Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where God has My Life

This picture of a sunrise perfectly illustrates where God has my life; emerging from the sea of illness and bursting through the clouds of uncertainty, ready for a new day. 

The post series began over a year ago with the original title being: Where My Life Is.
I have since changed the title because the Lord is graciously showing me over and over again that my life is not mine at all. It’s a constant process of dying to my self again and again. Since practicing this much needed act of dying daily the Lord is opening my eyes to how selfish I am. (Not something I like to readily admit.)

Nevertheless He is guiding me through each day. That’s one (of many) nuggets of truth He is teaching me; to focus on the day ahead, not the next day, week, or even month. Sure I can prepare for the days ahead, but I don’t need to worry about them. The Lord has all that under control and I need not worry. Whatever happens in a day is allowed by Him.

In recent weeks the Lord has been steadily restoring my energy. 
It started with Him healing my voice back in December. From there it turned into a snowball effect of building my body back up. I continue to sing; turns out that the Lord completely healed my voice. 
I am now able to attend church weekly, instead of once a month!

I get up early!! (Insert squeal of excitement here) 
In the past year I've barely been able to manage to get up before seven a.m. I required lots of sleep, especially when I was dealing with Insomnia issues. Before the Lyme I was an early bird and greatly missed being one.

That’s all been eradicated, and I am now able to pop out of bed at five o’clock, when my alarm clock beeps like a monotone bird. And there is no exaggeration on the popping out of bed. Yes, there are a few days when I get up, set the alarm to go off in maybe fifteen more minutes, or even an hour, but almost always I bounce out of bed. It’s exhilarating to have the energy to start my day so early. This is a delight as I am able to literally spend hours immersed in God’s word and presence.

Just this week, well more like yesterday, I resumed exercising. 
Walking in the elements is a favorite activity of mine. I go after I’m finished with my Bible time; the crisp winter morning air heightens my senses and oftentimes keeps my head cleared. Not to mention the fact that I get to see the sun rise! While I’m walking I discuss with God the insights I've learned that morning, or different things I’m struggling with.

 Today I was able to do my assigned house chores. 
This may seem like no big deal, but I haven’t been able to do chores, or even clean, make dinner, or do dishes, for almost a year straight. It wore me out so quickly; very frustrating, yes, but patience won out. It was hilarious to see the shocked expressions on my family’s faces as they saw me sweeping the living room.

In two weeks I will be teaching piano once again! 
This has all of my amazingly patient piano students all excited. I’m not sure who is excited more, me or them. I pray I’ll be able to teach them longer then just months at a time. We’ll see what the Lord has in store for all of us.

This is basically where the Lord has my life! I look back to where I was a year ago and am stricken with awe at the vast difference. Our God is great! Beyond that, He is marvelous and amazing!

If you are discouraged, depressed, or frightened concerning the circumstances in your life, take heart, the Lord has you there for a reason. Whatever that reason(s) may be, you might not ever know until you reach heaven, but as Romans 8:28 says, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Everything works together for good, including the bad things. There is a season for everything; this too shall pass.
 Please don’t give up, rely on the Lord for grace and strength to carry you through the day, and if it happens, through the hour. God will supply all your needs. 
All you need to do is ask.

Here are the previous posts following my journey through Lyme disease:

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Car Wreck to Remember: Revisited on the Two Year Anniversary Part 2

If you missed it, here is Part One.

To pick up where we left off on Wednesday...

I unbuckled my seat-belt somehow and softly landed on the 'floor'. I later figured out that it was the cracked windshield that I was sitting on. The first thing that Stephanie thought when we stopped was, "Shut the car off." Then she thought of me. She thought she had killed me or impaired me and I was in a bloody mess. The first thing I said was, "Are we still alive?" She assured me we were very much alive. We were both turned around mentally. I grabbed her arms and she grabbed mine. I said, "Steph, we need to pray!"
She started praying and I interjected, "Thank you God for saving us!" She stopped me and said, "Right now is not the time to pray. We can pray later. We need to get out of the car." I collected all the necessary belongings and placed them in a Walmart bag. That is, after I found my shoes.

Inside the flipped car.

We crawled out and heard a man's voice asking if we are all right. Steph answered "I think so. I don't feel hurt, but I need to call my dad."

I looked at the flipped car and thought, "There is no way we just made it out of there alive. No way."
The man's phone didn't get signal in the spot where we were. He told us we needed to call the police.
A county water utility truck stopped and the couple both had cell phones. The man used his to call the police and the woman let Stephanie use hers to call dad.

The couple from the water utility backed up and sat farther down the road with their flashers on. Dad would be at the crash site in roughly thirty minutes. The man who had first stopped told us, "Why don't you come and sit in my car where it's warm?"

We numbly got in. It was a good thing we did because I was starting to slip into shock.

Aaron was the man who let us sit in his car and he told us some of his crashing experiences. He didn't even live in the area. The only reason he had been down here was to get his birth certificate for a job in another city where he lives. We told him that God had orchestrated the timing perfectly.

The first volunteer policeman got there and we got out. He asked skeptically if we were the ones who had been in the car wreck and if we were hurt. Steph told him, "I don't think so. I don't feel hurt. I'm just shook up."

The policeman shined a flashlight in her eyes and asked, "Are you sure?" She reassured him.

Dad showed up along with more policemen. We went through the whole process of registering the car and all that. Nobody could believe that we were the two who had been in the car wreck.

Those tables I mentioned that we had put in the trunk? I shudder to think what could have happened if they had been in the back seat!

Stephanie's huge glass water bottle had landed above her head and all that had happened to it was the lid came off and the water spilled out. I later reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a Starbucks Mocha glass jar. It was not scratched or cracked. I could hardly believe it.

Mom arrived and charged up to us crying. We put our arms around her and reassured her that we were okay.

We were all heartily astonished when after the wrecker had turned the car over, the car started. Then Dad drove the car all the way home! Stephanie fell apart at that point. She could not believe it. I put my arms around her. I felt like giggling. I didn't feel like crying at that moment. I wanted to laugh exultantly because my God had conquered the demons who wanted us dead. I told Stephanie that I was going to mention what had happened before she gave her speech on Saturday. There is no way I can't. We all agree that what had happened to us was a direct attack from Satan, but God had intervened and had an army of angels all around us.

Fuzzy picture taken from Mom's cell phone camera

We are both sore and I found out I had a minor concussion and a cut on my foot, but other than that, and being traumatized I am extremely glad that I am alive. I honestly thought that my life was going to end last night. God spared my life. I cannot tell you how grateful and humbled I am to know that the Lord has a specific purpose for me. I have come to the realization through this whole situation that God has me in the palm of His hands. Life is precious. Value it. Don't squander away your days. Enjoy them. Live them to the fullest. Fill them with things that have an everlasting purpose.

A miracle took place that night. One that gives me chills every time I think about it. I still have nightmares and haven't quite gotten over my fear of icy roads, and that corner, especially, but I'm alive. The Lord protected and spared us that night.

Looking back on that night I am filled with awe at the realization that the Lord protected Steph and I for a reason. There is a purpose to my life; the car wreck erased any doubt I might have had about that. Now it overflows my heart with a drive to do whatever I can to spread the glory of God, to spread His amazing love to those around me and the people I meet, even if briefly.

I know deep in the recesses of my heart and soul that the Lord kept me alive for reasons, that I may not know until I reach Heaven. It's enough for me to know I have a purpose.

What miracles has the Lord worked in your life? Do you have a drive to live for the Lord?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Car Wreck to Remember: Revisited on the Two Year Anniversary Part 1

It happened two years ago.

The memory of that awful night will never leave me. Though the chilling realization that we almost died is ever present, the power of God is more powerful.

I never tire of recounting this amazing story. It doesn't matter  how many times I tell it, the awesomeness of it all never fades. God's hand made a definite showing that night.

Since it is the two year anniversary of mine and Steph's car wreck I thought it befitting to bring back my original post, but with more thoughts added to it; thus it is divided into two parts.

I should be dead.

Or at the very least in the hospital right now along with my older sister Steph. But I have a miraculous story to tell. One that bears Spiritual Warfare at the very heart of it.

Yesterday, Steph and I went to Panera Bread for dinner with some friends. I had changed my mind at the very last moment to actually go. I had planned to stay home, but decided against it when I realized I needed to pick up some things from the store before Friday.

We weren't planning to stay at Panera Bread past seven-thirty. We had music to practice for our parent's 25th vow renewal ceremony/celebration on Saturday. But we stayed later and then at the last minute decided to take one of my best friends, Rachelle, home after we had hit T.J. Maxx (another last minute decision) the library, and Walmart.

These details may seem trivial, but it all played a part in the story. In order for Rachelle to ride in Steph's car we had to put three heavy-duty card tables, for the party, in the trunk. It was tricky fitting them in there, but we managed to get them in the trunk.

We spent more time in T.J. Maxx and Walmart than all of us had anticipated. I couldn't find the particular gift card at the 'old' Walmart in Columbus that I needed. Frustrated, I told Steph and Rachelle that I'd just get it at the newer Walmart out by the highway.

We dropped Rachelle off at her house and then headed to the newer Walmart. We met up with Mom there and almost took Samuel  home with us. Once again, it took me a while to find the gift card, but I finally found it and we left for home.

During the drive, I worked on Christmas gifts while Stephanie practiced her speech for Mom and Dad's party. We had found it interesting that every time she came to the part of sharing the gospel she always blanked out. This continued all the way to Columbus and back. She told me, "Haley, Satan does not want me to share this."

The road from Columbus to our house is a dangerous one in the winter. Especially on a particular stretch known as Beck's Grove. We had come through there before just fine. Yes, there were patches of ice, but we had made it safely the first time.

While we were on this road Steph was practicing her speech once again. She was at the part of sharing the gospel when all of a sudden we began fish-tailing. Now Stephanie is a safe driver. I feel safe whenever I am with her.

But whenever the car started twisting, it seemed to go berserk. Steph said, "Don't worry, Haley, I got this," remembering Dad's instruction.

No matter what she did it was worthless. The car was headed for the left side of the road where a deep, wooded ravine seemed to be our destined doom. All of a sudden the car was turned around and the next thing I see is a white embankment and a tree coming at us. Stephanie shut her eyes through the whole thing, but I kept them open the entire time.

I remember screaming and hearing Stephanie scream. We slammed into the embankment and I thought that would be the end of it. I remember thinking, "God, I'm going to die today." But next thing I am being flipped upside down. I hear a loud crunch and screaming. I remember hitting the door, but I didn't feel it. While flipping, both of us felt like someone was holding us in a tight, comfortable embrace. We had our seat-belts on, but it was a stronger grip. Even when we were rolling we felt as though we were swaddled with soft pillows or something. There were angels holding both of us, I am sure of it.

All of a sudden I was suspended in midair by my seat-belt. I suddenly realized that I was repeating, "Oh my God" over and over again. I couldn't figure out where my seat had gone. My door looked odd and I couldn't figure out how to get out. All I could think of, was my sister dead?

Look for part two on Friday!