Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ablaze with God's Love

Cheryl planned to kill herself by getting drunk and then setting her house on fire. 

Brought up in a Christian home, she wandered further and further away from her upbringing, and eventually embraced witchcraft. But nothing brought her the love and peace she sought. Her hopelessness grew.  She wrote her goodbye letter on March 6, 2012.

Janna and Cheryl
“If there’s no hope,” she thought, “why go on?” So she planned her death. But that, of course, was not God’s plan. He used the prayers and encouragement of her friend Janna, who for five years had been inviting her to church and other activities, to intersect with Cheryl’s growing despair. In the depth of dark hopelessness, Cheryl cried out to God. 

“Suddenly, it all became real,” she says now. “I finally ‘got it’: God loves me. ME!” 

I have the delight of watching Cheryl jump headfirst into that love. Trust me, hers is not the only life that has been changed. I am greatly impacted by Cheryl’s new life, which she fondly calls “the resurrected me." I thank God for the privilege of sharing some of the ways I see her faith flourishing: 

She devours God’s Word. I love it when she calls me to say, “Listen to this verse! Isn’t that utterly amazing?” 

She shares her faith. Just ask the tellers at her bank, her hairdresser, the cable company customer service rep, and her neighbors. Cheryl can’t keep quiet about the God who rescued her.

Cheryl's baptism: June 13, 2013
She prays. A lot. When it comes to prayer, she is proactive. She made it a point to ask our youth minister how she could pray for him. Last week she visited the youth service so she could experience “his world” and better understand how to pray. 

She’s grateful. I don’t know if this is original to her or not, but she’s says it frequently: “It’s not OK to forget to remember what God has done.” 

She gives. I’ve been blessed by her generosity, as have many others. Her cheerful giving must make God grin.  

She worships. Songs and sermons touch her heart, and she
reaches for tissues often. But sunsets and spring flowers cause her to break into praise, too. 

How grateful I am that God intervened, Satan didn't win, and Cheryl did not carry out her wish to end her life in flames.

But I believe God wanted to redeem even that plan. The Thanksgiving after Cheryl gave her life to Jesus, we had a bonfire. She brought bags and boxes of books from her house: books about spells, sorcery, magic and witchcraft.
It was a scene straight out of Acts. Cheryl tossed the books one by one into the flames. Then Janna, Julia, Cheryl and I prayed and worshiped God… around a roaring fire. 

“Many who had practiced sorcery brought their books and threw them on the fire to burn them publically….in this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (Acts 19:19a, 20).

Kim serves as a missionary/advocate for homeless elderly in Romania through Elder Orphan Care. She brags on God at her Wow Dee Wow! blog. Kim prays that her brief stories recounting God's amazing ways will inspire and challenge you to brag on God, too!

To subscribe to Wow Dee Wow! click HERE.

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