Friday, April 21, 2017

Your Story for God's Glory

A dear friend shared her mouth-dropping "story" with me. Though I was riddled with awe to hear her story, I knew it was a story she needed to share. You see this gal is one of the godliest women I know and to see where God brought her from to where she is today, you would know the reasons why she loves God so much, serves Him so audaciously and lives her life with full-on gratitude. Though it wasn't easy for her to hear my words to her, that others need to hear her story so they can not only relate to her story, but can also see how sharing our stories can touch people with faith and determination. Today she boldly declares "What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it all for good." Genesis 50:19,20.

I was brought up in a family of strong faith, not abused or neglected. So what story could I share that would be an encouragement? I can share that, as a little girl, fear consumed me. My daddy was so ill from a brain tumor and had serious seizures that I would go home if my Mom wasn't there. But, my mom, to this day, was and is my mentor, though she has gone on to heaven. She was the strongest, resilient, unstoppable in her work ethics (to support all of us) and her faith. I still pull her into my life when I get frustrated about something, or someone, and I seek her gentle and quiet spirit to overcome the temptations to be anxious or contrary. The times of illness in our children, Staci with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, but was declared healed a short time later. Today she has a 5-1/2 octave voice range. Ryan, born with club feet so severe that he was in a brace for months. Today he has run 46 full marathons (26.2 miles). "What the enemy meant for evil, God turned it for good." The years of financial woes brought so many times of worry and concern, but through them all, we found "God worked all things for our good, because we were called to His purposes." (Romans 8:28). I was dramatically healed from a diagnosis of osteo arthritis -- no pain today when I was told that I would forever have to only control it with pain meds. I never got that prescription, but was led to nutritional products that gave me what I needed. I'm still on those products today and am pain-free. The diagnosis of my Sweetheart with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer, the months of treatments, 6 surgeries, many doctor's appointments, endeavoring to control the intense pain and then his passing at such a young age, was probably the single-most challenge of faith. Yet we trusted implicitly in God's Word and even stood for his healing until the day he went home and received his ultimate healing. As I look back on my life, I realize I do have a story. It's one of God's faithfulness in our times of trouble. It is trusting in His promises, and not letting go. It is the peace that passes understanding for this widow. It is the mindset that "I'm still here, so I'm not done. I have assignments to continue, a race to finish, and victories to win."

Defeats - accomplishments; losing - winning; sorrows - joys; tragedies - triumphs; deaths - births; tears - laughter. Did you know that each and every thing and every emotion that you've experienced -- the good.and the bad, are a part of God's plan for your life? And did you know that the Master Plan includes YOUR STORY....and your story could be the game-changer for someone else who is going through similar circumstances? "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4