Raising a Warrior

I recognized the panicked shriek the moment I was startled awake. When my eyes opened, my 2-year old was standing at the side of my bed, arms out, eyes filled with tears. I thought a brief cuddle was all he would need, then I would guide him back to his bedroom for the last three hours of the night.

His eyes were still wide as I scooped him up and headed toward his room, “No.” He said this with an unfamiliar obstinacy for that hour of the night.20170901_153149

“Honey, what’s wrong.”

A definitive answer that I was not expecting, “It’s dangerous.”

The next morning my husband and I listened as our son wove us in and out of the tale of his nightmare. As I listened to my little talker, I attempted and failed over and over to convince him the scary was not real, though he insisted the scary was only sleeping since the sun had come up. He seemed so young to be personifying fear in such a real way, so sure of himself that he was willing to argue with me. In one short night, a place that was once a refuge for my son had become something to dread—his bed, where the scary lived.

Throughout the day, I struggled to distract him, since his tendency to obsess inevitably brought him back to his nightmare, like a song on repeat. The same thought kept creeping its way back into my day, gnawing at me, since I had no answer: How do I show him there is nothing to fear?

eclipseFor a while, his fears will involve toothy monsters and darkness, but someday his monsters will grow to include rejection, failure, and loneliness—these beasts are not as easy to dispel.

How do I show him there is nothing to fear?

I am no stranger to fear, panic, and anxiety, but it is my deepest desire and my frequent prayer, that by watching me, my children will learn to give fear no foothold, to dismiss it before it is nurtured within them. I have learned that to succumb to fear is to allow Satan to dictate my decisions, to steal my joy. In my weakness, my children will find strength.  

So, when the scary inevitably awakens tonight, I will fight for my son, the way I have fought off my own fear so many times. I will keep searching for a tool that dispels his fear until we find the most effective one. I will teach him that we are not to succumb to fear, but are to submit to our Father, who will be our refuge from every monster we could encounter or even imagine.

armorI will tell my sweet boy not to fear, for his mom has learned how to fight, and the weapon in her arsenal is guaranteed to defeat even the toothiest “scaries.” I cannot keep my boy from being afraid, but I can teach him how to use fear to bring him closer to his Father.

So tonight, I will lie beside him until the scary ebbs away as a restful sleep flows freely. I will sing to him, pray with him, and cuddle with him—no matter how long it takes to convince him he is safe. I will use whatever weapon I need to use to assure him there is nothing to fear, to assure him the “scaries” are not sleeping, are not hiding, but are in fact, not real.

More importantly, I will show him and teach him what it means to rest with the Father until every fear is swept away by His overwhelming peace. I will show him and teach him how to trust in a God you cannot see, how to dwell in his arms–the personification of safety. Because I have become a warrior against the most real of fears, I will raise my own army, my own warriors, and we will all be trained by the One who does not fear at all.

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Choose Peace

When it comes to the safety of my children, there are two dangers that I’m a bit of a freak about: choking and drowning. My two-year old gets so tired of me telling him to chew his food completely and sit down when he eats and take smaller bites that I’m probably going to give him a complex. I didn’t realize water made me nervous, until this summer. Every time my son has his face in the water, blowing bubbles, my heart stops beating until he is breathing air again.

These are the things that I admit without hesitation, I tend towards the freaky, psycho mom inside of me.

However, I am so laid back when it comes to my son’s daredevil antics, I will probably find him on top of our roof one day, and do nothing more than say, “Be careful.”

So, there you have it: drowning and choking are my biggest concerns. Despite the fact that my son moves toward danger like the sun to the horizon. I’ve caught him in midair more times than I care to admit. If we get through the day without a serious head bump, I fear we have offset the universe. He runs toward heavy machinery like it’s his best friend coming home from war, and my husband’s power tools have (in my son’s mind) morphed into his toys, no matter how many times his parents remind him they are indeed not toys. He also prefers hanging out with strangers over his loving and safe parents.20170720_161725

Speaking of having a complex…I’m getting anxious just thinking about it…

From sun up to sun down, I work tirelessly to keep my hoodlum safe, but most of the time I catch him doing something dangerous and mutter, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.”

I’m not overly involved with social media. I probably spend a total of 20 minutes a day cruising my newsfeed. I also have made it a point to avoid the news, and yes, I have no idea what is going on and I’m pretty proud of it. Since the media decided to make President Trump the devil, I’ve decided to live a life of bliss: in other words, a news-free life. I feel like Russia is sorta an important news story right now? I could be wrong.

However, with the limited influence I allow media to have in my life, in the past week, I have seen the following warnings to parents: Wal-Mart jelly shoes contain disturbing amounts of lead, Johnson & Johnson soap contains formaldehyde, dry drowning should be a concern to all parents, fidget spinners are a choking hazard, and baby cheese puffs need more warning labels to combat choking.

20170719_181000Really? This world needs more warnings labels? Is that for real?…

Wow. We have a problem. I never venture into an article on social media that claims to have a warning for parents—in fact, my motto is DO NOT CLICK–so these topics are simply those that I could not avoid. If I was actually searching for warnings, I could probably get you a list of about 100 in two days.

I’ve written about this before and talk about it with numerous parents, but it’s important. The media does not help, but clearly parents are responding to these kinds of stories, which are often not even 100% factual. These stories get shared repeatedly on social media, and the TODAY Show, with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, has an entire segment devoted to revealing the hidden dangers of this world.

It’s disgusting, and we feed on it like a people with no hope.

I strive for peace in my journey of motherhood nearly every day. I fight for it. I pray for it. And for the most part, God has granted me a peace that allows me to understand and accept that I am not able, in my own power, to keep my children safe. We cannot and should not be expected to anticipate every danger. This world is dangerous and our children are fragile, but going through life like the world is literally out to get our children is no way to live.IMG_20170712_160310_516

Those who pass along unnecessary warnings and rules for parents seem to have forgotten that God grants us wisdom and instincts as mothers and fathers. We are born to nurture and raise up children, and it is our decision and only our decision what is and what is not safe. If we succumb to the fear that so easily entraps parents, we will learn that nothing is safe, and we will have no choice but to lead a very sad life indeed, and so will our children.

This is not how God calls us to live. God knows how much we love our children, and we can let them rest in His hands; He is a trustworthy Father to us all.

There is a disease amongst parents today: fear, and the fear of losing a child can quickly gain enough momentum to rip any parent from the Lord. Satan sees this constant circle of fear wearing on parents, and he will not fail to take advantage of it. He will use it to teach us that we must rely upon ourselves, instead of our trusted Father, to protect our children. This is a lie. You could anticipate every danger from New York to California and still be blindsided by something you did not see.

20170712_154828It should not be a secret why anxiety and depression are such powerful forces in our society today. I don’t see optimism and hope take a front seat to negativity and fear very often. But today, and every day, I wake up and choose peace. Some days I fail miserably and catch myself worrying for my sons’ futures, their health, their safety, but then I rely upon my heavenly Father to pull me back toward Him, for he is peace personified.

I belong to Him. My husband belongs to Him. My children belong to Him.

“In peace I lie down to sleep, for in you, O Lord, I dwell in safety.” ~Psalm 4:8

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Indifference and the Holy Bible

I think the only reasonable explanation is that I simply have not been paying attention. Since I was a teenager, I have tried to consistently read my Bible, and since I was a teenager, I have failed after a few short weeks of relative success. My husband has opened my eyes to the innumerable advantages of knowing one’s Bible; he knows the Bible so well, it tends to annoy me more than anything else. My husband seems to have a verse in his arsenal for every complaint I have, which results in a much less satisfying venting session.

Don’t get me wrong: there have been plenty of times in my life where I have relied upon the Bible as it is supposed to be used, a weapon against the enemy and a teaching tool for every situation I could possibly encounter. However, probably even more frequently than loving the Bible, I have simply been indifferent to it, either picking it up out of obligation or leaving it to collect dust on my nightstand. As if a Bible’s purpose is to only catch one’s eye as they roll over to switch off the lamp for the evening, like it was nothing more than an inanimate knick-knack.20160405_092719

Inanimate? The Bible? That’s the biggest piece of nonsense any of us are going to face today. The Bible, according to (yep you guessed it) the Bible, is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Hear that with me one more time: The Bible is GOD-BREATHED. Period. Need I say more? It is more alive than me or you, because it has always been and it will always be. In the 2000 years since we heard God’s word come out of the mouth of the Savior, much has changed. Heck, everything has changed, but the word has not; God’s promises have not; the life within God’s words has not.

I have diligently sought a personal relationship with Jesus Christ all my life. I have been on a mountaintop following a valley and I have been in the valley following a mountaintop. Jesus has been so close I could almost touch Him, and so far that I was fairly certain He never existed in the first place. Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” In order to have faith in Jesus Christ, I must hear and apply His word to my life. I must treat it like it is more important than my lunch, because it is. And anyone who knows me will testify without hesitation, my lunch is of pivotal importance to my sanity and my humanness.

cropped-images.jpgIn John 4, Jesus tells His disciples, when they are concerned He has not eaten, that his food comes from doing His Father’s will. He goes on to urge His followers (that’s us!) not to hesitate to harvest more believers, to evangelize the world. Where do we find the strength, as well as the ammunition, to bring more people to Christ? The Bible! We are to devour God’s words because they are life. We cannot walk a Christian life without them.

In recent weeks, I have finally begun to treat the Bible like my very life depends upon it, and something amazing has happened: my very life has started to depend upon it. I read each word carefully, always aware that God is love and God cannot break promises. Therefore, everything He promises me through His word is a guarantee. I just need to accept it without hesitation.

In 2 Timothy 1:7 God tells me that “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.” This is an irrefutable truth, and I will approach each day with a fresh and powerful mind.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 God tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is an irrefutable truth, and I will not only accept my weaknesses, but delight in them.

In John 1:5 God says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This is an irrefutable truth, and I will never fear the night.

In Philippians 4:8 it is said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This is an irrefutable truth, and I will reject all thoughts that are not from God, every thought that is not worthy of praise.bible

You see, Christians, if we approach each day as if all His words are true, we will have no choice but to feast on them—through memorization and meditation—each and every day. This will be required for us to sustain any sort of purpose, any sort of direction.

The Bible will become an essential appendage, and we will begin to wonder how we ever treated it like it was optional. So, let’s open the Bible, and let God’s truths wash over us and fill us up, so we will never again be thirsty.

His words are life. Without them, there is no life at all.

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A Spiritual War

The old saying goes like this, “God is bigger than your fear.”

People might say this to a loved-one when all seems lost, when there is much to be afraid of. It is meant to offer some comfort, some explanation for the fear that is sweeping away the lost.

Here is how I live: God is not bigger than my fear.

Yep, I just said that.

Am I ashamed of it?

No. God already knows this is where I am. He has already forgiven me, and He is helping me find my way out of that surprisingly disturbing statement.

Alas, this is what I believe.

God is not bigger than my fear.

I believe that any Christian who suffers from anxiety, whispers this same thing in the deepest, darkest part of his or her heart.clouds-194840_1280

When your mind is sick, and it is your mind that controls you, it is difficult to imagine God’s healing and restoration could possibly occur in such a dark place.

A person with anxiety faces a constant battle of the thoughts. It is logic versus feeling.

I know God can get be through this, but I don’t feel like He will.

I know God can free me from my anxiety, but I feel like He wants me to suffer.

I know much of what the Lord says in the Bible, but perhaps it just doesn’t pertain to this level of anxiety, this all-consuming panic that eats away my belief in Him, one unanswered prayer at a time.

prayer-888757_1280I can’t even tell you how many times I have prayed for the Lord’s peace, how many times I have begged Him in the dead of night to just reach down, and pull me out of the muck and mire that is my fears. He could do it in a heartbeat, yet, I always fall asleep exhausted from fear, not resting in peace.

My husband reminds me often that God is peace, but I remind him often that I have never felt this peace, that perhaps it just isn’t for me. A peace that surpasses all understanding? Foreign concept. Nonsense. Not in real life. Not in my life.

For those that may not be familiar with me or my blog, let me get one thing straight. The Lord is my Savior and I live for Him each day. He has saved me, revitalized me, restored me, and shown me His faithfulness in innumerable and inexplicable ways. However, there is one area I feel as though He has never touched–my fear. One fear. One fear that is the rock with which my anxiety is built upon. It is this fear that Satan has pinpointed and decided to use to finally take me down.

God is not bigger than this fear. My life has proven this to be fact time and time and time again.

When a taste of this fear, perhaps closer to a phobia, enters my mind, it feeds on every negative thought inside me so quickly I cannot even recall a Bible verse. It figuratively brings me to my knees in a matter of seconds. No logical thought exists and a wall immediately goes up between me and my oh so faithful Father. Satan begins whispering lies into my ear, and the Lord’s truth is drowned out by a panic that I am quite literally drowning in. It chokes me. I cannot breathe. I freeze, and I wait for it to consume me completely. This is the only choice I have.lifebelt-664292_1280

I know I am not alone. Anxiety is quite common these days, perhaps this is why I could not help but write this blog post. I can think of many acquaintances and friends that have trouble seeing the Lord through their sickened minds. Well, believe it or not, I have some very good news to share.

You see, I have been in the fight of my life for some time now. I have been getting along perfectly okay with my anxiety for most of my life. Occasionally, it shows me its ugly side and controls me like its puppet, but I tend to regain composure as soon as the circumstance rights itself. Recently, it showed me its ugly side—a very ugly side indeed, and since then, I have not been able to find my way back to normalcy. It has continually picked at me each day for months, and throughout these months, I have been fighting with my God—arguing with Him, ignoring Him, and trying to give up on Him.

However, God in His immense love and unfathomable wisdom chased me down. While I was fighting against Him, He was fighting for me. He has slowly opened my heart to the idea that perhaps it is Satan I should be fighting, that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on right inside my home, inside my head, and Jesus is simply the only weapon I have to fight these demons.

You see, I’m quite flattered that Satan is trying so hard to tear me from the Creator of the Universe. He certainly fears my faith….as he should. Even in my darkest battle with this unending, excruciating, controlling fear—my faith has never truly left me. I have tried to walk away from it and go out on my own, but I have always known that I will go back to it. I simply don’t know how to function without Jesus, and I am painfully aware of my infinite need for a Savior, even when I am furious with Him, even when He seems absent.

As I write this today, I am still fighting for my life, but I am part of God’s army now. He is my dwelling place. God has finally, after years of torturous avoidance and constant setbacks, shown me how to fight off my fear, Satan’s handiwork. I will not stop fighting as I have seen, if only for a moment, the power of Jesus Christ, even amidst my strongest delusions.


Don’t get me wrong. I have a very long way to go. It is about retraining my mind—a mind that has been irrationally afraid for most of my life. I must let God’s Word conquer my fear, not once, but every day of my life. I now have tools to locate God’s peace amidst a hurricane of panic and negativity.

I never thought I would be able to say this. I never thought I would actually be able to smile, take a deep breath, and whisper, “My God is way bigger than this fear, because my God has already defeated Satan.” Jesus defeated Satan, and He gave His followers the power to do the same thing, to put Satan under our feet and carry on in His peace—a peace that we cannot possibly understand, but a peace that God desires all of us to feel.

I have returned to the safety of my Father’s embrace, to the wings that protect me from the arrows that fly by day and the terrors of the night (Psalm 91). God is working a miracle, a miracle I gave up on long ago.


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Maybe That’s Enough Joy

I caught myself staring across the street at the neighbor’s this afternoon.

They have two teenagers—one girl, one boy. Nice family.

The boy has even shoveled my driveway in the past, despite the fact I have called him by the wrong name a few times.

My husband and I want a lot of kids, and by a lot, I mean more than 3, which is unfortunately considered a large family these days.20170420_172025

Since marrying and having children, I have wondered why anyone would choose to have just one or two kids and stop there. I have such a strong desire to have a large family, with a lot of grandkids running around, always a daughter or daughter-in-law to hang out with on a boring Saturday.

However, as I stared across the street to the neighbor’s, the thought crossed my mind for the first time, that perhaps my life would be easier if I would just stop at two kids.

Lately, motherhood has been hard, and I have found little joy in it.

Wait… am I allowed to admit that?

My sons aren’t sleeping and have been sick constantly for the past month. There has not been much to rejoice in.

If I were to stop at two kids, I could go back to teaching.

If I were to stop at two kids, I could maybe afford something for myself someday.

If I were to stop at two kids, I would only have two humans to keep alive, to worry about, to train up in the ways of the Lord—I would only have two humans to screw up.

If I were to stop at two kids, I would only have two college tuitions with which to scrape up money.

20170425_205435If I were to stop at two kids, a good night sleep might be nearer than I previously imagined.

If I were to stop at two kids, maybe I could take my life back, find some freedom, breathe a little.

So, to all my readers, now you know I’m selfish—disgustingly self-centered and entitled. Gasp. How could I admit something so dreadful, so personal? Um… we are all disgustingly self-centered and entitled— we are all sinners. I’m confident every parent, in every house, on every street, in every country, struggles to overcome their selfishness to raise their self-absorbed mini humans.

It’s because children take everything. They take your wits, your strengths, your time, 20170416_141733your freedom, and they take advantage of your weaknesses, wringing them out until you have no choice but to toss them aside, along with parts of yourself, and keep fighting.

There is good news, though. In order to parent the next generation, the Lord does not ask us to submit to our children’s needs and desires, only to stop recognizing who we once were when we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror.

No. In order to parent the next generation, the Lord asks us to submit to His will, His call, His desires. Whether you’re a parent or not, you are called to die to yourself and serve and honor the Lord. If you’ve been asked to do this in the shape of a parent, it is no different. You are honoring your Father by being a parent to His children. There is no greater, nor is there a more difficult calling.20170422_190447

Each time you deal with a day of constant tantrums, each time you sacrifice what you want for your kids, each time you give up another Saturday morning for your child’s activities, you have served the Lord. You have honored Him, by seeking out the joy in the life He has given you.

Finding the joy in motherhood can be difficult at times. However, the joy that it brings cannot be matched by any other experience on Earth. World travel will not match a mother’s joy. Money will not match a mother’s joy. A good night’s sleep will not even match a mother’s joy. For even though a mother has much to suffer through as she raises her Christians, she has even more bliss to revel in, to bask in.

She will revel in her child playing his own game with an imaginary monkey and shark. She will revel in her children growing up to serve God in their own way.  She will revel in all the dancing, the singing, and the laughing that comes with motherhood. She will revel in it all—and it is all joy.

20170422_184234She will even find joy in the struggle of it all, because it is in this struggle, that the Lord will refine her and make her more like Him. In the end, that is not a struggle, that is a blessing.

So, how many children do I want?

A bunch.

As many as the Lord thinks I can handle.

You can never have enough joy.

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The Day God Answered my Prayers with my Worst Fear

In the Bible, God tells us to fear nothing 466 times.  In the Bible’s 66 books and 31,102 verses, fear not is God’s most frequent command to His children.

joshuaIn the first chapter of Joshua, the words “be strong and courageous” are spoken four times in just 18 verses. God says it to Joshua three times, and Joshua’s men say it once. God also reminds Joshua not to be afraid several more times throughout his journey toward the promised land.

Joshua was facing a nearly impossible situation, entirely impossible if you view the world without God’s abundant grace and power. His mentor and leader, Moses, had just died, and the Lord appointed him to continue Moses’ mission by leading the Israelites to the promised land. In order to gain access to the promised land, the Israelites had to defeat a large number of tribes, all encompassing Israel’s seven enemies. God’s people faced multiple setbacks as they progressed further into Canaan.

They had to cross the Jordan River, which looked impossible.

They had to defeat a strong city with impenetrable walls, which looked impossible.

They had to make a second attempt at defeating Ai, having lost the first time, which looked impossible.

Throughout this war, Joshua is the pinnacle of strength and courage, just as the Lord commanded him. However, he was just a man, and I have little doubt that his faith wavered and nearly broke numerous times throughout his conquest of this land. There is no way around this conclusion. The things that the Lord asked of Joshua were impossible by human standards, and it was only through the miraculous intervention of God that the Israelites were able to conquer the land.

fear-2083657_1280Since God tells his people not to fear 466 times in His word, He surely knew fear would be a strong and real presence in His children’s lives. I’ve realized with my children, that just as we are born sinners, we are born fearful. My youngest son is beginning to panic and cry when I am out of sight, just as all babies do. This is revealing a baby’s fear that he will be left alone. As a child grows, he begins to fear the dark, monsters, the first day of school, losing his friends, not fitting in, getting cut from the basketball team, etc.

When he becomes a man, he will fear just as often, but his concerns will be with much different things. We are born fearful, so why does the Lord command us so many times to do such an impossible thing as not to fear?

I have lived with a fear, some would call it a phobia, all my life. It has followed me around throughout many of my days like a shadow, and I have never been able to fully escape it. There have been moments in my life where it has become debilitating, where it took control of me and my logic escaped me. I thank God for the moments I have been able to control it, and push it far away from the forefront of my thought.

Since it has mostly just been a quiet, gnawing within me, I have ignored it most of my life, dreading the day it took control of me once again. Part of me thinks since I have been afraid for so long, it is more instinctual than anything else, like my brain has been trained to be afraid, more so than I have been given any reason to fear.

I have hesitated to pray for healing, because of the painful knowledge that the Lord often answers our prayers by making us face the things we don’t want to face. Since I have known this fear would dramatically affect the way I parent my children, I began praying vehemently to be freed from it just two weeks ago. This is the first time in my life I have begged the Lord for healing.

In these two weeks, I have had to face my fear not once, but twice. God immersed me in it so much that I was unable to escape it, unable to run, which is how I had been handling it throughout my life. Just like Joshua was asked to do the impossible, I was also asked to do the impossible.

A life without fear is the way the Lord intended us to live, before sin seeped into our world. A life without fear would be indescribable, and humanity would be unstoppable. My life without this fear would be the epitome of freedom. It is my hope that someday it will not define me, but that Christ will define me. It is my hope that someday this fear is such a distant memory, that I laugh about it with my husband. It is my hope that whether the Lord frees me from my fear or whether I struggle with it until I see Him in paradise, that He will use it for His glory, that my suffering will serve His purpose.forest-1529055_1920

Even though all of us have fears, we need to remember to credit the One who always carries us through them. I have never been able to follow God’s command to not be afraid, but He has never failed to prove His promise, originally made to Joshua, but now for us all, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God never fails us. In the deepest, darkest hours of our worst and strongest fears, the Lord works, and the Lord remains our King. It is Satan who tells us to be afraid; it is Satan who tells us there is anything to fear at all. Satan has been whispering lies to me my whole life, and I believed him, and have allowed him to gain strength within my mind.

boards-2040575_1920If we could only see how impenetrable and immovable God’s protection really is, we wouldn’t dream of being afraid of anything. However, when God tells us to fear nothing, He knows we will fail. We will fail every time. The beauty of the Lord, however, is that He works in our weaknesses, and it is our weaknesses that often bring Him the most recognition and the most glory, for it is in our weakness that we call upon Him, plead with Him, and depend upon Him.

In our fears, in our joys, in our triumphs, and in our sorrows, all praise be to our Father.

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Why my Husband’s Illness was the Best Thing to Happen to Us

When I am in the midst of a storm and panicking, I often imagine God trying desperately to get me to see the bigger picture—that my suffering is part of a much greater plan, a plan I could never imagine for myself. When I face a trial, however, the only thing I can see is the trial, and God often becomes a distant memory…

In the middle of August, my husband began complaining of a sore throat and ended up suffering from a three-day cold. The cold went away, and about three days later, he began complaining of a sore throat again. My wifely intuition told me that was a bit weird, so I pushed him further, and he assured me he was fine. Within a week, he was back in bed, and unable to go to work.


My husband was sick, on and off, for the next two months. His fatigue was so extreme, there were moments that I fought the urge to scoop him up and rush him to the ER, panicked he may fall asleep and not wake up again. Since my husband is the sole wage earner in our home, I was not only wracked with worry for my husband, but also for our future, as I often imagined the worst-case scenario—my husband would become debilitated from the fatigue and would never return to work.

I wish I could say that through this time, I was the epitome of strength and faith—that I never once cried out to God is panic, doubt, and fear. I cannot say that. As my husband and I fought countless doctors for a diagnosis, and my husband’s boss became increasingly less understanding, I often could do nothing but beg the Lord to pull us out of this situation.

He didn’t—not at first.

Financially crippled, I will never forget the nights I lied awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering why God asked me to be a stay-at-home mom, only to send me back to work 18 months later. There were moments I was confident in our decision and confident the Lord would find a way for us. There were other moments I was certain He had left us, and we were alone.

Doctors were not able to tell us what was wrong with my husband, and we were certainly stumped—that is until he quit his job. Having filled out roughly 25 applications in the two months my husband was struggling, one job came through, and he has been there ever since. His health issues have never returned once he walked away from his job, where the stress was literally killing him.20170413_151411

I have no doubt there are people reading this that are in a struggle of their own. It is my prayer that this will offer some hope and comfort to them as they wait for their prayers to be answered. Even though my husband’s illness was the most terrifying experience I have ever endured, it was also the best thing that ever happened to our family. Here’s why:

Change. A job that seemed like an answer to prayer, quickly morphed into a series of broken promises, and the cause of constant arguments in our marriage. I had begged my husband for months and months to walk away from it, but the only way he was finally willing to walk out the door, was when it made him sick.

Marriage. Going through an incredibly difficult experience with my spouse brought us closer together than I could have ever imagined. Our marriage has improved in inexplicable ways since my husband got sick. We talk more; we laugh more; we trust more; most of all, we serve the Lord together.

Faith. My husband and I grew up in the church and definitely trusted the Lord with our lives; however, since facing a seemingly hopeless situation, our faith has reached new heights, especially my husband’s. He has begun to serve our church with an unmatched passion, we constantly converse about God and His abundant grace, and he has stepped up to become the kind of spiritual leader of our family that I always wanted him to be.

Dependence. When my husband switched jobs, we had to adjust to a rather dramatic pay cut. Struggling financially has been more of a blessing to us than anything else. It has allowed us to depend on the Father in ways we never would have imagined when we were financially comfortable. It has given God the opportunity to show us His vast provisions, and, despite my hope that someday we will be able to give back to the Lord financially, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time. My husband is no longer consumed by the responsibilities of running a hardware 20170219_205909store. His focus has switched from his job to his family, and the time we are able to spend with him now has been a great blessing to us. He is home at a consistent time every evening, and he is carefree enough to enjoy the evenings with his sons. I would give up all the money in the world for this to continue.

Confidence.  Since God brought us through such a difficult situation, my husband and I now have gained the confidence to go after what we really want in life. We have explored many options, and we know, even if we take a step that involves risk, we can be assured that the Lord walks with us, and will provide for us along the way.

I never imagined I would look back on this time and consider it a blessing, but there is no other word for it. I know I will never take my husband’s health for granted again. Our life has changed immensely since my husband became ill, and even though life is still uncertain, especially financially, I have seen firsthand the love God has for his struggling children, and the way He uses a trial for His glory.

The only option a Christian has when all seems lost is to turn to the Father and trust Him all the way through it. There is always a way through it.

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