It all started back on Palm Sunday 2007. Actually Oct. 2006, when unbeknownst as to why, I quit drinking and smoking, just like that. A month later our son and my husband quit as well. Shortly after, our son purchased, (I know for some this is a repeat, but it leads up to today's testimony), A Purpose Drive Life Book and workbook for the three of us. By Palm Sunday, four years ago, Rick chose to give his heart to Christ and we attended church at Capital Christian Center. We haven't turned back since.
Rick was a non-believer, Jason and I were prodigals. Thank You Lord for rescuing us!
This past late October, 2010, something changed in Rick. He became a man none of us recognized. We were all very concerned. He became distant, detached, negative, he just was not the man I knew. I felt he was losing faith in Christ. He said he wasn't, but was very distant.
One day this year, about Feb. he told me he was struggling with things. He felt he could not be in a room with "stuff." He wanted a place that had nothing on shelves, counters, tables etc. It had to be organized, with nothing! I thought, oh my, I'm losing my husband. An instant panic set in, but then the Lord took back control. I told him to talk to his doctor as this was obviously a mental condition that needed to be addressed.
His doctor tried a medication that seemed to work great, but eventually set him into a deeper depression that made him more detached from us. He wasn't able to concentrate, interact with anyone, be around the grandchildren or our family. He took to the bed, never wanting to interact.
Finally I convinced him to go back to his doctor, who then took him off that medication and started a new one. This worked out great at first as well, but then soon had him back in the bed, falling asleep at the wheel, very despondent, tired all the time, not eating, not going to church--which he hadn't attended for almost 3 months. I kept asking him to talk to his doctor again.
During this time, I kept going to church and group, asking for prayer, never giving up even when I felt I couldn't go on like this, family problems were arising with many family members, all of it becoming overwhelming. But I kept praying and surrounding myself with good Christian women. I knew I couldn't give up the faith.
Our son was angry and frustrated. He's dealt with schizophrenia for years and back and forth with his believing, back to drinking on occasion, smoking off and on. Our daughter struggling with her depression and having a severe case of gastroparesis, not able to keep anything down, our grand daughters dealing with anger issues, an autistic step-grandson, our other step-grandson dealing with depression, our youngest grandson dealing with bowel problems, my little sister having no medical insurance with a tumor on her brain and some on her spine, causing great pain, severe headaches, problems with vision, not being able to think and cope, and problems too personal to talk about with Rick's family. All at once time. But I knew in my heart that God had a purpose in all this and kept thanking Him that good would come of it all, to give me the strength to carry it through.
There were times when I cried out, "Why?! Why are You letting this happen? I know You say You will never give us more than we can handle Lord, but how much more?! I don't think I can take much more! Please Lord, bring us some relief." Well during this time He gave me a vision of kneeling beside the bed while Rick slept and praying for him. But I didn't do it. I was scared, I didn't know what to pray.
But the Lord being ever so faithful, puts the right people at the right time in our presence. Thanks to Pastor Bob, Pastor Carolyn, sisters Leida, Bonnie, and Judy, I was given Scriptures to pray and keep pronouncing over him. I found that I was hounding him about faith instead of lifting him up, thanks to the testimonies given me on this very subject. I knelt beside that bed at night and prayed, I kept standing on those Scriptures and thanking Him that this would pass that He had a hand in all this and would take care of it. I handed it up to Him whole heartedly, knowing that only He could take care of this situation.
Rick started to pull out of it slowly.
Jason through this time found a sweet girl, who recently gave herself back to the Lord. Jason and her will be going back to church this Easter Sunday! Praise the Lord!
I finally called my little sister who I avoided as I did not want to be a downer with all she was dealing with. She was doing better, the pressure was being released!
Amanda has pulled out of some of her depression and finally got Julia in to see a psychiatrist. A good one who is willing to listen to her and did not diagnose her with anything and put her on medication right away. Instead, he wants to get to know the situation better! There family may seek family counseling if need be. Praise be to God!
Julia was recently baptized and has been amazing me with her knowledge of Christ. She's growing by leaps and bounds in the Lord!!! She loves to read the Bible. She recently sat with me one night and told me the true meaning of Easter. I didn't realize she had learned that. Praise be to God!
Our daughters family is finally coming together!
Palm Sunday, I was getting ready for church and reminded Rick it was our 4th anniversary of attending church at CCC. I could tell he was looking for a way out of going. He said, I'll maybe go to second service. I looked at him, punched my right fist into my left hand and said "Fight back! Fight back! You know the enemy is trying to keep you from going." He sat there for a moment with a pained look, then said, "Well, are you going to be ready on time?" Hallelujah! He was going to church.
What took place at church that morning is a testimony to what our Pastors Ken and Krist have been feeding us the past several weeks. After service, Rick was surrounded by great men of the church. His brothers, who never gave up hope, who were my strength and encourager's through this dark period, who kept the faith that Rick would return. Rick told them that he feared they would look down on him for being so week. What they said, just lifted us so.
"We are your brothers! We are here to hold one another up during our trials and tribulations. We will never turn our backs on you. We are here to lift you up! If you start floating too high, we will pull you back down. ;)" Now that, people, is what a church family truly does. We are there to hold one another through the good and the bad. We do not forsake one another as Christ never forsakes us. We love on one another, give support, help, be strong for one another. We don't walk away because someone stumbles and falls. No; in stead we walk right beside them, encouraging them. I am so thankful to be a part of such a good family in His house.
Rick is back in step with God, his faith and love for him stronger than ever. He's back to being a leader of the family! Hallelujah! Our relationship is stronger than ever. He has been driving a vehicle on it's last leg, which I was really concerned about, as it was not safe to be driving. We both kept praying for a way to get him a good vehicle. Monday it happened, he was able to purchase the vehicle of his dreams. Praise the Lord!
We have so much to be thankful for. Gone are the worries of whether Rick was going to pull through his darkness. And oh, btw, Rick is no longer on any of the anitdepressants! Hallelujah! Gone are the worries of whether or not our son would ever find peace in life. Gone are the worries over whether our grandkids and daughter would ever find happiness and be able to put their family back together (mind you, they have a long way to go, but we know they will get there and find their way back to the Lord as well. Gone is the concern as to whether or not my little sister would live.
We are still facing some ugly times in life with other family members still struggling as well as friends, but we now are able to stand strong together as a unit in belief that God has it in the palm of His hands and a greater testimony will come of it all as well. That weight of it all, the sadness of it all has dissipated with the knowledge that good will prevail through it all. God loves us no matter what and will be there to pick us up when we truly believe in Him and call out to Him.
Instead of walking away from your brothers and sisters in Christ thinking that they will think less of you, surround yourself with them. What really amazes me is how the Lord will make sure one of us is surrounded by the right people and given the strength to stand strong while your partner is going through a tough time. If it had not been for the strength of the Lord, I'd hate to think of what may have happened.
I was put in the right groups at the right time at church being fed the exact right words at the right time. I was surrounded by the right people with the right Scripture and uplifting words and the exact testimonies I needed to arm myself and to learn my wrong doings through it all. Through it all, the words shared to me and the lessons learned that I knew were to be passed on to Rick made all the difference in the world. Through those words given and the lessons taught, it slowly brought Rick out of the darkness and back into the light and then Glory to God, the rest all just started happening, bringing more light into each day!
I know in my heart that many more great testimonies from many will be told as we head into Easter. This is the week of Easter, with great things happening. Open your hearts to His great love. He is an all merciful, loving, faithful Father. Never let go of that belief. Be filled with His grace, for it is by His grace alone that we will survive. My prayer is that you will be blessed greatly by our testimony of His great love and this testimony reaches out to many that may be or will go into a dark time. Never give up on Him, as He never gives up on us. He's always there with open arms, wanting us to come back. Grace, Grace, Grace. Peace be with you all! God's blessings abundantly to everyone of peace, joy, love, good health and prosperity.