The Wind and the Waves

I wish I had some poetic way to write what I’m feeling right now.  I always feel like I need to make sure every word is just perfect for the topic I’m writing on, but right now, the only thing running through my mind is this:

I am afraid.

My daughter, McKenna, her husband, Indy, and their one-year-old Andros evacuated their home in Panama City on Monday night as they prepared for Hurricane Michael to barrel through their city.  Indy is stationed in the Air Force there. They are all safe.  We’ve been glued to the news reports, to Facebook, to YouTube trying to catch some glimpse of what the destruction looks like.  It’s exhausting.

But I’m afraid of what they’ll find when they are allowed to return.  Will they be able to stay in their home?  Will it be destroyed?  Will there be anything left to salvage? What’s their first step, second step, third step?  I’m her mom, and I can’t fix this for her.  And it’s crushing to me.

Yet while I worry, I know that God’s plan is bigger than my own.  The two days leading up to the storm, I cried out to the Lord, “In Mark 4, God, you told the wind and the waves to ‘be still’, and they listened.  Please, Jesus, do that now.”  They raged on.  Yesterday and this morning, I prayed that God would wrap my daughter in peace that passes all understanding.  “Give her peace that only You can give.”  This afternoon, McKenna asked me to pray with her while we were on the phone.  “Jesus, we know that You know what you’re doing in this.  While we don’t get it even a little, and we don’t like it at all, we trust that Your bigger picture is better.

God’s picture, while distorted and out of focus to me or to McKenna, is in perfect focus to Him.  I can still be afraid.  I can still be angry.  I can still be frustrated.  But I need to lean on Him while I feel this way.  He is the only one that can help me through this worry and doubt and anger.  He will see this family through as they rebuild whatever needs to be rebuilt.

Here’s what I pray for you…no matter what struggle you’re going through—a devastating natural disaster, a miscarriage, a divorce, a job loss—while we don’t always see the plan, know that God sees YOU.  He knows you and loves you.  He wants to comfort you. Let Him in.

~Erin

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Modern Day Miracles of Healing

When reading the New Testament, the miracle healings touch my heart, but seem unrealistic in regards to modern medicine.  I believe they happened.  I believe they can happen.  But I didn’t think they happened often. I certainly never thought I’d have a front row seat to a miracle healing.

In October 2013, my younger brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma.  They found three large tumors on his spine, hip, and kidney with dozens of smaller tumors above and below his diaphragm.  A prayer campaign began and we were delivered a miracle 6 weeks later when his PET scan revealed zero tumors. Not one.

How do you explain a Stage 4 “pink slip” of death turning around to nothing within 6 weeks?

The medical profession was baffled.  They thought perhaps they were mis-reading the PET scans, so they ordered them to be accomplished a second time.  They continued to have some doubts that this could occur.  They explained remaining shadowing on the kidney area as “either a persistent tumor or scar tissue from the original tumor.”   They could not believe what they had witnessed. They could not explain it.

I can explain it.  It’s super simple.

God is good. God is faithful. God can do anything.

When I saw my brother in September of 2013, he was in visible pain and was having difficulty walking.  His doctors had diagnosed him with a herniated disk in June, but the reality was that the cancer had attacked his spine and hip.  My best friend since Junior High School, Linina, was with me on that visit.  She’s a nurse.  A really good one.  She told my brother that it was more than a disk issue.

God was working on a miracle before we even knew the issue. He sent knowledge and advice, through Linina, so that we could start the battle against cancer.

My brother and sister-in-law got the diagnosis on a Monday.  He called me to tell me on Thursday, as a dress rehearsal for the phone call to my parents.  He started chemo that Friday.  It was happening so fast that we couldn’t keep up with the information flow.

A prayer campaign was initiated.  I recruited every prayer warrior I knew.

Unusual “coincidences” began happening.  For instance, on the Tuesday evening after this fateful phone call, I was in a class at church when out of nowhere, the Associate Pastor suddenly stopped class.  He said, “I feel like God is telling me to pray right now for someone in class…there’s someone here who has a close family member who was just diagnosed with cancer.  We have to pray right now.”  He had us raise our hands if we had an immediate family member battling cancer. Out of a class of 40, five of us raised our hands.  He had the rest of the class surround us, lay hands on us, and he began to pray for miracles of healing.

At exactly the same time, Erin was at a meet and greet with Matthew West.  As one of my favorite Christian artists, she asked him to sign a CD for me.  Instead of just signing a CD, he literally stopped the meet and greet…delayed the long line of fans who wanted to meet him…to pray with Erin for my brother’s miracle of healing.

At the exact same moment my Pastor was praying in Washington DC, Matthew West was praying with Erin in Cheyenne, WY!

 Within 6 weeks, doctors were scratching their heads in disbelief that there weren’t any visible tumors.  Modern miracle healing occurred.

 “’Unless you people see signs and wonder,’ Jesus told him, ‘you will never believe.’”         ~John 4:48

It was a season of my life, where I acknowledge I was speaking to God more than any humans around me…a season that I grew closer to God than I had ever been previous to that event.  A season where I witnessed miracle healing. I saw signs and wonder…and I believed like I never had before.

Have you had the blessing of witnessing miracles?  Come to the porch to share with us how God has answered prayers in your life.

~Emily

Ry

In Portland, September 2013…weeks before our world crashed with one word: Cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Fear

I was pretty sure that Chris could hear the pounding of my heart through my chest.  I quadruple checked the restraint to make sure it wasn’t going to somehow pop open, and silently prayed that God would allow me to be able to continue to raise my last child after the three-minute-long death ride was complete.  FIVE. FOUR. THREE. TWO.  ONE….the Incredicoaster hurled me to my feared torture.  I had ended up on a roller coaster.  Willingly.

To celebrate my 40th birthday, Chris, Peyton, and I packed the car and drove south to Disneyland.  I had never been and as it was a milestone birthday, I wanted to do something big!  I had made my intentions known VERY early on that the roller coaster and the equally horrific Guardians of the Galaxy ride (former Tower of Terror) were off the table.  If Chris wanted to ride those, he was on his own.

However, at some point on Friday as we were riding rides at California Adventure, I decided I was tired of being afraid of everything that I had zero control over.  I’ve been slowly conquering my fear of flying over the course of the last couple of years.  I wasn’t about to have a 24-year roller coaster drought keep me from enjoying time with my family.  I looked at Chris and told him we could Fastpass the coaster, and he didn’t ask twice.

Let me tell you, I loved the Incredicoaster.  L-O-V-E, loved that ride!  And while I prefer to never ride what I adoringly call the Guardians of the Galaxy Death Trap again, I DID ride it, as well!  Chris got to enjoy every theme park attraction that he had wanted to, and I enjoyed the feeling of victory over fear.

Often, we let fear control the better part of our lives, especially when it comes to our Christian walk.  We’re afraid we’ll be seen as ‘weird’ or as a fanatic to the people that surround us in this world.  Sometimes, we’re afraid to trust God and step out in faith for fear that what His plan is for us is one of uncertainty or one of struggle.  We fear asking our Father for what we desire in prayer thinking it’s too trivial.

When we’re afraid, we withhold things.  It could be our time with people or places, missing out on adventures and friendship.  It could be emotions because of the trepidation of being hurt.  Perhaps it’s a ‘thing’ due to possible angst of losing control of it.  We even hold back our intimacy with Jesus.

I do it often.  I shared in last week’s blog that I let fear keep me from developing genuine friendships.  I almost did it last week, when my fear very nearly kept me from enjoying a sweet moment with Chris where he felt the joy of sharing something fun together.

There are many verses in the bible that talk about fear and many that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis.  Here’s one that helps me:

For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” –Isaiah 41:13

We don’t need to fear things.  He says to us that He will help us.  He helps us when it’s tough, and He helps us when it’s scary.  He helps us when we’re surrounded with grief and when there is uncertainty.  All we need to do is let go of the fear that holds us back and trust that our God is bigger than the circumstance we’re facing, no matter how big or small.  Nothing we are feeling and nothing we ask for is insignificant to Him.

What fear do you need to lay at the feet of Jesus?  Tell us in the comments below so we can pray for you!

~Erin

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The Incredicoaster! And I even rode that ferris wheel and didn’t die!
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I looked thrilled, don’t I?! (The Guardians of the Galaxy)