Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Testimony Tuesday - Meet Laurie

Today's Testimony is by the "sister God let me choose".   If you read my blog - you know that Laurie is my very best friend.  We met 22 years ago in college and now we are really more like family.  Our husbands are best friends and our daughters adore each other.  Laurie is the person in the world who knows me the very best.  Scott knows me the best too but something about a girlfriend - she probably has the edge.  She is hands down the funniest person I've ever known and has a love for Jesus and His word.  We are just soul sisters - except she LOVES cats and hates sandwiches.  And if you don't read her blog - you should.  It is totally her. 

 I am very fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home.  I am blessed that my parents love the Lord and my grandparents loved the Lord.  My parents had what I have heard called a "functional faith."  Everything they do is living out that they are Christians.  Not perfect people, but they have always tried to honor God in everything.  They never ever gave me a list of dos and don'ts.  They never even told me not to do this or that.  They never pushed religion down my throat.  They just lived as examples 24/ 7, not just on Sunday mornings.  I remember always being in church and always hearing the Bible at home.
When I was 8 years old, several of my church friends got saved.  I think it was during a revival.  I remember the night that they got baptised, I had a lump in my throat because I knew I should have gotten saved too, but for some reason I resisted God's call on my life to be saved from my sins and become a Christian.   I began dreading an invitation to get saved at the end of every service.  It convicted me and made me feel uncomfortable.  I struggled with this for three or four years.  God was calling me and I kept on putting Him off.  One Sunday night, when I was 9 or 10, an older lady in our church came up to me and asked me when I was going to ask Jesus into my heart.  It embarrassed me and made me mad!  I was being convicted.
Right before my eleventh birthday, our church had a revival week.  Every night that week, I went to a class taught by a lady named Nonie from Bossier City, Louisana.  She was a great teacher and example.  That week I talked to my parents and told them I wanted to get saved!  I couldn't take the struggle anymore and I was ready to find FREEDOM!  I remember talking to our pastor and then walking the aisle that next Sunday.  I cried and cried because I felt like such a burden had been lifted.
Our church had wonderful youth ministers the whole time I was in youth group. (6th-12th grade)  I also had the same Sunday School teacher for seven years.  She was a wonderful lady and I learned so much for her teaching and just her life.  I am so grateful for these men and women that poured into my life and the lives of many others.
I didn't enjoy my highschool days very much.  I often felt lonely and very different from everyone else. I was pretty shy and never dated anyone.  I often spent my weekends babysitting.  I found that to be fun and rewarding.  I felt like our town was a "party town" and I never wanted to compromise my beliefs to fit in.  I could not wait to go to college!

I LOVED my college years.  I met wonderful friends that I still talk to even now.  I figured I would go to college and get married, but that didn't happen.  In fact, I never dated anyone in college.  I was not bothered too bad by that because most of my best friends did not have boyfriends either.  THANK YOU Ouachita Baptist University for four GREAT years of my life!!!!   
While I was in college, I majored in art education.  The Lord blessed me with a job in NW Arkansas teaching elementary art.  I always say it is the best job in the school.  I enjoyed my teaching days and learned a lot about myself, other adults and children.  I moved five hours away for this job!  It was hard leaving my home, but the Lord blessed my with WONDERFUL friends from the beginning.  He took care of me.  My best friend growing up and her husband lived right next to me in a duplex.  It was so fun having them beside me.  I don't think I could have made it without them!  After teaching for one year, Kelly moved in with me.  What a tremendous blessing to have her.  We lived together for seven years. And Kelly is STILL my very best friend!!!  Again, the Lord was taking care of me.  I got involved in a church that I loved.

I really struggled with being single.  It was really hard for me.  I wanted more than anything to be married and have children.  I was happy for my friends who got married, but I was also jealous that the were married and I was not.  Teachers and church friends were always wanting to set me up with someone.  I always took that as a compliment.  I went on a ton of blind dates and had several dates from guys I met through church.  Nothing ever lasted too long.  I got to the point that a box of Junior Mints, a fire, and a good movie were sometimes better than trying to chew the fat with some guy I had just met.  Yet I wanted a husband so bad.
 I dated one guy for about seven months.  He was so good to me and there were so many things that I really liked about him.  I always had a lot of fun with him and he was a good guy.  But after much prayer and discernment, I broke up with him.  It nearly killed me.  I was so so so sad to lose him.  When I tried to get him to come back to me, he wouldn't.  I knew I had done the right thing in breaking up with him, but it was very very painful.  I remember my parents coming soon after and I cried the entire weekend.  I missed him and I missed the idea of having someone.  I think I was around 28 when this happened.  It was through those single lonely days that I would cling to Jesus like never before.  I would read the Bible and the words just seemed to jump off the pages.  I had heard that when you are hurting, reach out and help others.  There is healing that comes through that!  I voluntered to teach a college girls Bible study.  I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVED THOSE girls so much!!!!  It helped me grow in my Christian walk as I prepared to teach them each week.  What a blessing those years were!
During that time, I was set up on a blind date with a guy that I soon became engaged to.  There were red flags all over the place with this guy, but I WANTED TO BE MARRIED.  I pushed the red flags under the rug and stayed in the relationship way longer than I should have.  I was being selfish and only thinking of what I wanted.  During this time, Kelly moved out and bought a house.  She and Scott were very serious in their relationship.  During this time in my life, my friendships suffered and so did my relationship with the Lord.  The Lord let me know that I needed to get out of this relationship.  I am so thankful that I was obedient to the Lord.  He delivered me from a relationship that I did not need to be in.
I remember crying the night of my 30th birthday thinking that I would never be married.  I knew I needed to cling to God and be at peace with being single.  I realized that God was the matchmaker.  I held on to the verse that says, "God sets the lonely in families."  I knew God would take care of me but I had a hard time trusting Him that I would be okay being single. I read every book I could find on being single.  My favorite was "Lady in Waiting."  It really encouraged me!
I went to church and still taught college girls at my house on Tuesday nights.  I had bought a house and was loving my new neighborhood and community pool.  Life was good.  I had quit going to a Sunday School class because I was tired of Single Sunday school classes.  I had been out of SS for about three years.  Right after I bought my new house, I told the Lord one day while laying out at the pool that I would go back to Sunday school every Sunday in July.  Who do you think was there that first Sunday I went back?  Yes, STEVE.  I thought he was cute and I liked that he participated in class.  He was kind, but never had much to do with me. He was there every Sunday.  I did my July SS committment and I did not go back to class after that.  The class just kind of depressed me.  It was always a Sunday reminder that I was single.  In the mean time, I began visiting another church and gave up teaching Bible study.
Fast Forward one year..........it was July and I was driving back from a teacher conference in Little Rock.  A friend from my old church called and said that Steve had called her that day and asked for my phone number and he was going to ask me out!!!!!!  I was ESTATIC!!!!! I looked down at my speedometer and I was going 110 MPH!  YES! CRAZY!  I was beside myself with excitement.  Before I went to bed that night Steve had called me and asked me for a date.  That was Thursday and we went out on Saturday night.  The rest is history.  We could have gotten this party started a year earlier, but some guy in Sunday School told Steve that my name was Kelly and I had a boyfriend(Scott).  Haha!  Then I was out of sight, out of mind while visiting the other church.  In July, Steve realized that he had gotten the two of us confused and he wanted to ask me out. 

Steve was the perfect man God had planned for me!  I had made a list of ten things that I wanted in a husband.  Steve met every one of my list requirements......and then some.  God brought me to a beautiful place, but it was a rough and rocky road getting there.  Looking back, I am thankful for my single days because my relationship grew with the Lord so much.  I LOVE STEVE so much and I know he loves me.  I can just be me with him!
We were married on October 16, 2004.  We had Emily in December of 2005.  God had given me what I had wanted for years and years....a husband and a baby.  I LOVED Emily more than I ever imagined.  She is such a sweet blessing to us.  In June of 2008 we had Sarah Kate.  She adds so much funny to our family.  We LOVE each other and all feel so blessed!

We had quite a scare when Sarah Kate was born.  When she was born, she had the cord wrapped around her neck.  I could see the Dr looping her hand up several times to get the cord from around her neck. The Dr did not say anything about it.  The Dr and nurses quickly took SK over to the little bed and began working with her.  She was not crying.  She was just making some quite grunting sounds.  They kept on working with her and I started asking the nurses if she was okay.  They said, "she is just having a hard time transitioning."  I kept asking and they kept saying the same thing. A nurse came over to the phone on my bed and asked if a neonatologist could come because they had a nuchal cord baby.  I had never heard that term before.  They continued working with her for what seemed like a long time.  I was so scared and I was saying, "when I am afraid I will trust in You."  they were giving her oxygen and soon our baby began a little cry.  She pinked up and I was able to hold her!  The Lord was so good to us!  We were so thankful.
She was born at 3:17 a.m on an early Saturday morning.  We had a great day with her all day Saturday and Saturday night.  Sunday morning, we packed up.  Steve loaded all our things in the car.  They came to get SK for her final exam with the pediatrician.   Steve and I wondered why it was taking so long.  After like an hour, the Dr came back to the room with no Sarah Kate.  He was such a kind man and he asked if Steve and I could sit down with him because he wanted to talk to us.  My heart was literally pounding out of my chest.  He told us that while he was examining her, that she started crying very hard and quit breathing and turned gray......twice.  Her pulse ox was very low and that they needed to keep her in the nursery for another day.
We prayed together the second the Dr walked out and then we emailed our Sunday School class asking them to pray.  By Sunday night she was back to normal and she got stay in our room that night!  Once again, the Lord had taken care of Sarah Kate!!!!!  

We are so thankful for the two precious, healthy girls that God has given us.  They are such a delight to us!
In August of 2011, I got a call at midnight from my mother telling me that my Dad had suffered a bad heart attack and was on his way to Arkansas Heart Hospital.  I remember being shocked and sad and helpless.  Our family leaned on the Lord during this difficult time.  He gave us a peace that passes understanding.  We discovered while in the hospital that my dad also had a broken ankle.  After a triple by-pass surgery and a boot for several weeks,  my Dad is very healthy today.  God gets the credit for that!!!!!!
I realize that my life has been good!  I DO NOT deserve it!!!!  "There, but for the grace of God go I."  God LOVES me and HE LOVES YOU TOO!  WE don't have to work for God or perform for GOD.  Nothing you do can make Him love you MORE and nothing you do can make Him love you LESS.  NOTHING!  HE is the one who makes us thirst for Him and HE is the one that satisfies our thirst.  Is there something missing in your life?  JESUS is the ONLY ONE THAT CAN FILL THE VOID.
I don't want Jesus to be a part of my life, I want Him to BE my life!  I bring nothing to the table!  I am just a sinful person who is prone to wander.  BUT HE is EVERYTHING!!!!!

I bring nothing and HE brings everything!  He gave HIS life for you and for me!
My favorite scripture is this:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3;5 and 6

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