Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One Year Later

Yesterday marked one year since I was rushed to the emergency room and diagnosed with a stroke resulting from a blood clot that had formed in my brain. It's hard to believe a year has already passed, but I am SO grateful to have made it to this day. There's been a lot of healing along with some minor stuggles as I've adjusted to a new standard of normalcy. God willing, things will continue to improve and with time I will be totally back to normal. However, the majority of what I have been going through over this last year has been less physical and more spiritual and emotional. Recently I was sharing with Brent a journal entry I wrote back in October and he suggested that I share it with all of you.

We both truly believe that God has us here, not only for the work He is doing through us, but also for the work that He is doing in us. And in addition to that, we believe that what He is teaching us should be used as a means to encourage others in their pursuit of Him. So, I hope some of my personal reflections will be of some encouragement to you and will bring glory to the One who has been and continues to sustain me.

Journal Entry Dated October 6th, 2009

This morning I was listening to a song by Christy Nockels and these lyrics really struck me: “I may live and I may die; either way You’re glorified…”

These are words that I would have said or sung without hesitation before I actually had to deal with the thought of dying. Now, if I say those words, I'm not so sure if I mean them. If I get down to the core of my heart, I have been living in fear of death! Even though I’ve been dealing with this now for ten months, and constantly preaching the truth to myself and rehearsing God's promises, I still feel like I’m gripping my life. I’m saying to God, “Yes, I give You my life - I trust You with it and I KNOW that You know what is best,” but in my heart I’m feeling like, “BUT DON’T LET ME DIE!"

I remember right after the stroke, when I was so fearful, Brent and I were talking about what we really believe. I DO believe that God’s purposes are greater than I can know; I DO believe that His purposes are greater than my life; I KNOW that He loves my children and my husband more than I ever could and He already knows what every moment of their lives holds. I really have NO control! I had a moment where I felt the Holy Spirit asking me, “If it required you to lay down your life for your children to come to salvation, would you do it?” And of course, I have to say, “Yes Lord, I would.” His kingdom and their eternity is SO much more important than my life, which God’s word says is like a blade of grass.

But, the truth is, I LIKE my blade of grass and I’m SCARED of death! I think it comes down to a problem of unbelief! I always hear that voice of unbelief saying, “Do you really believe that you will be with God for eternity? Do you really believe in Heaven?” And I think I have to combat those doubts and lies with what I know to be true. I can only come to the Lord with a broken heart and say like the father of the demon possessed child, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!”

When I focus on what is true I know that God does not work in fear. He does not give us a spirit of fear. In fact He tells us constantly throughout His word that we should not fear. I really believe that if He were going to take me from this world, He would lavish His peace on me. But I DO feel like He is calling me to lay my life down. To stop gripping and fearing and to lay it all in His hands. I need to have that hope and that peace. I need to have that eternal perspective and that longing to be with my Father. (Lord, please help me to lay down my life without picking it back up and running away!)

A couple of years ago the Lord used this scripture to confirm His call to Africa and to give up my plans for my life, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever lays down his life for my sake will find true life (Matthew 16:25, paraphrased).” I think now God us using this to challenge me to pray:

Lord, I lay down my life - not just my plans for my life and what I do with my life, by my very life itself. I want You to have complete control over my life. I know that You already have the control but I want to release my grip on my life! I believe Your word is true. I believe that Your purposes are greater than my understanding and that they WILL be accomplished. I believe that it is not Your desire for me to be fearful. So, I ask You to take my fear away as I cast my anxieties on You. Give me hope for eternity. Help me to love You so deeply that I desire Your presence over all other things. Give me a desire for Heaven. Give me peace!

I pray as I have prayed and journaled before that You would give me long life, that I might declare your goodness to the next generation, that I may see my children and even their children come to salvation - that our family’s legacy will be one of submitting ourselves to You and being changed by Your Spirit - raising up a generation that will glorify Your name and advance Your kingdom. Thank You, my Father for the comfort I find in Your word and for ministering to my heart even as I write. Let me not hold onto anything! Let me trust You with everything. Let Your will be done and help me keep my heart and mind stayed on You! For You have promised to keep me in perfect peace. I love you, my Lord!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Kerri! You have encouraged me and stirred spiritual emotions in me that have been numb for quite some time. I love you truly as a sister and thank my God for you!
~April G.

Christy said...

Well, that made me cry.

Ryan said...

Kerri, thanks for sharing that. It was very personal to you and your experience, but it spoke to my heart. I have thought those same things before about being afraid to die, but then wondering why I am if what I know to be true is true. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the prayer of your heart. It was a reminder I needed (and will probably continue to need).
~Ryan (the girl)