I have felt a tug on my Spirit to share a story with you for a few months now, but never was quite compelled enough to type it all out. Now I know why. Last Thursday evening the story was finished, and now, throughout the course of this week,I am ready to shout it from the rooftops.
I grew up in a Christian household. I have two incredible parents that are God-fearing and honoring in all they do. I have attended Christian schools my entire life. I can recite Bible verse after Bible verse for you, and tell you all the stories of Abraham, Moses, Jonah, David, Solomon, Noah, and all of the fellas Jesus hung out with. These things are all wonderful and important for a believer, but until very recently I was missing a key component to this life: I did not have faith. Now, I know some of you are scratching your head thinking, "how can she say she is a Christian without having faith?! WHAT AM I DOING READING THIS BLOG?!" Hopefully I can help clarify what I mean.
I have always had faith in God's love. I have always had faith in the truth of His word. I have always had faith in His perfect will. But I had never had faith for myself. My faith was in the wonderful things God would do for my parents because they were so close to Him. I found comfort in the fact that I would reap the blessings of my parents hard work, and that I would be safe and protected because of their prayers. Then I met and married the man of my dreams who has a heart to serve and please the Lord in all he does. This gave me peace that I would again live through the blessings of his prayers and wisdom. I was always in constant communication with the Lord and believed He heard me, but I had so much more comfort in knowing that when I really needed a prayer answered, God would certainly hear my parents and my husband.
The Lord wasn't havin' that.
As believers, we should be able to share the good news because we know the Lord personally; because we know him for ourselves. We can't rely on knowing He is good just because of how he protected our parents when they lost their job, or how he healed our one friend when she was really sick, or how he gave our cousin courage in a time of need. Those things are fantastic! But they are meant to inspire us to seek His Glory for ourselves! Recently, the Lord has showed Himself to me again and again, louder and louder each time, and I am finally in a place where I can say wholeheartedly, "God is so awesome, so mighty, so powerful, so steadfast, so powerful, so loving, so gracious, and I know this for myself."
I have shared with you in the past that in November of last year, some blood work showed that I was allergic to corn. Good ol' America finds a way to sneak corn into just about everything we eat, so this allergy was a life-altering thing for me. I struggled to find food I could eat on the go, had to stop exercising because of a complete lack of energy, lost 18 pounds in 3 months simply from poor immune system health, and had a very scary allergic reaction at least once a week. By March, I was spent. Around this time, my husband and I were about to take a trip to Nigeria and I was more than cautious knowing there would be no doctors or hospital I could drive to if there were an emergency. I packed a suitcase of my 'corn-free-safe-foods' (unfortunately, I packed the dryer sheets in this suitcase too, so everything tasted like pine needles and soap...) three boxes of Benadryl, and my Epi-pen. I had faith in those things; those were the things that made me feel safe.
After 48 hours of travel, we arrived to our family's village and I was overwhelmed with emotion of gratitude and overjoyed to finally relax. Almost immediately, four of my husband's uncles that lived in the village and my father-in-law pulled my husband and I into a room and asked us to sit-down. Everyone looked at Uncle Tony as he pulled out a raggety "vintage" Tylenol bottle. Not "vintage" like vintage Chanel, "vintage" like vintage Twinkie wrapper. I am a little bit of a hygene freak, so that had me worried already. Uncle Tony proceeded to tell me that my husband's father had called them and told them each of my symptoms when I had an allergic reaction, and someone in the village had so kindly and generously made me a medicine. I was to take it twice a day, every day, for the 15 days we spent in Nigeria.
I was horrified.
I didn't even like medicine in America! In sealed packages with labels! And an ingredient list! My husband looked at me and could just count the ways I was freaking out inside. We exchanged a look and he gave my hand a comforting squeeze, said 'thank you, she'll take it,' and that was that.
When we were in private, and I could freak out on the outside, I did. I really did. I took a look at the medicine- herbs, sand, leaves, and unknown particles all submerged in honey- and before I could say any of my thoughts (including "this isn't going to work," "I don't believe in 'the medicine man,' 'this is against health code...") my husband said "only take it believing it will work. If you don't, there is no point."
His wisdom was much needed, and those words have stuck with me on a daily basis ever since. Would you believe: I took that medicine faithfully every day I was there, and I have never had an allergic reaction ever since? To state it even clearer: my faith healed me. Not my faith in the medicine, not my faith in the person that made the medicine, not my faith in my husband's wisdom, but my faith that anything is possible through Jesus Christ.
There is a story in the Bible about a blind man with bold faith. He was sitting out in the streets of Jericho when he heard crowds saying Jesus' name. He cried out to Jesus for healing and was shushed and scolded by the crowds. Ignoring the criticism, he called even louder to Jesus, "Son of David, have mercy on me!!" Jesus asked "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man told Him "I want to see!" And Jesus said to him, "Go, for your faith has healed you." The Word says, "Instantly the man could see and he followed Jesus down the road." (Mark 11: 46-52)
We will sometimes be scolded for our faith. We will be ridiculed and given the stink-eye, but if we really have faith that the Lord heals us, then there is no mockery or shushing that can keep us from seeking Him! In Mark 10:27, Jesus remind us, "Humanly speaking, it's impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God."
I decided this week I would share how I have been learning the Lord and His wonderful ways for myself. Stay tuned, I hope that His glory seeping into my life will inspire you to seek Him for yourself.