The Next Step

standard June 22, 2016 4 responses

Now that I have made it through three years of seminary and have graduated with my Masters in Theological Studies, many of you have been asking me what my next step will be.  It’s a valid question and one that my husband would like the answer to as well!

The spiritual answer is: I’ll do whatever the Lord tells me to do.  But the more accurate answer is: I don’t exactly know yet.

When I began this journey several years ago, I felt a calling on my life to be a Bible teacher to women.  That call was confirmed by the Lord through people who I respect in the faith.  I had already been leading a Women’s Bible Study at my church, but I felt the Lord calling me to go deeper.  I felt that I needed to be better equipped if I was going to be a professional Bible teacher, which led to seminary training.

And now that I am trained and equipped, I am ready to hit the ground running and produce a little ROI (that’s a financial term meaning Return On Investment) for all those tuition expenses I incurred for our family.  Yet, there is no job waiting for me.

Instead, my future is a wide open space with several different paths that could be taken.  It’s exciting and scary at the same time.  There are endless possibilities and opportunities, but knowing when and how to start is a little daunting.

It’s going to require (dare I say it?!) FAITH.

But isn’t that what walking with the Lord is all about?  Taking that next step in faith, and then another, and then another.  Sometimes we’ll stumble a bit, and other times we may fall flat on our face, but we’ll let our Savior pick us back up, dust us off, and set us back on the right path.  And other times we will see so clearly the victories He has supplied us with and we will rejoice and celebrate.  Step by step we’ll just keep exercising our faith until we’ve done all we can in this lifetime and then we’ll walk straight into His loving arms.

So for now, I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other by writing that next blog post for Reflecting Light, sending devotionals to Lifeway Women and other venues for publication consideration, speaking at Women’s Conferences (contact me!), asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the path I’m supposed to take.  Knowing that with each step taken I can stand on His promise with confidence that He who began this good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

What next step is the Lord asking you to take in faith?  I’d love for us to walk together.  We can encourage each other to press on in this walk of faith knowing that there is strength in numbers and that our faith is grown when we step out of our comfort zone.

Will you join me?  Yes?! Then let’s go!

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Do it, Lord.  Illuminate the path You would have us take today.  Keep us moving ahead, taking those next steps in FAITH knowing that You are faithful to complete that good work in us that You began all those years ago.  Let us reflect Your light to the world and may You always be glorified with each step we take.  Amen.d1ebd3d4457ed37c130ef2fa090d4542

I Will Testify

standard September 24, 2015 7 responses

Do you believe in the supernatural power of God? I do and I have for several years. But this month I got to experience a supernatural work in my own life.

This is a picture of me with some new friends on a flight to El Salvador that I almost didn’t have the privilege of being on.

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In the early summer months, I received an invitation from a Compassion Advocate to attend a women’s only mission trip with Compassion International in September to El Salvador. Knowing that I would be taking eight credit hours in my Master’s program this fall I was somewhat hesitant to commit right away. But earlier that spring, through the Compassion Experience, the Lord had led our family to sponsor a child from El Salvador. His name is Jaime (pronounced Hi-mee) and he was absolutely adorable in his white tennis shoes. My husband was instantly drawn to him and claimed him as our own. We began praying for him and writing him letters, and in one such letter Adams sent him a verse, Jeremiah 33:3: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’FullSizeRender 2

I told my friend, the Compassion Advocate, that we were actually the sponsors of a child from El Salvador and I wondered if I could meet him while on the trip, however, I did realize that El Salvador is a country, and it may not be feasible to ask for such a request. My friend was quick to call Compassion and they answered that it could indeed be done. I took this a sign from the Lord that I was to participate on this trip and I immediately began brushing up on my Spanish. (Hola!)

Two weeks before I was set to leave on my trip to El Salvador, I began to feel ill. I called my husband (thinking it was possibly food poisoning) and asked if he was feeling the same way, but he was not. I brushed it off and that next day he left for a spiritual men’s retreat in which he had been planning for several months. The following day the pain in my stomach worsened. I thought possibly I had an ulcer, so I contacted my good friend and pharmacist and asked her for antacids to help relieve the pain.  But the pain in my stomach was substantially increasing each day and eventually I was not able to stand up straight.  I finally accepted that I was in a real predicament so I drove myself to my doctor’s office and begged to be seen. He was gracious to see me, but when he delivered the news that my symptoms pointed to appendicitis I was upset.

I do not have time for this! I am leaving for my trip to El Salvador in two weeks. My husband is out of town. Doesn’t this require surgery? I can’t have surgery. I have school on Monday. What should I do?!

A CT Scan was scheduled for the following week and I was given strict instructions on what to do if I needed to go to the Emergency Room over the weekend. I called my husband and relayed the bad news with a shaky voice and more than a few tears shed. Ever the voice of reason, he assured me that the Lord was in control and he began making phone calls to surgeons to put together a game plan for us. I was grateful for the support, but I knew that his concern over my situation was taking away from his effectiveness at the retreat…which was exactly what the enemy wanted.

The next day I woke up with a pounding headache, no doubt detoxing from sugar and caffeine due to my lack of appetite. I forced myself to eat a small bowl of cereal and slipped outside to do my Bible reading before my girls woke up. While I was in the middle of reading, I started praying for healing. It was in that moment that the Lord met me where I was.

I kept saying, “I will testify. Lord, please heal me and I will testify.” And while I was praying, I literally felt the pain leave my stomach and disperse into thin air.

When I closed my eyes I saw everything that I had on my plate: Seminary, Bible Study, a Women’s Retreat, the Compassion trip, my ministry with Reflecting Light, my girls’ schoolwork. I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “All these things are good and important, but you, April, are trying to do them in your own strength and not Mine. Give them back to Me and let Me accomplish what I want done.” So I did and the burden was lifted.

You may be asking yourself, “Why is she telling me all this?” The reason is, dear friend, I told the Lord that I would testify and so I am here to do just that: to testify of His faithfulness once again in my life.

The Bible Study that our Wednesday morning group is currently doing is on Spiritual Warfare and putting on the Armor of God. I don’t think that it is any coincidence that my health was attacked prior to my Compassion trip and other ministry opportunities. Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Rest assured, our God is victorious! But sometimes our faith requires us to stand firm and fight the enemy. Not in our own strength, but in His! And then we need to testify.

To conclude, I did have the CT Scan performed the following week so that everyone’s mind could be at ease before I left for a third world country. We were not surprised when the scan came back “normal” and there was no inflammation in or around my appendix. I was truly healed and cleared to go on what would be a life changing trip for me. But more on that next week…

Thank you, sweet reader, for taking the time to hear my testimony. The Word of God says that the accuser (Satan) will be overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  (Revelation 12:10-11).  Believe it! There is power in the Word of God and in our testimony.

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Now it’s your turn! Please share any story you might have of God’s supernatural work in your life.

The Art of Remembering

standard March 4, 2015 Leave a response

What comes to mind when you hear the word “REMEMBER?”

Do you immediately think of your insane to-do list? To feed the dog? To call your mom? To pick up milk at the store? To read your Bible??

Or does your mind flash back to a memory? Perhaps a sweet one from your childhood. Or maybe you find yourself desperately trying to forget a painful memory.

This past Sunday, I listened as a speaker talked about this word “remember” and it stirred up a host of emotions within me. She described a difficult season of her life when she found herself not knowing what to pray. Her friend suggested that she just start to remember. When she did, she saw God’s faithfulness within her life and marriage and it began to revive her.

Have you ever been there?  I certainly have, as you may have gathered from my story.

Some of my memories are so sweet: a blessed childhood, a fairytale wedding, and two beautiful babies being born to this barren woman.

And some are laced with sorrow: the death of my brother thirteen years ago this Sunday, years of infertility, and some close friendships that were lost along the way.

But, thankfully, I’m not the only one doing the remembering. There is a faithful God who remembers ME!  He sees me and my struggles and He remembers me. Just like He did Noah in the flood, the Israelites in the desert, and Hannah in her barrenness.

So, today I am remembering my brother, Jeremy, and his contagious joy; so much joy that his friends termed the phrase “his joy remembered” in honor of his life. And I am remembering a depth that has formed in my relationship with my sister over the past several years. I also remember my steadfast husband who has held me through all my brokenhearted moments and has rejoiced with me through the good times. I am reminded of how he supports my hopes and dreams and that there is no one else that I would want to share this life with. I remember the precious gift of motherhood and my sweet daughters’ smiles and laughter. And I remember how God has been good to give me the most special and rewarding set of friends that any girl could ever ask for or imagine.

But most of all, I am remembering a faithful God who is sovereign in all His ways!

 

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced…

He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations…

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What are you remembering today, Friend?