‘Remember?’

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“Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

Mark 8:18 ESV

That word of Jesus leaps off the page to me, ‘remember.’

And His question comes back to me ‘And do you not remember?’ every single morning… how could I ever forget???

I hear You, Lord! I DO remember, vividly…

August 27, 2011… a day our family was forever changed… a day that marked us- and defined our faith.

Now, today, 8/27/18, it’s been 7 years, and I still stand amazed at what my God has done, and continues to do, each and every day.

Let me tell ya!

Because of what we went through, going from death to life, with the power of our tongues ONLY because of Jesus, and speaking the Word of God over our daughter, she is fully healed and alive today.

She’s married, (3 years this December), a registered nurse, and serving the Lord in the Peace Corp in Zambia with her husband Asa, declaring the marvelous deeds of the Lord- making a difference every day in the lives of others.

We have a deeper, stronger faith. We went through the flood, ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ literally, and our roots are firmly established in the revelation of a Father who never leaves us. NEVER.

We came through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, when we emerged out of the deep end, and we have an awareness of God‘s abiding presence that forever changes the way we see impossible situations. NO one can tell me a situation is impossible when God’s involved, because I know otherwise!

Don’t ever settle for less than what God redeemed us from! Nothing is impossible with my Jesus!

God.

He was in the van with us. He was our ‘ever present help in our time of need’.

The moment we cried out ‘JESUS! Jesus, Jesus!’ He was right there, working on our behalf.

He sent His Holy Angels, who navigated my husband out of a treacherous situation… from the drivers seat, through a crushed door and broken window, glass everywhere… across LIVE POWER-LINES, in the pouring down rain- the Angels protection shielded him from harm, assisted him in getting her unbuckled and out of the pinned position of being sandwiched between the rear of her seat and the roof of our crushed van, over the the passengers side where both her Heavenly Father and her Daddy waited.

“Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.”

Psalm 23:4 GNTD

Honestly, when the tree fell suddenly on top of our van while we were driving, only five minutes from home… we were thrust into total darkness. The span of the tree so big, it covered our van… and the shield of our eyelids when we were thrown into unconsciousness also was utter darkness.

When my husband awoke first, his first instinct was survival and protection. Searching frantically for a cell phone to call 911, realizing the gravity of our situation he attempted to wake me, ‘WENDY! WENDY!’ he hollered my name multiple times. I seemed to hear him as if in a dream, with his voice sounding far away, though he was sitting right next to me…

My hand went to my head and neck, exploding in pain… then I heard these words:

“MORGANNE’S NOT BREATHING!”

These words reached into the depth of my darkness, my eyes flew open, heart was shocked into beating…dazed, seeing broken windshield and tree limbs covering us, trying to move my body around towards where our daughter was sitting, and then seeing her there… lifeless, like a rag doll, long arms and long hair hanging over side of seats edge alongside her knees…with the rear of her seat folded on top of her, the roof of the van pinning on top of her-I instantly was gripped by a level of fear and panic I never experienced before in my entire life!!! A sight forever branded on my heart and in my mind- not a day goes by that I don’t ‘see’ that gut-wrenching image…

I knew I needed to speak but the enemies grip on my throat was so tight it seemed literally impossible.

BUT GOD!!!

The power of the living Christ within me through my Helper, the Holy Spirit, arose a mighty spirit of faith. In fact, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead was activated in me-and I cried out ‘Jesus!!! JESUS- HELP MY BABY GIRL!!’

As I twisted in my seat, I reached out my hand and touched her pulse, on her neck and wrist. THERE WAS NO PULSE! NO HEART BEAT!

Words of LIFE, God’s Word, started flowing off my tongue, guided by the Holy Spirit, as I laid my hands on her- ‘Morganne will live and NOT DIE, and shall give account of the deeds of the Lord! It is written! When believers lay hands on the sick they SHALL recover! We resist you Devil! We submit to God, you MUST FLEE! Go! Leave her alone! She will live and not die in Jesus Name!’

And we prayed in the Spirit, kept saying ‘Jesus! Life! Help our baby girl! JESUS! LIFE!

6 minutes from when we found the phone and called 911, she remained unchanged…Lifeless.

But our God breathed life back into her, by HIS Words we uttered over her.

She started to breath. And rescue arrived… they pulled her out of the narrow opening on the passenger side of the van; no time for jaws of life or crane to remove tree…

And took her to the emergency room. Praise God for first responders!!! We do, all the time!

Throughout our ordeal, a total of 13 initial days in two hospitals-finding out of her massive blood loss and brain bleeds, fractured skull, multiple hematomas and subdermal bleeds, major brain damage on both lobes and brain stem, hearing the words ‘1-5% chance of survival with little to no quality of life if she makes it’ , emergency ground medic transfer to MCV during the height of Hurricane Irene, followed by a 9 hour brain surgery then hooked up to life support for three days… we held tight to God’s Word and each other.

Our son and older daughter with us, we kept praying and speaking God’s Word of life over her. A nightmare for each one of us…only we ALL were living in the same one.

We fought the good fight of faith. We refused the reports we were hearing and only believed God’s. We kept on saying she would fully recover and that it would be expedient. Nothing else was acceptable. It didn’t line up to what we believed, and we believed GOD.

On the third day, she awoke, though her journey of recovery and HER fight of faith was just beginning.

It was soooo hard seeing her in pain! Seeing her swollen beyond recognition; all of her long beautiful hair, gone- replaced by vicious staples across half of her head… all a testament now of the incredible God we trust in and serve, and of her amazing strength.

Fighting severe pain, inability to see in one eye, unable to walk, she kept saying ‘I need to run!’ Even though she couldn’t even yet stand. Doctors and nurses told her ‘honey you need to understand that you have a severe brain injury. You can’t do what you used to be able to do. This is what having a traumatic brain injury is about, it’s for life, this is your new normal.’

Our feisty girls response? ‘Will you stop telling me what I can’t do when my God says I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength?!’

On the 13th day, against all odds, our daughter WALKED out of MVV to our vehicle, on her own two feet! She refused the wheelchair. Of course she refused it- she was making a statement without words, she didn’t need it!

The next day, she surprised her team at an invitational run; and on the way home stopped at the storage yard where the wreckage of the vans remnant remained… seeing her standing there, looking at the van, I knew we were looking at what a miracle looks like. Another image branded forever on my heart…

Two weeks later after intense physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, and lots of prayer, she returned for a consequent brain surgery to reattach her bone after swelling went down… and after another five days of intense pain, and hospitalization at MCV, she was home again.

And, one month after original accident on September 30th, she returned to school- to all her advanced and AP dual enrollment college classes, and that afternoon?

Morganne ran with her cross country team!!! I’ll never, ever forget it.

The power of the tongue… Like a rudder on a ship- it’s so tiny in size yet it powerfully steers the direction of our lives by the words off our lip.

When we line up our words with God’s Words- life will always follow.

“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” Proverbs 18:21 GNTD

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

Proverbs 18:21 MSG

This year is bittersweet, as we always commemorate this day with an anniversary dinner to honor God and thank Him for saving us, and for restoring our daughter back to life, miraculously… but with Morganne being thousands of miles away across the world from us, we will celebrate in two separate time zones, and in two parts of the world.

We will always remember, Jesus, what You’ve done for us. We will tell the world of Your goodness every opportunity we have-

‘We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony’. (Revelation 12:11)

If I could encourage one person not to give up by ‘remembering’ and sharing what Jesus did for us, then our trial has been worthwhile.

Jesus Himself tells us in Mark 11:22, ‘Have faith in God.’ We live by faith., and never stop thanking Him for the incredible things He has done.

We remember…

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Healed by His Stripes

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By His Stripes you are healed.’ Isaiah 53:5

True statement.

I can testify of the goodness and faithfulness of my God!!!

When I got revelation of His Word and truth…

That EVERYTHING we receive from God comes by faith-

That it takes the same faith to receive healing as it does to receive salvation and provision-

Wow!

My life changed…when Jesus Christ, who IS my life, changed me!

I was broken… hurt… living a life of chronic, debilitating pain that no doctor could cure.

A snapshot of my life then:

Fibromyalgia. Degenerative bone and disc disease. Gastroparesis. Multiple fibroids, cysts, tumors in my abdomen, uterine area, and neck.

Partial paralysis in my esophagus that caused extreme swelling to the point I looked 8 months pregnant with toxins causing severe pains…multiple surgeries…including spinal fusion.

Variety of doctors, pain management clinics, even acupuncture… pain meds with allergic reactions to most- misery.

Hopeless.

I was facing a hopeless future.

Was losing my ability to walk… in fact, was bent over, and ended in a wheelchair in 2005…

No one seemed to understand.

I tried my best to grin and bear it.

I tried my best to be as positive as I could… and would draw from every bit of inner strength I had just to function in public, and for my family.

I was determined not to miss a day or event of my children’s life.

I was determined not to give up and quit work and file disability, though I did receive disabled tags for my car…

I cried myself to sleep praying ‘Dear God, help me get through this night.’ And He did. Night and night, He granted my requests…

But I was not requesting what I needed- because I didn’t have faith I could receive it.

See, there’s two kinds of faith: a natural faith, and a God-kind of faith.

A natural faith we all have- it’s based on our five senses… what we see, hear, feel…

So for me, because I was feeling pain, I accepted the pain, by natural faith. Because I was hearing about my diagnosis and prognosis, I accepted it, by natural faith.

There’s another faith, a God-kind of faith. The Bible says ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’

So, when I ‘saw’ what the Word of God said about ME…and when I ‘heard’ and kept hearing about what Jesus did for me, according to the Word of God, the God-kind of faith happened!

About what Jesus did for ME…

When I learned that Hebrews 11:1 defined faith as ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’

And when I read in Romans 4:2 ‘What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed GOD, and it was credited to Him as righteousness.”

I had to question myself:

Who do I believe? God? His Word? Or my feelings? Or my diagnosis?

I began reading these scriptures as if my life depended on them… (because it did.)

I was already born again…but this time-something was changing.

The eyes of my spiritual sight began to change.

Romans 4:18 says ‘against all hope, in hope Abraham believed…’

Romans 4:19 says ‘without weakening in his faith…’

Romans 4:20-21 says ‘yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.’

I had to choose to believe God, over and beyond my feelings of hopelessness and pain, and diagnosis.

I had to receive my healing by faith and give God glory for it BEFORE I received any confirmation in my body…

I had to choose to believe God, that by the very stripes of Jesus, that He bore in His own body on the tree, for ME-I was healed.

Gods Word does not ever change. It works for whosoever believes.

I decided that I am a whosoever.

God’s Word changed my life, healed my body, restored my hope, and set me free!

He will do it for you, too!

There’s not one example in the Bible where someone came to Jesus in need of healing who left unchanged. Not one.

Scriptures states:

Matthew 9:35 ” and Jesus went about ALL the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing EVERY sickness and EVERY disease among the people.”

*Italic emphasis mine…

The scriptures also state:

‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Hebrews 13:8

Most of the Bible gospel examples of healing, 12 of the 19, Jesus said it was by their faith they were made whole, healed. By their faith.

I love love love reading in Mark 5:21-42. It’s faith packed!!!

Just as Jesus read about Himself in the scriptures, so did I.

Mark 5:25-27 could have been me. ‘And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak.’

The most beautiful statement that still resonates with me, is this:

‘Jesus said to her “daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’

Oh, to be called daughter by my Lord, my Healer, my Savior!

And to be free from my suffering!!!

I share my testimony with you to encourage you. True hope is found in God’s Word.

He will never disappoint or leave you as you are, if you come to Him in faith.

If you are willing to put what He says as vital to your circumstance, trust in Him, receive Him as Lord of your life…

He died for you because He loves you… sin is the culprit.

The Bible says ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23)

Sin must be punished. God is love, but He is also just.

A Holy God can’t permit unrepented sin into His holy Heaven.

To confess Him as Lord, we must surrender our own way to Him.

Let Him become Lord of our life.

His way, because He IS the WAY., the TRUTH, and the LIFE.

Repent means to ask for forgiveness, admit our wrongdoing to God, and turn away from sin… and turning TO Jesus., believing in Him AND following Him, all the rest of our days.

When we receive Jesus as our Lord, and Savior, we also receive Him as our Healer, by faith.

It all depends on faith.

It depends on receiving the free gift, God’s grace, undeserved… can’t be earned. Freely given.

‘For by grace you are saved by faith, and this not by yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and to receive your Healer, say this prayer by faith and mean it in your heart, then get connected with a good bible teaching church:

“Dear Heavenly Father,

I believe that You love me. And You sent Your only Son Jesus to die on the cross in my place for the death penalty of my sins.

I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I choose to turn away from my sins, and turn to You, as my Lord, my Savior, my Healer.

Accept me as I am. Help me. Heal me by Your stripes. Fill me, Holy Spirit. I am Yours, in Jesus Name. Amen.’

Website for Iamjesusgal Ministries

Click here to learn more about our ministry, to contact the Pastor, and to read other blogs.

If you’ve prayed this prayer, we’d love to hear from you!

She Wanted to Run

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There are tests and trials that come to us all, whether in business, in ministry, or in everyday life.
How do we overcome them?
Do we let them control us, destroy us, or contribute in defining us?

Six years ago this August, Satan attempted to kill our youngest daughter in a horrific hurricane related accident.

God brought her from death to life, restored her completely from total brain damage… she was unable to stand… unable to talk for awhile & was able to see only in one eye…
When she was finally able to speak, she kept saying ‘I want to run.’ 

She was 16 years old, a few months away from turning 17.   She was beginning her senior year of high school, the girls cross country team captain.

Running was part of her life.

She was determined to do whatever she could do to help lead her team to States.

But…

She was told she wouldn’t be able to run again, and possibly not be able to walk again.

But she kept saying ‘I want to run.’ 

Don’t ever let someone else’s word be your final word.

Words are powerful.   Proverbs 18:21 says ‘Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.’  

It matters what you speak.

It matters who, and what you believe.

She refused to give up, she refused to accept what others said about her fate, unless it agreed with God’s Word.

Like the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25–34, Matthew 9:20–22, Luke 8:43–48) who kept saying to herself  ‘if only I can touch the hem of Christ’s garment I will be healed’, our daughter kept saying ‘I want to run.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’

She walked out of the hospital in 13 days in spite of the odds, went through two brain surgeries to repair brain fracture-and endured months of multiple types of therapy, but never she gave up.


Medical science via expert doctors told her she’d never run again. She kept saying she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength.
Well, never in my life have I met someone as self disciplined as this gal.

She’s the strongest person I know.

She’s my hero.

She pressed through the pain, she sets goals and goes after them, with the strength of God in her.

She runs with the pure freedom of LIFE, and Christ IS Life!

She runs for herself, but she runs for God!
She’s a walking, talking, RUNNING MIRACLE and all I can say is WOW GOD, and THANK YOU GOD!

She ran a marathon this morning in Pennsylvania and qualified for the #Bostonmarathon!

Guess where this family will be next year?
Most won’t remember the trials that began August 27, 2011 that she overcame.
Many wouldn’t understand the daily sacrifices of conditioning and running made to get to where she is today, but we will never forget, and will always be her biggest fan.

The body of Christ

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Joseph, a disciple of Jesus, secretly asked Pilate (because Joseph was afraid of the Jews) to takeaway”the body of Jesus”… and Pilate gave him permission.

So, Pilate came, and “took away the body of Jesus.”

Nicodemus, who earlier came to Jesus by night (see John 3) came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 75lbs.

So, they (Joseph and Nicodemus) “took the body of Jesus” and bound it in linen clothes with the spices,  as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Now, in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden-a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

So, because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they “laid Jesus there.”  (John 19:38-42)

Three times j  this passage the words read “took the BODY of Jesus” (emphasis mine).

Three days, His “body” was in the tomb.  But, while the “body of Jesus” laid in the tomb, where was His spirit and soul?

We are a three part being:  We are an eternal created spirit, we possess a soul as we live temporarily on earth in a physical body.  Jesus, when He left Heaven and came to earth, became flesh and dwelt among us.  He is a spirit, as well.

We read scriptures to determine the answer.  Right before He died on the cross, He declares “It is finished!”

Luke 23:46 we read, “Then Jesus called out  with a loud voice, saying, ‘Father into Your hands I commit my spirit!’  ”

So, we know He trusted God with His spirit., and He took in His own body on the tree all of our sickness, disease, and the weight of all our son… He paid the wages of our sin, death.

We also read in Colossians 2:15 “He (Christ) disarmed the rulers and authorities (demonic rulers) and put them to shame openly, by triumphing over them in the cross.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 “when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immorality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh, death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting?’  (Isaiah 25:8)

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Sin carries a massive cost.  DEATH.

Eternal death-eternal separation from God. A HOLY God.  In a HOLY Heaven.

In a holy heaven, where THE Holy God dwells, there cannot be a trace of sin.

When God created the heavens and the earth, He made it a perfect place.

God desired a family, with intimate relations with a family; so God created man, Adam; and then out of man, God created woman from the side of Adam, Eve- a perfect match, his helpmate, to complete Adam. He instructed them to be fruitful and to multiply; and they walked upright with God.

God gave them free will, and gave them every good plant to eat of; with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil-actually commanded them not to eat of it, or they’d surely die.

The serpent deceived Eve,  and had her questioning what God actually said, and lured her into eating from the forbidden tree…then she gave some to Adam who knowingly knew he was eating forbidden food.  They committed high treason and surrendered legal authority and dominion on earth to Satan.

Genesis 1-3 gives account of this.  Through they didn’t die at that moment physically, spirituality they died, and were separated from God. A great chasm divided them.  An animal sacrifice was required with shed blood to cover their sin.

The Bible tells us without the shedding of blood there cannot be remission of sin.

Each year, prior to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ- at Passover, a sacrifice was made, with shedding of blood.

2000 years ago, Jesus became our blood sacrifice-the spotless, pure, sinless Lamb of God, (John 1:36) once and for all-and He conquered death, defeated Satan and took BACK the keys of the Kingdom, and gave them to us, His believers- to use His Name . (Matthew 16:18-19; 18:18/Mark 16:18-20).

Hell was never intended for mankind.  It was created for Satan and all his evil cohorts.  Heaven (3rd Heaven where God dwells) was created for all born again believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  However, those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior, and live for self as their own god-those who are outside of the blood covering that remits sin and makes them the righteousness of Christ, choose to remain in their trespasses and sins- which cannot enter a holy heaven.

God loves the world, all of us, even while we were yet sinners, God gave us a free gift of salvation, through Jesus His only Son.  But though it’s a free gift to us, it cost Christ His very life.

He choose to go to the cross, to stand while spit upon, beaten, tormented with his skin, and muscles torn to shreds, ridiculed, then be nailed to a heavy, rugged cross, with nails through His hands and feet…and die in all of our place.  The nails didn’t hold Him on that cross- His love for us did.

Then He died, and while His ‘body’ was placed in the tomb, His spirit and soul descended into the depth of the earth, where He battled Satan, with a river of His precious blood flowing crimson- and arose victorious over the dark domain.

On the third day, the day celebrated as ‘Easter’ (Resurrection Sunday), the REAL Jesus, His spirit and soul, reunited with His ‘body’ , He neatly folded the linen shroud He was wrapped in after His body was removed from the cross (Luke 23:54) and laid it where His body previously laid, and He left the tomb, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.” (Mark 16:9)

Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Romans 10:7 “Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)”

Ephesians 4:8-10  “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

John 6:62 “what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? How can He ascend unless He be descended first?”

Only a loving, POWERFUL God can overturn death, take upon Himself the weight of the worlds sins, sicknesses and diseases in their entirety, defeat Satan and all His evil cohorts, resurrect Himself and everyone who hides themselves in Christ, and then turn around, ascend to Heaven, then send the ‘Promise of the Father’, the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, to come dwell WITHIN us, His Holy Temple!  The miracle of Easter is this:  the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the grave IS IN US, as His body!

He is risen!!! Hallelujah!!! And He has raised us up with Him, oh, glorious day!

Jesus gave it ALL for us.  Sacrificed EVERYTHING for us.  Suffered the absolute worse pain and agony known to man, because He demonstrated His love for us.   Can we in turn sacrifice a ‘day off’ to assemble together and worship Him, to give the only One who is worthy all the glory and praise due Him?

Consider the ‘body of Jesus’… broken for us…lying in the tomb that should have our names written on it- instead, He wrote a love letter of crimson, written in red… and died for me and for you.

 

Hope arising-Sunflower miracle

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Every time I see a sunflower, I smile.  It reaches deep into my soul, and takes me back to a time where I was filled with despair, heartache, and anguish over the death of my beloved Great-Aunt Zippy, but how faithful is my God who hears and heals the brokenhearted!    What does this have to do with a sunflower?  With Hope arising?  With a miracle?

I’ll tell you.  Growing up the oldest of three, and the only girl, and as a military child was difficult for me.  My younger brothers had each other as playmates regardless of where we moved to, but I never seemed to fit in.  My Aunt Zippy, who lived in Charles City Iowa, had a soul connection with me.  Though I didn’t get to see her often, the times we did get to visit were so instrumental and profound, the memories of our visits boosted me.  She always had a way of making me feel special, even long-distanced.  She seemed to read my mind, and know when I was struggling.  Sometimes, I’d get a letter in the mail from her, in her curly old-fashioned handwriting; always ending with “Aunt Zippy loves you!”  Other times, I’d get a phone call from her, with her saying “Aunt Zippy just needed to hear your voice dear. Is every thing OK?” And all of my troubles would spill out into her listening ear.

Well, the day came when she passed away.  When my mother called me, and said she had to tell me something that was going to upset me, suddenly in my heart, I knew.  “Is it Aunt Zippy?” I asked.  And mom confirmed.  A part of my heart stopped beating at that moment, and I fell into a depressed, numb shock. NOOOOOOOOOO!  I screamed silently.  It couldn’t be true!  I wasn’t ready for her to die!

We weren’t sure how we were going to afford driving to Iowa for her funeral.  Our available cash was non-existent. At the time, I was selling Longaberger Baskets, and had a large amount of the collector baskets, and a few avid customers who loved deals.  I decided to bundle a bunch together and offer a grouping too irresistible to refuse, and was soon able to exchange a truck load of baskets for the cash we needed, and we were on our way, with our 3 children in tow.

We were asked to sing at her funeral.  Our son plays the guitar and sings, along with the rest of us.  We decided we would sing “I Can Only Imagine”.  I couldn’t imagine being able to sing, when I wasn’t able to talk without crying, and breathing was difficult.  I kept praying for the Lord to give me strength.

Aunt Zippy’s favorite flower was the Sunflower.  Due to a drought in the area, it was difficult  finding sunflowers for her funeral.  Her son, my cousin Paul, was able to get a few ordered for her casket.  Seeing her like that was the hardest sight I ever witnessed.  I missed her so much!  I was consumed with the deepest anguish, and struggled to find peace.

You see, only a few weeks before her fiftieth wedding anniversary, her husband, my Uncle Red, passed away following complications with heart surgery.  She was so angry at God!  She felt cheated.  When I would try to talk with her about it, she’d clamp up, and I sensed the bitterness that was settling in, mixed with her heartache.  I knew she was raised in a church, and knew she was a member of the local church in fact; but didn’t know for sure she’d given her heart to Jesus, and received Him as her personal Lord and Savior.  The uncertainty of her eternal rest was eating away at me, and was the source of my agony!

Desperate to know, I cried out to God.  On our return trip home, still numb with grief, still in shock, still searching within, I asked God “Father God, You know where she is.  You know how much she means to me, and how much I am hurting.  I know all things are possible with You.  I ask that You show me a sign dear Lord, that she is with you in Heaven.  I need a miracle dear Lord.  Please let it be, In Jesus Name, amen.”

My head against the window, looking out at the roadside, tears streaming down my face, Iowa corn fields passing by us as we traveled, all of a sudden, I see the most amazing sight!  There on the right side of the road growing wild were several beautiful, tall sunflowers!    I jumped up, and exclaimed to my family “Look!  Did you see that?  There were 2 or 3 large sunflowers right there!  I know God placed them there as a sign for me that Aunt Zippy is alive in heaven with Him!”  My husband laughed and teased me, “Mommy must have had a dream kids” he said.  They laughed a bit too, while I insisted I wasn’t dreaming, and that I knew what I saw. I even suggested my husband turn around and go back to see it himself, but he didn’t.

I guess I must have dozed off, but shortly after I was awakened by my children hollering “Mommy!  Look!  Look!  Look out the window!  Look at all of the sunflowers mommy!”  I looked and couldn’t BELIEVE what my eyes were seeing!  The entire roadside for about a mile or so was FULL OF SUNFLOWERS!  Amazing!  I couldn’t believe it!  They were soooo beautiful!  God is so good!  He answered my prayer, and tears were flowing, as I was knowing…my aunt Zippy was in heaven!  God is faithful!

I called my cousin Paul and shared with him.  I just wanted others to have the peace that was flooding my heart in knowing she was with God!    He seemed subdued, and a little skeptical, but was happy for me.  I can’t describe to you the depth of my joy!  I was thrilled my children and husband witnessed it too.  WOW GOD!  And just like God, when we finally pulled into our driveway of our Virginia home, after 2 days of driving, guess what was there at our front door, welcoming us?  Yep.  You guessed it.  The biggest, largest sunflower bloom you ever saw, growing in our flower garden next to our front steps, with its petals wide open.  I’ve never planted sunflowers there before.  It wasn’t growing when we left.  It was heaven-sent, with arms wide open, welcoming us home.  Our sunflower miracle!

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