Category Archives: Stories Of Faith

Hidden Treasure

 

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I woke up and looked out the window of the beach house we had rented. Something was compelling me to go out to the seashore. We’d been staying right on the ocean all week, and this was our last full day to be there. Most days that week I had waited until after breakfast before I headed outside. But this day was different. I was drawn to the sacredness of the peaceful water. Shortly after 8 a.m. I rushed out to the edge of the sea, and was amazed at what I saw. I yelled to my mom, who was sitting outside on the deck of the house.

“Mama, come look at this; there are so many seashells!”

It looked like thousands of beautiful seashells on the beach. She walked over to see, and the words spilled off her lips that had already been in my head. “God did this for us.”

Call it a coincidence if you want to. But if you were there, you would’ve agreed with us. It was so obvious that God had pushed these shells to the shore just for us.

We had walked for miles up and down the beach all week. And there were barely any shells around before. That morning it was like the seashells were strategically placed directly in front of where we were staying. I had heard about beaches that were known for having countless seashells, and I had even seen a few of those places. But I’d seen nothing like this before.  Instead of being spread out over a large area of beach, they were densely confined to a small area.

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I hollered for my husband to come see, and he brought me a bag for collecting the shells I wanted to keep. As I was looking through the shells I heard the Lord’s still, small voice speaking to my heart.

“My Kingdom is like these piles of seashells. There are countless, hidden treasures to be found. Search for them and you will find them.”

While carefully looking amongst these treasures, I found some of the most beautiful, perfect seashells I’ve ever seen. I could have spent hours and hours looking at what seemed like a never-ending supply of shells.

God is amazing. He longs for us to look for His treasures. He’s always waiting for us to open our hearts like a little child would. He wants to fill us with awe and show us His signs and wonders. His Kingdom is a never-ending source of goodness and joy just like the seashells on the beach that day. His love never ends. We’ll never stop discovering new and fresh signs of His love for us.

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)

A Woman After God’s Heart

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Anyone who knows my mother knows why I’ve always wanted to be like her. During the hardest of seasons, my mother was the wind beneath my wings. She taught me the most valuable lessons of my life.

Today, I am remembering the years after my dad divorced my mother and how she turned to Christ to help her restore and renew her life. I truly believe it is what I witnessed during those years that made me the woman I am today. What stands out in my mind the most is how my mom depended on God. While watching my mother, I saw a hurting woman turn to Jesus for her every need. She was a young, beautiful woman and she could’ve easily turned to other men in her desperation. With amazement, I watched her closely as she sought God. Most importantly, I watched how a woman’s passionate love for God could make a bad situation turn into something good (Romans 8:28).

My mother was the first person I ever saw fall deeply in love with God. Since she no longer had a husband, she depended on Christ for everything. I can still vividly remember my mom sitting with her Bible in her hands and reading it for hours. She was always seeking to know God better. Her life was a true testament (and still is) of the goodness of God. Her love for Him, while I was growing up, was evident by the fruit in her life. I saw the fruit of the Spirit growing daily as I watched my mom’s example.

I saw a woman giving sacrificially, like no other person in my life. One time, she literally gave away the jacket on her back. It was her favorite jacket, one she wore all the time. She gave it to a young teenage girl because the Lord had asked her to. In that moment, I remember thinking, “I want to be like Mama.”

I learned from my mother that following Christ can be a great adventure. Shortly after my dad moved out of our home, my mom bought a special ring to replace her wedding ring. She beamed as she told her friends why she wore the ring. It was a ring that told the story of her heart—the story of the adventure that God had swept her into. From the side, the ring looked like a roller coaster, symbolizing the excitement of following God. From the top, it looked like a music note, symbolizing the beauty God was creating in her life. She wore the ring as a symbol of her commitment to God, and His commitment to her. This was the first time I saw how the Lord personalizes our ties to Him.

The way my mother reacted to the pain in her life was teaching me a life lesson that would stay with me forever. I learned from my mother to see the best in everything, how to be an over-comer, and how to live life to the fullest in the midst of suffering. I learned from her how to see God in every situation, and how He rescues us in times of need. Above all, I learned from my mother how to forgive completely, how to love others unconditionally, and how to be a woman after God’s heart.

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Proverbs 31: 29-30

This tribute was originally written in May, 2009.

From Darkness to Light

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                                   Photo Credit: Christa von Borstel

It was springtime in 1997 when I hit rock bottom and ended up in a deep, dark pit. It should’ve been a happy season for me as I had recently given birth to my second child. But instead of feeling joy, I had a serious case of postpartum depression. I was in a place of desperation. I wanted to die and prayed for my life to be over.

It seemed that everything good in my life had been lost. My marriage was broken, our finances were a complete mess, and I felt hopeless.  My busy life had pulled me away from the intimate relationship I had with God in my youth.  My prayers had become last resort petitions to God instead of daily communion with Him. I was surrounded with darkness.

Deep in my heart, I knew the only answer for me was the power of the resurrected Christ to pull me up out of my desperation and awaken my soul with His healing light. My personal journal revealed the darkness in my soul.

May 22, 1997

God, do You hate me? I feel so helpless. Please show me Your love. Please make a way for me out of this.

In that moment of being at the lowest point of my life, I cried out desperately for help from God. As I prayed, Jesus pulled me out of that pit, He began restoring my life little by little and step by step, and I eventually found the faith in Christ I had always dreamed of having.

Through prayer and the encouragement of a close friend and mentor, God brought me into His light. My friend Bonnie shared her faith with me during that dark season.

With certainty in her voice, Bonnie said, “Amy, I went through a time similar to what you’re going through. God will bring you through it.”

Her words brought hope to me in a way that is indescribable. It was as though her testimony drew me into the light that had brought her through the darkness I was experiencing.

Bonnie suggested that I listen to worship music continually and focus on God constantly. Her encouragement was worth far more than pure gold. She encouraged me in too many ways to count. I can still hear her sweet voice in my mind.

She sweetly said, “Write Scriptures on note cards and place them all over your house as a way to keep focused on the truth of God’s Word.”

Bonnie’s words were a reminder to me of the faith-steps my mother and grandmother had taught me when I was young, but I had allowed my hectic life to distract me from the spiritual disciplines my soul needed. As Bonnie suggested, I wrote out Scriptures on 3 x 5 cards and taped them wherever I thought my eyes would be drawn to. As I prayed and focused on the Scriptures that were strategically placed on my window sill, on my stove, on the bathroom mirror, and on my car dash, I felt hope rising up inside me.

The hopeless feeling I had lasted for a short season. By the time my son was five months old, I was feeling like a new person in many ways and beginning my journey of growing into a passionate praying woman.

Ultimately God is the only true Source that can heal our souls, but the encouragement from Bonnie and from my family pushed me in the right direction. Their encouragement gave me the hope I needed to keep praying and seeking God.

It’s been sixteen years since the darkest season of my life, and today I celebrate how God brought me through the tunnel of darkness and into His illuminating light.

That dark time in my life is what brings me here to begin writing on this new site. I want to do for others what was done for me at a time that I wanted to die. If you’re going through a dark season, I am here to say that it will get better as you pray, press into God, and seek to know His Truth.

I hope my life will stand as a living testimony and that you’ll stop by my site whenever you’re in need of encouragement. I pray that the peace of Christ will permeate your soul and bring you into His marvelous light.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1 Peter 2:9 (New King James Version)

This post is written in memory of my beloved friend, Bonnie Morrell (1959-2008).