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Friday, November 18, 2016

Miracle Baby: A Testimony Concerning Endometriosis

Four years ago, my husband and I started trying to have a baby. He has three children from a previous marriage that I love like my very own, but I wanted a child. I wanted to create a little life and be a part of every aspect of raising him or her. After the first year of trying, we sought medical advice. In 2013, we received the opinion of several doctors that all told me the same thing, my endometriosis prevented me from getting pregnant, and adoption was my only option.  I was crushed. Several years of severe pain and unhelpful treatment and medication were keeping me from the baby I longed for. My emotions having the best of me, I turned away from my faith, continually questioning why this was happening to me.

In November of 2015, my Dad invited me back to church. I was hesitant to go; it had been so long since I was in church and my relationship with Jesus was not where it needed to be. Taking a step of faith, I decided to go back to church. About two weeks later, I came to a Sunday evening service and rededicated my life to Jesus. I knew it was the best decision and that if anyone could take away my pain, Jesus could! After that, I started to pray for my husband’s salvation every single day. In the spring of 2016, my husband started attending church with me and gave his life to Jesus. Prayer does amazing things! During this time, I was beginning to heal emotionally from being told I’d never have children of my own, but still struggled. One day, I decided that I was going to leave it to God. If it was His will that I get pregnant then I would and if not, then He had greater plans for me.  My Pastor’s wife shared a scripture with me: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4. That scripture stayed with me, and I decided from that moment on that I would delight in Him.

In June of 2016, my cousin in Baltimore, who happens to be a youth minister, sent me a book called Supernatural Childbirth. The title sounded a little crazy at first. I waited about a week and then picked it up one evening and started reading. The book was a woman’s testimony on how she started speaking the word of God into her life and became pregnant after years of infertility. I had already tried the treatments and medications and they failed. Why not give the Word of God a chance? It was either going to help me or I’d still be infertile.

Every evening for about two weeks I studied my Bible. I picked out every scripture related to children, fertility, and God’s promises and wrote them down in my notebook. I spoke those scriptures over my life. I’d wake up and say to myself, “I am a child of God, His promises belong to me! My body will come into subjection with the Word of God and I will be healed in Jesus’ name!” In the evenings, my husband would speak a blessing over me and claim the promises in our lives.

When I went back to see my Endocrinologist, he did an ultrasound to check the progression of my endometriosis. He looked at me very confused and said, “It’s gone. I can’t explain it, but all your scar tissue is just not there anymore. I need to consult with a few colleagues of mine and I’ll get back to you on how to handle this.” I knew. I knew that I had been made whole. I knew right then that Jesus answered my prayers and healed me from the disease that I had suffered with for so long! I told the doctor it was because I was healed through prayer and claimed my healing through Jesus and he looked at me as if I were crazy, but I didn’t care, because nothing or no one could take away my joy. 

I shared my healing with my church family the next Sunday. I couldn’t wait to tell them since they had prayed for me and agreed that I would be completely healed. The pain was gone, the symptoms were gone, and my faith and relationship with Jesus grew so much stronger than it had ever been.

A week after being told my endometriosis was gone, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I despised taking these tests. It was always the same negative result and I got so tired of being disappointed. This time felt different, and I prayed before taking the test. Finishing, I put the test on my bathroom sink and walked away to prepare for the day. Almost forgetting about the test, I went back to the sink. I picked up the pregnancy test saw two dark lines, and I immediately began crying. I kneeled, thanking Jesus for giving me the desire of my heart. I finally got my blessing and I knew I never could have gotten where I was without Jesus. Treatment couldn’t heal me. Medication couldn’t heal me. Only the blood of Jesus Christ could heal me and set me free from my inability to bear a child. I was in shock for several days, but when I went to my first doctor’s appointment and saw my tiny baby on an ultrasound for the first time, it became so real.

Children truly are a gift from above. I am forever thanking God for my miracle baby. 

Whitney Stroop 
A stay at home wife and mom, Whitney is expecting a baby boy in a few months. Reading and bible journaling are a few of her favorite pastimes. Her favorite verse is the same scripture that her pastor's wife shared with her: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4. Delight she has, placing her relationship with Jesus first and foremost followed by family and church family. Whitney felt led to share her testimony in hopes to reach other women who may be struggling with infertility.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rivers Of Living Water

Today as I walked over the bridge where I take my morning walk, I glanced over the edge. The beautiful, early sunlight was dancing on the rippling waters. It took my breath away!

But almost immediately my eye was distracted by this clump of sticks, branches and dead leaves just beyond it. I noticed that the water on the other side of this debris was quite still.

 Well that isn’t pretty I thought! Why doesn’t someone clean those out? Immediately the Spirit started prodding me about His water, His beautiful living water! What might that look like in a heart? What might that look like in my heart? 

In John 7:37,38 Jesus stood and cried out,” If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ He was speaking of the Spirit whom those who believed in Him, were to receive. 
In John 4 Jesus spoke again, this time to the woman at the well telling her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Dear ones I want that beautiful dancing water in my heart, not the still water that no longer seems to have life in it because of the debris clogging it up. It is ours for the taking through Jesus! 

So I must ask myself, what water have I been drinking from? Am I looking for joy and life and peace in something other than Jesus? If I am trying to quiet my heart, satisfy my longing or fill myself with joy from any other source then I will find myself thirsty again and again. In fact, the more I partake of these other sources for my hearts longings the more insatiable my thirst will become. 

However, if I take my longings to Jesus, I will NEVER thirst again. In fact, the waters He gives me will become a well springing up to Eternal life! This never-ending source is something I can then share with others, again and again, never to run dry!

About Tara Dickson
I am Mama to four amazing children and Nana to one little girl that lights up my life! We said goodbye to my sweet husband this past February after a 1 year battle with brain cancer. We left family, friends and our farm of 25 years to move to Tennessee when the Lord called us. I believe in writing transparently because there isn’t time for anything else. Every day is a gift and as a family we are experiencing what it means to be “ Bruised But Not Broken”. I share freely of our lives and what God is teaching us but it always comes back to His word because it is the only thing that brings life. Our journeys may be different but we all need reminded that we have a hope that is an anchor for our soul. Our hope is Jesus and He is the same yesterday, today and forever, for you and for me.

   Find Tara at the links below: 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Sucking The Life Out Of You

Our first and only child is 18 months old, and for 27 months now, I have been a mother. There are no words, experiences, or amount of pre-anything counseling that could have prepared me, or anyone I suppose, for the realness and emotional rollercoaster that is motherhood. I remember the nervous excitement and anxious anticipation the day I saw a positive reading on the pregnancy test after months and months, maybe even years, of trying. I remember the butterflies in my stomach the first time we heard her heartbeat, a heartbeat that spilled awe from my soul, surging joy through my body until it seeped out of me through a smile and tears. I remember the excruciating ineffable pain of totally natural birth and staring hazily at the lights on the hospital ceiling, still very much in a postpartum state of numb mindlessness as a 7 pound 5 ounce baby girl was laid on my chest for the first time.
I remember a smile I had never seen before creep onto my husband’s glowing face as he held our daughter for the first time. I remember sensing the grand wonder and capability of life—realizing that this baby girl’s coming to be had caused us all to “come to be.” We became more, fulfilled more than we could ever have without her. This child changed who we were—changed me. She even gave us all new names: wife became “mother,” husband became “father”…
The first time she smiled in recognition that I was her mother, the first time she said my name, the first time she walked—all these moments are more precious to me than any physical thing I could present to you. Those short moments brought more joy than any other had in all my 26 years of life.
I remember the bankrupt sense of utter failure and helplessness as my child cried from hunger. I remember trying to feed her from my own body, my own body that was sore with pain and chaffing. Feeding her will bring her life. She needs life; she is hungry. But the pain—the tender, throbbing, torturous pain. I remember crying from the pain, wincing from the pain as I tore my daughter away from myself. She screamed. I screamed. We cried together.
I remember the bitter isolation, cold remote isolation that came short of a year after she was born. I was dying. Not physically, but in a very real way, I was dying. I used to do things. I used to go places. I used to have friends. I used to put on real clothes and read books and play music and discuss theology. And sleep. I used to sleep. But now, I was dying to myself and I felt alone. I remember feeling desolate, like I had no friends. I knew no one within 100 miles who was a new young mother, who had a new joy-bringing life-sucking baby, who was trying to learn to breastfeed or to care for another human being on an hour’s sleep. I was and am a stay-at-home mom, and those stay-at-home hours were long and hard, and in the beginning very lonely. I had so many people in my life who loved us and would ask about our baby girl. “How is she doing/eating/sleeping/adjusting? If there is anything I can do for you, do not hesitate to ask.” I love all those people and am amazed at their love for my child. So many asked what they could do, or how was my baby. But too few asked, “How are you?” Too few saw my baby, and never really saw me. How am I? Am I? I am not. I am dying to myself.
Jesus talked about dying to yourself. “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) We have to take up our cross: we have to die. The message of the gospel can be communicated in different ways, but simply put, Jesus came and died so that we might live. His death brought life.
For me, motherhood has been a process of learning to die to myself so that others might live, so that I might teach my daughter what Jesus’ selfless love really looks like and how it really does change the world and bring the kingdom come. It has been incredibly isolating at times, but I remember that Jesus felt isolated as he was dying. It has also brought me joy, and allowed me to become more like my Father.
Sure there are days I would love to sleep more or buy myself clothes for a change, days I wish I could go back to work full-time or just “go” without thinking twice about it. None of these things are bad. But through motherhood God is teaching me to die to my own wants and needs, and to esteem others as more important than myself. He is teaching me to be like Jesus for his glory’s sake.
Being a mother sucks the life out of you—figuratively in that you give everything you have, and literally if you breastfeed. But I say, let it suck the life out of you. Let it change who you are. Let it take your life until you die to yourself, and in dying to yourself are more conformed to the measure of Christ’s full stature, able to bring life to those around you, to your children, your husband, your family, everyone you encounter. Jesus taught us that death brings life. He died for God’s children and in doing so made them live. As mothers, let us die for our children to the glory of God the Father.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth –and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 2:3-11)

Courtney Bradley is a wife and mother, and somewhat of a theologian and philosopher. She is a graduate of Asbury University in Wilmore, KY where she studied Bible Theology and Philosophy. She married the love of her life and best friend, Patrick, in 2012 and they have one daughter, Claire (born 2015). She is a proud stay-at-home mom. She cares most about the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

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