When Jesus is enough

At the beginning of 2021, my husband and I sat down with our children and made personal goals for the year. I remember these words “be more present” repeating over and over in my mind. As I listened to the words, I asked God for confirmation. The next several weeks were silent. As my relationship with Jesus grew, I began to understand His silence is intentional, He was going to reveal His plan for me in His timing.

As I continue to grow close to Jesus, I love His unconditional and unwavering love for me. I love His desire to have a relationship with me. I love that He wants all of me. I love that He wants to show me all the wonderful things He has created for me.

A few weeks after the words “be more present” came to me, my husband and I started talking about my role in our family. I worked full time as a cardiac nurse and the stress of working through COVID was wearing on me. I was upset, angry, and disappointed in our health care system. I struggled with my role as a wife and mother. I felt emotionally unavailable for those most important to me. My job took all of me and I had nothing left to give. My husband suggested that I quit work so I can “be more present” at home and with our family. My heart was ready.

I knew this was God, so I said, “Yes, Lord”.

“Peace, sweet peace as His gentle voice reaches out to me. Sweet Peace, holds me when I’m broken.” https://youtu.be/uW6xcmqfiY4 (lyrics from “Peace” by Bethel Music)

I turned in my notice at work and I prayed. I worshiped. I bowed down as I was still. One month later, I got a phone call that my ex-husband, the biological father of my oldest two children, my abuser, had passed away. I was unsure of how I was supposed to feel knowing the man who abused me for years and left scars that I still deal with today was dead. Even though were were without contact for the past 13 years, I still worried about how my oldest two would handle this news.

Would they feel like they never had closure?

Would they question our (mine and my husband, Brant’s) decision to keep them out of his life to keep them safe?

I was angry. Here again, he was causing pain and uncertainty in our life. How was I going to protect them?

I felt God wrapping His loving arms around me as He gently whispered, “Pray, worship Me, be still and let Me take care of this.”

I said, “Yes, Lord.”

My husband and I spent the next month, along with our family and friends, praying over Hunter and Kayla, asking Jesus to prepare their hearts for this news.

As we waited and prayed, I loved having this time with my sweet husband and amazing family and friends. The love and encouragement we received was a precious reminder of how much we need others and how we are not designed to walk alone in our trials. I began thanking Jesus over and over that He removed the distraction of my JOB so I could have this time to “be more present”. A month later we told the kids the news and Jesus met us there, holding us as we talked over everything.

Was this why God had asked me to “be more present”? Little did I know, there was more…

A few weeks after we settled in with the news about Hunter and Kayla’s biological father and worked through our feeling and emotions, I get a call from my sister that my mom was on her way to the hospital. She was having left sided weakness and we soon found out that she suffered a stroke. The MRI revealed a brain tumor. They started prepping her for surgery.

That same week I would drop my oldest off at college for the first time.

I remember leaving a piece of my heart in Knoxville, Tennessee and worrying about not being able to be near. To protect him. So many emotions were overwhelming me as I grieved my son leaving home at the same time worrying about the outcome of my mom’s health.

God says, “Give him to me.”

And I said, “Yes, Lord.”

After leaving my son to start his freshman year at UT Knoxville, I say my goodbyes to my husband and two daughters as I drove to NC to be with my mom. She was having surgery that day to remove the brain tumor.

Jesus again whispers, “Talk to me, worship me” as I made the two hour drive, alone.

And I said, “Yes, Lord.”

I got to the hospital, the tumor was successfully removed, but she was left with left sided paralysis. Her memory was also slowly slipping from dementia. Here is a woman who was left broken from her pasted and never experienced love growing up. She never knew how to love. She too grew up unwanted and unloved.

Jesus says to me, “Go serve her.

And I said, “Yes, Lord.”

As I bathed my mom and started washing her feet, I started thinking of the story where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

I was reminded in that moment the power of forgiveness. Jesus says, “Love her, serve her.

And I said, “Yes, Lord.”

God is love. His love is perfect. God pursues us, even when we are not searching for Him.

I am reminded of a song by Rita Springer, “Defender”. The lyrics say:

“You go before I know, that You’ve gone to win my war, Your love becomes my greatest defense, It leads me to dry wilderness…And all I did was pray, all I did was worship, all I did was bow down, and all I did was stay still.”

The Bible tells us in the book of Philippians that a man named Paul was thrown into prison for preaching the Word of God. His response? He worshiped, he prayed, he bowed down, he stayed still.

The Bible tells us about a man named Job who lost everything. His family, his home, his livestock, all that he had here on earth was taken from him. His response? He worshiped, he prayed, he bowed down, he stayed still.

I love how Jesus chases after me, constantly pursuing me.

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us. From the beginning in Eden, God’s love always pursued us and He continues to pursue us through the love of Jesus the Christ.

I love that Jesus leaves the 99 to rescue the one that is lost.

Matthew 18:13 Jesus says, “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than the 99 that didn’t go astray.

I love that Jesus calls me His…

Jesus carried me through this valley. Jesus carried me through all the past valleys I have wondered in. “All I did was pray, all I did was bow down, all I did was worship, all I did was be still.” I don’t fear being in the valley anymore, because I know Jesus will meet me, carry me and lead me so my feet will not stumble (Proverbs 3:23). I get to experience Jesus in such a way that I would have never known if I had not walked through that valley. For that, I consider it great joy when I face trials and tribulations because I know that the testing of my faith is growing me and drawing me closer to Him (James 1:2).

My prayer for you today is that you can find the kind of peace only Jesus can bring. No matter what trial you are facing, worship, bow down, pray, be still and let Jesus come rescue you. He will meet you wherever you are. This is where you will find peace and realize: He is enough.

The Power of Forgiveness

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the encouragement and outpouring of love I have felt after my interview with The 700 Club. Something amazing happened that day! I received an email from the producer that there were 59 salvations and 118 rededications, the highest numbers the show has seen in a while! God amazes me how He continues to use my story for His glory!

I wanted to continue talking about my relationship with my mom that I mentioned in the video. When I turned 23, my mom was diagnosed with bipolar. With treatment, my mom has come a long way and I am so proud of her accomplishments as well as her braveness for seeking help. I had a better understanding of why my childhood played out the way it did. My mom was sick. She struggled with an undiagnosed mental disorder.

After my son was born, my mom became the most amazing grandmother and I was very confused and struggled with the “why”. Why didn’t she show me the love she was showing my children? After all those years, she never mentioned the past.

God showed me the power of forgiveness. I remember the exact moment that I truly forgave her. I remember how free I felt. God calls us to forgive those that hurt us, and He revealed to me that if I wanted to continue to serve Him, I needed to forgive her. I needed to free myself from the bondage of what was holding me back from completely serving God.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you.”

God spoke so clearly to me that day,” Look at all I have forgiven you for, now go forgive her.”

What a humbling moment when I remembered what Jesus did for me on the cross, what He did for my mom. After every sin I committed, every time I disobeyed Him and ignored Him, yet He still forgave me. He still loves me. He still wants me.

I deserve death for my sins, but He extended grace and mercy instead. He also calls us to do this for others here on earth. If we want to fully experience this free gift, we have to forgive. The gift of mercy, the gift of grace.

Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive people of their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”

Fast forward 10 years later, my mom started having memory problems. My husband, Brant, took me out to eat one night and this was still heavy on my heart. I was consumed with grief. The loss of hope that I would never hear my mom acknowledge how she treated me growing up. The two words I needed so badly to hear her say.

As we were leaving the restaurant I got in the car and I lost it. Tears streamed down my face as I longed to just to hear the two words from my mom that could help me heal from my past. Two words that could help me move past the pain. Two words I so needed to hear…

Let me tell you, God is so good.

A few months later, Mom came to visit, and we took a long ride to see parts of Nashville. It was during this ride that we started to talk. My mom explained to me why she treated me the way she did and the abuse she endured growing up and how she worried that she damaged me. Damaged me the way her mom damaged her. I grabbed her hand a told her how I forgave her a long time ago. I tried to hold back the tears that were forming under my sunglasses in hope that she wouldn’t notice. Suddenly, this burden lifted off my chest that crushed me daily for so many years. Finally, I could breathe… I know I have fallen short so many times, yet He continues to pick me up, dust me off and fill me with the strength and perseverance I need to keep down the path He has prepared for me. Without this strength, I would not be where I am today.

Psalms 46:1 “God is our refuge and our strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.”

Today, when I talk to my mom, we end our conversations with “I love you.”

Mom, if you are reading this, I am so proud of how far you have come as a person, a mom, and as a grandmother. I know your road has been full of hurt and disappointments but rest assured that you are covered by the grace and mercy of Jesus and I pray that you feel His loving arms wrapped around you daily. I love you,

Your daughter,

Stacie

S

For more information on Bipolar Disorder, please click here…https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders

FAITH Vs FEAR. When the struggle is real.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and I was asked by the CNO of my hospital to speak at an annual event that they host to support Domestic Violence Awareness. I am so excited and proud to be part of a company that acknowledges the need for recognizing and treating survivors that enter our hospital. Centennial Medical Center, here in Nashville,  has implemented a training program that equips nurses and doctors with the knowledge they need to treat survivors of domestic abuse when they enter our facility. We are being trained to properly assess for signs and symptoms of abuse and protocols are being made so that we can provide safe and effective care to those who do not have a voice.

These women come in to be treated for broken bones, cuts, and other injuries they receive by their abuser. Most are brought in by their abuser and lie about how they  were injured out of fear of further punishment when they get home. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this change! So proud of you Centennial Medical Center!

I was a little nervous about speaking, most of you know that my story is a story of God’s redemption and this was not a faith based event. I tell my story because God gave me this amazing story. How could I not mention His name, after all, He is the author.

Thirty minutes prior to my speech, I sat sipping hot tea. I was recovering from a cold and had lost my voice. My voice was not back completely and I felt that the enemy was trying every tactic he could to keep me from sharing my story. I shared my heart with God while sipping my tea and then Psalms 18 came to me. I pulled out my phone and opened my Bible app. Psalms 18 is a very special passage to me. After God delivered me from my abuser, He showed me Psalms 18 as if He wrote this just for me. It was my love letter from God.

I started to read:

“I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of my praise, and I was saved from my enemies. The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. I called out to the LORD in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears” (verses 1-6)

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He brought my out to a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (verses 16-19)

“The LORD lives – blessed be my rock! He frees me from my enemies, You exalt me above my adversaries: you rescue me from the violent man” (verses 46, 48)

Now you understand my love for Psalms 18. God reminded me in that moment what He did for me. He reminded me that I am who I am today because of Him. Nothing in this world carried me through the last 10 years like He did. I owe my all to my LORD. I found strength from Psalms 18 that day as God reminded me of all He brought me through. I spoke as if I was speaking to a church full of believers. I quoted scripture and I gave all the glory to God during that speech. I had never felt such peace as I stood there proclaiming the Truth. And as for my voice, I had a microphone so I didn’t have to yell!

IMG_8935

After my speech, I was amazed by the outpouring of support that I received. One lady came to thank me for sharing my story and told me God spoke through me. That was just what I needed to hear. That was the most amazing feeling, I knew that I did what God had called me to do. Several doors opened up for me that day and I know God orchestrated every detail. After all, He is God and He can do anything.

I cannot wait to meet Him face to face and my hope is to hear Him say “well done my daughter, my faithful servant.” Occasionally, I have to be reminded of that goal because I know that I fail Him daily.  But the most beautiful part is…

He never fails me.