“If you want to know what God wants you to do - ask Him, and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But, when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They cannot make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything that they do.” - James 1:5-8
At eighteen months of age, our beautiful daughter, Alyse, was diagnosed with epilepsy. By doctors orders, she was placed on an extremely high dosage of daily medication and as baby Christians, Steve and I were placed on God’s training wheel of FAITH. It was our first experience with the feeling of helplessness - hopelessness too! I remember thinking to myself, “how will our lives ever be the same?” Worry became the new mindset of our home as we consistently observed our precious child endure one to three seizures every day. There was nothing we could do except hold her safely in our arms until each storm passed, leaving behind a very exhausted and weak child each time.
One day while attending my very first ladies’ retreat, the Lord spoke to me through a word of prophecy saying, “I want to heal your daughter.” Call it immaturity or even stupidity (as her doctor did), but I took God at His word, returned home from the retreat and immediately took Alyse off of her medication. A few weeks passed free from seizures and the scheduled appointment for Alyse’s quarterly check-up drew nigh. To this day, I have never forgotten the look on her doctor’s face when I announced the news that Alyse had been healed and no longer needed to take her medicine! Afterall, epilepsy WAS the diagnosis! It was declared to be a struggle of hers for the rest of her life! How dare I play doctor!!!!
Within minutes, Alyse was hooked to an EEG monitor. This test had periodically been performed since her diagnosis to measure and record the spontaneous electrical activity of her brain and had shown very clear abnormalities each time...UNTIL THIS TIME! Upon the acceptance of God’s Word, Alyse was healed and the test had proven it on record! We left the doctor’s office that day on a high we neither one had ever experienced!
Sharing the testimony of God’s miraculous healing of our daughter was both wildly refreshing and new. If there ever was a way to launch one’s faith to a new level, a miracle certainly did it for us, but as quickly as it came, it was also tested.
Being our only child at the time, Alyse loved to sleep on a pallet beside our bed on special occasions. On this particular night, she did just that. In the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by that dreadful noise...the undeniable sound of violent convulsion. My heart sank as I replayed every testimony I had given about her healing over and over in my head! Our faith was jolted. Devastated, I called my pastor’s wife for advice. She lovingly assured me to stand on the declaration of faith I had confessed and to never look back. “This is only a test, Jeneen," she declared.
In the days to come, I continued to stand upon God’s promise to me. I refused to accept that Alyse was not healed. I refused to put her back on the medicine and the Holy Spirit taught me a valuable lesson - that "symptoms", although they appear as facts, ARE NOT REALITY. REALITY is whatever GOD says! Since that night, Alyse has never endured another seizure. She will be 24 years old in March!
What have you been declaring and professing in this season of life? Are symptoms and signs announcing defeat? This is only a test! Stand firm and waver not! You have been called to walk by faith and not by sight. Contrary to popular belief, seeing is NOT always believing and perception is NOT always reality. Let faith arise! GOD is waiting to show Himself STRONG on your behalf!
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him.” - 2 Chronicles:16:9
I hear everyone declaring their love for it! The summer flowers have recently been replaced with hardy mums and the colors of orange, yellow and brown adorn the entrances to houses and businesses all around town. The change of weather allows folks to enjoy cooler evening events and wear those beloved jeans and long-sleeve shirts we’ve had safely tucked away for months.
It’s THIS time of year that I begin to get all GIDDY with tradition and expectation for the holidays! The time-change and the early onset of evening is refreshing to me. I love to light candles around the house - fragrances of leaves, harvest, and spice to welcome my family home from their long days. It’s this time of year where you can feel justified to simply sit with a warm cup of coffee, cider, or hot-chocolate and curl up with a good book or watch that favorite TV show, complete with new and exciting episodes.
To me, Fall ushers in a more relaxing season of life! The non-stop days of summer are exchanged for family gatherings in the living room, the essential time for a cool evening walk, football with friends, and a chance to merely sigh a sigh of relief. Simply put, Fall is HARVEST TIME - a season for gathering crops, but also a season for gathering your thoughts! A season for the laborer to gather and then sit quietly in solitude before God, ceasing from activity and enjoying His fresh fragrance. This can be an uncomfortable position for you go-getters out there who feel pressured to always be “doing”. However, this is THE necessary place!
The Holy Spirit reminded me this morning of the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. This story clearly exemplifies the difference between spiritual wisdom and spiritual foolishness. Each virgin was given the exact same opportunity to light their lanterns, which is a direct representation of lighting the fire of their souls...that moment when the Holy Spirit draws you to the open door of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, filling all who receive Him with light! However, in the parable, five virgins were wise and five were foolish. The difference? The five wise virgins continued to return to their initial Source and refuel their flames. The constant renewal supplied them with new revelation, empowerment, attitude adjustments and for that moment when the Bridegroom called out! The five unwise virgins simply went about, living off of the one-time experience they had when their flame was initially lit, but never stopping to refuel. Eventually, their fire was extinguished.
As a gentle friendly reminder today...where are YOU in this season of life? Are you like the wise virgins who understood that continual refueling from their Source was of the essence? Or, do you find yourself today following pursuit of the unwise? Your Source is God! Your Light is the presence of Jesus’ Spirit radiating from within! Only time spent alone in His presence will refuel your fire, causing you to shine everywhere you go with the glory of our beautiful God! How brightly are you shining?
In this shift of seasons, I hear Jesus ushering us, “Come unto Me(the WORD, Jesus is the Word), all ye who labor and are heavy laden(wore out, need refueling), and I will give you rest! Take my yoke upon you and let ME teach you, because I am humble and gentle and YOU will find REST for your souls.” Matthew 11:28 NLT