TESTIMONIES

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story...

purity
A Vapor in God’s Plan

This is the story of me. But that’s not why I’m sharing it with you today. I want you to know how God changed my life and saved me from myself. I want you to see just how incredible God is. May He receive all the praise for what He has done with me, and may I continue to follow Him all the days of my life.

The Old Creation

Once there lived an old creation. Yes, an old creation. His name was Luke, and he looked like every other guy on the street; except for the fact that he was a Christian. But he wasn’t one of those strange religious types. He was a cool Christian; or at least he thought so. He showed off his skills to all his friends. He quietly pursued girls like all those around him, and tried to make his act look as good as possible.

He didn’t praise God unless it was Sunday, and even then he never got serious about it. He wouldn’t be a gentleman to anyone unless he was being forced to by his parents. Oh, he was a “good kid” compared to most, but he never rose too high above his peers’ expectations, and he only worked at something if he absolutely had to (or if it satisfied his own desires).

He never really thought about God much in his everyday life. He mostly had hateful thoughts, girls, or himself on his mind. He was a counterfeit of everything God planned for him to be as a man. He stood up for his hobbies, but never his Savior. He read his science-fiction books all the time, but his Bible remained closed Monday-Saturday. He was, to put it bluntly, a jerk disguised as a Christian. This was me in 2009-2010. Then God decided it was time for a change, and as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, He made me into a new creation. My old self passed, and behold, my new self came!

I never actually comprehended God’s intense love for me, and I never set my mind to do anything worthy of the Kingdom.
I don’t pride myself in the fact that I used to be that old creation. I was pretty bad, I must say. But when I possessed my old self, I played the part well. I didn’t go proclaiming my shameful spiritual condition throughout the halls. I just blended in, tried to look cool, and let my sheep costume make me resemble a true Christian just a little bit. That was all you needed to stay acceptable. Just a good act, cool friends, and “Christianity” (to the short extent of your parent’s beliefs). You just needed to know that God existed, and that as long as your friends liked you, you were doing all right. I based my entire Christianity on feelings and the “religious status” of my family. I didn’t know or care about any solid proof for God’s existence. I never actually comprehended God’s intense love for me, and I never set my mind to do anything worthy of the Kingdom. If I did do something Christ-like, it was basically a way to get some points up on the board for myself, not really to set a good lifelong or even week-long habit.

I was, as modern terminology would say, a nominal Christian. One of the definitions of the word “nominal” is: “Existing in name only.” That’s exactly what I was doing as a Christian. I was a Christian in my name alone, not in my actions, words, or desires. The only reason anyone would call me a Christian was because I said I was a Christian. Nobody could see the life of Christ reflected in my pursuits and habits. I loved the world, and kept God in my back pocket as hell insurance. Little did I know that God was not giving up on me yet. He chased me down, got my attention, and saved me from a life of hypocrisy. I’ll never forget His incredible grace and love in doing so.

The Turning Point

“Oh great, another sermon on saving your virginity until marriage,” I thought as I looked over the sheet my mom had handed me. It was a schedule for all the talks I would be attending at that year’s annual INCH conference. INCH is a conference where speakers and authors come and give talks in a series of rooms. It’s based on homeschooling and Christian living, and one of the talks my mom had signed me up for was called, “When God Writes Your Love Story.” I wasn’t exactly thrilled. All the speakers do in those talks is tell you not to have sex before marriage and marry a Christian who goes to church, right? Nope. Not this time. I was in for quite a surprise when I stepped foot into the Lansing Center building on that life-changing day in May of 2011.

I entered the room and sat down. Before the day began, a man named Eric Ludy gave a speech for the teen guys who were volunteering at the INCH conference; that included me. The Holy Spirit went to work on me as soon as he spoke. Eric had a style unlike any other. I could tell from the ever-present smile on his face and the tone in his voice that he truly believed what he was saying. He really loved God. I could tell he really meant what he said. He felt it in his heart. I wanted whatever it was this man had that made him seemingly invincible in the face of the world. Later I realized that through that speech God was working on my heart and preparing me for a transformation beyond anything I thought was possible.

Later, I found the room where “When God Writes Your Love Story” was taking place, and I waited yet again for this strangely vigorous man with such a fire in his heart for God. He and his wife presented the talk together, and as they got into the message they described how to handle love Biblically. They made the bold statement that romantic love is to be saved for one; that God planned one person for us to spend our lives with, and that we are not to squander our passion on whomever we happen to “like” at that particular moment. We are to give our desires to the Lord and wait for His perfect timing. We are to step back, let God write our love story, and give Him our all. This is what their message was about. This is what God used to change my life.

After the talk was over, I went out into the main hall of the Lansing Center and found one of my friends. We talked a bit, but I wasn’t really paying much attention. I was in a daze. Thousands of thoughts about girls, dating, and purity raced across my mind. I had never thought about not dating before. I figured dating was what everyone did when they were old enough. The idea of not chasing after girls was new to me. It was as if someone told me right was wrong and wrong was right. It was astounding, and at the same time strangely drawing. For the first time in my life I felt a desire to serve my future wife and to love her. I really wanted to pursue this “saving my affections” thing, and if you know me, you know that when I truly set my mind to do something, I don’t give up. I’m quite stubborn with what I adhere to in life. If I was going to do this, I was going to put my all into it. There would be no turning back.

The New Life

purityAfter that incredible experience I did some serious thinking. I decided that I couldn’t figure this whole thing out just by remembering what Eric and Leslie said at the conference. I needed to look into it deeper. One of my friends had a copy of Eric and Leslie’s book, “When God Writes Your Love Story,” so I borrowed it. After reading it, I felt like I had found something sincerely worth committing to in life. Before this, I struggled with the purpose of my existence and what I was living for. As my actions made clear, I didn’t want to live for God, and if God wasn’t the purpose of my efforts then what was I doing here on this planet? All I ever pursued in my free time were my hobbies, and they didn’t outweigh all the damage that was in my relationships with my siblings, or the anger and resentment I felt regularly at my schoolwork or my parents. But after I read that book I discovered something valuable, something worth devoting my life to. I wanted in. I made the choice to go all out in favor of this crazy idea of waiting for love and genuinely living for God.

Little did I know how difficult this path I had chosen would be. As I moved into this new lifestyle, I found so many things in my life that didn’t match up with my passion to serve God in my romantic desires. After all, I couldn’t abstain from pursuing girls and still treat them like objects, so I found myself wanting to serve God in my view of girls. I couldn’t treat girls as precious jewels made in the image of God while still hating my brothers, so I tried to heal those relationships. And I couldn’t do all this heart-searching without realizing that I was so absent from my Bible and so dead in my prayer life, so I started looking for ways to establish those habits in my daily routine. One thing came after another, and with the help of some fantastic books, I suddenly became so aware of what I should have been doing and what I needed to stop doing. The Holy Spirit was convicting me and changing me.

The Commitment

A few months after these remarkable events, I went to the “Basic Life Principles” seminar with my dad. It was a speaker talking about the truth behind so many “harmless” things we see the world doing, and how to live Biblically in every little decision we face in life. It was a huge turning point for me, and during it I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. I’d thought that I had given my life to God before this, but I know it wasn’t genuine. I was “saved” at four years old, but I remember now that my motives were to please my mom and dad and to fit in. I didn’t care about actually following God. Frankly, I was a bit young to fully understand it, and the fact that my actions didn’t improve at all afterwards affirms that nothing really happened. This event, however, was different. This wasn’t fake spiritual-sounding chatter. This was a real encounter with God and a real commitment. This was my true day of salvation. I knew that from that moment on I never had to worry about Satan telling me I wasn’t saved, because now I really was. Whenever he decided to whisper lies in my ear I could point him to the Basic Life Principles seminar, where God Almighty changed me from a pathetic nominal Christian to an authentic believer.

Today
I want Christ to use me to save those in the same condition I was, especially the youth.
I look back on those defining months of my life with joy, but also with sadness. I’m so grateful to my Lord for saving me from my hypocritical lifestyle, and at the same time I see hundreds around me who are still trapped in the endless cycle of an uncommitted, counterfeit, “Christian” routine. I pity them all the more because I was one of them. I long to be able to help them and talk to them, I pray for them, and I plan to one day devote my entire career and life to saving them. Unless God calls me to something different, I want Christ to use me to save those in the same condition I was, especially the youth. So much begins with the youth of our planet. All the kids who couldn’t care less about God are the next leaders! All the children who see God as a get-out-of-hell-free card are the next generation’s pastors and missionaries! How scary is that? Today I see an ocean of shallow, pitiful kids like I was, obsessed with the world and avoiding God as much as possible.

Do you think I’m being harsh? I know because I was there. I know what I did. I know what was going on among Christian youth. I know how to play the act of a “Christian kid,” and I know what to say to appear secure in Christ. This is happening everywhere. Most just ignore it or don’t realize it. This issue is not just something that a few old people are fretting over. It’s a serious problem, and it needs to be addressed if there is to be any hope for the next generation.

The instruction of the church’s youth cannot be dumbed down or held back.

We young people know that committing to something requires work, and we’re pretty smart too. We can figure out how to hide practically anything from our parents, can’t we? We can put hours and hours into our friends and our video games, right? Well, then we can understand that in order to call ourselves Christians we need to put that time and energy into God! We can handle theology! We can comprehend that it’s all in or it’s all out! Please tell us the Truth! Tell us that there’s no in between! Make it known that we’re either a friend to God and an enemy to the world, or an enemy to God and a friend to the world (James 4:4). We could see that, if only more people were telling us that. Don’t treat us like we’re not responsible to live passionately for God. We’re just as responsible as any Christian! We don’t need another feel-good speech from a guy who tells us, “It’s ok, because everyone sins.” We don’t need pampering. We need challenging messages that show us we are hypocrites and lost sinners! We need understanding of God’s complete forgiveness and His power to overcome our sin. We need encouragement not to “be a man” or “do our own thing,” but to follow God relentlessly.

How About You?

If your life fails to testify to God’s work in your heart and mind, you might want to reconsider your title of “Christian.” It’s true that all genuine Christians stumble and everyone does sin. But those who are saved do not keep on sinning (1 John 3:6) like I did a couple years ago. Ever since God saved me, I know I’ve been different. Yes, I still sin on a regular basis. Yes, I still have a LOT of work to do. But now I know that the Holy Spirit is with me and in me, changing my life day by day. I feel something that was not there before. Do you feel it? Ask God to reveal to you what your life looks like to Him. Ask God to open your heart and your eyes if you’ve been shutting Him out in favor of social media or romance. Be honest with yourself. Are you a Christian? Are you a follower of God? If not, “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). Ask God to save you from your sinful cravings and mold you into a committed believer for Him; not just on Sunday or in public, but all the time and everywhere. Are you a friend of God? Or are you a friend of the world? I was God’s enemy, and He chose to save me. I pray he does the same for you.

“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3:6-10

A Chapter of Sorrow

I am blessed with a loving and caring husband, Lee, and we have two beautiful daughters, Rhoni-lee and Jaeya. Some women go through life with their family planning all worked out, like it is a given. Firstly to fall pregnant, but secondly to have a live healthy baby. We approach having a family as “consumers,” with an attitude of “this is what I want, and this is when I want it!”

I was one of those “well God, I’d like to start a family when I turn 30. I’ll have two children, thanks. Oh gender? Hmm… you choose – thanks amen!” Many friends of mine, Christian and non-Christian alike, have experienced frustration and heartache when confronted with difficulty in falling pregnant or have experienced the unthinkable tragedy of a stillborn baby. Personally, I had no problem with conception, maybe it was my genetics? At last count, between my seven siblings and I, we have 33 children! Praise God, Lee and I had no problems with starting a family and I am convinced that as tough as life may get there is no greater joy than knowing we have two little girls to share this life with.

tears-verseSadly, for many years the joy of being a mum had been stolen from me. I was incapable of enjoying my children as I worked through debilitating grief. The reason for my grief was the loss of three beautiful babies; my little ones that I had to hold for but a short while before Jesus called them home. Waiting for me in Heaven are my twin girls, Jessica (stillborn) and Jasmine (passed away after 12 hours) and my son, Connor (stillborn).

Even as I write their names I feel an ache in my heart and tears begin to well in my eyes, it is an emptiness that will never leave until our reunion in Heaven. As Christians, Lee and I believe the promises of God, we believe in Heaven not as some religious mumbo jumbo but as a reality of what lies ahead.

I will see my children again and until that day I know they are safe in the arms of Jesus. We all experience pain and suffering that can seem unreasonable but I am convinced our suffering and testing is not without reason.

Although I have many unanswered questions, I know that God is trustworthy and He is good, therefore in spite of my earthly pain and sorrow I will stand firm on the promise made by the apostle Paul;

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

2 Corinthians 4:17, NKJV

What a glorious day it will be when our earthly pain will cease and God will wipe every tear away.

perfect love casts out fear
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear (Stacey’s Story)

Many evils confront the (consistently) righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

“You are nobody! You will always be nobody! No man will ever want you! You are crazy! It’s all your fault!” These are actual words I have heard growing up and in relationships. It seemed no matter where or who I turned to, the end results would be the same; a deep wound to the soul. So desperately longing to be loved, accepted, validated, I would subconsciously seek out relationships that would only solidify my already low image of myself.

Oh, I didn’t do this on purpose, mind you. But, when you have grown up with rejection, it does attach itself to you throughout your life, until something changes. The residue of rejection will torment you until God intervenes and you make the choice to accept His love and help.

I didn’t grow up in a church. There were a couple times I remember my aunt taking us to church for Vacation Bible School, but I never knew the Lord. The idea of a Jesus out there that could love me was hard for me to grasp. Not even my own father could love me, and if a heavenly Father, God, was anything like my earthly father, then surely He must be an angry, unapproachable, and a disappointed God of wrath too.

It is true, our first relationship with our father does shape how we view our Heavenly Father. Sadly, the representation here on earth does not always nurture a true image of a Father’s love.

This is what rejection does to you:

  • It causes you to hide.
  • It causes you to lie.
  • It causes you to fear.
  • It cause you to not trust.
  • It causes you to not know your own identity.

As a young runaway, I learned how to be whoever I needed to be in the given moment. It was a survival tactic. I had so many aliases, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Living on the street, then cocktail waitressing in NYC at the age of 15, I met some shady characters. I also met some good people. You know, we do not always recognize the hand of God on us, or His protection, at the time. It is usually a hindsight, when we look back and wonder how we even survived.

Funny, the very thing I was running from, I ran right to. I ran from an abusive father right into a marriage with an abusive man. Having been on my own, mostly since the age of 12, I didn’t know what it was to be a real woman. I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. I had my “idea” of what I wanted, I just didn’t know how to get there. I believe inside I didn’t believe I deserved anything better than to be beat down, abused, abandoned, rejected, cheated on, and used. I did not know what love looked like.

His Word says, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” 1 John 4:18 (AMP) I was covered in fear.

We all have a past, we come from different walks of life, different experiences, and most of us carry deep wounds that pierce even to the soul. The depth of the wounds can blind us to truth, cloud our vision, and distort our minds. But God!

I could probably write page after page of everywhere I have been, what I have done, or has been done to me. We could sit here and swap war stories all day, no doubt. But, I would much rather give God glory, because I was not an easy case, I was deeply wounded, scared, and in hiding.

Yet, He reached down and pulled me up. He did this, not because I was looking for Him, but because He was looking for me. What He has done for me, He will do for you.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Revelation 12:11

Of course, if I had a choice, I would have written a better life story. But, I do not regret one experience, because had I not experienced what I have, I may not be where I am now. I would not have the ministry I have now. Of course there are still some residual effects, but He is delivering me and healing me from it all.

I met Jesus when I was in my early thirties. It was no gradual introduction, either. I believe He speaks to us in a way He knows we will understand. He meets us right where we are. In our mess, He is right there.

He grabbed me, opened my eyes to see Him, loved on me, and changed me from the inside out. He did such a mighty move inside of me, I looked in the mirror and expected to see Him staring right back at me.

Where I was once surrounded by darkness, He shone His light. Nature was more beautiful, the sky was bluer, He gave me a love for people, and a hunger for His Word. In short, I could not get enough of Him. He planted me in a home church that mentored me and helped me to grow.

perfect love casts out fear

Fast forward… He called me as an Evangelist. I was in ministry and doing a good work for Him. It would be easy to think if you are doing a good work for Him and trusting Him everything would be easy, right? I mean, after all, I am a Spirit filled believer, chasing after His heart, seeking to do His will and believing every Word He spoke. But, there is a reason He has told us to pick up our cross… a cross is a heavy thing to carry. A cross is what He hung from. A cross signifies death. And there is death in carrying the cross, it is a death to yourself, to the world, and to what once held you in bondage. There were times I felt utterly alone and the only consolation I had was clinging to His promise He would never leave me.

Being saved and in ministry did not save my marriage. I am not saying it was His will for my marriage to end. But we all have a free will, don’t we. His love is unconditional and unending. There may be natural consequences to our choices, but He is not angry with us, His children. It seemed the closer I got to Him the more hell was raining down on me. The attacks were very real and came from those I loved dearly.

I remember one evening, looking into the night sky and crying out to Him. “God! Are You even out there?!” I was broken and hurting. I was tired of loss. I had no one else to turn to, I had only Him, and I wanted Him to intervene and make things all better. I was asking the wrong questions. I was asking Him to change my circumstances, I should have been asking Him to change me. So, I yell out, “God! Are You even out there?!” and immediately He answered, “I am right here.”

Ah, yes, He is right here. And with Him is peace that passes all understanding. The kind of peace that says, I do not know why things are the way they are, and I do not know what the future holds, but I do trust You have it all under control, I trust You.

Salvation is the greatest gift and testimony we could have. The testimony is, while we were far away from God He sent His Son to reconcile us and draw us close. Throughout our walk with Him in the flesh that dies daily, He does do marvelous works in and through us. His Word promises, He will never leave us or forsake us. Though the world rejects you, though those who you love dearly and trusted may abandon you, He never will. And how can we know this unless we experience it?

There have been many times the demon of rejection will come knocking on my door and I have to resist it. Perfect love cast out all fear takes on a new meaning when you understand His love is perfect. When we truly know and believe how much He loves us then we will not have to fear the loss of anything or anyone in this temporal life here. We will find true freedom in His love to know who we are in Him and what our calling is.

Of course I have not arrived to complete healing. The wounds from the past are deep. He takes me step by step, glory to glory, and together He and I unearth the wounds and He says, “Do not be afraid, I am going to walk with you through this.”

Romans 8:28 has become my life verse. For I know all things will work together for my good, because I love Him and I have been called according to His purpose. The key word is HIS PURPOSE. Not my purpose, His purpose. Think about that. We partner with Him for His purpose. He chose us!

There is a season for everything. We have seasons of rest and then we have seasons where we have to do battle and resist. We must remember, the battle is not ours, but it is His. We have to trust He will fight for us, protect us, and when we have gone through the fire we will come forth as gold.

Do not be ashamed of where you have been, or where you came from. Your past does not dictate your future. Once you have received Him you are a new creation. Only He is able to heal and deliver. Only through Him do we find wholeness, nothing lacking.

How wonderful that God, creator of all things, who has no beginning and no end, chose us! He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. The God who parted the red sea will go before you and make your path straight.

You are loved by Him, highly favored by Him, and in Him there is no shame.

Be Free & Stay Free

Fishers of Men

In the books of Matthew and Mark, Jesus tells Simon and Andrew that if they follow Him, He will make them “fishers of men.” Why would becoming fishers of men be of interest to a couple of fishermen? They were fishers of fish! And just how does one go “fishing” for men anyway? What bait should be used? How big would the hook have to be? Herein lies the story of one such man, or should I say “fish,” and just how it was that Jesus was able to catch him.

As a fisherman myself, there are several things you need to know in order to have a successful fishing trip. Without knowing what you are fishing for, how can you possibly succeed? The following is a short list of things one needs to know in order to catch fish.

  1. Know where the fish are.
  2. Know what equipment you will need.
  3. Know what fish like to eat.
  4. Know when fish like to eat.
  5. Know how to “present” the bait…the lure.

I have discovered that fishing for men is no different than fishing for fish. You don’t even need a license! And you can fish for them year round! In season and out of season. You just can’t keep them or fillet them. It’s strictly catch and release.

fishers of menWhen God set out to “catch” me, He knew everything about me. My deep, dark secrets, all of the mistakes I had made. He knew what things interested me. He knew the things I craved and the things I thought about when the lights were out and I was all alone. Points 1, 3 and 4 in the list above were already taken care of. He still needed Point #2 though…the right equipment.

Enter a good-looking, well-constructed woman onto the scene. Right equipment? Check! Presentation? Check! God had everything in place to catch me and I was totally oblivious to what was going on. I couldn’t even see the hook! That’s because The Holy Spirit cannot be seen.

Unbeknownst to me, the new friend in my life was a Christian. And she was fishing, just like Jesus had taught her to do. And NOT the way the world teaches.

The day of my transformation was January 15, 2006. I was sitting in church with my wife, the result of a guilt trip my new friend had laid on me. Or should I say the Holy Spirit did. I heard a message that day from the pulpit that was exactly what I needed to hear and I became a believer in Jesus Christ right then and there.

Psalm 37:4 says:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

That is SO true. One of the first things I felt convicted about when I came to believe was not being a godly father to my children. I had failed them AND God in my opinion. But God is a God of many chances. And what do you think He would have me do? How about a volunteer with a youth group. My children were grown and out of the house but suddenly I had dozens of kids to guide and mentor. It was perfect. It was SO God.

Many wonderful relationships came out of the time I spent with those kids. And God was true to His promise. He gave me the desires of my heart. Both of my kids now go to church each week with their spouses – a blessing indeed! Do they believe? I can’t tell that, only God can. But the chances sure a better sitting in a pew rather than a recliner at home!

There is great joy in becoming a fisher of men. You should try it some time. I did. Oh, how I love to watch God pursuing these young people! They are a tricky fish to catch but God is a pro angler. He can even catch fish using old rusted equipment like me – a grandfather” to the next generation.

fishers-of-menHave you ever noticed what letter a fish hook looks like. Coincidence? I think not!

“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
– John 21:3-7

 

Victory Over Infertility
And The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt in our Household

VICTORY OVER INFERTILITY ISSUES

We were married in 1982. At 20 and 22 years of age, we weren’t real sure what direction we wanted our lives to go in, but one thing we knew for sure was that we wanted children.

Although we discussed the topic briefly, the question of whether we could have children or not never came up. There was no reason for it to come up. Having children was the natural progression of life for us….or so we thought.

In the beginning, there was no sense of urgency to get pregnant. We knew it would happen eventually. In the meantime, we enjoyed unwrapping this new gift of marriage that we both were complete novices at.

A year came and went fast. We were still enjoying our new marriage but in the back of our minds we were beginning to wonder why there hadn’t been any signs or symptoms of pregnancy.

At the start of year number 2, we decided to make getting pregnant a priority, although at the time I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what more we could have done on our own to make it happen.

6 more months went by. 2 ½ years into married life and a little sense of anxiety began to set in each month. And each month our disappointment grew more and more.

We both made appointments with our doctor to find out if there was something medically wrong that was prohibiting us from having children.

After months of testing, our doctor told us that more than likely we would never be able to have children.
After months of testing, our doctor told us that more than likely we would never be able to have children. To this day I don’t remember how or why he came to that conclusion. Maybe the explanation was given to us and we were in such a fog that we mentally checked out after his opening remarks. On a positive note, at least we knew indeed that there was some sort of medical reason for our failed attempts.

We both got the feeling that our doctor was tired of seeing us. It was almost as if he thought we would have given up on the issue of having kids over the months that he had been seeing us. It felt like we put him in the uncomfortable position of having to tell us that there was no hope, because we were too stupid to give up on our own.

We shook our doctor’s hand and thanked him for spending as much time on/with us as he had over the previous months. There wasn’t a lot said in the car on the way home after the appointment that afternoon.

My wife had been raised in the church. I on the other hand had been a Christian for less than a year. In most instances, spiritual immaturity when you’re heartbroken and disappointed over life taking you in a direction contrary to where you want to go can be devastating. For me, this “challenge” provided an adrenaline rush.

Looking back on it now, I can see that I had several things going in my favor.

  • I had an insatiable thirst for the Word of God.
  • I had not been “churched” yet. Meaning that I hadn’t been around enough Christians to tell me that simply believing what the Word of God says is no guarantee that prayer will be answered.
  • I had an amazing Pastor/mentor during this first major test of my faith.

When we got home from the doctor’s office we talked about what we were going to do. I knew what I wanted to do; I suppose I just needed to know what direction my wife wanted to go in.

Praise God we felt the same about the situation! While we believed in medical science, we knew that medical science isn’t always the last word. God placed the desire for children in our hearts. These feelings weren’t something we conjured up on our own. I knew in my heart that there was no way I was going to be denied the son that I had looked forward to having since before I was married.

First things first

During this time in my life I was working on a job with split shifts. My lunch break was 3 hours long. I spent my lunchtime alone at San Antonio Park in Long Beach, CA soaking up the Word of God each and every day. I was captivated by it. Not counting the time I spend at church in the Sunday services and in midweek bible studies, I was getting 15 hours per week of good solid bible teaching.

Before we went before the Lord, I knew we had to build a foundation upon which to build our prayer. If the foundation for prayer wasn’t laid clearly and correctly, the enemy could cause doubt to creep in later on.

We searched the scripture and found Deuteronomy 28:11 (And the Lord will cause you to abound in prosperity in the fruit of your body…) and Psalm 37:4 (Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall grant thee the desires of thy heart) and we used them as our foundational scriptures.

We took our prayer before the Lord and settled our faith using 1 John 5:14-15.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15

We left our prayer closet joyfully, knowing in our hearts that it was done.

Faith that Stands the Test of Time

1 year came and went. With each day, we thanked God for answered prayer, acknowledging that our son was on the way.

The 2nd year came and went. Still no signs of pregnancy. We shared our hopes and dreams with those around us. This was a big mistake. Those around us couldn’t see the vision we had of overcoming the challenge of infertility; therefore they inadvertently became more of a hindrance to our faith than allies of ours.

2 years and 6 months came and went. Now I’m beginning to get ticked off. My faith in God and His Word was growing by leaps and bounds. I knew that we were going to have a son and I was ticked off at the enemy for interfering with what I knew the will of God was for our lives.

Strictly as an act of rebellion, I remember coming home from work and proposing an idea to my wife. We first sat down and assessed where our fatigue level was, spiritually speaking. After all, it had been 2 1/2 years with no sign of answered prayer. I knew I was stronger now than I was when we began, but it was important for me to find out where her faith level was because I was about to take things to a new level.

delight-verse3I posed a series of questions to her first (so that she wouldn’t think that I was off my rocker!) I asked her, ”We prayed for a baby correct?” She replied yes. “We prayed for a son, correct?” She replied yes…

Well then if we can pray for a baby and believe, based on scripture that we will have one and if we can pray for a son and expect to receive one, then why can’t we pray and ask God for certain physical and personality traits that we want him to have?

What I meant was that if we can pray for the particular sex of the child, why can’t we pray and ask God for a certain complexion, eye color, personality trait etc.?

This type of prayer may seem presumptuous to some but you have to remember that all the time I was spending reading through God’s Word didn’t magnify what we can’t do. My eyes were focused on God’s Word and all I could find in there was what we could do. My focus was on scriptures like “All things are possible to he that believes, (Mark 9:23) and He that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20).

I could tell that my wife was kinda skeptical, but after a few days of milling over the limitlessness of God, she excitedly got on board and we went before the Father with a modification request to our original prayer.

My wife and I prayed for our son to have hazel eyes. We prayed for him to have brown curly hair. We prayed for him to have a light caramel complexion. We prayed for him to have a calm, even demeanor. We prayed that there will be no “terrible two’s” in either our lives or his. We shielded him from birth with the protection of God that would follow him all the days of his life.

Please understand that this new updated prayer had nothing to do with us thinking that we wanted a “pretty” child or a kid that was striking in appearance to others. This new prayer had to do with a rebellious spirit aimed at the forces seeking to stop our blessing from reaching us. This new prayer was us snubbing our noses at the enemy and telling him that the more difficult he tries to make it on us, the bigger the testimony we were going to have at the end of this journey.

My wife and I asked for features in our son that are very difficult for two people with our physical attributes to produce. But at the end of the day, it is the Lord our God who would get the glory for doing what is impossible for man to do.

The 3rd year came and went. The 4th year came and went. The 5th year came and went. Then after 5 years and 6 months, my wife announced to me that she was pregnant. After having lived in anticipation of this moment for so long, the announcement seemed a little anti-climactic. I had lived in a state of expectancy to such a degree that when the day finally came, it seemed as though I had been through it already.

The pregnancy only lasted 8 months. During my wife’s 8th month checkup the doctor discovered the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. He said that if she tried to give birth to him naturally, there might be complications so she went in for a planned C-Section.

daddysgirl3Then on December 4th, 1989 the Word of God became flesh in our lives in the form of our son Jonathan Randle Winfield at just under 10 lbs.

The journey which was impossible according to man culminated 5 ½ years after it began and we now have a walking, talking, living testimony of what faith in the Word of God will produce.

And remember that prayer request update that we made at the 2 ½ year mark? Every single thing that we included in the updated prayer request was granted to us. Our handsome young man is now 26 years old with a 5 year old daughter of his own and his own son scheduled to arrive in August, 2015.

Is anything too hard for God?

I can say emphatically NO! The only limits that God has to contend with are those placed upon Him by us. The photo above is of the Word which became flesh in my life, Jonathan Winfield holding his daughter and my granddaughter, Kylie Winfield.

Thank you for allowing me to share this testimony with you. I pray that others will find inspiration and hope in the words they’ve read here.