Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faith Under Fire

                                

 
 I grew up believing in God,  believing in Jesus Christ, believing in God’s love and that we should love God with all of our strength, and love other people the way we love ourselves. When I was growing up I experienced heartache and saw the heartache of others around me. Everyone around me lived in their own world of anxiety and trouble. My grandmamma, Mazie, taught me to apply God’s word to every situation, to everything that happened. At fifteen I momentarily lost sight of that. And in my late twenties to mid thirties I nearly allowed heartache and anger to destroy who I was.
 
Praise God, I gave my heart to Him and believed in what his son, Jesus Christ, did for me and I was saved and started speaking in tongues at the tender age of nine. For as far back as I can remmeber, I have always loved God. But it was He who loved me first and gave me life. After I gave my heart and life to God I became very sick. I was sick with painful urination, blood in my urine, and I was in a lot of pain in my stomach and back. I sat on the commode and cried. I called to my mama who was down the hallway and in bed with my daddy. She asked me, “What’s wrong, honey?” Sobbing, I said to her, “It hurts when I pee and when I pee all that comes out is blood. My stomach hurts bad and I am cold.” She got up to come to me. Daddy said to her in an agitated tone, “Get back in the bed. If she’s sick it’s because she did something wrong.” Mama went back to bed. Then daddy said to me in a gruff voice, “If you are sick then you did something wrong. Go back to bed and think about what you did wrong and ask God to forgive you. Then he will heal you.” When I was able to stand and walk with the pain I went back to bed. I could not think of anything that I had done wrong. And in my heart i knew God loved me and he wouldn't want for me to be sick. I prayed and I asked God to heal me. I remembered my grandmamma telling me about Matthew 7:7-8. I didn’t remember the book, chapter and verse but I remembered the words. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. I thought about God and his love for us and what Jesus did for us and all of the miracles that he had performed.

 When I woke up the next morning I was healed. Praise God. He healed me. There was no more pain. I wasn't cold anymore. I went to the bathroom and peed and there wasn't any blood. Everything was completely normal. I thanked God for healing me. God has healed me many times over the years, including healing my heart and spirit. During my teenage years God healed me from tonsillitis. After being plagued with it for a few years I went to my preacher and he and his wife anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing. Not long after that my tonsils came out in little pieces. It didnt hurt. I never got tonsillitis or strep throat again after that. Also, God healed me from seizures that I had started having after I was anally raped and he healed the pain in my heart and mind that came from being raped. I thank God for healing me from that. I was at my preachers house. I was dating his son whom I married later on. I  felt a seizure coming on and I went outside so that no one would see me. My boyfriend, sensing something was wrong, followed me outside. My body stiffened and I became unconscious. My boyfriend took me into his daddy's house and laid me on the couch. There were several church members there that night. When I awoke I could hear people praying and I could feel their hands on me. They had anointed me with oil and were praying for me. Immediately I felt a stirring in my heart and i forgave the person who had raped me and forgave myself for being in that situation. I had felt hardness in my heart for the person who had hurt me and I blamed myself for letting myself get into that situation. I never had another seizure after that.
 
When I was 20 I had a severe ear infection. The gynecologist that I worked for looked in my ear. He immediately had the office manager take me to an ear specialist. The hour that it took to get there the office manager and my mama and I prayed and sang praises to God all the way there. By the time that we got there I had been healed. There was no sign of me ever having an ear infection. Praise God. In my early years of marriage I was healed from many other illnesses including endometriosis. Thanks be to God for healing me. I no longer needed a hysterectomy and I eventually became pregnant with my third child, a daughter. When I was 22 my first born child was healed from severe chest congestion and a high fever. Without phone or transportation I was distraught. Praise God, by morning he was completely well. He coughed up some mucus and that was it.  Even after all of this I once again allowed my mind to think on things that hurt me and made me angry. I was oppressed. My heart and mind became full of heartache and anger which led to bitterness.
 
 I became engrossed with my bitter thoughts. I became so wrapped up in anger that I stopped living my life for God. I stopped living my life to glorify God. I never stopped loving God but I stopped walking in the spirit. I went from listening to God's word on tape and listening to gospel music and reading the bible to thinking about all the things that made me unhappy. I stewed until I boiled over. I was enveloped with anger. It is as though everything bad that had happened came to a big ugly head and covered my face from the love of God and the memories of what he had done for me. But it was me who let my mind get in that state. God never stopped loving me and thankfully I never lost the hope of Jesus return for the church. My conscience was heavy with every little thing that I did wrong. Every night I prayed. I was doubting everything. Then early one morning something awoke me out of sleep. It felt as though someone brushed their hand across my face and I heard someone say, "Everything is going to be alright." I awoke and everyone in the house was sleeping. There is no doubt it was supernatural. Jesus was letting me know that he loved me and that everything was going to be alright. 

I got back right with God, then, again allowed heartache and anger to consume my mind. And once again I started living out of fellowship with God and I did more things that took me a long time to forgive myself for. But with the prodding and comfort and love that I felt in my heart from God and the Holy Spirit I forgave myself and accepted God's forgiveness. 
 
Glory be to God, regardless of what went on in my life i never lost faith in almighty God and I taught my children to apply God's word to every situation and to love God with all their heart and to love other people the way they love themselves. Sadly, I didn't always teach them by example. At times I had to ask them to forgive me and I told them that what I said or did was wrong. I would rather that they thought badly of the things that I said or did than for them to get the wrong impression about what was right and what was wrong. I praise God that they all have given their heart to God and been baptized and have God in Christ in them. God is great. I am so thankful that he preserved them and their hearts for Him.
 
 I look back over my life and I can see that even when I wasn't living the way I felt like I should be living, God was taking care of me and my family. God is merciful. When I finally came to my senses and realized that I needed to not only put on the mind of Christ, I needed to practice keeping it on. I couldn't keep allowing my emotions to dictate to me and consume my mind with negatives. I was so distraught with guilt. I had lived in sin for so long. I started back reading my bible every day, speaking in tongues and singing praises to God. I started training myself to control my mind and I practiced faithfully at putting on the mind of Christ instead of dwelling on negatives and worldly things. I rededicated my life to God but I didn't feel worthy of his love. I no longer felt worthy of Christ dying on the cross for me. I no longer felt worthy to be blessed by God. I had made a lot of mistakes. I had been so angry. I had been so bitter. But I believe that the worst mistake that I ever made was believing that God could no longer love me. I wasn’t ever worthy of what Christ did for me to start with, that’s why it is a gift, but I didn’t think of it like that until I had made such horrific mistakes. 

Because of my ego I thought that I had been worthy of God’s love and blessings before I got out in left field. I had to realize that it was by God’s grace that I was saved. And it was by God’s grace that I was healed. It was by God's grace that my first child was healed. And it was by God’s grace that we were blessed. Praise God, I am free from the bondage of sin. Once again my mind is clear. And praise God,  he healed me from mitral valve prolapse. There was more blood backing up into my heart than there was pumping through the valve and one side of my heart had enlarged. My heart would start racing for no apparent reason and I would get sleepy and go into a very deep sleep for a few hours. When I would wake up my heart rate would be normal. This went on for a right good while. My heart is completely normal and healthy now. I have test to prove that God healed my heart. Praise be to God and to him be the glory. Praise God, my Father. His love is unconditional. His forgiveness is vast. He is perfect and he loves us regardless of our iniquities. 
 
I hope that by me sharing some of my experiences and the things that I have been through and learned that I will be able to touch someone's heart and make a difference. God will forgive you. Now it's time to forgive yourself and time to accept what God is trying to give you. There is no love greater than God's love. He loves us unconditionally and he wants to bless us out of his riches in heaven. So, give your heart to him. Let him wash away all of your sins. Let him take care of whatever is burdening you. I love you through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the son of God. Romans 10:9-10KJV That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and  shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Written By: Lisa Collier Clewis