We are Broken

We have tried.  Others have tried.  Amy has joked that even the psychiatrists have given up. That’s mostly part of her defense, which employs comedy as a smokescreen. But it’s impossible. We can’t be fixed.  We are going to be broken.

I (Amy) tried to fix myself and become what I was expected to be: a young lady, a good Christian, a perfect student, now a respectable professional, good-humored and witty, and crowd-pleasing. But I can’t fix myself. I can’t be perfect.

I (Kendra) tried to a wonderful wife, responsible mother, and generous volunteer.  But I keep on sinning and wasting time.  I would love to know that I was perfect, and that all my problems were caused by someone’s else. But they weren’t.  I can’t be perfect.

Friends, with the best intentions, have also tried to fix us when they notice we’re broken. They offer their best advice. They encourage us with their hugs. They talk with us, trying to come up with a plan of action, because they care and want to help.  But they can’t fix us. We’re just broken.

We are okay with being broken.  Christ knows we are broken and weak.

Each time, He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

But on the days when you notice our brokenness more than usual, will you still be our friend?

Anyone can be friends with the person who makes you laugh. Anyone can be friends with the person who is a deep-thinking conversationalist. Anyone can be friends with the life of the party.  But there will be times when our brokenness is more outstanding than our good qualities. We will need to know that you still accept us for who we are: brokenness, struggles, and all.

We know that we are a work in progress.  That someday, God will finished His masterpiece (a.k.a. us).  And we are waiting for that day.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Lamentation 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Will you offer grace to others work in progress?

Terrifying

Have you ever tried to tap out a familiar tune so that others could guess it?

Many people find it more difficult than they would imagine.  In an EntreLeadership podcast, Adam Grant talked about an experiment, where they had asked others to tap out a familiar tune, and only 2.4% (1 out 40 people) listeners were able to identify the song. He continued to explain that even though you have thought through this idea, it is still difficult to communicate that to others.

As a communicator, the statistic of 2.4% is terrifying.

In the post “Please Pray,”  I asked for opportunities to publicly share my story; therefore, I am speaking at a women’s retreat in April.  (If you would pray about this opportunity, I would appreciate it).  I fear the task of speaking to women that I don’t know where they are: spiritual maturity, life experience, etc.  How do I best communicate to them?  

But I have something that those trying to tap out a song don’t: a message that the Holy Spirit wants to deliver.  Whenever I recognized that I am overwhelmed, I have been running to God.

I have been reminding myself: God loves me, He trusts me, He has given me this opportunity, and He is not leaving me.  The lesson I have learned over and over is that when I am outside of my comfort zone, I see God more clearly there. Therefore, I am grateful to speak at this women’s retreat (and still terrified), because I trust that my God will reveal Himself.

I challenge you: if you want to see God work, ask God to lead you out of your comfort zone.  He’ll be there too.

Matthew 28:18-20 says, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

P.S.  I am still praying for opportunities to tell my story.  If you have some, please email me at kendra@strongerwithchrist.com

Old Injuries

 

I never was very athletic in my younger days, but I have friends who have to wear a brace or need to ice certain joints after exerting too much effort nowadays. I find as I continue my interpreting career, I need to wear a brace on my wrist to keep away injuring myself from overuse. Seems it’s just something that I’m going to have to maintain and take extra care of for the rest of my days, however long God chooses to let that be.

 

I’ve written before about letting our emotional injuries heal over and become scars, instead of dwelling on them and picking at them so they cannot become more than scabs.  My old emotional/mental injury that inspired that post has flared up recently.

 

Usually, I’m rather appreciative of the memories that timehop and facebook offer to look back on what’s happened in years past: old jokes, milestones, how day-to-day life has changed for me personally, etc. But for a few weeks now, there has been some featured memories that aren’t so pleasant to recall. What’s worse is the memories I see now were happy stories at the time.  The hurtful ones are coming later. There’s something to look forward to, right?

 

To say that this pain hasn’t been making surprise guest appearances until recently would be incorrect. But certain buried memories have been triggered, therefore the old wounds have been more keenly painful and difficult to deal with. I wish I could tell you, my friends, that I handled the pain as well as I would like, with maturity and faith and Scripture. The truth is that I allowed myself to be washed over with mourning and be lost in it.

 

I can’t tell you if that was right or wrong.  I do know it would have been wrong for me to try to ignore or suppress what I was experiencing; that only bottles it up to become an unnecessary outburst later. I think it was the right thing to do, because I believe it’s part of the healing process. But now I find that I’m facing my old dilemma of wallowing in the pain for an unhealthy long amount of time instead of redirecting my attitude, thoughts, words, and actions.

 

I know that life happens in waves. Sometimes we are on top of the world and all’s well.  Sometimes we feel like we are at the lowest point possible and will never rise again.  This ebb and flow is normal.  I think it’s how we handle the low points that shapes our character. So I add pressure on myself to respond maturely when I feel low or insecure. That’s not exactly helpful.

 

I know this pain will not be forever. But for now, it feels like I bear this pain alone, and every day that I choose to get out of bed and try again is a victory.  I choose to press on, if only because I know that I must.

 

Several months ago, I started keeping a list (because I love checklists…it soothes my hyperactive brain) of verses that speak encouragement to me. We humans are a forgetful sort, and I can claim even more forgetfulness than many people (I think that’s why God made me blonde). These verses are helpful to remind me of His Truth when I’m at my low points and can’t think things will ever get better.

 

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, But God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.- Psalm 73:26

 

When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – Psalm 94:19

 

Each time, He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now, I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him. –Nahum 1:7

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. –1 Peter 5:7

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:6-7

I’m still downright tired. And it feels like it’s just getting worse. My motivation is lost. The tiniest details sets me into a downward whirlpooling spiral of negative thoughts.  Everything is hard right now. I press on because I have hope in a Savior who sees my pain, sees my little problems, and loves me in my weakness and frailty.

Tired

 

“Tired” ?

 

I feel tired.  So. Very. Tired. I’ve felt tired for a couple weeks now. Sure, there’s reasons for it. I’m working too much, I’m filling weekends with obligations instead of rest, I haven’t had a proper Sabbath, and life just doesn’t seem to want to take a break. And I’m not just physically tired. I’m mentally tired, as work responsibilities and personal relationships and a never ending to do list, all while trying to keep up with loved ones flips through my head in an unceasing loop. I’m emotionally tired as I watch the world fill with more anger and hate and intolerance and the response of those outraged by all that I’ve just mentioned.

 

I’m just plain tuckered out, y’all. Perchance you can relate?

 

We can’t just stop though, can we? There’s just too much that has to be carried on that we can’t stop.

 

Something interesting came about the past couple days in the midst of my being tuckered out.  God still presented opportunities for me to do Kingdom work. Sometimes, I didn’t realize what was happening until I was in the midst of it actually happening. But I found my prayers looking something like this…

 

“God, I don’t have the energy for this. Please, not today.”

“I really don’t want to be here. Would You make something happen so it’ll happen another day?”

“God, there is no way I can get through this.”

 

And I think that’s the point. It was in those situations, when I was begging God to put it off to another day or telling Him how tired I am (as if He didn’t know), that I found myself not only sustained but energized, because the Spirit was working. He was still using me. Perhaps something was trying to emphasize how tired I am as a distraction so I couldn’t participate in my Lord’s plans that I didn’t know of yet.

 

Background info: I set a New Year’s resolution to read, study, and put into practice one spiritual discipline per month this year.  March’s discipline: fasting, focusing on depriving myself of physical energy intake and depending on God to sustain me. Jesus says to His disciples, just after talking to the woman at the well, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about…My nourishment comes from doing the will of God…” (John 4)

 

I don’t say this expecting to put a tiny bandaid on a gaping wound and expect everything to suddenly be hunkydory. I know that I am in need of rest. And I have planned a day coming up. But like many things, this isn’t a one-time fix.

 

When the time comes that you feel completely tuckered out and that there’s nothing more you can give, tell Him about it. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank HIm for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6. He knows you’re tired.  Ask for His help in that moment. Our loving Father doesn’t ignore His children. Your tiredness, your distractions, your frustrations, they may be trying to draw your attention away from something the Spirit is calling you to in the moment.

 

But you can’t continue forever tuckered out and not making time to rest. Make sure it’s not just physical, but emotional and mental rest too. You may be finding yourself needing a break from social media and the news for awhile, like myself. For me, healthy rest is sleeping in without an alarm, spending a good long time reading my Bible and chatting with God, and having no to do list, other than the absolute necessities (chores do not count…but I know that is a luxury few have). Make time for rest, whatever works best for you;

 

Just one more thought to hopefully encourage you in the upcoming week. I felt reminiscent as I was driving the other day, and I put in an old Relient K CD from my high school days. The lyrics fit perfectly with this post (that I hadn’t even been able to think of up to that point).

 

Never underestimate my Jesus.

You’re telling me that there’s no hope;

I’m telling you, you’re wrong.

Never underestimate my Jesus.

When the world around you crumbles,

He will be strong.

He will be strong.

 

God’s grace and peace be with you all as you persevere, one day at a time.

Where is Truth?

Sometimes, we need to tell our feelings the truth, and sometimes it is hard.  This week it has been hard.  I wish I could have slept through it.

I was stressed about chemo.  I was supposed to get my blood drawn on Friday the 24th, so that I could start Friday the 3rd.  I decided to go grocery shopping as well.  I went into town on the 24th, got groceries, and went home.  Notice that I didn’t go the the lab, and this lab has certain business hours.  I couldn’t give my blood until Monday, which slowed the process down.  As of Thursday at 4:00 p.m., I hadn’t communicated with the pharmacy.  Even then, I was able to start on-time (but I was frustrated with myself).  I couldn’t blame the health system, the doctors, the pharmacy.  I had failed.

I started chemo with a positive outlook, but it wasn’t long until it disappeared.  The abdominal cramps that I normally have wasn’t the problem.  I was tired.  It didn’t matter how many naps I took.  I was tired.  Then my dishwasher broke, and my daughter became sick.

Although I survived, Satan’s lies thrived.  “I was NOT doing enough.  If I was smart enough, I wouldn’t feel this tired.  I am failing.  I should be doing more for my sick daughter.” Etc.

On Wednesday, I tried to worship.  It seemed to help while I was singing, but when I stopped, the lies invaded again.

I knew something was wrong.  I knew I needed the truth.

I opened my Bible.  This time, the words were just words.  As I read them, I would forget them.  I was mad at myself, my husband, and the world for making my little one sick.

On Friday, I asked Amy to speak the Truth into my life, and she did.  She confirmed that life is hard.  I am valuable.  Keep fighting the good fight.

A friend of mine, who suffers from depression, once told me that she has two friends that she could call when she can’t pray.  I didn’t understand “can’t pray”, but I have learned there are times with fear, anger, guilt, or even just shame builds up and you need help.  I get it now.

It is hard to admit that you can’t do something on your own.  My daughter likes to ask for help on tasks that she is “doing on her own.”  She wants to feel that she is independent but still receive help.  

The more I live, the more I realize we were designed to live together.  We need people – people that will speak the truth with love for us.  We are here to help.

Galatians 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ.

Ephesians 5:19-20 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing.

Gifts and Doubts

 

“You’re so good at what you do!”
“You look beautiful!”
” I wish I could be like you!”

Maybe it’s just a girl thing. Have you ever been complimented but didn’t really believe what the person was saying? It’s not like you think they’re intentionally lying or trying to be condescending, nor would we call them a liar to their face, (even though that’s how our refusal to accept what they’re saying is essentially saying). How often do we actually respond with a simple and honest, “Thank you” rather than responding with excuses, doubts, mumblings of insecurity, or contradictions?

Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’ll tell you what’s been happening to me. People have told me how good I am at ASL (American Sign Language) interpreting since I started learning in college. And I didn’t really believe any of them, save for a few of my Deaf friends or mentors, for several reasons: they don’t know sign language, I felt like they were just being nice, maybe they were trying to adhere to socially acceptable conversational constructs, I felt like I had done really bad and they were just trying to cheer me up… The list goes on.

What is it going to take for me to believe that I am actually good at something?

This past week has been full of people commending my interpreting skills. Strangers commending my work. Eventually, it started to actually sink in. “Maybe I am actually pretty good at this…” I know this is one of the things God has called and gifted me to do in this life; I’ve had to work through my self-doubt to accept that. But why is it that I find myself more willing to believe a stranger than someone I know and love and trust?

But it’s not just about interpreting. When someone tells me that I look nice, that my hair is pretty, that they appreciate the advice or encouragement I gave them, even when they say, “I miss you,” my over-analysis personality convinces me that the person is just saying such things to be nice or socially appropriate, that they don’t really mean what they say.

Maybe it’s our feel-good culture feeding into my disbelief of people’s insincerity. Maybe it’s too many hurt feelings from past friendships where people let me down. Maybe it’s the enemy whispering in my ear that I’m not worth such praise.

I’m blessed to have had friends in college who recognized my insecurity for what it was, and they would stubbornly tell me positive things and not allow any response other than a sincere, “Thank you” of acceptance. But like many lessons in this life, it’s not a one-and-done lesson learned, apparently. Here I am, doubting not my calling, but doubting that I’m actually good at something God has gifted me to do.

I know only my situation. I know what happened to cause me to begin doubting my skills as an ASL interpreter, or even as a hearing person using ASL at all. Someone else came along who made me feel inadequate, and it allowed the enemy to plant that seed of doubt in my heart.  When I didn’t fight back, that seed has sprouted and spread like a vine, choking out my confidence in what I know God has called and gifted me to do.

I don’t want to encourage you to be arrogant about your skills.  Please note: what I can do is only because God made it so. It is He who gives and takes away. But whatever it is that God has designed you for (designed: not an accident, not luck, not chance. He had intentions and purposes when He created you), then you must not doubt it nor let anyone else cause you to wonder if it’s true.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:13-14 (but seriously, read this whole psalm)

“The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear.

What can mere people do to me?”

Psalm 118:6

“When doubts filled my mind,

Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

Psalm 94:19

Focus

At this point in my life, Thursdays are my favorite day of the week.  Because that is my husband’s scheduled day off, we often do fun activities on Thursday.  But some Thursdays are different.

Our daughter was sick, and my husband was gone most of the day.

He was working hard.  Not only did he visit the sick, he also worked hard helping a friend with improving their fencing.  When he finally returned home at 8:30p.m.(ish), our daughter (who was sick but wasn’t acting sick) wanted his attention.  He played with her and helped put her to bed.  He didn’t eat supper until after she was in bed.

While he was finally eating, he asked me to get something for him.  I joked, “You left me all day with a sick child, and then you expect me to serve you.”

I considered what details I could overlook so that I could tell you this story, and it would make my husband look bad.  Overlooking that fact that my daughter was acting normal (she had watering eyes and a running nose).  Overlooking that my husband was working hard.  Emphasizing that my main interaction from that day was a sick preschooler.  Emphasizing that my husband was with his friends most of the day.  Emphasizing my husband’s germaphobic and paranoid side.  Emphasizing that he chose to abandon his family on his only day he had to be with his family.

Even with accurate facts, I could make make my day sound miserable.

And if I had focused on those details, I could have convinced myself that my husband doesn’t care for his family well, but I chose not to be a victim.

Many people act as though they are a victim of their circumstances.  I could say, “Well, I have cancer, therefore I can’t enjoy life.  I am undergoing chemo, therefore I can’t have high goals for 2017.”

And sometimes, your circumstances will affect your life.  I can’t just say, “I am not a victim of cancer, and therefore, it will not affect my life.”  That would be silly.

But I do have control over the details I am choosing to focus on.
Today, I am focusing on trusting Jesus, coming to Him with my desires, and trusting Jesus to make me more like Him.  Even though He died, He was not a victim.

No More

 

Finality. Decisiveness. Resolute. Unwavering. Rock bottom. It’s that moment when you’ve gone too far, and you found out exactly how far that is the hard way.

You never intended for it to go so far. Never even thought it could get so out of hand. It’s harmless.  And it’s not like you’re the only person. Yet you here you are, in the midst of the messy consequences, trying desperately to look over your shoulder and see how you could have become so far gone.

Recently, I found out how far was “entirely too far” for me. While I could say, “Well, it could have been so much worse, so thank God for that,” that’s not how I was feeling when I had to declare, “No more.” I can’t tell you when it got out of control. I can’t tell you when things took a turn for the worse. I can tell you there were more subtle warning signs, which I even recognized, but I didn’t stop.I will tell you that the enemy is patient and doesn’t mind waiting years to bring you down, so that it happens so slowly, you can’t/won’t realize it’s happening. For me, it began 14 years ago, revved up 10 years ago, and has hidden in plain sight for the past 5 years, at least.

 

I bought into “everything in moderation” and being a modern-day Christian and not letting legalistic expectations control me… and thusly, drinking became more increasingly a part of regular life. (Note: I am not against Christians and alcohol; that is a conversation for another day. Please read this as an honest confession as something not evil itself being used as a means of control by evil, like any other sin, I.e. any habit/addiction that takes over a role God should fill). I did not become a drinks-every-day alcoholic who can’t function without a drink (thank You, Lord), but I was on the path in that direction.


Want to know the worst part? The drinking wasn’t the problem.  The problem, the indulgence that led me to “too far,” was just the symptom. There’s something deeper, rooted in the depths of my heart, that’s sprouting these issues. I’ve been digging with God to clean out my heart (I imagine there’ll be a book about this journey someday), and what started as cleaning out a specific corner in my heart has become sledgehammer-swinging, rewiring, “this wasn’t in the budget” remodeling.

I know God has my best interests in mind. I know that He loves me and wants to draw me closer to Him, which incidentally has been a prayer of mine. So I know that all this cleaning and remodeling is ultimately for good and done because of His love.

Let me share what I’ve learned so far:
-this process is not fast
-this process is not easy
-this process requires digging through the nasty junk, which I would rather just throw away completely, in order to find the salve that will bring healing
-this process will bring to light that which couldn’t have been predicted
-this process cannot and was not intended to be done alone

If I told you what exactly happened in my “entirely too far”, rock-bottom experience, you might look at me and say, “That’s not uncommon. Lots of people experience that. There are worse and lower places to find yourself.”  True.  But this was my wake-up call. I am choosing to be attentive to it now, so that I do not find myself somewhere worse further down that same path to destruction. I tried to limit myself, draw boundaries that would still allow for social drinking, but I didn’t follow these rules.  

So now I have chosen indefinite sobriety. This is not a cookie-cutter answer for all people in all situations. This decision came with much prayer and surrender. Again, I’m not standing on a soapbox telling you to get rid of your socially acceptable vice — Some people have a serious problem with caffeine and here I sit, sipping my coffee. But like everything else this world has to offer, the choice comes down to God first or vices and distractions that don’t satisfy.

Do you know at what point God will draw a line in the sand and bring you to say, “No more”? Will you be paying attention and recognize it after you’ve gone past that line? Friends, I didn’t know I was near the “too far” line. I was blissfully dancing all over it with stupid ignorance that the enemy would have loved to have kept me in. If you find yourself wondering, “How did I get here?” then I imagine it’s time to look upward to your loving and fair Father and have a very long talk.

The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love Me.
I will protect those who trust in My name.
Wen they call on Me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
Psalm 91:14-15

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Did you ever avoid a place because of the memories it held or because the person who wronged you might be around? In a society that wants you to do whatever you feel is best, it seems we are encouraged to be preoccupied with our own happiness.  Why in the world would you go somewhere that brings up sad or painful memories?

For the people who are more intimately familiar with what’s happened over the past year, they’ve wondered why in the world have I moved to Indianapolis, whether it’s temporary or not. I can’t say I blame them; I myself was hesitant. I worried about old, painful memories that would surface. I wondered what people might say in trying to figure out why I would come here. And of course, I worried about what would happen when I got here; specifically, would I be met with more closed doors of opportunity and find myself saying (yet again!), “OK, God, now what?”

God is giving me opportunities to remember the following: My worry will not accomplish anything (Luke 12:25-26). My God loves me, so I don’t need to be afraid (1 John 4:18). “For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”” Hebrews 13:5

Even if I didn’t come here, even if I tried to continue hiding from this particular potential pain, who’s to say I wouldn’t find myself suddenly confronted with that pain finding me? I’m thinking of Joseph in the book of Genesis. His own brothers abandoned him, betrayed him, sold him. Yet over 20 years, God brought Joseph into a life of prosperity, beyond what his brothers could ever dream of (no pun intended). Joseph didn’t look to go confront his pain from the past; but suddenly there it was, his very own traitorous brothers, in front of him, ignorantly begging for his help.

The pain from my past has been finding me over the last six months wherever I go. Hiding is not an option. I didn’t come here looking for trouble or to resurrect the past.  I’m not even sure how long God has called me to be here. With a lot of prayer, I’m doing my best to follow God’s leading to the next place. With a lot of extra prayer, I made the choice to trust Him and come here. Despite what people may think or say, despite what pain I’m worried will come up, this is where I’m supposed to be for this moment. I’m trying to figure out exactly what God wants me to do, where He wants me to go, and what to do with the dreams and desires (talents, if you will; Matthew 25:14-30) He’s given me.

To learn a lesson from Esther’s story, who’s to say that God hasn’t put me right here, right now, for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14) To take a step (of faith) further, who’s the say that my heart’s healing won’t be found right here, where fear would have my run away and hide?

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. Ecclesiastes 12:13

God said, “Go.” He opened doors for me to come here.  Here I am. He’s opening doors and granting me more opportunities here. Be faithful. Be a light. Be open to His calling, staying or going.

“Lord, I just want to be healed.”

On February 4, 2012, I (Kendra) thought I was going to die.  Without going into too much detail, I had been experiencing cramping and bleeding for hours.  I was miscarrying my third child at home.  As I was trying to change positions with the hope of being more comfortable, I realized I couldn’t see.  I had not experienced a loss of vision with the other two miscarriages.  I knew that there was an unknown mass in my brain.  Maybe the mass was going to kill us both.  I yelled for my husband.  He tried to comfort me while trying to get in contact with the appropriate doctors.  We didn’t want to go to the ER and get a doctor who wasn’t familiar with my case.  Eventually, we were told to go to the hospital for my first MRI.

I remember trying to pray on my way to the hospital.  I was uncomfortable because of the miscarriage.  I was disappointed.  I was scared.  I didn’t want to die, or maybe I did (to avoid this pain).

And guess what?  I survived.   Although I have faced fear and other unpleasant circumstances in the last five years, God has provided the strength to continue to fight.

And this week, I needed God’s strength.  In January 2017, we had to sign up for more insurance.  When my chemo prescription was written, the new insurance company wanted lots of paperwork.  Then, we needed to deal with a different pharmacy.  And when I called this pharmacy, I spent a lot of time on hold and/or talking to people who weren’t equipped to answer my questions.

I just wanted to wave my white flag and surrender before I even started my third round of chemo.

Repeatedly, I prayed, “Lord, I just want to be healed.”

And a God-sent blog showed up on my facebook.  Bethany L. Douglas (who I don’t know at all) wrote about the miraculous feeding of the multitude in her blog:

It definitely would have been easier and certainly more convenient for the disciples for the ‘massive miracle’ . In fact, they probably wouldn’t have had to even get up! But Christ needed them to learn this lesson of fully-relying on Him. That everything they were getting ready to do – the preaching, the teaching, the miracles, the church-planting, the persecution – everything was dependent on the power of God.

Is He preparing you for the same thing using the same lesson?

It felt like God said, “I gave to you a miracle at your first surgery, your second surgery, your first round of chemo, your third surgery, and your radiation/chemo.  I am not done working.  You can trust me then and now.”

As I start this new adventure (I started chemo on Friday the 3rd), I would be lying if I said I was excited about it.  I am grateful that I am not doing this by myself, because my miracle worker is going through this with me as well as my prayer warriors.

When God was calling me (Amy) to leave Cincinnati, but I didn’t know it yet, He closed every interpreting door of opportunity. I had job interviews, promised work through networking, yet all of it was fruitless.  I remember telling a mentor of mine that I had bombed an interview because my signing wasn’t up to par. She looked at me like I had three heads and declared, “That’s impossible.” She wasn’t the only person to have such a response either.

It wasn’t so impossible to me, being easily-susceptible to self-doubt and insecurity. I didn’t know it was God calling me to go somewhere else.  Now, after half a year of doubting myself, my calling, my purpose, and therefore my worth, God is finally opening the doors of opportunity and reassuring me, “It wasn’t your skills that were inadequate; it was My plan to move you.”

He not only moved me; He’s been growing me. I don’t know how exactly, and I don’t know what all it was for. But every step along the way has been permeated with, “Trust Me; I know what is happening.” It’s not over yet either.  I’m still in the midst of extreme growth, quite possibly a wilderness preparation time, if you will.

Kendra and I are very familiar with depending on God for every step of the way, particularly right now. Remember also that God did not create humans to be islands, isolated and unconnected with each other.  While your first source of dependency for daily life needs to be in the Lord, people were not created to face this life cut off and alone.

I’m encouraging you, if you find yourself dealing with something that seems overwhelming, but you don’t have anyone to share it with, find a fellow believer to share in this struggle. I totally believe the enemy uses fear and intimidation to keep us from reaching out to others who might encourage us and help us persevere.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1