My Family

My Family

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Power of the Testimony.

         Someone recommended to me to read the autobiography of Helen Roseveare as an encouragement to me. I am blown away by this woman's story and perseverance.  She was a medical  missionary to the Belgian Congo (DRC  today) in the 1960's and was kidnapped by rebel soldiers, beaten and brutally raped. She escaped and returned to the Congo a year later to serve the people who had persecuted her. What an incredible testimony this woman has. Her story has inspired me in unimaginable ways. As I read her story I found several similarities to my own story. It was if she was speaking right to my own heart. In her book, she says she felt like God spoke to her and said this " Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?" This question is powerful and I feel as if God has asked me the same question. He has trusted me with this experience of being a victim of assault and rape, and now how am I going to respond? Am I being a good steward of it? 
            I recently completed my biblical counseling sessions. At the beginning of my sessions, I had the notion or idea that  my healing would be 100% complete by the end of the sessions. I thought I would "be over" the suffering and move on with my life. It was as if I thought there was a time limit to my pain and the time expired when counseling ceased. This was not true. In fact the pain is as real as ever. I lay awake at night with memories haunting me. Every day I am triggered with a flashback of a painful experience. I cry out to Jesus and ask Him when this will be over?! When will a day pass without moments of fear and anxiety?
          I have recently realized that I am asking all the wrong questions. I already know the pain is for a purpose and that God is teaching me and leading me closer to His heart through all of this. So why not stop asking "when" and start asking "how"?  How Lord can I turn my fear into a deep trust in your Sovereignty?    How Lord do I use this pain for your glory?  How Lord can I encourage others in their faith? When I begin to ask "how" the answers flow and healing comes. I have discovered that the more I share my testimony with others and someone is encouraged or uplifted in their faith, the more strength I receive to keep on going. 
         Jesus is our perfect example of how to submit to suffering. He laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners. After Jesus' resurrection, He appears to Thomas who is doubting the validity of the testimony of others. What does Jesus do? He shows Thomas his wounds where the nails and sword had pierced him. He showed him the scars of his suffering and pain so that Thomas' faith would be increased. This is our example. We are all trusted with painful experiences in our lives. Many times it is more comfortable to hide them and bury them instead of exposing them to the world. However God gets the glory far more when we are vulnerable and show the scars of the past. We can see the victory and healing that God brings along side of the current painful situations that He is still redeeming. The Hebrew word for testimony comes from a root word that means "to repeat or to do again". When we share our testimony with others we are declaring that God is faithful and can do the same miraculous things in the lives of others. 
I started this blog as a way to "show my scars".  My desire is be a willing vessel and be used however God sees fit.  2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 says Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.   Even though there are still "hard days', the comfort I have received from Jesus is indescribable. I would be lost with Him. My heart breaks the millions of women around the world who experience abuse daily without any relationship with the Great Healer and Restorer. May God use my testimony to bring about his healing and restoration in someone else's life. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

A New Year Brings Expectation

A new year brings new hopes, new dreams, new anticipations about what this year may hold for us. We all look expectantly at the year 2013 and pray that its our best yet. Resolutions are made in attempts to "do better' this year. We hope for great blessings, peace and prosperity. We hope for our families to be loved deeper, protected and comforted more than ever. We pray away any suffering that might touch us or our loved ones. This is natural. This is to be expected of our human nature. Who would look expectantly for trials and hardships that may befall them in the coming year?  However all of us as believers of Jesus Christ are called to a life of pain and suffering. It makes us become more like our beloved Savior. So even though the trials are painful, we should be expecting them to come into our lives to mold us and change us for His glory.
I Peter 4:12-13 says
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

       As I refect on the year 2012, I can see the ways that God was drawing me closer to Himself. He called me to shed so many identities and accomplishments I had built up for myself. He asked me to follow Him at all costs. It was the hardest year of my life, yet I grew closer to Him than any other year. I think all of us can look at our lives and find that during the hardest times was the times we drew closer to our heavenly Father. So these moments of pain and heartache may not be something we look forward to, however we can expect them to happen and realize that we are in His hands and being drawn closer to Him.  

         In late August of this past year, I found myself in a time of prayer with the Lord. I had watched a video of Pastor Matt Chandler and his response when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He talked about Hebrews 11 and the great heroes of faith.  In that chapter, the author speaks of those who had great victories and triumphs in their lives but quickly switches to those who were persecuted and suffered for the the name of Christ. He says the world was not worthy of them. The Holy Spirit pierced my soul. My life so far was full of good things, nice home, nice job, nice family, ect. I had a great amount of favor and blessing being poured out. I had never endured any great sufferings. I fell on my knees that summer afternoon and cried out that God would consider me worthy to suffer for his name. That when faced with a trial I would glorify him and praise Him. That my life would be a testament to His sufferings and His redemptionI had no idea that just a few short weeks later, I would be assaulted in my Refugee Resource center barely surviving. 

         This experience has changed my life. I see suffering in a different light. I am sure not perfect and find myself at times wishing it would all just go away and God would take away the pain that still resides inside after 4 months. However, I must realize that this life I live is not for me. It is for Him. My life purpose is to become more like Jesus and he uses the pain and suffering for His glory. 
        I recently heard a pastor preach that the safest place to be is in God's will. I cringed as he taught that physical protection comes from being in God's will and danger and suffering comes from being outside of the presence of God. This is completely anti-biblical, in fact the gospels teach us the complete opposite message.  It seems the more you become like Christ the more of his sufferings you will be counted worthy of.  Examples include: Every Disciple of Jesus, Stephen, the Apostle Paul, John the Baptist, and the millions of Christian martyrs around the world. 

I have no idea what the year 2013 holds for me or my family and friends. I can pray for a year of blessings and peace for us all. However I think what God truly wants us to pray is that we will become more and more like Jesus this year no matter the cost. From my experience this is not an easy prayer and one to be taken lightly. We must trust in the sovereignty of our Lord.