Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Victory This Weekend!

I am feeling overwhelmed by what the Lord is doing in our lives. I just got back from speaking at a small church in Eastern Oregon. They invited me to share my testimony and to teach them how to protect their families from pornography. The night before I spoke, I was plagued by nightmares. I woke up feeling depressed and oppressed. I wouldn't really call it fear. It was a burden that I knew I wasn't meant to bear. As I told my sister about it, she immediately laid her hands on me. Together we transferred that burden back to the the One who was meant to bear it. Jesus...The oppression left and I felt no worries in my heart for that coming night.

As I entered the church, I cannot tell you the love that I felt for the people, and the love they felt for me. People I never met were kind and compassionate and grateful that I had come.

During the speech, I felt like it was an out of body experience. I knew it wasn't me. It was the Lord talking through me. In my own flesh, I am weak and timid, fearful of what a more experienced person would think of this ordinary mom, with no counseling degree, or any other degree other than a high school diploma. I didn't think of those things as I spoke boldly to this group on pornography within the church, within marriage, and how it is affecting our children's lives. College degrees don't matter when you have the Degree of Pain.

The best part of the night was the hour we spent in question and answer time. What blessed me was watching the people of God, talk about this difficult and uncomfortable subject. Dialogue was taking place! I left knowing that God had opened a can of worms and that they had a new perspective. I believed that they were going to be DOERS of the Word, not just HEARERS.

One lady spoke up at the end, with tears in her eyes. She said that she knew God was working in our lives. Another said God was being glorified! Oh, He was!!! He is glorified when we are obedient even when it is risky and it hurts.

I saw my sons the next morning and I was able to thank them for letting me share their stories. I don't know many teenage boys that would allow their mother to do something like that. The reason why I have this ministry is because they want to help others as well. I praise God for their willingness. Only the Lord knows how many lives will be affected because of it.

I thank all of the parents out there that have allowed me to share their stories as well. I felt you on that stage with me. All the emails, phone calls and texts that I have received from hurting parents, and wives whose lives were devastated by pornography has fueled me to keep pressing on in this. I hear you, I hurt for you, and I am confident that God is using each one to help others avoid the pitfalls that the enemy has laid for them.

The Lord is good and what He does is good. I cannot stop praising Him for what He has done and what He is going to do.He is turning my mourning into dancing. My tears have sown joy.

 I can only imagine what the future holds...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Importance of God's Word (My Testimony) Part 2

God has used His Word to me through a devastation our family has suffered through for the last two years. On exactly this day, January 23 (two years ago),  our lives would be changed forever.  I was never good at memorizing God’s Word, even though I was very familiar with it. When our devastation occurred, I was pleased that the Word of God poured forth out of my mouth when I was in an almost mental and spiritually-paralyzed state. As I entered my crisis of belief, I had to truly determine as Job did, who God was and is He truly good. I knew that I “could curse God and die,” or I could trust Him and believe that he was good and was for me and my family and fall on my knees and worship Him.

 As I opened my Bible in my grief, I would cry out to Him and wonder why He wasn't answering my prayers. There were nights when the pain was so great that I would fall asleep reading His Word. The enemy would plant fears in me so strong, that I was afraid to let go of the Word. I would sleep with it open beside me, my hand resting upon it. It became more important than food and water. I could barely eat, but God fed me with His Word. He sustained me in my darkest hour. Nothing else could satisfy. When the enemy would plant thoughts of discouragement, distrust and confusion in my mind, God’s Word whispered in my ear. “NO!” “I am the way, the truth and the life. Trust in me! I am your strength and your shield, your very great reward.” His love washed over me minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month and now two years later I can say he is still lovingly carrying me through this.

Something I have learned to do when I am going through a time of confusion is to ask God for a Word for that particular situation or crisis. He almost will always give me a portion of Scripture that I can say quickly in my head if I start to falter and doubt. I pray continually that God will open my eyes to see the wonders of Himself, His love, His sacrifice, His creation, His Words, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His provision, and His healing. He is wonderful and I am so thankful that I can communicate with him throughout each and every day. I know I am not alone, He is near to me. I can tell my God anything! I can rant and rave, which turns into surrender and worship. I am free to express my feelings and emotions without offending Him.

One of my favorite miracles that God blessed us with during this trial, was about four months into our crisis, we found out that our son would need to enter into a therapy that cost around $8,000. We live paycheck to paycheck (like everyone else) and I just couldn't figure out how we were going to pay it. I remember getting into the van and escaping to the store by myself. On my way I was feeling very oppressed. The financial burden was so great I felt it physically weighing me down. I cried out to God and said, “Take this, it is too big! You are going to have to provide for us.” I went to the store, and went into the post office to get the mail. As I sat in my van and started going through the mail, a small card slipped out and landed on my lap. I saw that it was from a fellow blogger who had seen my blog and was praying for our family. I opened the card and a $2,000 check slipped out. I read the card and it said, “A cattle on a thousand hills are His, please use this to help with your son’s counseling fees”.  She and her husband had no idea that we even needed it. I just felt the Lord say, “See I got this, Stacie. I will take care of you.” It was the seed of faith that I needed to get me through that really tough time. Not long after that we found out that another source would pay for the other $6,000. Is God not amazing?

Almost a year and a half ago, the same son was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for children because he was having a terrible time with suicidal and homicidal thoughts. We found out he had been misdiagnosed with ADD when he was actually dealing with a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Although it was a terrifying time, God used it to show us what we were dealing with and get him on a medication that worked for him. The hospital stay ended up being over $23,000. I didn't worry this time. I even got a bill that said, we might have to pay thousands of dollars. I gave it to the Lord, knowing he would take care of us. I rejoiced when I got a statement that said all but $100 had been covered by insurance!

Because of our family’s experience, I have been able to comfort others with the comfort I have received. God has entrusted me with a new ministry that educates and equips Christian parents on how to protect their families from the dangers that come from living in a very technological world. Almost every day, God allows me to share my testimony with someone who is being bruised and battered by their family member’s choices.  I have also been able to speak to several different groups outside of our community. Every time I get a chance to speak, I feel like there is purpose to my pain as I aggressively take back territory that the enemy tried to steal from me.

So here I am, exactly two years later, taking back ground and trusting in a mighty God who is redeeming and restoring my family. Daily His promises are being fulfilled in my life. He can do what He says He can do.  His Word is alive and active in me and I AM believing God!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Importance of God's Word ( My testimony) Part 1

My name is Stacie. I have been married to Steve for 18 and a half years. He is a firefighter/paramedic and has worked at a small department for 21 years. We have six children ages 15, 13, 10, 8, 6, and four. There are four boys and two girls. We homeschooled them for seven years, but have since put them in public school.

 I have been a Christian since I was six. I grew up going to Sunday school and church. I thought I knew the Bible because I knew all the major stories like David and Goliath, Samson, Daniel, and Jesus dying on the cross. Basically, I knew basics.

I didn’t have any desire or need except every once in a while when I was going through a crisis, to pick up God’s Word throughout my teens and early twenties.

I grew up, got married at age 20 and continued to live a very moderate, powerless Christian life. I thought I knew the Word but in reality I knew almost nothing.

I began working as a church secretary, when I became pregnant with my first child at the age of 22. Because I was pretty efficient at my job, I had a lot of time on my hands. I started to read some of the pastor’s magazines that came in the church’s mail. I began to realize that there was a lot about the Bible I had never heard of. I suddenly felt very incompetent. I knew that when my children grew up they would start asking me biblical questions. It terrified me to think that I might not have a clue how to answer them. I remember God and I distinctly having a conversation. It went something like this:

“I want to raise my children the best way possible. I want to be the best mother I can be.”

I felt him saying, “Do you think what you are doing is working or do you want to start doing things MY way?”

 I said, “Your way, Lord. I know my way isn’t working.”  It was my first step of surrender. I was 23 years old.

I didn’t have a clue how to do this Bible thing. A friend invited me to her Bible study and I sat there as she opened up the book of Philippians and went on and on about the history of Paul and the church of Philippi. I sat slack jawed and asked her how in the world she knew all that. I felt totally inadequate, ignorant and stupid, but I kept going and listened and learned so much from her.

After my second child was born, I was invited to a women’s retreat where a missionary woman came and talked with us about how she raised her three children in the jungles of Papua New Guinea . She kept saying over and over how she would turn to God’s word and it would give her strength. I only had two children and I was living a comfortable American life style and I felt like I was drowning.  After the talk, I felt God nudging me to ask the most spiritual person I knew that was in the room (a precious older woman named, Shirley). The woman oozed God! When she opened her mouth, the power of God’s Word came forth. I knew she was different and I knew I wanted to be that kind of a person.  I was honest and told her, “I know it is important to study the Bible, but there is NOTHING in me that wants to open it. It’s a book that is boring and I know all the major stories. What do I do? How do I enjoy reading God’s Word?”

Shirley told me that I needed to pray that God would give me a thirst for His Word. I remember her and several other ladies circling around me and praying that I would receive that thirst. The second I opened up my Bible again, I knew something had changed. I wanted to open it! I wanted to read and receive whatever God had for me. This was the second step of surrender to my Savior.

 I am Miss Over-Achiever, so I read the whole Bible from front to back in five months. Now I had a zillion questions about what I had just read. The Lord led me to get a Life Application Bible that had the little footnotes under the confusing passages.  I read the Bible all the way through again studying all those footnotes with it. I was finally grasping how wonderful God’s Word really was. I was daily being convicted and encouraged and it completely changed my life. This was good because we kept adding children to our family. We finally topped out at six. I needed all of God’s help and wisdom that I could get!

I discovered in-depth Bible studies about 12 years ago. God has only used them to increase my thirst for His Word as each year goes by. I love studying a book or a subject by dissecting it! I find great joy in discovering the connections between the Old Testament and the New!

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