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Monthly Archives:

January 2015

The Golden Thread of God’s Goodness

By: Kalyn Hemphill

When Sarah asked me to tell my story, I could not help but think, which one? I could tell you unbelievable things about growing up with two brothers on the autism spectrum, or about the time a man I loved with all my heart literally shattered it to pieces. I could tell you of the miracles I have seen, embarrassing stories, (like having HPV-a.k.a. warts-on my face from an infected makeup brush,) or talk about my experience working for years in fashion and entertainment in New York and Los Angeles. My life has been a series of crazy stories and events all woven together by the golden thread of God’s goodness. He has proven to me time and time again that

“He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 8:28)

That His timing is perfect, and that He loves me more than I could ever begin to comprehend. Instead of sharing one specific story with you, I just want to remind you God’s faithfulness and righteousness through the different scenarios he has taken me through in my life.

In the midst of DEATH, God is good. He offers me a comfort and peace beyond all understanding and a promise that I will see my loved ones who put their faith in Christ, again.

In the midst of SICKNESS, God is good. He encourages me through the discouragement of a weak and fragile body. He is the Ultimate Physician who heals and restores.

In the midst of CRITICISM, God is good. He away takes the sting of harsh words, and reminds me that ultimately, it is only His opinion that matters.

In the midst of FATIGUE, God is good. He literally carries me through the day, and tucks me into bed at night.

In the midst of CONFUSION, God is good. He directs me through His word, which brings clarity and truth.

In LONLINESS, God is good. He eases my empty ache, and draws near to me as I draw near to Him in need of companionship. (James 4:8)

In FEAR, God is good. He reminds me to trust Him and not be afraid. He is my shield, defender, and an “ever-present help in times of trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)

In HEARTBREAK, God is good. He holds my heart is His loving hands and mends every wound. He wipes away my tears, and promises, “those who sow in tears will reap in shouts of joy.” (Psalm 126:5)

In TEMPTATION, God is good. He always provides a way out and reminds me that I am not alone, for Jesus too, was tempted, but without sin.

In HARD DECISIONS, God is good. He reminds me that obedience to Him, no matter what the cost, is the only path to true freedom. As I trust him, leaning not on my own understanding, He makes my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In TRANSITION, God is good. He carries my load, gently guides my feet, and opens up my path one step at a time.

In STILLNESS, God is good. He provides rest and restoration for my soul, and in the solitude I find a peace and calm unlike anything this world can offer.

In CHAOS, God is good. He is a firm anchor in the wind and the storms of life.

In JOY, God is good. He delights in seeing His children smile, and we can feel “fullness of joy” in His presence. (Psalm 16:11)

In EVERY SEASON, God is good.  His mercies are new every morning. His love abounds.  How can our hearts refrain from singing of the majesty and glory of our God? I love the words to the last verse and chorus of the beautiful old, hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness:”

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Great is thy faithfulness,

Great is they faithfulness,

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed thy hath provided;

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

I love you dear sisters. In the midst of every situation you have faced, are facing, or will face, God is good. Cling to him for dear life and never let go.

Dressing Wounds of the Heart

By: Charlotte Dillon

My husband recently had an accident with a metal grinder and I found myself bent over a wound needing to play nurse for a man who probably should have gone to get stitches. We had nothing to dress the wound properly with so after a trip to the pharmacy I began tearing open boxes until I could find what would best close the gash. The box read “wound closure” and took me back through a glorious memory of how nail scarred hands dressed a wound of mine not too many years ago.

In a drug overdose at fourteen God supernaturally spared me of death. Unfortunately, I spent the next two years learning to play a religious game of Simon Says, i.e. If you’re a Christian wear this, talk like this, don’t go there, don’t be friends with them… I simply could not keep up. My untidy appearance and broken home and family were no match for the eyes of the Pharisees, namely for the  Pharisee eyes that I possessed over myself.

Exhausted from the unending list, I crumbled and in an instant I went back. Back to alcohol, back to drugs, in an instant it was all back at my finger tips as if there was a lion lurching behind the pew just waiting to call my bluff and devour me. But this time it was not about a party or a temporary high, no this was a plot to take my life. I heard voices in my head become louder and louder telling me to harm myself because I would never measure up I would never be as good as I wanted to be. I succumbed to the threat and gave myself gash after gash on my arm. In a mess of my own blood I lifted for one final blow and there was a knock on my door.

What happened next was the glorious beginning of Christ in me beside me in pain. It took time for those wounds to heal and unsightly bandages unable to be concealed but His presence came and I know Him like I know Him now because I knew Him then, though He slay me, yet will I praise Him. I began reading the scripture like never before seeing how pain seemed to play an essential role in the lives of His chosen ones.

You see He came IN THE MIDST of my pain. He could have come sooner but He waited. I’m so glad He waited because I reach out everyday with these scars across my arms am I am reminded of how my Savior came to me while I was squirming in my blood and said LIVE.

Ezekiel 16:6-7 ‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” I made you grow like a plant of the field.

Every time I drive a car, push a shopping cart, push my son on the tire swing, support my daughter in my lap to nurse, reach for my husband’s face to kiss goodnight, the scars sing so beautifully the redemption song that plays through the scripture from Genesis to Revelations. He is mighty to save and He is set on saving me. Is there anything more humbling than to know the grandeur of the character and holiness of God and to see His own nail scarred arm reach down to pick me up? There is power in the pain that Christ allows and ultimately redeems for His glory in our lives. Though I am many years from those wounds the voice that seeks to destroy still threatens me and the threats to the cross of Christ are many but He is able to save me thoroughly and seat me at His table in full view of my enemies!

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

I finished patching my husband’s arm after his grinder accident and he asked me how I knew so much about “wound closure” and in a hushed and awed whisper my soul sang out “JESUS.”

A Perspective Changed

By: Vanessa Harmon

Have you ever thought the safest place could be in the midst of a storm?  God’s surest protection can take the form of darkness and pain.  The safest place for a Christian can actually be in the midst of suffering, appearing to the world in pain and removed from God. In reality God has you protected us and covered us in his wings and we are unscathed to Satan.

Psalms 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

In March of 2014 my husband was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. We have 4 children; Natalie, Ansleigh, Andrew, and Peyton.  This was not the first time God had me under his wings and covered by his feathers.

In 2008, I lost my first husband due to death by an addiction. At that time I had three children ages 3 and under. To the world, it looked like we were left behind but in my eyes God protected us from unseen pain. He was very near to me in my widowhood, preparing me for what was ahead. Walking with Jesus grants new perspective in the midst of what you would never choose or imagine.

In 2009, I married Jeremy but there were vows for us all, including our children. Jeremy adopted the children and in 2012 we had our sweet little Peyton.

Isaiah 60:1-4
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you. Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Just when all seemed right and normal, we received the diagnosis of Cancer. I heard the murmurs, “How could God allow this?” In my heart I felt defeated and in my faith I felt confused. However, my true friends and mentors were there to ensure me God was still good and in control, finding me worthy to endure such a trial. My perspective had to be changed! We have to see through Gods eyes not human eyes, in the face of grave pain and wordless confusion. He protects us and grows our faith deepens through the storms of life not the blue skies.

It has been a beautiful story that I would have never chosen but would not ever change! The children have seen hundreds pray over us and felt the hands of believers pour their love on us in service and prayer. We needed to help our children understand, God would heal Daddy, whether on earth or in heaven. Believing for earth but preparing ourselves for any outcome, we walked through treatments, hospitals, and all cancer entails with resolved faith. God is the ultimate Father and Healer to me and my family. This gift brings true lasting hope, even in the midst of tears.

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk; and not faint.

On November 19, 2014 we received the news that Jeremy is in 100% remission! Oh the tears of joy that come when you have cried the tears of faith without sight! Praise to the good and almighty God!

We have a long journey ahead of us but we have the LOVE, PEACE, and JOY in our heart from God our Father. We are stronger as a family and more dependent in our faith because of walking IN THE MIDST OF cancer, knowing Christ is also in the midst of cancer! This is reason enough to celebrate!

To follow our journey head here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeremyharmon