elementary teachers…all of whom were within a year or two of retirement. (Back then you could teach up through age 70; my teachers were all grandmothers to me!) Then, my elderly fifth-grade teacher was diagnosed with cancer after two and a half days of school. Enter God’s surprise for me: a young female teacher age 24 who did not treat me like a grandmother. She was very strict (she had to be with the boys in my class!) and did not give me the warm smiles that I was so used to. I began to have nightmares about her and hysterically cried every morning as soon as I got to the bus stop. I would continue to cry for the first few hours of the day at school…the cot in the nurse’s office should have had a name plaque with my name on it!
Then, God did a truly amazing miracle. Sometime in December, I was having a terrible nightmare with the teacher chasing me down a hill with a knife in her hand. It was a nightmare I had for several nights in a row. Then, God spoke…yes, He spoke to me! I was now fully awake and in awe hearing God’s voice. I became so happy and at peace! God told me not to be afraid because He sent that teacher to me. I saw Him putting my teacher’s hand in mine as He told me how much He loved her and again stressed to me that He had sent her to me. I sat up in bed with a peace that only God could give. From that moment on, I ADORED that teacher! I also knew by the end of the year I wanted to be just like her. My goal was to become a fifth or sixth-grade teacher who could touch the life of at least one child the way she touched mine. (I was blessed to have this same teacher for a month in sixth grade when another teacher fell ill.) God opened doors for me (another miracle) and I ended up teaching sixth grade at a large interdenominational school in my hometown.
Talking with my beloved teacher three years ago, I shared with her my story of that night so many years ago. She explained that she often wondered why God chose her to survive a fatal car accident when she was in high school. It struck me that God clearly used her a few years later to change the direction of my life so that I ended up sharing my relationship with Jesus to hundreds of sixth graders. I thank and praise God to this day for allowing me to go through those nightmares; He knew the amazing life I would have being so highly impacted by this wonderful woman, a child of God and my sister in Christ!!!
Proverbs 16:9 – In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
God Story Two:
If asked what I want most in life, my honest answer would probably be “control.” I want to control what happens to me, how my day is scheduled, my kids’ choices, and the people in traffic. I especially want to control how people see me and what they think of me as well. Bravery for me is when I let go of that desire for control and choose to trust God completely.
One place where it seems easier for me to show courage is in Haiti, while helping to run small travel clinics in rural communities. Nothing there goes according to plan or schedule and that’s ok, because it forces me to rely fully on God, rather than my illusion of control. On the last day of our trip this March, we had been told that clinic would have to be cancelled because the building we were to use was unavailable. Instead, we would go to an orphanage in the afternoon and do checkups on the 50 children there. After we arrived, we quickly saw that a steady stream of people from the community also began arriving at the orphanage to be seen. Among them was a woman who was in her 60’s who was struggling to breathe. She was unable to speak or even sit up. After evaluating her, it was clear that she needed immediate treatment to save her life…and that we did not have the medication she needed. A search through our medication bags turned up a steroid that would take hours to work and another medication which might marginally improve her condition, if it hadn’t expired in 2009. We started an IV and decided to give her what we had, but I had little hope that she would survive. Then, I felt the still small voice of God nudging me to pray with her. After a brief mental argument with God that this would only scare her, I put my brave girl boots on and hesitantly asked her if I could pray and she nodded. I don’t remember much of what I prayed except that I asked God to “supernaturally” heal her. That is so unlike me, as I really struggle with asking for God to physically heal someone. It’s a control and self-protection thing. If I don’t ask, then God can’t hurt me by saying “no”. I forget that it also protects me from seeing Him say “Yes!”
Within a minute of the end of the prayer, the woman began to speak in sentences and within another minute, her lung exam was completely normal. I sat beside her and explained that God had given her a miracle. The medications we had given could not have worked that well and in so little time. She began to talk excitedly and I looked to the translator to explain. He told me that the woman had been to church the day before and asked the elders to pray for her illness. After the service, one of them had told her, “Tomorrow, God is going to do a miracle in you.” I was left absolutely speechless. When my agenda would have been for us to have the right medicine, His was to remind me that He alone is the great Physician, who can heal not only the body but my control-seeking heart as well.
Psalm 30:2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
We will not be having anything else for our challenge this week. Put on some of your favorite worship at the Cross music and give God glory for all He has done in your life.