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Angie’s story:

On Sunday May 22, 2011 my family and I got up to get ready for church. I took a few moments to check facebook. God laid it on my heart to post as my status: Joshua 24:15

“…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Christ I pray you will find him today.

Little did I know the horrific event that would take place later that day.

After we got home from church and had eaten lunch the girls and I took an afternoon nap while daddy had to go to work. After we woke up I started to do dishes and was going to get dinner ready. Adley was watching a movie so we didn’t have the local newstation playing, completely unaware of the weather.

Treay called which is unusual to tell us to watch the weather. I turned the tv on to the newstation and he and I decided together we were safe that the storm was heading north of us. so we hung up and I started back to what I was doing. Then my mom called and said “do you know you are under a tornado warning?” I said “really? No” and then the sirens started going off. I hung up and took the girls to the bathtub and sat down. The sirens quit going off so we got out of the bathroom and started to resume our evening.

I put Averie in a stand up bouncer seat in the living room and Adley was sitting on the couch. My mom called again to check on us. While on the phone I continued to look through the windows keeping an eye on the extremely dark sky. When looking out my front window the sky to the left was a pretty light blue while the sky to the right was black. I kept hearing the weatherman saying the storm is “over the heart of joplin” “I thought is that me?” Then I noticed hail sparatically falling out the front window. I told my mom who is still on the phone that it is hailng. She said “get in the hallway this is not a good sign.”

So I told Adley to get in the hallway and I picked Averie up still in the bouncer seat and placed her in the hallway. I went to Adleys room and grabbed her bed pillows and her special puppy dog and blankies then shut her bedroom door. I went to my bedroom and grabbed just a few more bed pillows and shut our bedroom door along with Averies bedroom door and the hall bathroom door. These things I don’t always do…

Then something told me to remove Averie from the bouncer seat and hold her in my lap, so I took her out and put the seat back in the living room. Then I realized the tv was too loud and it wasn’t telling me anything worth hearing, it was playing the tv show Seinfeld so I got up to turn it down so I could hear more of what might be happening outside. It felt like seconds after I sat in the hallway the hail and extreme winds began banging on the front of the house. Still on the phone with my mom I was giving her a play by play of what was happening. I said its hitting the front of the house and its really strong, then the power flickered and I let out a shreik then it flickered back on then off.

Then I heard the sound of a train.

I told my mom and she said thats it “cover your heads and get as low as you can! get low!” The force pushing on the house got stronger until it ripped through the house taking everything in its path The noise was unbelievable, it was so loud! The wind was so strong and the skies were dark!. All I could do was cover my babies and yell “God PLEASE keep us safe! PLEASE put your Angels all around us!” I begged and pleaded God to keep us safe.

The tornado seemed to go on and on, the thought of what it would be like to wake up in Heaven passed through my mind. The pillow that was on my head flew immediately off and I thought man its me against the tornado now, so I got lower down on my girls. I begged God to “PLEASE let it end! PLEASE let it end!”

When it finally came to an end and I sat there checking on the girls and I hear a voice that I know very well yelling “Ang? Ang? Ang?” It was my mom! She had been on the phone the entire time the tornado ripped threw my house! I couldn’t believe it. I had to search a little through debris and I finally found my phone. First words out of my mouth where “Everything’s gone!”

It was so surreal. I covered the girls with there daddys coat that landed nearby us. It had started to rain huge rain drops. I sat there thinking “what do I do?” “Where do I go?” “Should I stay here or go for help?” I decided I needed to get the girls to safety. The lightening was stricking extremely close and the rain was really coming down.

So I had Adley stand up and then I stood up with Averie (we did not have to crawl or dig out, just stood up from where we were sitting, everything was gone around us, not a single wall was standing) then picked Adley up and carried both girls in my arms along with Adley’s favorite blanket and stuffed puppy dog and carried them barefoot to a nearby church. I can’t believe I carried them that far not to mention barefoot. I didn’t look around much, I was too afraid of what I would see.

The girls and I just held each other close and walked to where we knew we would be seen. I walked to 20th and Wisconsin. I heard screams and cries. It broke my heart knowing there were injured or even trapped people out there but I had to keep walking to keep my girls safe. My mom still on the phone tried to figure out a place for me to go but communication was hit and miss.

Once I reached the church we were all cold and tired and scared. We sat down on the church parking lot. Everywhere we looked had been destroyed. A nice Chrsitian couple drove by and saw the girls and I sitting all alone in the middle of a deserted parking lot and told us to get in theor truck. I am so blessed by this family. They gave us towels and blankets to warm up. They drove to the grandparents house and got the girls new t-shirts to wear, Averie was beginning to turn blue because she was so cold.

Both girls were so brave and barely cried. Adley was worried about daddy and so was I but we couldn’t reach him by phone. I knew in my heart he was ok. Adley and I said a prayer for daddy trusting that God had took care of him too. (Treays work was not hit. Praise the Lord!) The sweet family took us to the home depot parking lot where I saw a Highway Patrolman. My mom had told me that a trooper would be looking for me so I knew I had to talk to them. I finally got to talk to a trooper and he helped get word to my dad where I was. This nice trooper drove my girls and I down 20th street to my mother in laws house, which thankfully was not hurt by the tornado.

Not much long after I arrived a familiar vechicle sped into the driveway and it was my mom and dad! I have never been so realived to see them in my life!! I gave my mommy a huge hug and started to cry. I had stayed so strong until that moment.

Thinking back over that night I can see how God had a hand in keeping us safe.

1. Treay called and told me to watch weather, he normally does not call me while at work.

2. My sister in law accidently text my mom that their is a tornado warning in Joplin.

3. My mom called and told me about tornado warning just seconds before sirens went off.

4. I got out the of bathtub and stayed in the hallway.

5. We just stood up and walked out of tornado basically untouched. (I had a few cuts and bruises but no big deal)

6. The houses surrounding my house which there are 5 of them all had atleast one wall still standing in their home and I had none. Not a single one.

7. Adleys dresser was knocked over at a 45 degree angle holding the outer brick wall up to act as a ramp at the exact spot where we were sitting across the “hall” which we believe helped things go over our heads.

8. I believe God put us in the exact spot we needed to be during the tornado. IF we were further back we would have been crushed. If we were further forward we probably would have been blown away.

9. We can’t find our major applicances but Treays gmas glass candy dish we got after she died was untouched.

10. Two cars flew into my house on either side of us…they could have easily landed on us!

 

You can see pictures of what’s left of the house here :

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/notes/k-love-morning-show/angie-williams-story-a-survivor-of-the-joplin-tornado/10150208209862480

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2 Corinthians 12:19
New King James Version (NKJV)

“Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.”

Thus says the Lord,

“There are many who, when I speak, turn away from My teachings. They despise My correction. They blaspheme My laws. There are many, when I speak, who think I am too harsh, too strict, too unwavering. But it is not so. Am I not perfect and you not flawed? Or is it I who am flawed and you perfect? Tell Me, if you know.

“Do I say this to boast? People boast to impress. Who is greater than I, to whom I should flaunt Myself? So if not to boast, why then do I remind that I am perfect and you flawed? Because so many despise My teachings. And if not the teachings, they despise the vessel through which I choose to express those teachings. And if not the vessel, then they despise the means through which the vessel is led to teach.

“Do I waste My Breath for the sole intention of discouraging your life? Are My motives to keep your from your whims and desires? Are My motives to be strict and unrelenting? No. But I teach for your instruction, your uplifting, your protection, your care. If I am Love, don’t you think that when I speak, and correct, and chastise, that I do so out of love? I certainly do not chastise out of jealousy, or anger, or frustration.

“Don’t you see, precious ones? I rebuke because I love. I teach because I love. I correct because I love. And to reject My teachings and the means through which I choose to teach, is to reject My love. Do not be so blind that you would walk away from love for the sake of pride or selfishness.

“For in My Love is My protection. In My Love is the gift of hope. In My Love is salvation. In My Love is provision. In My Love is joy. In My Love. In My Love. In My love.

“And nowhere else.”

We are promised victory through God. That’s what the bible says, right? In 1 John 5:4. So why is it that we lose so many blasted battles? If Christ has overcome the world, why does it seem like the world overcomes us?

Maybe I am the only believer on the face of the earth who experiences this problem. I try to do well, read my Bible, keep my faith in God, walk in His love, blah, blah, blah. In return, aren’t I promised some victory? So where is it?

Often is seems like every time I do something good, I am battered by the bad. Every time I overcome a challenge, I am beat to a pulp by the next. Every time I climb higher, I fall harder.

You see, I may never have battled drugs, or gangs, or alcohol…I can’t tell you about all that. But my testimony is quite fat with other stuff. I can talk to you about any type of harrassment. I know all about watching everything I own go up in flames. Abusive relationships? Been there. Done that. Watching loved ones struggle to survive? Yup. Got more bills than money? That’s easy compared to the rest. Addictions so strong it took years to gain victory over? Yeah. Self-hatred so deep it resulted in self-abuse? Oh, yup. Pain so overwhelming I attempted suicide? Phew…that one’s a lonnngggg testimony. Suicidal by the age of ten…oh yeah. Homeless? Several times. Moving way, WAY more than is healthy? Yes. Yes. And yes. Disease and sickness? Blah. Definitely got that covered. All this in 22 years of life.

Yeah, I think that’s about the bare essentials.

So in all that and WAY more (let me tell you), don’t you think I know what it means to have lost some battles? Too be in way over my head? To despair and feel like God has abandoned me? Yes. I’ve had experiences that I wouldn’t wish on Satan himself.

I. Do. Not. Exaggerate.

I have lost more battles than I would like to admit. I have received pain and given pain that I wish never occurred. I have watched loved ones detioriate before my very eyes. And I learned far too early how to be an adult.

But you know what? I know what it means to lose. But I know even more what it means to win. I understand the concept of victory. I’ve experienced it all my life. Just like I have experienced loss all of my life. For if you do not suffer, how can you know what it means to rejoice? If you don’t know pain, how can you offer empathy to another? I know what’s it’s like to feel forsaken, but never BE forsaken.

You see, the bible doesn’t promise us victory over every battle. Because that would be an empty promise. It simply does not happen. Not for us. But it does promise us victory over the ultamite war. For right now, we may shake our fists at Satan and scream, kick, and cry out; “You, you, JERK!”

But in the end, we shall reign with Christ and Satan shall feel the eternal lick of hell’s fire.

Take your weakness,
And make it glory,
Glory, I say, in infirmity,
For weakness breeds
Strength.

Take the sorrow,
And make it worthwhile,
Make it, I say, worth your tears,
For sorrow breeds
Experience.

Take all obstacles,
And make it pathetic,
Pathetic, I say, in your eyes,
For obstacles breed
Confidence.

Take every wound,
And make it your testimony,
Testify, I say, of your pain,
For wounds breed
Sympathy.

Take your weakness,
And make it strength.
Take your sorrow,
And build experience.
Take your obstacles,
And learn confidence.
Take your wounds,
And extend sympathy.

Take life,
And GROW.

Love Amid the Ashes

Back Cover Blurb

When her beloved grandfather Isaac dies, Dinah must follow his final command: travel to Job’s household to marry his son. After Job’s world comes crashing down, Dinah finds herself drawn to this great man brought low. What will she risk to fight for his survival?

My Review

Author Mesu Andrews weaves a heartrending story of two lives; Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and Job, wealthy servant of the Most High. I was originally drawn to this book because of it’s unique take on the two character’s stories. Who would think to introduce the shamed Dinah to the prestigious but soon-to-be-shattered Job? But Author Andrew does, and she does it skillfully.

The reader can tell that Andrews did her homework on the detail she places into her character’s environment; anything ranging from specific geography to the way they prepared food in biblical times. And the story itself is very gripping. The reader can feel Job’s pain and is sorrowed by Dinah’s reputation. I wanted to cheer for them when they overcame obstacles and hug and cry with them when their pain is deepened. In fact, I was so entranced with their lives that I didn’t want to return to my own.

Excellent storytelling aside, there was a few technicalities that bugged me. The characters seemed to lack much depth. I understood their concerns and joys, but I didn’t feel like I really got a glimpse at their individuality. They weren’t very unique beside the individuality of their stories. I did, however, see a decent character arc in which they matured and grew throughout the story.

That said, the writing was a tad bit dramatic. The author used certain wording and exclamations that was meant to convey emotion but succeeded mostly in making her characters seem melodramatic at times. And though this made me raise a brow a few times, it was easy to ignore for the interest of the story itself.

Overall, I say bravo for a gripping tale full of love, redemption, and hope.

I give Love Amid the Ashes 4 out of 5 stars.

Can God pay my mortgage when the bank is empty, the wallet is pouting, and the kids are hungry?

Impossible.

Can God heal my body when my back is malfunctioning, my stomach is rolling, and my head is breaking?

Impossible.

Can God sustain my car when gas is on empty, the oil is dirty, and the brakes are squeeling?

Impossible.

Can God feed five thousand men with women who are fainting and children who are whimpering?

Impossible.

Can God divide the seas that dry land appear and a nation goes free?

Impossible.

Can God speak a word and clouds drift away, waves lose momentum, and wind forgets its way?

Impossible.

Can God free a spirit bound by adultery, burdened by murder, ravished by nightmares?

Impossible.

Can God endure beating, lashing, rebukes, yelling, hatred, reviling, nails and thorns all without a word?

Impossible.

Can God fill a church with souls in need of salvation with only a pastor and a few devoted saints?

Impossible.

Can God love a people who rape, hate, steal, kill, fornicate, defile; all in Satan’s name?

Impossible.

Can God feed the homeless of an entire city with only two souls committed to their cause?

Impossible.

Can God renew a nation that detests His ways while claiming His name?

Impossible.

Can God breathe a garden, a world, and universe, time, and space with willpower and word?

Impossible.

Can God save a husband, wife, child, or friend from a prodigal state, a broken path, and unstable ways?

Impossible.

Can God heal a world ravished by hurricanes, abused by earthquakes, and corrupted by pollution?

Impossible.

Can God make a way when the circumstances speak impossible.

Darn straight.

Eph 6:12 KJV “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Thus says the Lord,

“The world is turning quickly to chaos. Governments betray their people. Earthquakes shattering nations. The ocean overstepping its boundary in a flood of destruction. Riots are shaking cities. Mobs are destroying businesses. Children are killing children. Mothers are beating daughters. Sons are murdering mothers. Husbands are destroying the foundations of their marriage by committing adultery, and wives are doing the same. Children born out of wedlock. Youth having sex in grade school.

“And the people ask why. Why is this happening? Why have God not stopped it?

“Did I not warn you this would happen? Did I not say these things would come to pass? Don’t you know that such things must be so? That it must get worse before it can get better? But you have no faith.

“The enemy is like a roaring lion, bent on destruction, but my Word is a two-edged sword that will cut him in his tracks. And I have given it to you. So why do you not use it? Prayer is the mightiest weapon that will summon legions of battle-ready angels at a single beckon. So why are my people not praying? I have offered gifts of teachers, preachers, prophets…so why do the nations not listen?

“Shake your fist at me, prideful nations, but I will not be moved by your anger and fear. I have given you the tools to defeat the ruler of darkness – the one who is ravaging your world. And as you use those tools, I have sworn to stand with you, to fight with you, to gain victory for you. But this is the world of man. These are attacks against man. And therefore mankind must fight in the war. But if they don’t fight, can they be surprised at the battles they don’t win?”

Silence, oh God, the whispers in my head. The voices that shame me, beat me, break me. Tear down, oh God, the stronghold of Satan; the bindings that keep me; the chains that restrain me. You say greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. Oh blessed Lord, my mighty God, my strong tower, and valiant shield, why are these just words to me now? Greater is he. Greater is he. Greater is he. The great darkness overwhelms, majestic Father. The pain drowns me in a sea of torment – an ocean of agony.

Blessed Savior. Blessed Savior! Where are you when I need you? Hear my cry, hear my weeping. Why the silence? Why the never-ending stillness? Where is my breakthrough? Where is my relief? Where is the peace meant to sustain me? Oh God, oh God, where are the Words that break the bindings of the enemy? I am here. I am alone. Mighty Father, I am afraid.

Sweet child, sweet beloved. Where is your faith? I am here. I am with you. I am still the hope that sustains you. Am I a man that I should change? Am I a sinner that I should despise you? Am I limited that I cannot reach you? Am I powerless that I cannot deliver you? You turn this way, you turn that, you search but you cannot find. Foolish child. Deceived beloved. I am not a man that you should see me through the eyes of mankind. Close your eyes and open your spirit.

Though the wind tosses this way and that, I am the hands that help you withstand. And while the sea is turbulent and raging, I am the boat that keeps you from sinking. Dearest little one, love of my heart, while the lightning strikes the ground and illuminates the darkness, while the thunder strikes and trembles the very heavens, while the earth shakes and the ground is cracking, while the clouds spill torrents of rain and sheets of hail, I am the rock that keeps you from falling – falling into the abyss of darkness

Yes, there will be storms that threaten the foundation of your world, but I am the wings that carry you. I am the light that guides you. I am the power that delivers you, restores you, heals you and redeems you, when life has beaten you down. Rest in me, my child, and I will bring you through the storm.

The Making of a Champion

When we walk in the victimized mindset, we become a hostage to our circumstances.

What are some characteristics of a victim:

·    Has experienced one or multiple destructive/injurious circumstances
·    Does not accept responsibility for self-ignited negative experiences
·    One who refuses to stand back up and re-plan after a hard fall
·    Pessimistic viewpoint
·    Expects negative happenings to befall them
·    Think everyone is trying to sabotage them
·    Insecure in multiple areas
·    A forsaken past=a forsaken future
·    Don’t dream for fear of nightmares (literally and symbolically)
·    Moves with extreme caution

Beloved, we must choose to shed the victim mentality. God sent His Son to die a victim so we don’t have to live a victim. Why then, do we hold to the victim’s mindset like it is a cherished friend instead of a self-destructive belief system that cripples our minds and poisons our lives?

Brothers and sisters, we don’t have to live in this mental hell.

Hear God’s declaration:
“I’ll pull you from a worse place and set you in a better place, all so I can bring you to greatness. The nightmare is over, my child. You’re not created to lose but created to win. You’re in the middle of good, expecting something bad, but I say not so! For you are destined for greatness—great blessings, great fruitfulness, and great overflow. Just reach out, touch the hem of My garment, and My blood will cleanse the past’s poison from your soul.”

Beloved, the Almighty has called us to victory, not victim disability. A victim waits for life to turn in their favor, but a victor shifts life to their benefit. And the way a child of God brings life to their favor is by moving only with the hand of God. When the Spirit stands, we are to stand. When the Spirit moves, we move. When It prays, we pray. When It worships, we worship. If we submit our will to the movement of God, He will move us into the right position, at the right time, to give us the right victory for every situation.

 

 

(Inspired by Apostle Jones sermon, From Victimized to Victory)

Dear Abba,

How wonderful is your name! Your proud and great glory outshines the heavens. Your mighty voice brings mountains to their knees and tames vast oceans. You are magnificent, my God, wonderful and mighty. I love you so much. May honor and glory be yours. May you receive all you are due for you are worthy. You are worthy! You are worthy! Oh mighty God, you are worthy!

Oh God, how your heart grieves for you children around the world who are facing persecution. God, I ask for a mighty outpouring of deliverance upon the people being imprisoned, abused, and killed for your name. I ask you send aide wherever they are, and in whatever country that they dwell. Give them peace in the midst of the circumstances. Give them hope for a brighter day. God, I ask that you dispatch legions of angels to fly to their aid and protect them from the vicious attacks of the enemy.

In Jesus name I pray,
Amen

(If so willing, please say a quick word of agreement to this prayer.)