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A New Level of Pain – A New Level of Faith

A new level of pain – bringing a new level of faith and strength from the Lord and more rejoicing and more hope!

Half the day is gone and I have mostly cried it away – crying with the pain of missing my husband and not knowing when he will be able to return to me and our babies, not knowing how I will provide for us while he is away, crying out for comfort and peace and in faith knowing that Jehovah, Rapha will heal us all, He is Jehovah Shalom, our peace, and Jehovah Jireh will provide! Also crying with thanksgiving for the spiritual growth and sweet presence of Jesus that we are experiencing. Praising Him with tears because I know that He is good! And I trust Him! And this is answered prayers from me and Jerry. To be in this place of complete surrender.

Crying? Yes. Hurting? Yes. But this reminds me of something that Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I wrote in my journal recently about having this treasure, this all- surpassing power that is at work in us from God and not from us – and that it in us, jars of clay…. molded and shaped by the Potter.

Who are we the clay to question the Potter. He made some us weaker. I praise the Lord that He loves jars of clay. I praise the Lord that He comes to the poor and the needy. I praise You Lord that You love me and Jerry and that You picked us up out of the miry clay and set our feet on the Rock! I thank You Lord for Your presence and power that is getting us through this and with strength and the power of Your might and not our own. We may be down, but we’re not out. We may face consequences on earth for past mistakes but You are our Judge and our faith is worth far more than anything on this earth and we mean this with all of our hearts! May Your will be done and I praise You and trust You to lead and guide and direct us through this time. I know You will provide for every emotional, spiritual, physical and financial need. I thank You for my faith.

I have prayed and Jerry has prayed the words to two very bold songs. I am going to link to them in this post.

We invite you to join us in our brokenness in the sweetness of His presence and His healing and peace and power. There is no love like the love of Jesus! There is no life without abiding in Christ! May you be blessed to be as desperate for Jesus as we are. I trust Him with my death, eternity AND my life.

Did I realize in those verses above exactly what dying daily meant? Do Christians today understand this? Is Jesus truly Lord of your life? Examine your heart today. If you want more of God, more of His presence, are you willing to be pruned, go through the refining fire and the cleansing flood? I tell you it is worth it! I testify that Jesus is worth it!

Not just meeting Him in heaven…. we are told in His Word that a faith that perseveres to the end will be rewarded. I wanted a real and genuine faith. I asked for it. I prayed for it. I never wanted another rock bottom experience. I now realize that the rock bottom is what got me to the mountain top. His presence is sweet in the rock bottom. No, I do not want rock bottoms that come because of my mistakes or my husband’s mistakes. But I am thankful for the experiences that have caused me to taste and see that God is good. I am thankful for the times that have made me run to my Father God through Jesus shed blood and accept His forgiveness and rest in Him.

Hallelujah! God bless you. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and may God richly bless you with more of Him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m_sWJQm2fs <- Link to Hillsong United “Oceans”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI1obeb3A9c <-Link to Sidewalk Prophets “Keep Making Me”

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The Devil’s Best?

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I was able to visit Jerry in jail last night. One of the things that we were talking about was “the devil’s best.” Jerry told me how he had been sharing with a younger cell mate who has two small children. The cell mate was telling Jerry that he was afraid that he was going to have to spend a lot of time in prison and miss his children growing up. Jerry had already told the guy about how Jesus has changed his own life. This younger cell mate had come back to talk to Jerry some more about what he could be facing.

Jerry told this fellow prisoner: “If you keep playing around with the devil, the only best that the devil has for you is here (in jail or prison) or dead. If you don’t choose Jesus and let Him change your life, then you are choosing to let the devil have your life. The devil wants you imprisoned, with no freedom, your life destroyed or you dead.”

Jerry also explained to him how he knows this other than reading it in the Bible – he knows it because he has spent many years in jail and prison – because he thought that he could live his own way, enjoy what he wanted and not hurt anyone or anything. Jerry has lived this and knows this from experience. He has tested this theory in his own life and has seen the results of being a slave to sin. Sin is pleasurable but for just a season! Sin is wrong because it hurts us and others around us and it will reap it’s own reward which is death and destruction!

Also, Jerry shared with his cell mate that a life serving Jesus is so much more rewarding, not only when we die and get to see Jesus face to face, but also here on earth. Jerry shared the love that he has been given by God through a wife, children, extended family, friends and a church family that is supportive and loving. He also talked about how the peace of God that comes with living a life with Jesus as Lord. The small things that we take for granted, like laughing with our children or hugging our wife, are what Jerry said are the most beautiful.

Jerry’s cell mate’s reason for being in jail was related to substance abuse. Jerry and I both have come from that background. For me, being sober and being fully “in” the moment with my family is precious! How I ever chose to drink, take pills or smoke marijuana and think that I would enjoy those moments more than being fully sober is such a mystery, now. I do understand. I have been there. But, now, being sober and loving it – living life on life’s terms and being able to face problems head on and with Jesus’ strength and power at work in my life – being able to laugh a genuine and sober giggle with my children – is far more precious than any drug or alcohol induced haze.

Come out with us! Listen to Jesus knock on the door of your heart! Do you want to be free and to know that Jesus is Lord of your life? Please join us in the family of God!

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The Power of the Gospel! God’s Best!

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Jerry in Jail – Good? How?

Feeling led to share in a way that is clear with everyone because I was somewhat scattered in my focus and sharing last week.

Jerry, my husband and best friend and partner in ministry –

is in jail.

Yes, he is in jail right now. I did not really want to share that this clearly for a few reasons, but I trust in the Lord that He is our Protector and Deliverer and I have no fear in sharing this.

Shocker for most and for us as well. This was not expected to happen right now. Jerry and I began a blog to share our story in all of the ugly and the beauty of what God can and will do and is doing. We are compelled to share the gospel and to lift high the name of Jesus. Not us! Our story, our lives do not point to us at all because without God and His grace and mercy, we are nothing. That is not hard to see in our lives. When not led by God, without following Jesus and taking every thought captive, when we rely on our own understanding, we are lost.

Here is some of the beauty that I hope you can see. Jerry is in jail, right where God wants for him to be right now so that he can share his story about how Jesus is real to him and changed his life and made him whole.

Yes, Jerry is also in jail because of crime that he committed in 2010. Yes, Jerry is also in jail because he relapsed in Nov. 2013 and had contact with the police. The entire events of that night are unclear, but one thing is clear, he was charged with being under the influence and he is waiting on his court date. Yes, even though Jerry has fallen in the struggle with alcohol during the past several months – God picked him back up every morning with His mercy that is new every morning for every believer. Jerry has been believing that and in God’s unfailing love and forgiveness and humbling himself before the Lord every time that he has fallen. Yes, he has fallen and struggled, but his resolve to serve the Lord and know Him better and be in His perfect will has grown with every fall. Just like a baby learning to walk, Jerry got back up under the Lord’s hand and grabbing His hand and has taken new and more steps towards the Lord. For that I am truly grateful. For the fact that Jerry has continuously sought the Lord every time that the devil has tempted him, even when Jerry allowed temptation to get the best of him, and that God kept His hand upon him, kept him safe, brought him home to his family, and kept Jerry’s heart tender to His touch and has drawn Jerry back to Him – I am happy and count this as answered prayer and evidence of God’s grace and mercy and saving and resurrection power.

Jerry’s struggle with this particular sin is very visible and the consequences very high. It is hard to understand how a person could ever be tempted to do something that could cost him his freedom and cause his loved ones so much pain. But God has used this to change me and to help me see that I must rely and trust only and wholly in Him. And God has taught me and Jerry much more about what a heart knowledge of His love, forgiveness and will is. All of us struggle with sin. Some sins are not as visible and the consequences do not appear to be as high. What is our motivation for not sinning? What is our motivation for not wanting our spouses, our friends, our family to sin? God dealt with me about how I wanted Him to fix Jerry so that our lives would be more secure. I shouldn’t pray for God’s will and then tell him how and when I want Him to do it. I shouldn’t want God to fix others for my convenience. I shouldn’t want my life to be comfortable and convenient so I can have no trouble or pain and forget about the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in my life. God gently whispered to me to let Him work in me to resolve my own imperfections and get out of His way so that He could continue working in Jerry for His glory – and not mine….

Jerry told me right before we left to go see his probation officer that God had a place for him to start ministering to people that he could help with his story and that God would put him right where he needed to be. Jerry also said right before we left that he knew that the devil was going to attack us because we started the video blog and because we were so committed to serving the Lord and sharing the gospel. But Jerry said that he didn’t care what the attack was or what happened; that he was going to serve the Lord for the rest of his life without turning away from the Lord ever again.

These are the kinds of things we have been talking about for a very long time. Especially after Nov. 2013 and after Jerry went to an inpatient Christian rehab. center early in 2014. Jerry left there early and now I know why. God changed him and healed him of some deep hurts there. Jerry went there voluntarily to dedicate his life to Jesus and to seek Him with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength. He could have left there when he began missing us and doubts crept in and he became worried and overcome with the desire to leave and come home. But, he chose to trust the Lord and put Him above us, his wife and his kids. That took guts. I admire him for that. I saw the fruit of that. Several weeks later when he did come home – I truly saw that Jerry was more of the man that God intended for him to be. Our marriage was totally renewed, better than ever, in every way! The kids minded and had a strange calmness and respect that came from the work of God in Jerry’s heart and life. I can’t explain it all… But God did a work. We cut off the TV except for cartoons every once in a while, under Jerry’s direction. We spent more time talking, laughing, playing, reading the Word, praying – as a family. We kept our morning quiet time ritual, too. Jerry’s leadership as our spiritual leader was strong. I saw him at his strongest.

For anyone wondering, Jerry has been applying for jobs for almost 2 years. He finished going to college for a degree as an Automotive Service Tech, but has not had any blessing for getting a job in that career. He has done some work for individuals that has gone well, but no job. He has interviews that seem promising until they get to his record. You can’t blame them. But he has kept looking for a job and kept applying and interviewing and emailing. He has done just about any job that has been offered to make money for our family. God has provided several small and odd jobs here and there and even a “job.” Employment doors have remained closed or closed after opening. Our prayer has been for God’s will. For Him to open the doors for us that He wants us to walk through and to close the doors that He doesn’t want for us to walk through.

My point is that our idea of success and God’s is different. Our way to success and our idea of what looks like we are bringing God glory doesn’t always go with what God knows is best. Jerry is in jail. How is that good? Well, Jerry knew from what God revealed to his heart that God was going to put him right where he needed to be in order to minister to others. He also knew that the devil thought he was going to hurt us. Well, God takes what the devil meant for evil and turns it for a blessing. Joseph was in prison, Paul was in prison, Daniel was put in the lion’s den. God knows best and we trust Him no matter what. The Bible is also full of men and women who fell and who God redeemed and used for His glory. Paul himself said that he struggled with not doing what he wanted to do that was right and doing what he didn’t want to do that he knew was wrong. The fact that we are struggling, that our spirit is struggling against our flesh and that we are seeking to follow and know Jesus more every day is a testimony that He has given us new life, that we are born again.

As believers and followers of Jesus, we reach out to anyone who wants to know Jesus. We share our story.  We do not boast in ourselves at all. We do not say that we are strong. We do not say that we are sinless. We say that in our weakness that He is strong. In our failures He loves us and picks us up and dusts us off and helps us get back up and walk in Him and abide in Him another day, to share His love. When we are “doing well” and walking in His strength and power and not our own and wearing and using the spiritual armor that He gave us, it is by His grace and His work in us to will and to act according to His good pleasure. No, we do not brag about a thing but God and His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the only way to the Father. He paid the price for our sins to be forgiven, He tells us to walk in His righteousness and not our own. He has blessed us with the ministry of reconciliation – to share with our fellow man that all who come to Jesus can know Him and be found, made whole, made new, be saved. Salvation is for anyone who will believe in Jesus. There is no difference between race, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, social status… nothing. We are all in need of a Savior, Jesus.

Jerry is in jail and we can rejoice because we know that God is with him and our family even though we are apart, God is with each of us and is keeping us in His peace. I saw Jerry in jail and he was almost glowing because he said that God was giving him peace of mind. He said that he was sharing our testimony and Jesus with those who wanted to listen. He said that he was resolved to trust in the Lord. Jerry said not to worry or keep talking about what might happen, but just to trust the Lord. As his wife, I can say that Jerry encouraged me with his faith and love for the Lord. I got a call from someone Friday morning letting me know that Jerry could have his reading glasses if I would bring them to the jail. He said that Jerry really wanted his glasses because he was having trouble reading the Bible. He said that he was very serious about getting them so that he could read the Bible. He also said that Jerry wanted us to know that he missed us but that his spirit was good.

Thank You Lord! Thank You that You are working in us to will and to act according to Your plan and that You prepared all of these things in advance. May many come to know Jesus wherever You take me and Jerry and our family.