Jesus, Friend of Sinners ~ lessons from a song

by contributing writer Kristen Webb 

jesus, friend of singer - lessons from a song

On New Years Eve my family went to the church skate at the coliseum. I was enjoying skating, not really thinking about anything in particular and then I noticed the song that was playing. I recognized it as “Jesus, Friend of Sinner’s” by Casting Crowns. I have heard it lots of times and have always liked it. I enjoy how the song talks about not judging people, but loving them instead. This is a value I have been passionate about since I was young; but on New Years Eve, the song hit me in a completely different way.

It overwhelmed me and healed me as I was gliding along among all those people.

I have struggled since I was a teenager with feeling like I am a failure, especially when it comes to my Christian walk. I think this stemmed from being a perfectionist and feeling I had to be perfect for God to be pleased with me. I felt like He was angry every time I made a mistake! This tainted my life and made everything a struggle. I thought life was just hard and that was the way it had to be. God said we would have trials and I thought the fear and sense of failure I was experiencing were the trails God was talking about. I just figured I needed to try harder to be perfect and endure all the emotional stress failing brought me.

But now I see that I needlessly endured the very things Jesus died to free me of.

What sort of things were affected by my perfectionism? Everything I did was affected!

Once, when I was helping out with our youth group, I created a permission slip for Snow Camp but forgot to change the date from the year before. Handing out a permission slip with the wrong date ruined my entire day.

Looking back I can see how silly this was because in the grand scheme of things it really did not matter to anyone else that the date was wrong. The youth knew that the permission form was obviously for this year not last year.

My whole day was made up of numerous events like the permission slip—of me judging myself and finding myself lacking. It was like I was continually playing this game to trying to be perfect and keeping score in my head. If I lost any points during the day I would feel like a failure, which led to depression and thinking I did not deserve anything good.

Looking back, I wonder if I was trying to fix the hole in my soul by being perfect.

I was sexually abused as a kid and it really messed me up inside. I did not deal with what happened or go to God to heal me, I just buried it all and tried to pretend nothing was wrong. I think I was trying to fix my broken heart by being perfect and I felt that if I could just not make any mistakes the deep hurt in me would go away.

The devil had me right where he wanted me.

This solo attempt to fix the problem added a huge amount of pain and stress to my life. There was no way I could be perfect so this just made my failures more painful, and spiraled me further into hopelessness. I was haunted by condemnation and felt unworthy and insecure.

But all the while, I was careful to not let others see my weakness. I taught others about forgiveness and grace but felt it did not apply to me.

So when I was gliding along and I heard the song about Jesus being a friend of sinners I had an epiphany: I realized all the things I felt God was mad at me for were sins! That made me a sinner and the song said that Jesus was a friend to sinners!

This song about God’s grace did not just apply to others but to ME.

God was not mad at me or even expecting me to be perfect—He was wanting me to grasp His forgiveness and fully embrace His love for me. He died to free me from sin, and did not expect me to try harder but to trust Him. I couldn’t do this on my own and I was not meant to even try…which is why my life was such an endless, epic fail.

I was hoping that being good would impress God and somehow fix my broken soul. 

But trying to be good without God actually fueled pride and separated me from God. God is not impressed when we try to be good on our own. The fact that I failed so often in my own strength was no surprise to God.

God was so aware of our weaknesses that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross to be our SAVIOR. I totally missed the crux of Christianity: the fact that I needed a Savior to save me from my sin—not just to forgive my sins so I could have a relationship with God and get into heaven but to free me from the power of sin in my everyday life.

All that pressure I had been putting on myself slipped away as I grasped that God’s grace and mercy applied to me too.

I did not have to be perfect to please God, and my righteousness came from Jesus.

Relief overwhelmed me as I realized God loved me just as I was—a sinner—someone who makes a lot of mistakes. I don’t need to marinate in condemnation when I blow it. I need to accept God’s forgiveness, rejoice, and move on. All the shame I had been holding for years washed away. I could finally admit that I was not strong, that I had huge issues and that I was not the wonderful Christian I was trying so hard to be.

By believing all of Satan’s lies I had tortured myself for years. But the the comfort that was flowing into my life as I skated around was so freeing.  Being free from pride and shame felt amazing. I had been trying so hard to have it all together and it felt great to have permission to be a mess.

It was going to be okay because my success did not rest in me but on God.   

I don’t need to try to be good on my own strength. That is not my job! I can trust God to transform me and, if I stay close and listen and obey, He will lead me and change me.

While I was writing this blog another Casting Crowns song came on that describes how I don’t have to figure it all out by myself. It is called, “Just be Held.”


It is not by trying harder that I become someone God is pleased with, but by trusting more completely and surrendering all to Him. 

Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

The Angry Water Trough

by contributing writer, Kristen Webb

Last Sunday we had a bit of an incident before church. In the past something of this magnitude would have ruined my whole day. So what was different about this time? I handled it God’s way and that changed everything!

Some feel that the Bible is an old irrelevant book that has no real bearing on today.  But this “old” book is where I learned the revolutionary new way to respond to unexpected difficulties.

It says in Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

In the past I struggled with anxiety on a good day so if anything went amiss my anxiety would go into hyper-drive.  This just seemed to make the situation I was struggling with worse. I would get stuck in this negative funk that coloured the situation and made me feel hopeless. I played out the worst-case scenario in my mind. Then the complaining and questioning God would begin. Since I was expecting the situation to go badly it did. When you approach challenges with this mindset it causes emotional torture but I think it also affects the outcome of the issue in a very negative way.  My experiences in the past have proven this true.  

On Sunday I approached my issue with a different attitude; the one God asks us to have in Philippians 4:6&7. Sunday morning I got dressed in my church clothes and was just sitting down to relax for a bit when there was a knock on our door. Ashley, who boards horses with us and does the chores on Sunday morning, apologetically informed me that the horse’s water bowl was angry and violently overflowing. Her horse, Pal, thought we had done it on purpose and was happily drinking from his personal horse-size water fountain. Regardless of Pal making the best of the situation, this was a bad situation that needed immediate fixing. This is not the first time this automatic heated water trough has malfunctioned. It has won many a battle in the past and even the times I have conquered it I have taken 4 plus hours to wrangle it back into control. Usually I give up and have to call in the big guns: my husband or father. Just the mention of water trough issues is enough to send me into a spiral of anxiety that ends in panic, complaining, and failure.  

But this time God gave me the strength to not go there, and deal with it His way instead. I began with prayer instead of beginning with complaining and frustration.  

In the past I thought I was praying but saying “God please help! I seriously can’t believe this happened to me!” and then slipping into self pity and doubting that God would do anything is not really prayer – at least it is not very effective or pleasing to God. But this time I was not praying with a negative attitude. I was able to give control of the situation to God and trust Him to fix it. Trust is so much more fun than anxiety.  Instead of being mad that my water bowl was acting up I thanked God out loud that I was blessed enough to have a heated water bowl for my horses. I think in the past when I was complaining I was giving the devil permission to wreck havoc in my life. By complaining and thinking the worst I was agreeing with Satan instead of agreeing with God. So this time when I agreed with God the “peace that transcends all understanding” that is talked about in Philippians materialized in my heart right there in the middle of my problem. I did not panic this time, I calmly but quickly proceeded to fix the water bowl.  

I knew the first thing I had to do was get the water turned off to the bowl but that was not as easy as it first appeared. I rushed to the basement where the shutoff valve is only to remember that wood was blocking it. This meant I would have to go around the wood furnace and the water heater to the dark spidery area behind to get to the valve. So I rushed up stairs where I searched 3 places before finding the flashlight I needed to crawl behind everything. Then when I was crouching past the water heater I flipped some switch and hot water poured all over me. Each of these complications in the past would have plunged me further into anxiety and panic. But this time I was depending on God not on me and He came through.  The peace that was guarding my heart continued to pour into my spirit and so I just screamed and closed the switch and continued on to the water shut off. I could not remember which way to turn the tap but remembered ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey‘ and got it done. I carefully returned passed the furnace and water heater and ran upstairs. I threw a coat over my wet church clothes and went outside passed the barn to the waiting water trough.
A couple days before I had been transferring all my notes from last years day-timer to my new one.  One of the notes was from the last time I had to fix the water trough and it highlighted the mistakes I wanted to not make again! With these fresh in my mind I was able to avoid the pitfalls that had resulted in hours of extra work. In the past I would have got bogged down second-guessing myself and wasted a lot of time deliberating about what to try first. But I thanked God for planting the needed wisdom freshly in my mind.

When I got to the bowl and saw that the float was no longer attached, I did not get stuck, I just confidently reattached the float. I also asked Ashley to help which made it so much easier.  In the past I would have wanted to try to do it myself and that never ended well.  I was not totally sure that I had the float on right but instead of freaking out about it I just left everything else off and first ran down and turned the water back on.

When I returned to the trough and could see that it was all operating well we put the cover back on.  

The last time I tried to fix the trough it had taken me about 4 hours but this time through trusting God instead of being anxious it took 15 minutes. Not only did it get fixed but while fixing it I did not lose my peace. I could victoriously go back inside and change into some dry clothes and be on time for and enjoy church. 

It is crazy that some people think that God and His word are not relevant in our day and age!  In Psalms David said, “with my God I can scale a wall”.  I say, “with my God I can calm an angry water trough!”   

 Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith

The Miracle of Deliverance

by contributing writer Heidi Eastman

sometimes the greatest miracle of all is God changing out attitude towards our circumstance

This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to share our stories of deliverance.  (You can listen to some of those stories by watching the video from Sunday morning.) It’s always encouraging to hear how God answers prayers.  I wanted to share, but I have difficulty keeping things short, so I stayed in my seat.  I feel my sharing is best done with some thought and preparation.  Thankfully we have a blog that is a more comfortable setting for me to share.

I was in an ambulance heading to London, just 31 1/2 weeks pregnant – and in the early stages of labour.  (For those of you unfamiliar with pregnancy, 40 weeks is full term).  Our local hospitals (including Owen Sound), are unequipped to deal with infants born that early), so they had shipped me off to a facility with better resources for both me and my unborn child. 

The paramedic suggested I try to sleep (dear paramedics – there is no point in telling a pregnant woman in an ambulance to sleep, it’s not going to happen).  Instead I turned to prayer.  I kept begging God, over and over to “keep this baby in me”.

But somewhere on the road, that prayer changed.  I stopped treating God like my personal genie who would grant me my wish, and started treating Him more like the supreme creator of the universe He is.  I surrendered control, and prayed “Give me peace”.  And shortly after that, that prayer was answered. 

Nothing had changed – I was still in an ambulance, I was still having contractions, the situation was still serious. 

But that simple prayer to give me peace changed everything.  And God had the groundwork already laid – He was just waiting for me to ask.

The sense of peace I felt snapped me out of panic mode and helped me to have a clear mind, and be able to communicate my wants and needs more clearly, and have a better understanding what was happening.  And while I have no medical evidence to back me up, I believe that peace helped lower my blood pressure, which may have bought us more time – time enough for my husband to make the drive to London, and be by my side.  He also provided a mild January night, so both the ambulance and my husband could arrive safely.

God gave me peace by providing a wonderful obstetrician to care for me.  One whose current field of research was directly related to what was going on inside of me.  She was perfectly equipped to recognize my symptoms and acted quickly enough so that our daughter was born alive.

I was given peace by my paramedic being an old school mate, and providing a much needed distraction from my thoughts by catching up with each other.

Our daughter was born that night.  At 8 weeks early, she needed some medical interventions, and constant monitoring, but thankfully never required surgery, and was able to come home after a long seven weeks.

For those who knew of our situation the night of her birth, and the weeks following and prayed for us,  thank you.  God heard those prayers, and he answered them.  He delivered our family.  Our daughter, despite her scary start is a healthy, busy, typical two year old.

My prayer, and God’s answer was not an instant fix.  Some days I think about those first few weeks of her life, and I hurt about it still.  But it is impossible for me to reflect on those days without seeing the goodness of God.  He really is a God of miracles.

Sometimes the greatest miracle of all is God changing our attitude towards our circumstances.

Heidi Eastman lives in Neustadt with her husband, two daughters, and a beast of a dog. She has been an active part of the HMC congregation from the moment she was old enough to contribute. You can find her over at her own blog, My Sister Told Me To Start A Blog.  [Articles by Heidi]

~ Marie’s Story ~

At Senior Youth a few weeks ago, after studying the story of David & Goliath, a few people were invited in to share about their own personal giants and how God helped them stand up and fight.  Marie Bezeau was one of them.

Marie has worked in the church office for a number of years and you’ll know her for her quick smile, welcoming personality, and deep love of people.  She had to face a huge Goliath in 2013 when her health was threatened in a terrifying way.

The following is her story, copied directly from her own notes…

[Watch Marie on YouTube]

I am not a speaker nor have I had professional training to speak to you tonight, but what I do have is God’s prompting to share my adventure. I have been through a lot in my life and know that there is much more to come, but this situation specifically has reminded me of the many blessings that we receive from God through his children, like me and you.

It was December 6th, 2013 that I returned home after 2 ½ months of being away from my family and friends, so let’s start at the beginning…

The night of September 22nd was a typical evening, a regular get the kids settled and geared up for Monday morning school routine.  I had a knot in my right shoulder blade – which is not a normal occurrence for me but I had heard other people describe this so I took a couple of Advil and off to bed I went.

On the morning of September 23rd, I woke up to a dull pain in the same location as the night before; within 1 hour and 15 minutes the pain had intensified to an almost unbearable level. I had a shower – no luck. Sat in a straight back arm chair- no relief. And then I stood up to try and walk it off- that’s when I lost all feeling and mobility from my chest down, toppling into our coach. After a bit of debate, Cory, my husband, called 911 and minutes later the ambulance attendants arrived. After a few routine questions they decided I needed to go into the emerg department. I was gracefully (not really) taken out of my home and transported to the Hanover Hospital, where I was met with a fellow HMC doctor who happen to be on duty that morning.

I was rolled into a waiting room, where I stayed until the Dr and staff determined what the next step was. During that time I remember friends and co workers coming in and out to see how I was and what was going on. They all had concerned and scared faces, but also offered loving and caring words to Cory and I. The decision was made and I was then transported down to London’s Victoria Hospital. I went alone….

My husband went to talk to our 3 children who had went to school, so he went to make arrangements for them and get things for me as we both had no idea what was going to happen. He then left Hanover and made the trip down to the emerg room in London to join me in the waiting game there to see what their next steps for me would be. In our time in the emerg area – which ended up being a total of 12 hours – I went in for a cat scan, and then an MRI.  That was the test that proved what they needed to get the ball rolling.

The spinal surgeon had been reviewing the tests I had been taking since I had arrived and the MRI findings peaked his interest.  We were told by the intern that the MRI had shown a mass of sorts that concerned the surgeon enough that he would be going in for a closer look.  Yes, that meant surgery in the morning.

Just to be told there is a mass and oh by the way, you’re having surgery was not that comforting…but away we went to be admitted for the night and to await surgery the next morning. We headed to the 9th floor and were met by the welcoming nurse team of what seemed like 10 nurses ready to get me comfortable for the evening. Within minutes though of arriving in the room one nurse came in and said that I was needed right away in the OR. There was no waiting for the morning, the surgery was happening NOW.

This was a blessing for sure – a quick short turn around (although it was technically 3ish in the morning anyway so I guess that could have been considered the next morning).

I came through the surgery. They were able to remove a blood clot. I did need a couple of blood transfusions but all was well. I was back getting settled in my room by 10:30am that morning. My husband, pastor and friend were there awaiting my arrival, and was I glad to see them!

As I settled in and tried to get comfortable my nurse came in, who was high energy, smiling, full of happiness and hope, a male nurse with faith like a mustard seed, HUGE. He said “hi, do you believe in a faith?” I answered yes. “Do you believe in God?” he was quick to ask. I answered “yes” and that sealed the deal. He went on to assure me of God’s love and caring and that everything would be just fine! I was shocked and comforted at the same time, I didn’t think speaking so bluntly about faith was okay in a public hospital setting.  Well God proved me wrong didn’t he!?

 I saw many nurses come and go and he made an appearance a couple times but his fellow male co-worker, also a nurse that had me on his rounds, and well, I think you know what I am going to say… You’re right! His first question to me was, “do you have faith?” I chuckled and talked about my faith and his and my church and church family.  What a great conversation in the wee morning when they have to check on you and do their duties but filling my spiritual tank as well. God was consistent in reminding me that his children were all around me even though I was away from my home and everything familiar.

I was told and they explained that I had had a blood clot that had formed in the area around my right shoulder blade and had been pushing/squishing my spinal cord which cause the paralysis from my chest down. The surgeon explained that after much investigation there is no reason this happened to me, and his hope or phrase that he left me with was “lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice”.

So, moving forward they had workers come in and try to get me to move my legs and also get me to sit up with and without help. Not an easy accomplishment…I spent a week and a half with the staff at Victoria and was able to sit on the side of the bed with two people helping for a very short amount of time, as well as wiggle my right big toes sporadically. I received visits, cards, gifts, prayers and many calls from friends and family.

Then I was told, “you’re going back to your home hospital…” you see that normally would have been thrilling news but during my stay it was explained that because of my injury the best place for me to start my recovery was a facility right across the road, I mean literally across the road from Victoria. Emotions ran high as they told me that I not only was I heading home but I was going within the hour. God knew what I needed though…He had a plan…I just didn’t know it yet.

Off I went rolling out of the 9th floor and heading back to the Hanover Hospital on October 4th. I arrived into the Hanover emerg entrance late into the evening and was taken to the 2nd floor to get admitted and settled in. A familiar face greeted me as the nurse doing my information taking was the mother of my son’s schoolmate. Emotions still were on high alert, I was scared, confused, and angry.

As I tried to settle into a hospital that I was not convinced was the place I was supposed to be in, I was flooded with love, visits, spoiled with treats, I was serenaded, received physio off the clock, flowers, smiles, hugs, encouragement and I was even brought pumpkin pie. My family was being taken care of in ways that were overwhelming at times. This was a time of thankfulness beyond understanding for Cory and I.  It was so difficult for us to accept the outpouring of love, financially and with words and cards. What I realized as I pouted, and complained is that God knew what I needed, and I was focused on what I wanted. He won. He brought all of these blessings to my family and especially me, as He knew that my love tank needed to overflow before my next part of my recovery journey.

October 21st marked an early but exciting morning for me. This was the morning I was finally heading to London and was going to be admitted to the spinal cord rehab centre at Parkwood. So, as I rolled out of the Hanover Hospital, I said goodbye to a second set of nurses that play a large part in my recovery up to that point. I left being able to sit up at the side of the bed unassisted for a couple of minutes, able to raise my leg for seconds, wiggle my legs and softly stomp my foot.

I was once again met with a nurse that was to become my primary nurse and she was a woman of faith that would be present throughout my stay and encouraging daily. Being in a hospital setting was not something that I had experienced until this, so roommates scared me a little. I had had a couple in Hanover and I had survived but the princess in me was hoping for a private room to myself…no such luck. Now, my roommate was still to arrive a few days after I had settled in but I prayed daily that God would help me through and bring the right person to continue on my recovery with. I shared my concerns as the nurses and I were getting to know each other, and they reassured me that I had nothing to worry about, my roommate was an absolutely wonderful person, and an amazing lady. Her name was PENNY.

She arrived in rough shape but as a few days went by I realized that the reason I had to be in Hanover so long, put on the waiting list for Parkwood was to be placed in the right order to have Penny as my roommate. What a plan the Lord had, and if I would have had my way I would have had a completely different situation.

Now back to Penny, what an inspirational person! She lived up to every comment the nurses and staff spoke about her. She was a person who has been in her wheelchair for 50 years and counting, and had helped out on the very floor of Parkwood that we were living on, in a supportive role to those residents who were in the rehab program. Do you know what that meant…I had my very own support person 24-7. Her wisdom was beyond my understanding about my situation and all the things that come with it medically and mentally. Her family embraced me whenever they were there to visit – they sat and chatted with me just like I was one of them. What a blessing!

She let me know the day I was leaving that I brought a few things to her as well: my visible faith, the love and caring of my church family and a caring for her and her family. I was able to talk through her faith, which was very minimal because of her past…she loved hearing about my church family back in Hanover, and the care that was being extended to Cory and the kids.

As my recovery progressed, I was consistently called and encouraged or sent cards and emails to keep that strength up and the motivation to keep pushing through.

My stay at Parkwood was as comfortable as could be expected. I mean I was still in a hospital and being asked about things that I wouldn’t have conversations about normally but how that changes when you are in that arena for 6 weeks removed from the world. I had two appointments every day which before I got there I thought, no no I need more, I want to get moving and fast, well…the body doesn’t quite work that way and learning to walk again, stand again, even lift yourself up from laying to sitting is HARD.  I did have consistent thoughts of babies and how we are so quick to encourage them to sit up and stand without being able to remember just how much energy that takes. One word: exhausting!

My day to day routine was filled with the work of exercise – oh, side note: we chose to call any exercise, “activities” cause I was more apt to want to do them and bless their hearts they did change the word just for me! Oh I was a complainer! Good gracious! But they still loved and cared for me anyway.

As my time neared the end of my 6 week stay at Parkwood I was told that my house would need a few things to make it a safe transition for me to be able to return home. I had a weekend leave, which allowed me to returned home to Hanover and Penny was able to lend her portable ramps so that I could get into my home. But the realization was a few weeks later when I was to be released I was not going to have those portable ramps…what were we going to do?…We prayed…and the blessing of a few great men showed up on a rainy December day and constructed a full functioning, legally angled entrance way and ramp that would allow me to comfortably enter my home without worry. A blessing? You bet! It is still there today as a reminder of not only how far I have come and what I have been through but the generosity of God’s people once again.

There were many milestones that I had as I moved forward in my adventure there, the most important as I look back was my very first step. There was a trial run step that was pretty disastrous, meaning my brain said walk and my leg said “nope”. On November 27th I stood up in the parallel bars and with someone in front of me I held on tight and took a very memorable first step that led to many many more. I had a realistic goal for my stay at Parkwood, which was to stand and walk with a walker, I didn’t quite walk out of Parkwood with a walker but the few days before I left I was lapping the physio gym with one.

When I returned home December 6th I entered the house on that wonderfully built ramp, and was met by Cory and the kids who were smiling ear to ear, my wonderful friend Cindy, and my mom who had flown up from Nova Scotia to help out the family my first week home.

My progress continued to move forward and I set another goal for myself once I was settled in and decided that by spring I was going to walk out of my house as unassisted as possible. Well that beautiful spring day came and I did exactly that!

This has been my adventure, there are many other adventures off the main story, but, that is for another time. My hope is as I stand in front of you that God will stir and remind you of the many blessings you have personally received and even those that you yourself have given to others. If it weren’t for God’s children listening to the promptings of God throughout my adventure it would have been so much harder to get through.

Special thanks to Marie for allowing us to share her incredible story!

Hearing & Following God’s Ridiculous Requests

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Has God ever asked you to do something you thought was a bit odd, strange or just plain illogical?  

Did you have the courage to do it or did you chicken out?  

When God asked you did you get angry or excited? 

Over the last three years I have been going through a long period of God asking me to do some frustrating things.  In the past I would get angry or fearful or I’d bitterly say, “another character-developing opportunity” when God asked me to go through difficult situations.  Because of my attitude these situations where extra unpleasant and though I did develop character I also developed doubt and bitterness. Over the last three years I have embraced a new attitude: one of faith, knowing God loves me.  I was eagerly waiting to see what cool things Jesus would do to sustain me in the midst of the chaos – to make good come out of bad. 

My three year journey began with a very unfortunate incident.  I was walking across the road and I was struck by a truck.  (Do not, under any circumstances, try to take on a truck on foot – it does not go well!)  I was jaywalking and he failed to look or stop before he turned out in front of me.  I broke my leg at the femur – like right in half so it was dangling at a strange angle when I tried to lift it up.  I also re-injured a concussion that I had gotten a year previously from being tossed off a horse head first when it fell in a hole at a gallop.  This accident was not God’s fault – it was human error – and for the last three years God has been making good come out of it.
I have learned so many things!  For instance, how to hear God even in demanding situations.  Just like the sermon last week about how to learn good discernment: God has been teaching me to listen carefully, be alert, surrender and trust God for victory.  Because of the leg and the concussion I have had to be very still for very long periods of time.  It is amazing how much easier it is to hear God when you are still and quiet.  I am a very goal oriented person and I like to get stuff done – I do not like to rest.  However God has taught me to rest and actually enjoy it and benefit from it.

With my concussion I have progressed to only needing quiet rest about 4 times a day for around an hour a time.  Right after the accident I pretty much rested 24/7.  If I do not rest I get headaches of epic proportions that makes any kind of any activity debilitating.   Reading quietly or watching TV or even talking on the phone with my eyes closed does not count as rest.   I must make like a mushroom, and spend lots of time in a dark, quiet bed doing nothing.  At the start this was very frustrating and boring, but I got better at it. (And if resting were an Olympic sport I would so get gold!)  
I discovered that the quiet worked really well for listening to God and if I surrendered to Him, He would give me peace and joy.  Because I did not have my brain cluttered with all my busy plans I found I could be alert to hear God’s voice and hear Him better than ever before.  He has been very clear that He wants to me to keep resting as much as I need to and give my list of things I need to get done to Him.  I have learned to trust Him for victory over my anxious heart and He has calmed me down so much.  It is very hard to get anything done when you need to rest as often and as long as I do.   However, I have seen God do supernatural things to my heart and to my schedule and He has come through. 
Now when I have to go rest I feel safe and peaceful instead of frustrated and driven.   You might say my life is a bit ridiculous when it is interrupted with sleep so often throughout the day.

God asks me to rest and that seems to be a counter-intuitive request if your goal is getting stuff done.  But I have discovered that for me obeying God means resting and He gives me such a joy and relief in that.  He has shown me that all the down time has been a wonderful opportunity to pray and to meditate on His Word.  These two acts have totally changed my life in so many good ways.  God’s Word is so awesome and following it is the path to true contentment and satisfaction.  I do sometimes still feel frustrated and wish I had more time to get things done but when I run to God He tells me to be patient and do what He asks.  This works so much better than trying to do what the world says you must do to be considered successful.

We sing a song at church called The Rock Won’t Move and it really describes my journey through the last three years.
The Rock Won’t Move
When the ground beneath my feet gives way
And I hear the sound of crashing waves
And all my world is washing out to sea
I’m hidden safe in the God who never moves
Holding fast to the promise of the truth
That You are holding tighter still to me
The rock won’t move and His word is strong
The rock won’t move and His love can’t be undone
The rock won’t move and His word is strong
The rock won’t move and His love can’t be undone
The rock of our salvation
My hope is in the promise of Your blood
My support within the raging flood
Even in the tempest I can sing
I’m hidden safe in the God who never moves
Holding fast to the promise of the truth
That You are holding tighter still to me
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
The rock won’t move the rock won’t move
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest in His unchanging grace
The rock won’t move the rock won’t move
CCLI Song # 7005719

Just like the Israelite’s laid rocks from the middle of the river to remember what God had done for them, I want to keep blogging what God has done for me.  I want to remember so my faith can be strengthened.

Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.