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Portions

 

 

 

Outside my window a pair of birds peck the ground in search of food. It’s 2pm. Maybe it’s the way they are unhurried, or the search itself that reminds me of those people: those who are quietly~ brutally~ being exterminated.

The email I received days ago haunts me.

These people imprisoned for their faith, prisoners of conscience, are simply disappearing. Their former “home,” the ghastly, dreaded Camp 22, is a prison the geographical size of Los Angeles… but it’s becoming a ghost town. The rapid depopulation speaks of horrors beyond imagination.

It’s brothers and sisters who are being subjected to these atrocities. 

On the basis of lengthy and detailed testimony from former camp guards Ahn Myong-chol and Kwon Hyuk, are revelations of the DPRK’s inhumanity and include claims of human vivisection and chemical and biological weapon experiments on prisoners.

They include the murdering of whole families in gas chambers.

Kwon, the former chief of management at North Korea’s Camp 22 and former military attaché at the North Korean embassy in Beijing, said, ”I watched a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber: parents, one son and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and dying, but until the very last moment they tried to save the kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing. For the first time it hit me that even prisoners are capable of powerful human affection.”

What do we do when brothers and sisters suffer? 

Do we push away from the table, step out into the cold, reach out a hand, throw a life-line, do something?

Or do we flip channels and forget about it?

And I’m sitting there with a sick child in my lap, watching birds hunt food when the absurdity of it all hits me.

Maybe it’s time we got off Facebook and got on our knees.

Maybe it’s time to quit being a consumer and start being a contributor.

And maybe instead of Candy Crush it’s time for our hearts to be crushed… for someone without a voice…without a choice…without a hope.

Is that really asking too much?

 

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

~John Piper

For a people chosen of God, blessed beyond measure, our Holy and Gracious Master calls us to fast, to withhold ourselves from a self-indulgent life:

 

“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Isaiah 58:6-7

 

After dinner I reach for the ipad.

Then I think twice. It’s time to fast. I set Pinterest aside and pick up prayer for Camp 22 and men and women who don’t have a choice. I pray for my children, the world’s children, the next generation. I pray for courage and faith and truth and character. I pray for light to invade the darkness and overcome it.

In this turning, spinning world where our days are limited and our influence profound, prayer seems the better choice.

Today, will you set aside 10 minutes to pray for North Korea?  Here are some resources to learn more. But beware, the content is disturbing and is not suitable for children:

 

ASSIST News: Huge Massacre in North Korea’s Killing Fields

60 Minutes Documentary on Camp 14

Prayer Guide for North Korea {Pre-Kim Jong Un but still good}

 

Just 10 minutes today? Every day?

 

Praying Scripture for Your Children {Resource List}

praying mom

 

 

 

New here? Grab your free copy of my latest eBook “The Family Table” when you subscribe to this blog here.

 

praying mom

 

“Some years ago on a hot summer California day, a little girl decided to cool off by playing in the ocean. As she hurried to reach the cool water, she ran out of her family’s beachfront cottage, leaving behind her flip flops and towel as she went. Diving under the water and then resurfacing, she swam out to where the water was the coolest.

Her mother, who was watching from the house, saw a shark’s fin break the water’s surface. In utter fear, the mom ran into the surf, yelling to her daughter as loudly as she could and then swam toward her little girl. Hearing her mother’s voice, the girl made a U-turn to swim toward shore.

It was too late. Just as the mother reached her daughter, the shark attacked. The mom grabbed her little girl by the arms as the shark snatched her legs. That began an incredible tug of war. The shark, which was about six-feet long, was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A fisherman, who happened to be in a boat nearby, heard the mother’s screams, pulled out a rifle, and shot the shark.

Remarkably, after weeks in the hospital, the little girl survived. Her legs were cut to the bone. And on her arms were deep scars where her mother’s fingernails had dug into her flesh as the mom hung on to the daughter she loved.

A television reporter who interviewed the girl after the trauma asked if she would show him her scars. The girl pulled back the hospital sheets. Then she said, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go.”

Like that mother who fought with a shark to save her daughter, we moms are fighting a spiritual tug- of- war with the enemy for our children. We must not passively sit back and allow Satan, called the thief in John 10:10, to steal, kill, and destroy our loved ones. The battle we wage for our children is on our knees.”

Story taken from Fern Nichols book, Moms in Prayer: Standing in the Gap for Your Children

 

As moms, we know we should pray for our children. We likely have the heart and the will to do so. But sometimes we don’t know how to  take our prayers beyond the basic and routine. We don’t know how to enter the heavenly places in our prayers, how to pray the mind of Christ in a routine, structured way.

I have struggled with this very thing. My heart for my children is so great… yet my ability to pray doesn’t measure up! I am hindered by my own inability.

I need a stockpile of Scripture to pray for my children.

 

When we don’t have the words to say, when we want to deepen our prayers, find expression for what God has placed in our hearts, or when we want to pray the will and mind of God, we need a ready stockpile of Scripture prayers to pray.

Let’s say I pick my child up from school and he tells me about the bully that picked on him. I can talk to him about it, but I also need a ready prayer full of promise and courage and identity to immediately pray over my child.

I’m working on putting together my own set of printable scripture cards to pray for my children. { I’ll share it with you here on the blog when I’m done.} I need something quick, portable, and simple… so I’m creating my own cards. But for now, I’d like share a few great prayer resources I’ve come across as I create my own.

 

 

Printables:

 

31 Ways to pray for your child- print and use with calendar

31 Biblical virtues to pray for your child- another printable!

31 Day Prayer calendar- printable

Scripture prayers in bookmark form~print and tuck in your Bible from NavPress

Printable Scripture Cards {these are intended for scripture memory but also work great as prayer cards}

This idea I saw on Pinterest: Trace and cut out each child’s handprint. Write their life {or yearly | monthly} scripture on it. Tuck in your bible as a way to pray for them each morning.

Cards to print and pray WITH your children!

 

Articles that contain actual prayers:

 

31 Bibilical Virtues to pray for your Children from Revive Our Hearts

Scriptures and prayers from a Grandmother’s perspective

 

The one book I’d recommendPraying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God’s Purpose for Their Lives

 

Packed with scriptures to pray, along with sample prayers, this book has helped me tremendously get a feel for how to pray the scriptures (vs. just reading a verse back to God with my child’s name inserted.) It has helped me pray scripture in a way that is very natural, emotive, and heartfelt to me. Highly recommended!

What about you? What scriptures are you praying for your children? Do you have a favorite resource you use?

 

 

 

The Coin

 

 

It was eighteen years ago that she gave us the coin.

That was before she accused Dad of running around with a young woman at church. Nearly split the church wide open. Dad came home with a shot gun and the counselor had to intervene and they’ve been seperated ever since.

But eighteen years ago was before all of that happened. Before tongues wagged and hearts broke and tears fell and things were never the same.

We were sitting at the supper table after church, Jackson and I. And Mom, she handed us a Canadian Maple.

“You’ll face hard times together,” she said. “Here’s something for you to put away for a rainy day, for when you just don’t have anything else.”

She slipped us the coin and we tucked it away and for eighteen years of marriage, while we traveled the world over and back again, that coin stayed in the attic, tucked away in its plastic sheath.

Until recently.

Jackson took it out.

He opened the safe where important documents are kept and he slipped the coin out and he looked at it.

“We need groceries,” he said.

I knew what the words cost him. I knew the pain of a hardworking man not able to fund a trip to the grocery store. But I also know something else about him… that walking the path of the Lord’s will is more important to him than anything else.

“The Lord’s going to take care of us,” Jackson continued. “He always has.”

He looked at me as he fingered the coin. The clock ticked and the fridge hummed and four little bodies lay tucked in their beds, oblivious to the choices of their parents.

It’d be a shame to just spend this.” He said it thoughtful. Slow. The processing of a man intent on what’s best for his family.

I thought of the growing grocery list: bananas, bread, jelly, toilet paper, trash bags. I thought of the empty cupboards and the empty bank account and I knew they would stay empty.

I want to invest it,” he says it slow, sure, sacred- like; an act of worship.

 

“What do you think about us selling this and giving the money to feed the Nuba people in Sudan?”

I choke back the tears and say YES! What better way to invest than in another person?

We get down on our knees and pray. “Thank You, Jesus,” I pray. “Thank You we get to be part of this, part of ministering to Your body. Thank You for the chance to give our best.”

The next day, Jackson goes to sell the coin. He returns home with $1500 cash, 15 crisp hundred dollar bills.

My man, he knows how to invest.

 

That Sunday we slip the bills into an envelope and write “Sudan” on it and we listen to the guest speaker, a Sudanese pastor.

“We take trip to Sudan,” he tells us. “We buy grain and take it into the Nuba mountains. My people are starving. They are hiding in caves and are being bombed every day. Life is hard. I cannot forsake them.”

And on this side of the world, brothers and sisters, an entire association of churches, pledge to help. We send two men with our Sudanese brother into the mountains of Sudan.

The mission is dangerous. Sudan is in turmoil and these men are entering the war zone.

The team gets stuck in Cairo. It takes days, then weeks, for the money transfer to go through. The rains are forecasted to begin any day in Sudan and when that happens, they will not be able to travel.

The team encounters one difficulty after another…they get sick, they can’t locate drivers who are bold enough to trek into the war zone, the money still won’t go through…

The team contacts us and asks everyone to fast.

We all feel the spiritual warfare of this mission. We know we battle not flesh and blood.

The call to fast goes out and we stop eating. At dinner time, the kids ask why I’m not having meal with them and I explain about the Nuba people and the need for God to provide a way. Jackson is working late…but fasting. Friends text to let each other know we are in this together.

All over our little town, we call on the Lord, asking Him to move His mighty hand. We pray for our brothers and sisters hiding in the Nuba mountains.

The Lord hears.

I get the message on a Monday morning:

“Team Nuba were able to get up the mountain, get the grain/oil/supplies to the people, and even pick up 500 refugees on the way back and safely transport them to a camp near the border.

Said they haven’t had sleep in 70 hours but they were in very good spirits. Their plan is to get rested up today and start the journey home tomorrow.
PLEASE DO NOT STOP PRAYING NOW!”

 

I fall to my knees and thank God. I ican see those faces, the mommas. The babies. All the blank stares.

But this time, I see the smiles.

It is such a sacred thing to be a part of, there is such a deep intimacy with the Lord. It is an hour before I can even call Jackson with the news.

All day, I break out in random song. When I pick oldest up from school, I excitedly tell him the news and we hoot and holler in the car.

 My Nuba sister is hiding in a cave somehwere with her children. But tonight, she will have food to give them. Tonight, she knows that the world hasn’t forsaken them, her brothers and sisters living in houses with heaping plates…well, she knows we care.

Tonight, she knows that her God delivers.

Jackson eats with us tonight, and he breaks the bread:

“Share with God’s people who are in need.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.

And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.

So do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

 

Jackson and I just look at each other.

We both feel it, the pleasure of God.

And as we eat our simple meal, we enter into our inheritance.

And I’m so full, I’m just about to pop.

Come back tomorrow, Thursday, June 21, for an update on the Sudan mission!

 

Invest means “to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve a profitable return.”

Sometimes when you need something the most is when you *need* to give it away.

We can spend a life or we can invest one.

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

 

Linking up with Ann today

For those “Extra Grace Required” days

 

Over steaming bowls of apples and oats, Husband reads the words.

“It was good…”

Things don’t seem so good. The skies keep pouring rain and our support has run out and the bills are starting to pile up and Husband’s already gone 7am-10pm and how in the world can he ~ all of us~ take on more?

“It was good for me to be afflicted,” Husband reads. I sit up in my seat. Really? Who says that, that affliction is good? I need to tune in right about now.

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.”

Husband glances over at me and smiles. He knows.

“Although He was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered…”

I can’t help the breath from escaping heavy and the shoulders from stooping. I’m a child too, receiving correction.

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Oldest is looking at me now too, smiling, laughing. Everyone in this family knows this Word is for me.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and test you…Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”

Was it just last night that I told God He had to break through for me, that I couldn’t do this anymore?

We finish eating Words and oats and we clear dishes and I rinse sticky bowls… and I know Words will be my staple food today.

The kids get dressed and  make their beds and I sit down again with today’s Daily Light.

There’s a purpose to affliction.

I pour over the words and make a list in my journal, all the reasons given for hardship.

Like a bride’s veil being swept back, I see the beauty beneath. There are reasons for the mind-numbing days and the never ending pain and the deep deprivation and the soul desperation.

Affliction teaches us obedience.

I meditate and I chew and I imagine. I see Jesus, driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, that harsh season of pain, need, and trial. Cold nights in isolation and dark days of testing and hunger.

This wasn’t about Him proving His worth, earning God’s favor. The Beloved Son had already been approved, accepted, and publicly validated.

No, the wilderness was not about performing. It was about power…the kind only possible through learning obedience.

And with that wilderness account, Jesus, in the flesh, set the example for us on how to live powerful, purposeful lives.

I hear Him beckon.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…”  “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” Luke 4:1, 14

The Spirit, alive and aching to be made manifest in Him, led Jesus into the wilderness. The word for “led” means “to drive.” So intent was the Spirit to unleash His power upon Jesus’ life, He drove Him to the wilderness.

There He ”learned obedience from affliction.”

Before His first miracle…before His name became known…before He stood up in the assembly and said the time was fulfilled, Jesus learned submission. And He returned in power.

I ponder these things while I help children buckle up in the van. We drive into town to take Little Bit to her speech therapy appointment. The rain slaps hard and the wipers rush to keep up.

The children are quiet. Dark skies have us all silent.

Again, I imagine Jesus, our example to living full of the Spirit’s power. He’s crouching low to spit on the ground. Even this was purposeful. Even this was powerful.

Could the wilderness have prepared Him for that, to know when, where, and how to spit?

Yes, it’s how He knew to stop and stoop and spit on the ground and do the miraculous.

It’s how He wasn’t shaken by major disruptions and changes of plans and dangerous situations.

It’s how He could sleep in a storm.

He had learned obedience through affliction…the obedience of living in complete submission and unity with the Father and the Spirit. It empowered Him to live His life, fulfill His calling.

And I sense deep within that same Spirit urging me, driving me, calling me in the wilderness. “Learn of Me,” He says. “I am jealous for you.”

I’m ashamed of my bellyaching…what when God has such a divine, noble purpose for me.

Affliction is good. Surrender is learned, and this is how.

It is when we are returning from Little Bit’s speech appointment that the kids start to fight. I sit at the stop sign with wipers pumping and I hear it on the radio: “You want to overcome the stress in your life? I’ve got one sentence for you to pray, just one. It’s simply this: “Teach me to do Your will, O Lord.” (Ps 143:10)

The rain pours and the kids fight and I sit at the intersection in shock.

I can’t believe He would orchestrate all of this for me to get this message right. He is Spirit driving and Jealous Lover and I asked and He answered and is making sure I don’t miss it.

Preacher says it right there on the radio: “Get into yoke with Jesus. 90% of the stress in a Christian’s life comes from unwillingness in the heart to bring their lives under the control of Jesus. (Pastor David Jeremiah)

“I know what you are longing for,”  Meek and Gentle whispers. “Learn from Me. Let this affliction teach you obedience.”

“My burden is easy, there is no need to fear. Come and be a disciple; learn submission to Me. Let me teach you how to live under My control and domination.”

Affliction is good.

Yes, Lord,” my heart responds. “Teach me to do Your will.”

 

Scandalous

lonelyness

 

 

Eric and Woody were looking at me, listening intently, wondering what exactly I had discovered.

I’d entered that dark, cold prison cell with John the Baptist. With him, I’d asked, “Are You really the One?”

I’d agonized.

I’d wondered if I was really His.

I’d doubted God.

I’d done the opposite of what Jesus said the “blessed” ones do.

“My faith was obliterated,” I told them. “I needed to know where that left me. Was I shipwrecked?

“I did a word study on that word ”stumble.”

“It refers to a very specific condition, “to cease believing.”

In fact, one dictionary says it is to “cause a person to distrust One who is worthy of complete trust and obedience.”

It’s what Jesus said not to do to children.

“Furthermore,” I told them, “it is the word Jesus used when He went to the cross. He said all of the disciples would “fall away.” This is the same word He used. See, even the disciples stumbled in their faith.

“And Jesus told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith would remain. And when you have returned, strengthen your brethren.”

I looked into their faces, my own eyes wet. “Stumbling doesn’t have to be permanent,” I told them.

“When it all comes down, it is understanding that He holds onto us. That no matter what evil has been done to us, no matter what dark nights we have seen, no matter the fear and loneliness…no matter our own faithlessness and falling away, the depth of our sinfulness… HE IS FAITHFUL.”

“It is holding onto His character.”

And I don’t know how they understood the weak attempt I made, but they did.

Husband took over from there and explained the love of God and talked for another hour or more, doing much better than I did.

He shared how God was demonstrating His love that very moment, in bringing us all to this same place at this same time, out of every place we could and should be, the globe over…

Yet He orchestrated each of our lives so we could be together, in order for us each to know His hope and grace and speak together of His love.

“He loves you. He wants you to believe it.” And he quotes John 3:16. Such a simple statement, yet so rich.

Later, after we’d hugged Woody’s neck and prayed for them both and slipped a $20 in Woody’s old truck as an expression of God’s love, we left and returned home to our own babes and noise and busyness.

“What did the Lord say to you through all that,” husband asked me.

“I’m not sure yet,” I told him. “I need to think about it.”

I thought about what had happened to Woody.

I thought about what had happened to me, as a child.

I thought about Little Bit and the trauma she has experienced.

I thought about the depths of pain and sin and heartache and trauma.

I thought about what persecution did to John the Baptist and what disillusionment did to the disciples and what oppression did to the Israelites.

In each case, it skewed their perspective of God. It caused them to stop believing.

I thought about all the things that cause us to withdraw and reject and not believe God’s love for us.

And then it hit me.The word for “stumble,” that word that means to cease trusting the One who is absolutely worthy and deserving of our complete trust and obedience.

It’s the word “Skandalizo” in the Greek.

Scandal.

And there He is, reaching deep again and bringing me to my knees. I know what to tell Jackson. I know what it is He wants to say to me.

“It’s not what is done to you that is scandalous, my child. Distrust for Me is the real scandal.

This is what causes heavenly hosts to gasp and cover their eyes and bring hands to mouth. This is what causes those who know God’s nature to hide in shame….when one of us distrusts Him.

I thought of the abuse I experienced as a child…and that the real scandal is that I responded in distrust for God.

I thought about hardship and pain and trauma and rejection and abuse and neglect and poverty and deep suffering the world over…and yet still the real scandal is when our response is distrust for the Holy One.

Because the sufferings of this world don’t compare to the glory of Him.    If we could just see!

And isn’t this why Satan attacks our faith and starts even with the youngest of children? He wants to blind our eyes with pain. He wants to mar our vision with abuse, neglect, and hardship.

He wants us to keep our eyes on our own failures and sin.

He wants to scandalize the One who should never, ever, ever be doubted, the One who demonstrated the depths of His character by entering the womb of a woman…being cared for by sinful man…being vulnerable to other’s sin…then dying at the hands of us all.

Oh yes, Satan wants to establish early on a lifestyle of truly scandalous living…distrust for One whose very name is Love.

I drop to my knees and pray to the Holy One who is worthy. “Oh my God, may I never scandalize You again!”

“Satan has done everything he can to sift me and shipwreck my faith. But You have prayed for me and You are the author and finisher of my faith, Jesus, and You have been faithful to me when I have been faithless. Praise Your Name! Now, Worthy One, may I never scandalize You again.”

And I pray for a man named Woody, a man traveling into a Colorado winter and a painful, lonely death. “May he be saved,” I pray. “May You find him. May his dark, cold prison of death be where he discovers Your faithfulness….Your trustworthiness. May his stumbling turn to faith.”

And His whispered response reverberates deep within: “Strengthen the brethren, my child. Strengthen the brethren.”

Friend, are you stumbling? If you are, I have written you a letter that answers the question “How can my faith be restored?” I’m staying up late at the Lord’s prompting to write this :) It is my joy to share two simple lifestyle habits with you. To access the letter, simply click here. Love and blessings, friend. AJ

{Part I of this story can be read here}

When Children are Beyond our Reach

{Someone needs this post today}

I have four children, the oldest is nine. I’m not a seasoned mother. I’m very much in the trenches, doing and messing up and learning.

Yet already I feel my oldest withdrawing, questioning, pulling back, thinking he knows everything already. At nine.

I’m concerned. I’m a mom.

The questions start: “Is this normal? What does this mean? Is it serious? What can I do?”

Then I’m in the kitchen one day cooking, listening to Luke online, chapter by chapter. Above the din of bickering children and spilled legos and general chaos, I hear this:

“Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow… when the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her…“Young man, I say to you, arise!”And Jesus gave him back to his mother.” {Luke 7:12-15}

And it strikes me that ours is a God who returns children, even grown ones, to their mothers.

Again in Luke 8:49f, Jesus gives a daughter back to her parents and in Luke 9:42 it says, “But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.

Sons and daughters, daughters and sons, dead, possessed with evil, unable to save themselves, Jesus redeems the lives of our children and “gives them back” to us again.

I am reminded of the greatest, most significant thing a parent can ever do: Get our children to Jesus.

Just like the father who searched Jesus out with a plea for his son, so we can “with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because we serve an awesome God who demonstrated to us His willing delight in returning children to their mommas and their daddies.

Jake’s Story

jake

On Feb. 11, 2011, my squad of Marines patrolled through the 
Sangin Valley in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It was a very long 
grueling patrol through knee-high mud and torrential downpours 
throughout the day.

We complained, moaned, and groaned all day about 
the distance and nasty weather. I carried a machine gun with the rest 
of the machine gunners near the rear of the patrol.

Normally, other Marines looked to me as a source of positive energy even when the 
situation had turned foul, but, today, even I was having trouble 
finding anything nice to say about this day or patrol. Also, there was 
a bad feeling in the back of my mind that I had spent the last 24 
hours trying to shake to no avail. Around and Around we walked and 
that’s when it happened.

       BOOOOOOOMMM!!!!!! I stepped on pressure plate-triggered IED 
(Improvised Explosive Device). I heard the ‘BOOM!’ and when I hit the 
ground, my first thought was, “who got hit?” Then I looked at my legs 
and I realized it was me.

I screamed in terror; then I screamed again 
meaning ‘why me?’; I screamed a third time meaning ‘please God, fix 
it!’.

Then I heard my mother’s words in the back of my mind (in her 
voice even) “Don’t say ‘WHY?’; say ‘what now?’.” I stopped screaming 
and did a half-second assessment: legs gone, right hand broken, lying 
in crater of IED, NEED corpsman! So, I yell for a corpsman and one 
immediately appears behind me and goes to work.

He is putting  tourniquets on whats left of my legs, but I can feel blood leaving my 
head and still functional left hand. I’m going into shock! I can’t let 
this happen; breath… breath… breath… Concentrate! Meditate! 
Stabilize!

They’re pulling me out of the crater that had been big 
enough for my whole body to fit inside. I’m flat on my back, my team 
leader is talking to me. Breath. Concentrate. Meditate. I respond in 
my usual sarcastic manner to let him know I will be alright; I even 
insult a couple Marines around me to raise moral and hopes for my 
survival. Breath. Concentrate. Meditate.

Breathing is getting a little 
harder and blood flow to my face and good hand is diminishing. I pray 
to God that I am ready if it is His will. I feel His answer throughout 
my entire body: “NOT YET.” I open my eyes and double my efforts to 
keep blood circulating to my head and arm.

I force more adrenaline 
through my body to keep me awake and fighting against my own death. 
Finally, a helicopter lands, I’m loaded aboard. My fight is done.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

- Psalm 118:6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

       About a day later when I regained consciousness, I am 
surrounded by a team of medical personnel who fully expect to be a 
shoulder to cry on or possibly have to introduce strong, fast-acting 
sedatives, should I burst into a torrent of fear, anger, and 
depression attempting to lash out and destroy the world that took my 
legs.

Instead, all are bewildered that I immediately smile and start 
making jokes about my situation. “Don’t say ‘WHY?’; say ‘What now?’.” 
What now? Be myself, because that’s still who I am (just a little 
shorter). What now? I walk by FAITH, because that has become a deep 
part of me, it runs in my blood. What now? I get better and strive for 
the same life goals I always strove for. “God is on my side… what 
can man do unto me?”

He can beat me, shoot me, blow me to pieces, even 
kill me, but because I have committed my soul to walking by FAITH, I 
can never be defeated by the things of this world.

I can say with every bit of honesty that I was not afraid during 
my tour in Afghanistan. Anybody who has been through what I have would 
say, “anybody says he wasn’t scared is an idiot or a liar!” I am 
neither typically (nobody’s perfect). I can stand tall (manner of 
speaking) and say, “I was not afraid!” because I walk by Faith.

If my  wife is reading this, a lot of those times you get frustrated because 
I would rather ‘wing it’ or ‘play it by ear’ I’m actually walking by 
faith, and how many times do things just seem to work out somehow? 
(Just picking on you, hunny)

Every step of the way I knew God was 
there; I could feel his presence all around me. I knew in every fiber 
of my being that whatever happened was the will and plan of the 
Almighty and that He would direct me to fulfill my part of it.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of 
love, and of a sound mind.”

- 2 Timothy 1:7

       Fear is the antithesis of Faith. If you have that little Fear 
in the back of your mind that you may not be on the right path, then 
your Fear is truth. You must shed your Fear; just let it go; let the 
burden fall off your shoulders so that you can see what Faith really 
feels like. You CANNOT see the path until you SHED the Fear of not 
seeing it. FAITH is knowing WITHOUT seeing; then, you are able to SEE 
what you KNOW.

I will heal. I will take care of and maybe grow my family. I 
will run. I will relearn how to fight. I will strive to have a career 
with Law Enforcement. I will go back to school and increase my 
standard of living.

“What now?” I will carry on…

 

Jake is a 22 year old father to son Liam. His wife, Michelle, is due to deliver their second son any day now. Jake lost both of his legs and will possibly lose his right hand (it is not healing properly so please pray?) He asked me to share his testimony and desires that it be shared with as many people as possible. He is still in hospital with other complications and injuries.

The Answer is Yes!

I’m clothed in drab, human skin and feel every inch of humanity as I get on my knees before Him.

“Lord. You have laid hold of me…let me now lay hold of You. Both hands, Lord, both hands.”

“Jesus, show me how to do this!”

“As the Father loved You, so You have loved me, Jesus. Help me abide in Your love.”

“Jesus, I call on You! Imperfectly and in only partial belief, but it is all I know to do. Save me from this pride and control and self reliance. I am a woman of unclean hands, lips, and heart, and I need Your fire of cleansing to purify me. Will You do this?”

“Will You let me know You? Really GET You, God? Oh, how I want to understand You, know Your ways!”

Throughout the days I keep finding my knees, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Until I realize…it is becoming a way of life for me.

Then. Today. Little one tells me her cup is out of water. “Okay, what do you do?” I prompt her.

“May I have some more water please?”

“The answer is YES!” I tell her.

We have done this particular little exercise hundreds of times, me trying to teach her to ask and she will receive… Her asking time and time again, and me saying “YES!” And I wonder, when will she really get it? When will her relationship with me reflect a deep, abiding trust? When will she KNOW that she is part of me, of us, and when will she not hesitate to put me out for her sake?

But this time the words come back at me, a response from Him spoken from my own lips: “The answer is YES!”

“All those requests you are making…all those desires for righteousness and truth and love and grace you are pouring out before Me…all those tears that have no words… the answer is YES!”

“And when will you finally get it, that you are part of Me, of US, and when will you not hesitate to put Us out on your behalf? You know you have the entire throne room of Grace at your disposal… you know I say ask and you will receive…”

Right there at the lunch table I jump up and leap for joy! “The answer is YES!” I say again and again and they laugh at their crazy momma.

And I know something new today: Some prayers are best made on bended knees. Others, on leaping legs.


“For no matter how many promises God has made, they

are YES in Christ.” II Corinthians 1:20

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