God or His Stuff

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Photo by Jean-Pierre Brungs

BY SHARON MABRY

I must confess when I started my relationship with the Lord 11 years ago I was deeply in love with Him. As years went by slowly and unknowingly my attraction became more focused on His stuff and what He could do for me rather than on He, Himself, the Creator of the universe.

My world began to shake three years ago when my mother died from metastatic breast cancer. If anyone had faith for a healing it was her. If anyone prayed earnestly with supplication for a miracle it was me. And then she died; and I was angry. Where was the God who hears and answers prayer?

My anger was fueled a couple months later when, after seven years of infertility I became pregnant only to have a miscarriage. I felt like a pawn in a game and my feelings didn’t matter. He didn’t heal my mother and He gave me a child only to take it away. Although I got pregnant again right away and have two precious little boys now I was still angry that I had to experience that hurt. I pictured God on His throne sitting in a cloud of injustice, laughing at the devastating heartache He had created in me. I sincerely thought about walking away from Him at that point, but I knew in my heart, that His heart towards me was good. I would tell myself to remember the heart of God was good, even though I couldn’t see His hand.

I started looking for answers. Why didn’t God heal anymore? Why did the God of today look so different from the God of the Bible? I thought that everyone got their healing because they had faith as a mustard seed, that they really had this immense joy all the time because the answer was always yes. I found out sometimes the answer is no.
I had opportunity to talk with my pastor one day after service just a few months ago and got real with him and asked why he thought we don’t see the miracles today like they did in the Bible. His answer, “I think in that time people were following after Jesus more than they were praying for comfort.” I instantly had a peace that I hadn’t had for a long time.

That is what I’d been doing. I’d been praying unknowingly with the wrong motive, I’d been praying for my comfort. I wanted my mother to live so I wouldn’t have to experience the hurt of loosing her. I had finally gotten peace about not having children only to experience a miscarriage, never mind I got pregnant again and had a precious little boy. I had been acting as though I was entitled to never feel hurt, to have all my prayers answered because I was a child of the most High, because I was ‘someone’. I wouldn’t listen to the Lord, so He, in all His love had to forcefully remove me from my high horse; and it hurt. He loved me enough to say no so that I could get back in right standing before Him.

I got back into the Word, I had to find out who did God say He was. I went to the gospels to look at the life of Jesus as he demonstrated the Heart of God to the people here. In Luke 5:17-25 a man with palsy was lowered through a roof by friends for a healing and Jesus forgave his sins. He didn’t heal him at first although that was what was sought after. Jesus healed him to prove to the Pharisees that He had power upon earth to forgive sins. Jesus took care of what was most important first, not this man’s ability to walk, but to have his sins forgiven so that he could live in freedom. This man got both, but sometimes the healing doesn’t come. Sometimes all we get is freedom, and that’s okay because after all, isn’t that the best part? My mother wasn’t healed, and I experienced heartache, but she was set free, why should I grieve for that? She got the best part.

Then I read in Mark 6:45-55 that Jesus sent his disciples to cross the sea while He went alone to a mountain to pray. Jesus had just fed the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish, then we pick up in verse 48:

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed them by.”

Stop there. Jesus saw they were in trouble, they were doing something He told them to do, and He was going to walk by! Seven years of infertility, fours years into it I finally get peace just to have a miscarriage three years later. I was toiling in that boat and you were walking by. Why? In verse 51-52:

“…and he went up unto them into the ship; and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”

Maybe, my heart had hardened…maybe I’d become entitled, maybe because I unknowingly had fallen in love with your stuff, maybe because I needed to spend an evening at sea toiling with the winds to remind me that it is only when God steps into the boat, into my situation with His Grace that the winds become calm. My heavenly Father loved me enough to send me out onto the troubled sea so that I would give him opportunity to step into my boat so that when I come to the other side I can say, that I know Him. Verse 54:

“And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,”

I’ve recently learned, that sometimes the answer is no, that it is good for me to experience life and all the hurts that it has to offer. That God is not my self-help genie to protect me from all things uncomfortable, but that He is my Father and He loves me, and He wants to mold me into the best individual possible so that I can contribute in this life and not just consume. That means sometimes the healing won’t come, and the night will be spent toiling, but when the fourth watch has come, He will step into my situation and the winds will cease, and I will know Him even more because the storm is what brought Him into my boat.

 

After a childhood of abuse, the Lord delivered Sharon Mabry from a life of alcohol and drug abuse as well as self-mutilation. Sharon is a walking testimony to the power of grace and love through Jesus Christ. She joyfully serves the Lord as she stays home to raise her children.

A Mother’s Testimony

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BY MEGAN SMEDLEY

At age five, when my teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I said a mommy. Over time, that desire came and went in accordance to the level of orneriness of the children I was around. However, I never wanted kids more than in the moment I was told that children would not be a possibility for me.

At that time, I was a virgin. Kids weren’t exactly on my radar at that moment, but I am one of those people who always wants what she can’t have. You see, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome when I was 15, but was never really informed of what my body was going through each time a cyst bursted. When I was told that the scarring to my Fallopian tubes was too extensive for an egg to pass through, I was devastated.

Fast forward two or so years later, and I was in a very serious relationship with the man who is now my husband. About six months into our relationship, I felt the need to inform him of the possibility that I would never be able to have children. His support came immediately. He said things like, “There are all kinds of babies in the world who need homes” and “I love you no matter what.” I married him in 2014, and we agreed that we wouldn’t even think about babies until I finished my Master’s Degree, which I completed last May.

We immediately started trying. Month after month passed, and no luck. Each time my period came was like a slap in the face…a reminder that I may never have any children. I was broken.

Then one night, I was covering an event, (I spent almost two years working as a reporter for the local newspaper), and I was about to interview the keynote speaker. Her name was Carol Everett, and she was speaking to guests of a pregnancy center’s annual fundraising event. Carol had spent a large portion of her life working in the pro-choice industry. She worked six years in an abortion clinic and was part of 35,000 abortions. In 1983, she gave her life to Christ and now uses her experience and faith to help women who are dealing with crisis pregnancies. Her story is truly inspiring.

Once I finished my interview, she looked me deep in the eyes, and asked me if she could ask me a personal question. She asked me if my husband and I were trying to have a baby. I said yes, and then she asked if she could pray with me. She took my hands and asked God to open my womb and bless me with a child. By the end of her prayer, I was crying. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

That was November of last year. On December 2, we found out we were pregnant. I fully believe in the power of prayer, and believe that because of Carol’s fervency, we were blessed with our little one, who is expected to arrive in August.

Philippians 4:6- Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Megan Smedley is a wife and soon-to-be mother. With her first born due in August,  life has shifted from a focus on working and housekeeping to an emphasis on learning how to be the best mother she can be. Although her child is not here yet, she says she plans to be a very hands-on mom, while teaching her son to be respectful and engaged in what is going on around him.