The coolest thing I ever read!

October 11, 2012 under Unlikely Christian
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Okay, a little over a year ago I got an e-mail from a reader (Crystal) and it made my heart ache.  An illness had taken her life hostage and she was really struggling.  Here’s an excerpt from that e-mail:

I had to quit my job because of a neurological illness that keeps me at home most of the time. I struggle with this daily, and cry…a lot. I know it’s not right for me to question God but I do question why I was taken from a place where I was so happy and in an instant, to a place of pain and despair. I need to find him again.”   

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I didn’t quite know what to say.  I wanted to say something that would make it all better, something that would help her hang in there, but I was at a loss.  That was heavy stuff. 

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I did my best to encourage her and ended my reply with,

“Maybe on the other side of this illness you will find God in a whole new way. Hang in there. Keep praying. Keep seeking. He’s still there! In the meantime, you will be in our prayers.”

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Checked my e-mail yesterday and found the coolest thing in my inbox – Crystal’s story.  And let me just preface it with, “Man…….GOD is GOOD!”

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Here it is.

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He is Jealous for me… by Crystal

 

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You would never know it by looking at me today, but I was chronically ill for several years. In fact, I almost died…more than once. I had what they called a “closed head injury without a blow to the head” and the doctors didn’t know what to do about it. When I went to church, I had to sit in the very back row away from everyone else so I wouldn’t have seizures. I couldn’t work, LEAVE MY HOME, take care of my children, or even make myself food most days. And fortunately, there was no one willing to do it for me. YES! I did just say that. FORTUNATELY, there was no one there for me. I lost my family, my friends, my job, my ability to communicate with people. No one understood what was happening and they weren’t there when I needed them. And that’s okay with me.

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I once asked why. Why is this happening to me??? Now I can honestly tell you I wouldn’t trade those 3 years for anything. God had been a bystander in my life since I was 13 years old. For the first time in my life, I NEEDED Him. What has come from my illness has been the biggest blessing of my life. Not what I had before… I had Jesus. Now I have a passion for Jesus, and for others to know Him. So to answer my question why…

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“Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

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Being so alone was hard for me to accept at the time, but it did leave me a lot of time with God. I read the bible constantly, soaking in His words. In my darkest moments, when I was so weak and in so much pain, He brought a verse to my attention over and over again. This is what He told me,

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 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

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“Wow, that is quite a promise”, I thought. You couldn’t get much weaker than I was at the time. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I hung to that verse, praying over it daily, and it got me through those days.

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Then there were those lonely days when I just needed a friend. You know…the ones I didn’t have?  I thought about those people I loved that had left me when I needed them so badly and it broke me. Again, I had to open my Bible and seek His word. He told me something else.

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 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

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And this…

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 “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18 

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Now these GOT ME. I had no one else, but HE…the LORD, Our Father was there…right there with me to save me from my broken heart and broken spirit. All I had to do was ask Him to take my hand and fill me with his presence. Life was getting better! My attitude was changing.

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But here’s where things start going awry. My doctors couldn’t heal me, but I knew something they didn’t.

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 Matthew 19:26! “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

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How could I ignore that? If doctors couldn’t heal me, certainly God could! I had many churches praying for me already, but that sealed the deal for me and that became MY prayer day and night. I would ask God to put His healing hands on me and cure me. My pain was chronic; my energy non-existent, I couldn’t hold down the food I was taking in. The prayers came more and more often. I was praying for my health so many times a day, it was hard to think about anything or anyone else.

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I wanted to start serving in the kids’ area at church, but I was waiting to get better. The date kept getting pushed back further and further. Months went by and I was never able to serve because I never got better. Then, I did a bible study called Jonah. It called me OUT. There was a question that asked, “What are you putting above God?” The obvious answers are: money, career, cars, home, spouse, kids, etc. I wasn’t doing any of that, so I put a big question mark beside it and moved on thinking I was all good. Ha! My prayer time came and what did I pray for? You guessed it…the same thing I did 20 times a day every day for months. MY HEALTH.

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“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Deuteronomy 5:8

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Idol of any kind? The light bulb came on. I realized I wasn’t serving at church because I was waiting on God to bless me with health first. I was putting my health above HIM! Whoa chica! No bueno! Who is in charge here? Not only was I elevating my health over God, I was letting my fear of sickness get in the way of serving His beautiful children. That was the last time that prayer has ever left my mouth. I put all my trust in Him for my health matters that night. I gave it away. The peace that followed was overwhelming. That was the day I put God back in His rightful place in my life. I would soon understand that He is jealous for me. Oh the blessings that awaited me…

Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now

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I’ve always loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So the day my Pastor stood on stage and sang, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now. Give it away, away, give it away, give it away now.”, I knew exactly what he meant. Actually, I wondered at that moment how he got in my head…putting that aside, I’ll tell you this. That song had been on replay in my head for 2 years as I continually let God take control of my circumstances and ultimately, my life.

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The morning after my realization that I needed to put God back in his rightful place, I took a huge leap of faith and called the coordinator of the children’s ministry and told her I was ready to serve. She didn’t have a spot for me at the time, but told me she would call back when she did. The next weekend at church, instead of sitting in the back row where I wouldn’t get sick, I took another leap of faith and sat with everyone else. Boy, I was pushing it! I was amazed at the end of service when I wasn’t sick from all the perfumes. So amazed, in fact that I went to a store, then another store, and another, until I realized I could be out in public again without reactions or seizures! This was huge. I went from being unable to make a quick run to Walgreens to having the ability to go to several department stores! I was shocked, to say the least.

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The next day I got a call from the children’s coordinator telling me….we have spot we need you to fill.

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“Seriously? That’s how this is going to work, God?” Just when they needed me. Incredible!

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Which brings me to: Romans 8:27-28  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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As I delved deeper into His word over many months, I read so many things. Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth in Ephesians 3:14-21. If you’ve never broken that apart and read that, you are missing out. The adjectives Paul uses to describe God’s love and power are absolutely beautiful. I strongly encourage you to read it.

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Part of the prayer is this verse:

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“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you TRUST in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:17

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Every time I sing, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now”, that means I’ve given all my trust to God in some area of my life. I’ve struggled with the friendships that I lost. I love them, and miss them. But I sang out to God. I still don’t have a job, but again I sang out to God. My son left for college and miss him terribly. I sang out to God. My marriage is not what it should be, again, I sang out to God…loudly. “Give it away, give it away, give it away now”. It feels so good to let Him carry those burdens for me.  I’ve grown to learn that the more I sing, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now”, the more peace I feel and ultimately, the more blessings come my way. I am more in tune with God, and I am continually seeking His face in all I do. That has so much power in my life. Oh yes, that brings me back to that first verse God presented me with so long ago.

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

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NOW I GET IT!

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When people who haven’t seen me in a few years ask me what I did to get better, I tell them what I know to be true:

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“Now all the glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

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Yes, God did heal me. He gets all the glory.

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I still wonder how my Pastor got in my head and came up with the same song I sing after I’ve given my burdens away to God…

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2 Responses to "The coolest thing I ever read!"

  • Beja says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this, Crystal! You have the right eye sight! I know he is blessing you for giving it away now! It’s the very thing the rich guy couldn’t give up to follow Jesus, but you said yes, and I’m blessed to call you friend!

  • Stefanie Wyres says:

    Crystal-
    This is uh-mazing!! God has given you the words to describe your pain and struggle, but you’re also ministering to others in their own pain. I am thankful to God that He has healed and delivered you. People need to hear this story!! Love you friend.