“The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life…” —Psalm 121:7
My son will soon be a teenager. When we celebrate his birthday, we will not only commemorate the day he was born but also the fact that he has survived so much adversity. If I shared every harrowing situation he has experienced, we would be here all day so I will just share some of the most difficult examples. He nearly choked to death, almost drowned, and was even hit by a car. Then, of course, there are his allergic reactions to everyday products and allergy-induced asthma.
Sometimes I feel like there is an invisible force that means to harm my son. I cannot see what is happening in the spiritual world, but I know God protects me and my loved ones. I see evidence that God does what He says in Psalm 121:7. He keeps us from harm and watches over our lives. God is good.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” —Philippians 4:13
I had been smoking for twenty years. I hated the bad habit, but I did not have the power to stop on my own. Then I saw an advertisement for a smoking cessation pill and decided to give it a try. After a few days, I had not even cut back on my smoking. It did not seem to be working on me. I tried combining the pill with a nicotine patch. Nothing decreased my desire to smoke. Although the pill had failed, it was causing some frightening side effects. I started suffering from intense panic attacks. I wanted to quit so bad that I continued taking the pills. After three weeks, I was still a smoker.
Then one day my heart started racing. I felt like I could not breathe. I told myself it was just a panic attack and tried to relax. After about 30 minutes, the panic attack was still going strong. In desperation, I cried out to God and begged Him to make the anxiety attack stop. Then I heard the Lord. He said, “I will do this if you will stop smoking.” My heart must have agreed because it stopped in that second. Oddly, the desire to smoke was also completely gone. The Lord took away my desire for cigarettes, and I never smoked again. That is the strength of our Almighty God.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” —James 1:17
I received a letter from the elementary school about my daughter. She had failed an eye screening. Within a few days, I took her to the eye doctor. He confirmed that she was nearsighted and needed glasses. I thought they looked cute. She hated them. She kept them in a desk at school and only wore them to see the board.
In middle school, I asked her if she had been wearing her glasses in class. She said, “No, my eyes seem better.” I laughed. I told her that nearsightedness only gets worse as people get older. Imagine my surprise when she scored perfectly at her annual doctor’s appointment. The doctor could hardly believe it and tested her again. He said, “Nearsightedness does get better sometimes, but it is really rare.” My daughter happily stopped wearing her glasses in class. I praised God because I knew He was the One who restored her vision.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” —Revelation 2:4
Before I was saved, I could hear absolutely nothing spiritual at all. After I was saved, my ears were opened—not only to the Lord, but also to other spiritual entities. Sometimes I heard angels; other times I heard demons. At least twice, I am fairly sure I heard directly from Satan. It seems like it would be easy to know the difference, but discernment of the spirits was not a gift of mine. I tried very hard to listen to the Lord and tune the others out.
Then things changed after I met up with an old friend. She also had spiritual ears, and I tried to be open minded about the angels she said she could hear over the next year or so. During this time, the Lord spoke to me clearly and repeated the Bible reference “Revelation 2:4.” I would flip there, read it, and feel confused why He said I had forsaken my love for Him. He said it so often that I no longer had to flip there because I had memorized it.
Over time, my friend and I drifted apart. I realized the love I had forsaken Him for were these meaningless voices of angels. (Who even knows if they were angels?) I returned to asking only for the Lord to help me, praying to the Lord only, and for the Holy Spirit to help me discern His voice. There is no other entity on earth that can help anywhere near as much as my powerful one and only God. Praise be to Him!
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life….” —Revelation 20:12
In the first twenty years of my life, I had never experienced anything supernatural. To me, science seemed to explain how the universe and humans had come into existence. I had heard the gospel several times, but I did not believe the Bible contained much truth. I had never had a personal relationship with God or heard His voice.
That changed one night in 1997. I was all alone. Then I heard a booming voice. It said, “God is real, and the Bible is truth.” I had tingles all over my body. I felt warm. I knew something spiritual was happening to me. With the knowledge that God is real, I gave my life to Christ. It was the best decision I have ever made. That was just the beginning of my love story with my amazing Lord.
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”—Psalm 18:6
Imagine living your life with a cold that never goes away. Your nose always runs. You cough uncontrollably. Your ears hurt from frequent ear infections. That describes my son’s first few years of life. He was diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma. His allergy test proved what we already knew—that he was allergic to nearly everything! The doctor gave us hope though. He said we could pursue immunology treatment. That meant monthly shots for years, but there was no promise the treatment would reverse or even help his condition. Regardless, we eagerly accepted the opportunity to improve his quality of life.
We were one year into treatments with no results. The doctor recommended that we pursue other treatment options since he showed no progress with the shots. We insisted he finish the treatment. During that time, I sought the Lord in tears for my son’s healing. The breathing test results went from horrific in one visit to outstanding the very next visit! The doctor advised us to stop giving him the four different allergy and asthma medications he was used to taking. Technically, he still has asthma but he enjoys a full life now. And I know the One who gave it to him—the Lord Almighty!
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.” —Proverbs 20:5
Once I had a dream that I was in heaven. I could not see anything besides light, but I could sense the Lord was standing there with me. I could also sense that we were not alone. There was a long table with important men (like elders) sitting behind it looking at me. I did not have to speak, but the Lord instantly perceived what I asked of Him. I begged to stay there with Him with intense emotion. My soul was filled with such desperation to be with Him! I did not even feel ashamed to beg like that in front of those important people. He said that I was not done yet. Then I woke up.
For many years, I pondered it in my heart. It was really frustrating to be aware I had not fulfilled my purpose on Earth without knowing what it was! Today, I do not stress about it. I do not think it is one thing. It is many things. It is to be my mother’s and father’s daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece, to become a wife and mother, an aunt, a neighbor, a friend, to write poetry about Jesus and love Him while I am here. I have enjoyed all of my days. When God feels I am done, He will take me home to be with Him. He is worth the wait.
“…Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” —1 Kings 19:11-12
In the year 2000, I was faced with a decision to continue living in Atlanta or move to St. Louis. What was I to do? I prayed and asked and prayed. I had heard the Lord audibly multiple times, but the only thing I could perceive in this situation was my uncontrollable anxious thoughts. What I would have given to hear God’s answer! Was it yes or no? Finally, I decided to move to St. Louis.
After my big move, things changed dramatically for me. My love life and career options had been stagnant in Atlanta. Within a few years in St. Louis, I had married, was raising my first child, and had been hired by the company that eventually led to an advantageous position. Although I had moved away from my mother in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to renew my relationship with my father in St. Louis. (It was especially rewarding since he passed away a couple of years later.) God did not speak to me with a booming voice, yet somehow He moved my heart to make the right choice. God is my victory!
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:19
Back in 1999, I knew I wanted to use my writing skills for God’s kingdom, but I was not sure how to begin. One day, the Lord told me to buy a laptop computer. Back then, laptops were pricey! Still, I bought it in obedience. I used it mostly for writing at first. Over the next few years, many of the things that used to be done on paper transitioned to the computer because of the internet’s growing popularity. I emailed long-distance relatives regularly, and I could not imagine life without that little computer.
Then one day, I received a check in the mail. The enclosed letter informed me that a class action lawsuit regarding a defect on some of the computers had been won. I received the full amount of the laptop computer at a time when I needed it the most. Once again, God had provided for me in an unexpected way. God is good!
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”—Psalm 118:24
I feel most alive when most people drift off to sleep in their beds. When it is time to wake up in the morning, all I want to do is SLEEP! I normally press the snooze button on my alarm clock four or five times before dragging myself out of bed—sometimes crashing into a wall on the way to the light switch. Without an alarm, I usually sleep until at least 10:00 a.m. That is why the Lord’s request caused me such distress.
One night, I felt like the Lord was telling me not to set my alarm. I reminded the Lord that I had something important to do very early in the morning. Then I set my alarm. A feeling of conviction came over me and made me feel so guilty that I turned it off. Then the Lord impressed on me that He would wake me up on time. Warily, I drifted off to sleep. The next thing I remembered, the phone was ringing. I glanced at the clock. It was the exact moment I needed to wake up that morning. I felt like rejoicing when I answered the phone. My mother had called to talk about something insignificant thing, but it really made my day. God is good.