I have to say I am not a regular christian radio listener. I am not against it, but there are a few programs that are hard for me to swallow. But every once and a while I will turn it on while I am driving to get the girls from school. My radio channel of choice is the WBEZ. But this day I was craving something beyond this earth. On the way to school I do have to say there is a good preacher that is usually on and every time I listen to him I am encouraged and challenged. And I REALLY needed someone full of faith to just tell me how it is!! Pastor Tony Evans does not fail to deliver that! If you could only hear the passion in his voice when he PREACHED this message. Typing the words doesn't give it justice. So here is is if you want to listen to it-
The Message. The opening cracks me up, it is such a classic generic christian radio opening. Just persevere thru that till you hear the Tony, that voice fell on a tired, fearful lady that afternoon.
Here are a few of the MANY awesome things he said:
"God allows affliction to weaken us so we can experience supernatural strength!"
"Paul was acquainted with affliction."
"Our greatest growth comes thru affliction. It allows us to see God in a way we never saw Him before, because we have a need that we never needed before."
"God is the God of ALL comfort! He wants you to lay down on him so He can pull the Comforter over you."
"Jesus met Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego IN THE FIRE!"
Now jump ahead a bit to where I know it is a tumor that is in the orbit (eye socket), on the optic nerve and I am in the midst of a ridiculous amount of phone calls trying to get into a surgeon that specializes in my case that my insurance covers. I hit so many walls! It was about 2 weeks of phone calls and waiting to hear back. In the midst of this. I decided to read Job (doesn't sound like the best idea, but I felt SO COMPELLED). And in the midst of reading Job and all the phone calls, our house is in upheaval getting fixed, guys doing the fixing are in our house throughout the day, I get the stomach flu on Lucy's birthday, then Atticus gets the stomach flu and has his birthday, and our first week of showing the house is the coming week!!! Then Josh gets the flu I am still not totally 100%, cleaning vomit in the house we are trying to sell and my kids birthdays are not what we planned. So we get the carpets cleaned (thank God!) and the house goes up, then Elly's bday comes and she gets sick the day before and Atticus is STILL not fully better!
At one point I had just vacuumed and Atticus hasn't thrown up for 2 days so I am thinking we are in the clear, he is sitting on a rug we had just gotten for the showing and I am really tired, all of the sudden THROW UP!! All over the new rug and even sadder I am wondering what is going on with my little boy!! Seriously?!?!?! I call Josh and say, "God has abandoned us! Why is this happening??? I think we need to take the house off the market, God didn't give us the $ for a house, it is for my medical bills!". Josh does his best to console me and get me to calm down and not make rash decisions. Little did I know....Atticus being sick so long made me go to the Dr. so I would be able to talk to my PCP about my case and she is the one God uses in a major way in the future.
Ok, so back to Job! I hadn't finished Job, I was currently reading how Job's friends are telling him all the reasons they think these paroles are happening to him. Maybe it is some sin in his life, maybe it is God just doing His bigger plan, God is testing Job etc. There is no consolation, just basically God is God and your not! I felt like a pon, insignificant, I was a piece of grass- here today gone tomorrow. I came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. I am a small thing in a much bigger plan.
As you can see I had some low days! At one point Josh asks me, "Are you ok?? I am really worried about you." As I am crying and telling him all the things mentioned above, "I am just a pon, a piece of grass....."But deep down under all of these thoughts and feelings I knew these struggles, questions and wrestling's were ok. They needed to come out and be said. God was telling me,"I am the author and finisher of your faith." He was in charge of my faith. He was stretching it and dealing with fears and doubts that had always been there.
Josh was totally worried (and I don't blame him- I would be worried to). When he told me he was worried I told him (in the midst of serious crying--like fluids coming out of every portal of my face) I told him "I'm (sniffle sniffle) fine, I know God is (2 short sobby breaths) gonna swoop in at some point (grabbing a tissue wiping the rivers from my face) and correct me of all these thoughts, this is just where I am at right now!!" I really knew in my heart that He was ok with where I was at.
That night I thought- maybe I shouldn't read Job....it is so depressing. But I really felt like I was pulled to it for a reason, there must be some consolation at the end! I knew God spoke to Job at some point so I skipped a few chapters of Job and his friends ramblings and read the last 3 where GOD SPEAKS. The whole book had been Job and his friends talking- (a lot of things that sounded right- but NO PEACE). God comes to him and speaks in a whirlwind. He is God and we are not, BUT I need to take comfort in that, not feel insignificant because of it! At the end of Job God restores what He tore down in Jobs life to rebuild it BETTER then before (7x's better).
I talked with Josh and cried that night again. God was so patient- He had given me so much to hold on to and so easily I crumbled under the weight. I was a big roller coaster of emotion! That night I read Psalm 84 again and tried to cling to what He had promised. Still not totally feelin' it, but i tried. Then I kid you not I woke up the next morning and all I could think of was Joshua and how God told him to "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9. I felt a strength and courage that was clearly not my own.
So you would that would get me thru the next few weeks. Well it got me thru about 2 days! (going from strength to strength). I went to get a 2nd opinion about my MRI from a Dr. in the suburbs. The Dr. is my neighbors father and he is great at what he does so i was anxious to see what he said. Josh was planning on going with me, he hadn't been able to go to any of the Dr. up to this point and I was excited he was going with me. Sure enough the night before Elly got sick so she needed to stay home from school and it was to late to find a sitter, he ended up not being able to go. I was on my own. It was a 45 minute drive out. So I get there and he does some usual vision tests and then he looks at the MRI. He is gone for about 10 minutes. When he comes back he tells me the tumor was bigger then thought, was inter cranial (in the area where the brain is) so it would have to be neuro surgery! He encouraged me to go to Mayo (a hospital in another state) or another hospital even father. I was so overwhelmed. Once again- hit by a train- discouraged, afraid, worn down. Brain surgery?!? And I might have to go out of the state???? What if i loose my eye, surgery goes bad, God doesn't want to heal me??? what if??? So I had the 45 minute drive home to sort thru all this information just dumped on me. I told Jesus I wished he was was sitting in the seat next to me so I could hold His hand and ask Him to heal me. I put my hand in the seat imagining i was holding His hand and put it up to my eye, begging Him to take the tumor away and fix me!! .......He didn't. I get home and talk with Josh. He calmed me down and we decided to get another opinion from a neuro-optic surgeon that had been approved by my insurance and then decide if MAYO is necessary.
Meanwhile, my mom text me from my DAD'S phone (which she never does)- randomly telling me they are at downtown Disney talking about us and thinking about us. So about an hour or 2 later I was pretty down and struggling, having a hard time trusting God and His plan and fearful of the future. So I text back asking them to pray for me because I was having a hard time (and mind you my parents are not big texters-especially my dad). But I get a text back immediately asking what I am struggling with. Long story short as my dad was encouraging me one thing he said was how much he loved my mom, my brothers and I and would do anything for us. I had the thought- "if my dad were God I would feel much better". Then the Lord reminded me of that scriptureFor everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matt 7:8-11
If I could trust and feel so safe with my earthly father who is imperfect, how much more more should I be able to trust my Heavenly Father who loves with perfect love?!
Not to mention, just the fact that my dad randomly went upstairs to clean off his desk, had his phone on the desk next to him so when the text came in he was alone and could text me uninterrupted for about 30 minutes showed me that God had orchestrated that whole thing....once again!! He a good PAPA so patient and gracious!!
OK, 4th and final part will be up soon!