01/31/2013: Wayne Simien
|The Adventures of a Truly Blessed Woman||
How often do we look at people in the public eye and because they have "Made It", we believe that their lives should be perfect? How often have we had the thought run through our heads that if we acheived fame and fortune OUR lives would be perfect? This testimony is an incredible example of a life that had everything....and yet nothing all at the same time. Please share this with those you know.......it may end up before the eyes of someone who needs to hear this incredible testimony of a changed life!
01/31/2013: Wayne Simien
I have had the honor of working on little projects here and there with Mercy Ministries and now I am working on a new one with this blog! Sarah Siegand contacted me about this project and I have to tell you, it excited my socks off! In the process, I told her about the 365 Days of Testimony and she graciously has allowed me to use hers. As I read her testimony I could not help but think that when we look at people.......and we think we have them all figured out.......well, often......we have no earthly idea what path they have had to walk. I look at her picture and I see a beautiful, strong, well rounded looking woman who certainly must have been raised in a wonderful Christian home. After all, she is working at Mercy Ministries helping others! I encourage you to read her testimony.......share her testimony........and know that there are so many people out there who know exactly how she felt growing up! I also encourage you to go to her website by clicking the link at the end of her testimony, or on her name in green.........I believe you will truly be blessed! Sarah......thank you for sharing your life......God is gonna use it in an incredible way to reach those who are lost and hurting! May God bless you all!
My life began under pretty ordinary circumstances. Second born into a middle-class family, eventually becoming the middle child. My parents had only been married a few years but things were going south fast. Our home was a violent and broken place. When I was in first grade my brothers and I were taken from our home and placed in foster care. My mom fought to get us back, and she did, but dad would never be part of the picture again. Although back in my mom’s custody, we spent several months floating between battered women’s shelters. I don’t remember much from those years, honestly, except random things like an Easter egg hunt and saving pennies in the plastic bunny bank I had.
By the time I was in third grade, my mom was a little bit more stable. That year was the beginning of some sort of routine. I actually went to school every day, walking to and from, in a safe neighborhood. Mom was still struggling to pay the bills despite help from welfare and a monthly check from my uninvolved dad’s parents. Now that I’m a mother myself, I can’t imagine the stress and heartache she endured as a single parent. Her own parents had recently passed away, and with only a high school diploma and very few friends, she was breaking her back to barely stay above water. I remember her working at Wendy’s and a shoe factory. I remember being alone, without supervision, a lot. My brothers and I were left to figure it out. That became the theme of the next ten years… figure it out. No one to lead, no one to guide. Up to me. Survival.
One redemptive thing happened just before my seventh grade year. I went to a church camp and gave my heart to the Lord. Now at least I had some hope that there was someone who would love me enough to look out after me. I grew spiritually, but only sporadically. I was learning things from the Word and my youth leaders, but there was no one to help me work through the abuse and neglect I had been traumatized by. Mom was deteriorating physically from a disease called Multiple Sclerosis. She spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. By the time I was in high school, my world had become my youth group and my activities at school. I was never home, and that suited me just fine. My home was way too depressing.
I also spent a lot of time with boyfriends. Not more than one at a time, of course, but a steady stream of relationships would mark my high school years. Not good. I was an emotional wreck from the unresolved pain in my childhood and the instability in my home. Try surviving a high school break-up with that kind of turmoil already pent up and ready to explode. Did I talk to anyone about these things? Heck, no. I was too busy being smart and popular and attractive. I wanted everyone to think I had it together. I was the poster-child for a Christian young woman who was going places, and I liked it that way. Admitting I was hurting would have ended the charade, and all of that popularity and admiration I worked so hard to get would have been lost.
When it came time to head off to college, I was more than ready. I had never wanted anything so badly. I always knew I would go to college, because I did NOT want to end up like my mom (it sounds so mean, I know… I was a punk!). I also wanted to escape from the small town I lived in. When I started college, I was in a long-term romantic relationship that I knew I had no business being in. I was trying to hear from the Lord about my future, but my own sinful disobedience to Him was causing a tremendous amount of confusion in my life. I had no clue what I was doing. I was guessing, pure and simple.
Finally, just before my junior year of college, I had a moment of clarity where I not only realized the mess I was in, I actually was willing to do whatever it took to get out. I repented. I broke up with my boyfriend of two years, and I felt the Lord speaking to me again. There were missteps over the next few years, but I was finally really on my way to knowing how my relationship with the Lord should look. I was growing.
The next decade brought a lot of peace as I walked steadily with the Lord and finally began making choices based on His leading instead of my own best guesses or preferences. He spoke very directly to me about whom and when I was to marry, as well as the mission we were to be on together. As a young couple we immersed ourselves in youth ministry and devoted most of our time to the students we were pouring into.
Eventually the Lord brought us to Nashville and gave us two beautiful and witty boys. It was here that we really experienced –through the local church—the power of mentorship and discipleship to shape our lives. Those lessons have changed us and the way we lead others. Before she passed away in 2004, my relationship with my mom grew deeper as I dealt with my own issues and bitterness. Yet… life hasn’t exactly looked the way I expected these last several years. My husband and I have done a lot of learning through trials we did not expect. But even in the darkest days, we realize how deeply the Lord loves us, and how willing He is to cover us and guide us when we cry out to Him.
My life is not a glamorous one. I’ve lived through seasons of full-time pastoral ministry, seasons of staying home full-time with my kids, and seasons of working full-time for the corporate world. Currently, I spend my days spreading the hope of Christ as a staff member in the marketing department at Mercy Ministries. I work on personal writing projects after my kids are asleep or on weekends. And even though my life is not glamorous, God is leading and directing me in His paths. I am no longer on a search to feel important… my search has been settled at the cross of Christ, who emptied himself of His very life and cancelled my debt of sin.
I hope to challenge others in my generation who may think that pouring into young people should be left up to the single hipsters who have “time” for youth ministry. Not so. The young people of the world need us… all of us—even moms, dads and grandparents. I’m not a youth pastor. I’m not a youth speaker or a national director of student ministries. To borrow a well-fitting phrase from acclaimed author Angela Thomas, I’m an “ordinary woman.” I have been given the opportunity to open my mouth, share my story, and hopefully help others find purpose and redemption as they grow in Christ.
Click the the link below to go to Sarah's Site........May God bless you!!!!
Wow......what would you do.....or how would you feel if one day you went into the doctors office and they told you that you had cancer.......the incurable kind? This testimony is incredible and it is a reminder that if you are a Christian.....you belong to God, and HE is in control! Please share this with your friends because we never know when this day could come for one of us! May God bless you!!!!!
01/29/2013: Tamera Jollee
Perfectionism is something that often can get in the way of our relationship with God. I know that in my life, the desire to do things perfectly led me to try and do things on my own......without Gods help. Sam Bradford has some insights that came from his life experience. Please watch and share this with your frien
01/28/2013: Sam Bradford
Hate. Unforgiveness. Anger. These words are actions that will ruin your life. If you don't believe me, go out and ask an angry, hateful, unforgiving person how there day is.......I am pretty sure you are not gonna get a Happy, Happy, Happy answer! In this video you will see that God can not only help you to turn these things around, but also restore you and give you more love than you ever imagined! Please share this with your friends for we ALL deal with one or more of these issues
01/27/2013: Ken Hutcherson
Have you ever found yourself deep in a pit because of circumstances in your life? Then have you ever heard someones story and all of a sudden.......your problems don't seem as bad as you thought they were? This is one absolutely INCREDIBLE testimony that shows how God can take pain, hurt, and physical problems......and turns it into a very defined purpose! Please share this testimony with everyone for each of us could find ourselves in circumstances that seem hopeless.....but God takes what seems hopeless and fills it to overflowing with hope and purpose!
01/26/2013: Tyrone Flowers
Forgiveness is forgiveness. There seems to be so many levels of what can and cannot be forgiven, but truth be told.......sin is sin.....hurt is hurt.....and ALL must be forgiven! Infidelity is a staggering hurt and though it seems that it would be impossible to forgive.......all things are truly possible with God! Please watch and share this testimony for you never know when someone may be dealing with these issues behind closed doors. This is a powerful message of Gods grace and restoration WHEN we do things HIS way! May God bless you all!!!
01/25/2013: The Scruggs
How many times have you been able to see a miracle.......a REAL Miracle? Why is it that sometimes it takes an unexplained, undeniable, unbelievable miracle for us to believe in God? Truth be known.....just looking at a leaf.....or a baby......or any part of the world around us is just that kind of miracle......but we would often rather believe anything but God being responsible for the very miracle of our lives! Look into someones eyes and see the vast universe in one single eye! This video is absolutely amazing.......his story is compelling......please share it with whomever God leads you to share it with! May God bless you!!!!
01/24/2013: Whispering Danny
God has blessed my life with so many friends that come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Mike is one of those friends that grabs your heart and never lets go......and for that I am thankful! I have known Mike for over 15 years now, and I have seen Mike and his beautiful wife Tracey with their incredible girls do things for God that some only dream of! His family, at Gods direction, with another wonderful family from our church; packed their lives up and moved to Brazil as missionaries for several years. While there, God used them in great ways that still have an impact today. I look forward to serving God and others with Mike and Tracey someday.....even though he does not know it yet! Hehehehehe........but God knows! Please share this beautiful testimony with everyone you know for they will find a blessing in it.....and some, they may find answers! May God bless you!
01/23/2013: Mike Moyers
I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 9. We had recently moved and visited a different church. The Pastor of the church, Jim Lennon, came to visit. He talked to my sister and I about Jesus and asked if we wanted Jesus to live in our hearts. Of course, with dad and mom sitting there, the answer was yes. Now, do I believe that I was saved then? Yes. But from that point forward I felt something was missing.
Fast forward, I'm now 38 and on a Choir Tour/Mission trip to Desire Housing Project in New Orleans, Louisiana. I'm rooming with David Brown. David is the one who made me see that even though I had "prayed the prayer" I had never "surrendered" my life to Jesus. So, I prayed this prayer for the first time. "Lord, here I am, use me!"
It became clear to me that I needed to change some things in my life before He could use me. So, after 20+ years I quit smoking. I started spending more time with Tracey and the girls and less time doing other things that I thought I needed. I got more involved with God was doing in our church. The growth began and I don't have the words to describe it.
Since that time, God has sent me to several different countries, some Christian and some not. If there is one thing that I have learned it's this, "people are the same everywhere you go".
Everyone has needs.
There good people and bad people.
There are people with good morals and people with bad morals.
There are people that need help and people that think they need help.
There are people that want to help and people that don't.
These comparisons are not seperated by religous beliefs.
There are many people with good morals that aren't Christian, just like their are many people with bad morals that claim to be Christian.
The only difference is some have Jesus, some don't.
If you're not a Christian I urge you pray the prayer, asking Jesus into your heart.
If you are a Christian, I urge you to pray the prayer "Lord here I am, use me!"
Both prayers, if meant, will change your life forever!
There have been many times I have witnessed God working in ways that I cannot explain......and this is one of the biggest! I have been friends with Lori and Chet for a very long time. This testimony has been one that I have told over, and over, and over again......and I will continue to do so as long as I live! Chris and I were at the Ski Retreat in Ashville, NC when these events unfolded. We prayed, we cried, and we trusted God. Please, please take the time to read this amazing testimony.......I promise, no one will leave it feeling unaffected! Our God is a mighty God and bigger than ANY circumstance we face. The results may not be what we want or desire at the time, but God will ALWAYS use each and every hurt, heartache, and disaster for His glory that it might not go to waste! God is mighty and He is soverien........God does not do harm, but He will allow it. Please share this testimony for you never know who may need to hear this beautiful message of hope that came from absolute disaster! May God bless you!
01/22/2013: Lori Fowler
2 Corinthians 1:3 – 5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows
Isaiah 43:1 – 3a
But now, this is what the Lord says –
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers
They will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
You will not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Romans 8:26 – 28
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches out hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
On January 22, 1999, my family and I began a journey in which I became keenly aware of the Lord’s message in these verses.
When I awakened at 4:30 AM that morning, I was a mother of a 13 month old and a 1st grader. My husband, Chet, had a good job and I was the director of our church preschool. We were leaving our kids to go on our church’s adult ski retreat and have a little time away. Life was good. I had no idea what was about to unfold in approximately one hour…..
We packed and left early that Friday morning and planned to meet our fellow skiers directly at the slopes in North Carolina. About a mile from our house, however, we were involved in a horrible car accident. At the time of the impact, my husband thought that I was dead. While on the phone with 911, I began to stir and he realized that I was alive. I was, however, critically injured. The same fog and horrible weather conditions that caused the wreck made it difficult for the rescue personnel to get there as well. The life-flight helicopters were grounded. I was transported to the local hospital where they would stabilize me and transfer me to a larger facility. At the scene, it was obvious that I had something wrong with my back and I had massive head trauma. My face was mangled with deep and numerous cuts and scrapes. My left eye was already swollen shut and I had lost a lot of blood. While the paramedics were working on me and preparing me for transport, Chet lay on the ground and called out for God. He vividly remembers having a moment where he had to make a decision. He had to decide if he really believed in God and trusted Him, or if everything about God was all a lie. At that moment, he decided that no matter what, he was going to trust in the Lord…even if that meant loosing me and raising two small boys by himself. He had no idea that God Himself was already working and performing miracle after miracle.
In the accident, my seat belt failed to operate properly. The lap belt held, but the shoulder harness failed to restrain my upper body. As a result, my face hit the dash, was crushed on the left side and had severe lacerations. There were cuts everywhere, but one piece of broken plastic caused a large cut that started at my chin, went up my face, sliced through both my lower and upper eye lids, and then punctured my eye. When traveling in the ambulance to the first hospital, Chet noticed that the paramedic was spending more time stabilizing my head and working up there despite the fact that I was continuing to scream about my back. The paramedic told my husband that he was more worried about my eye because ocular fluid was seeping out and he “couldn’t find my eyeball!” My back, while probably broken, was stabilized because I was strapped and restrained to a back board.
We arrived at the hospital during the early morning shift change. We were later told that the ER doctor leaving his shift walked past me as I was being wheeled in and immediately turned around and returned to work. He was the best doctor there and knew that they would need his help due to the severity of my injuries. He was, in fact, the first person to “find” that my eye actually was still in my head, but it was damaged and out of place due to the “full orbital blow-out” to my cheek and eye socket. Although the facial injuries were extremely severe and my back was broken, the most pressing problem was that my brain was swelling and they needed to get me to a major trauma center for surgery to relieve the swelling on the brain before major brain damage occurred. The calls were made and I was to be transported to GA Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta. The helicopters were still grounded, so I would have to be stabilized and transported by ambulance. There, I would undergo brain surgery to relieve the swelling on the brain, they would have to do surgery to repair the crushed cheek and eye socket, see what could be done with my eye, and decide how to proceed with treatment for my back. It was clear that it was broken, but there was still some question about exactly what was injured and how severe it was.
By this point, there were people arriving at the hospital and word was quickly spreading. A friend who worked at the hospital actually stayed with me during all of the x-rays and scans. People, literally around the world, were praying. From missionary friends in Africa, relatives in Alaska, our church family in Ridgecrest North Carolina, and others all over Georgia, people were lifting my family up in prayer. Also at this time, my husband, who had refused any medical attention up to this point, realized that he really didn’t feel that well. He was placed in a triage room down the hall from me while the doctors attended to his injuries. It was at this point that a petite, black doctor came into the room to check on him. She spoke with him gently, let him know what was going on with me down the hallway, and asked him a few questions. During the exchange, she looked at him eye to eye and said “I know you are a man of God. You were on your way to a church retreat. Remember that God is still in control….” She quoted Jeremiah 29:11 and encouraged him to be strong.
Chet had to stay at the first hospital while they transferred me to GA Baptist. After an hour or so, however, he unplugged his IV’s and decided he had to go. He stopped by to check on our oldest son, who was at school by this time, and then went straight to GA Baptist. Upon arrival, a nurse met him and told him that “Sherry” was waiting for him. In all the confusion, this didn’t make sense to him until he was ushered into a small room where one of our best friends…..who “just happened” to be a nurse at GA Baptist…..was waiting for him. Chet was so relieved to see her and asked where I was. She told him I was in the ICU and they were sewing up my face. He was confused and asked why I wasn’t in surgery. Sherry stated that the brain swelling had stopped and they weren’t going to do surgery unless it started again. Chet was still confused and said “But her face is totally crushed…aren’t they going to do surgery on it?” Now it was Sherry who was confused. She looked at him and said “Chet, we have done a full battery of x-rays and scans. Lori doesn’t have a broken bone in her face.” “Yeah…She does.” He replied. “She has a full orbital blow-out. The entire left side cheek and eye socket are crushed. Her eye is damaged and it has dropped back in her head due to the fractures. They saw it at Walton Medical.” This was the first obvious miracle. X-rays and scans don’t lie….my face was crushed in the pictures from Walton Medical, but at GA Baptist there were no fractures. God is the only explanation for that change.
After an entire day of surgery, the doctors were able to repair my back by placing four screws and rods to stabilize the break. Again, the doctors were shocked at the severity of the damage and amazed that I could walk and function. My eye was repaired, to the shock of my plastic surgeon, and my face sewn up. I did suffer a traumatic brain injury, and did not immediately wake up after the surgery with clarity of mind. After several days, the doctors basically told my husband that I would probably be a vegetable. People were still praying, however, and God was still working. On January 30th, I “woke up” and things began to improve. I remained in the hospital and then in a rehabilitation facility for a month. On Valentine’s I came home. For the next 5 months, I attended out-patient therapy, where I learned to walk and function again. My eye returned to 20-20 vision…..which made no sense to many of the doctors considering the damage. My face began to heal and only one additional plastic surgery was needed to repair my eye. …again to the shock and awe of my plastic surgeon. It was obvious that God had performed many miracles through this trial, but there was one more.
As time went on and we slowly tried to get back into a routine, Chet began to have panic attacks and difficulties. He was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from all that he had experienced in our wreck. We were walking another path where healing was needed. But the Lord was again working. Through this process, He revealed to Chet that His plan for him was to be a Christian Counselor. Within the year, Chet had enrolled in a master’s program at Liberty University. Because his undergraduate degree was in Psychology, this process and the amount of work he was required to do was minimized. …again….a “God Thing.” Not only was he accepted to their external degree program, he excelled! Not only did he graduate with honors, God provided all of the funding! He graduated with honors. During this process, God was working in our church and the pastor decided we needed a counseling program. After 20 years in business, my husband changed careers and started the Loganville Community Ministry Village, a non-profit counseling center supported by our church.
During this process and over the years, I was very conflicted and broken trying to understand why the Lord went to such lengths to keep me on this earth. Was it for my children and husband? Did I have some greater purpose? Was there something He needed me to do? Those were questions that would not be partially revealed until years later.
Flash forward…..fifteen years later….I can truly see MANY of the miracles the Lord worked through this major life experience. They range from small miracles to unexplainable acts of God. Below are just a few:
*the cell phone worked at the accident scene, although it was totally dead when we left the house
*the best doctor on staff at the first hospital “just happened” to walk past me when he was leaving and turned around and stayed
*the “little black doctor” that talked to my husband…..we never found her…..the hospital had no idea who she was!
*the ambulance driver that transported me was a parent of one of my students
*our friend, Sherry, “just happened” to be a nurse and meet me at the hospital to make sure I saw all the best physicians
*Both my orthopedic doctor and ocular surgeon were Christians. They knew and frequently referenced who the “real healer” was through this process. The plastic surgeon, who was not a Christian, was witnessed to on multiple occasions, tried to find answers to my miraculous healing by attending conferences and talking to other physicians. 5 months later he admitted to us that God must have healed me!
*my x-rays show a crushed face at the first hospital, but no fractures at the second
*my eye was completely decimated, yet it was repaired (healed) and I have 20-20 vision….I was only 20-40 before the wreck and wore contacts!
*my face should be severely scarred and disfigured, yet it isn’t and I did not have to have multiple major surgeries. The doctors cannot explain my healing other than “God and mother nature!”
*The major cut up my face avoided the main nerve that controls that side
*I should be paralyzed, but I have fully recovered mobility and can walk
*through this experience, our oldest son was saved
*my husband received his calling and learned his purpose in life
*the Loganville Community Ministry Village has into existence
* The counseling center has become a major influence in our community growing from 1 counselor to over 13 counselors serving all facets of the community and partnering church with local government
If that wreck hadn’t happened, there were would we be? Would we truly know God? Would our family and friends? That wreck allowed 2 Corinthians 1:3 – 5 to be displayed to us by others during our accident and has allowed us to share with many others when they are in a crisis. I learned Isaiah 43:1 – 3 and know that God is always with us as we walked through this long journey, even when we feel He isn’t in control. Finally, Romans 8:26 – 28 was literally “lived out” through this accident. Fifteen years later, I am writing a devotional on it and the experience still comes up from time to time in the strangest places with people I never thought I would talk with about such an experience. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord…..no matter what you may THINK you know and believe…..God is real…..He is in control….and He will work all things for His purposes…..He still performs miracles, we just don’t always recognize what is truly happening….you just need to be willing to trust him and be willing to go along for the ride….let’s be honest…..ultimately it’s better to be with Him in the midst of a storm than without Him lost on a pretty path!
I am a wife, mother, and best of all.......a Honeygram! I love the Lord with all my heart and I long to do HIS Will. He has set me on a path and I am ready, willing, and able to follow it.....come what may!