Good morning! Today is going to be a typical September day weather wise in the Pacific Northwest–gray, cloudy, with rain storms scheduled for this afternoon. Yet, I’m comfortable here in my writing room, sitting at my desk, while enjoying another cup of coffee. I cherish the start of my day in this way: coffee and Jesus! 🙂
After my morning devotional, I was getting caught up in an older issue of Charisma magazine, that somehow got buried in the stack, and I hadn’t had a chance to read it yet. Yikes!! It’s from January 2019, and here we are almost to the start of 2020–how did that happen?! All I can say is God’s timing is perfect– He led me down memory lane to a moment that I treasure.
By the time my sister Danielle was a young adult, she had experienced many heart-breaking afflictions that left her feeling broken: the death of our mom at the age of seventeen, severe mental and physical abuse of her husband, suicide attempt of that same husband, severe depression, etc. All of this occured before she was twenty-five. Alcohol was how she coped–it numbed and pushed down all the excuriating pain she felt.
I always prayed for her and tried to give her encouraging prayers, cards, and books knowing that the Lord was the ONLY one that could change her heart. In His timing and her surrender.
Years went by, and she hit rock bottom. I won’t go into those details–they are hers to share–but it brought me to my knees and into the deepest intercessory prayer I can remember at that time. The LORD met me right there, as I poured my heart out to Him, over her.
One part of my prayer stands out: “God, either here on earth or in Heaven, I want to worship You, with her right next to me.” Amen.
The Holy Spirit, right then, confirmed in my heart that, that would happen. There was no denying it and I rested in that Hope every time doubt set it. I trusted in His promises and His timing.
Months and even a year or two went by. I received a call from her one day. She was in rehab, in a church program, not too far from my house. “Could I come for a visit and bring some Dr. Pepper?” “Yes and Amen!”
We slowly got to know eachother again and hung out a few times. She called me one day and invited me to church. We held hands and sang together that morning declaring our love for Jesus and trusting in His promises. Yay!!
Several Sundays after that, my sister called me and said she was wanting to be water baptized, but she was afraid. I told her that I would be baptized with her, if she would like. So, on August 15, 2004, my sister and I were baptized. I remember feeling the Holy Spirit so strongly and imagining my mom, looking down from Heaven and seeing two of her daughters together, commiting our lives to Christ in such a profound way! Praise God!!!
Those memories were reignited by an article I read today in Charisma magazine. Tony Suarez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership conference, lost his young wife to cancer after a six month battle. Through the Holy Spirit and his kids, God was able to bring so much beauty and hope out of the tragedy.
“”My oldest [son], Cole, said, ‘Daddy says there is no cancer in heaven, so if you have to go to heaven so that you’re OK, it’s OK,'” Suarez says. “He released her to heaven and told her, ‘I’m going to make you proud. I’m going to live for God, and if Daddy gives me permission, I want to be baptized and I want you to see me get baptized.’ As crazy as that might sound to other people, at Jessica’s funeral, I baptized all three of my children in water. It was a prophetic symbolism that day. I buried her in the ground; I buried my children’s sin in the waters of baptism”” (Charisma magazine, January 2019).
What a beautiful gift those kids received: the funeral of their mother will always be remembered in the Light of Jesus being their Savior!! I pray they will always remember the healing and hope that God will continue to provide as they trust in Him.
What about you? I’d love to hear your stories of hope, baptism, and surrender to Jesus!! 🙂
All the glory to God,
Charisma magazine. “Tony Suarez: How the Holy Spirit Got Me Through My Wife’s Death.”
January 2019. Page 22. Print.
Image of Ezekiel 36:26 by: “February 22, 2018–Bible verses of the day–Ezekiel 36:26.” Daily Verses.net. https://dailyverses.net/2018/2/22
Image of Psalm 71:5: “Scripture of the day.” Wellspring Christian Ministries. https://wellspringchristianministries.org/2018/10/22/psalm-715/