On-time Strength and more…

” On-time Strength! ” by Jodi Smith.
As I pick up my ringing phone, I hear the sound of a blaring siren coupled with my daughter’s voice hysterically crying. I finally heard her say between sobs, “Mom, there is something really wrong with Ameliah!” As I say, “Honey what’s wrong?” she says between sobs, “I have to go, the ambulance is here.”

My husband and I begin to pray. We had just gotten home from a long ministry trip and had just laid down for the night. As my husband and I began to pray, he turned and said, “God just reassured me everything’s going to be all right.”

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Ameliah, our granddaughter, was three days old. Our daughter, Kaitlin, and her husband, Phillip, had just brought her home from the hospital. Everything was fine, they thought. Kaitlin, weary from childbirth, had laid down for a short nap while Phillip kept an eye on Ameliah as she slept. Suddenly, she was blue—not breathing! Hurriedly he picked her up and began to pat her back, and she started breathing again. Relieved, he laid her back down.
Still filling very anxious and uneasy, they packed her up and left for the ER at the Children’s Hospital in Kansas City. With their gas tank on empty, they pulled into a gas station to fill up. As Phillip was filling the car with gas, my daughter started screaming, “Ameliah isn’t breathing!” This time they quickly called 9-1-1. Within minutes there were several police, a fire truck, and an ambulance. The paramedic whisked Ameliah from my daughter’s arms and begin to revive her once again.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

We made our request to God, and peace came. Although we didn’t understand everything yet, this was when we trusted and leaned not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). God always has the understanding.
We didn’t know what would transpire in the next few months, but we knew everything would be all right. We knew to lean on God.

After many tests, doctors informed the family that Ameliah had severe sleep apnea. To go home she would need a tracheotomy and to be put on a ventilator. Otherwise, she would likely not make it. During her sleep study, she had stopped breathing over fifty times in one hour. It looked gravely hopeless, but God said, “Everything will be all right.”

Painfully we watched Kaitlin and Phillip crumble in tears and grief as they heard the diagnosis and prognosis. Their hopes disintegrated into ashes. They moved Ameliah into the neonatal intensive care. God intervened and did what He does best. Day by day, her numbers improved, and she required less oxygen. One month later, Ameliah went home with no ventilator and on only a small amount of oxygen.

The doctors informed us that the night we brought Ameliah into the ER, they didn’t think she would make it. But God had other plans. Prayer changes everything. Today Ameliah is a thriving two-year-old with no lasting complications from her frightful first month of life. Prayer changes everything!

Note: Jodie Smith and her husband pastored for twenty years and have evangelized for the past seven years. She served as sectional ladies leader in Missouri for eleven years. Jodie speaks internationally and nationally and has authored three books where she shows her passion for emotional healing.
(Information from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesprayerinternational@aol.com)

“Strength for the Journey” by Erin Rodrigues.

“Lord, please give me strength.” Have you ever found yourself uttering this commonly small, but very sincere, prayer either out loud or under your breath? You are not alone.

As mothers, we invest our time, energy, and love, both Intentionality and prayerfully. We discipline our children, teach them the Word of God, and make sure they understand the principle of faithfulness to the house of God. We have the bedtime talks, mediate their disagreements, help with homework, give them kisses and hugs, cook and push for family dinners around the table — and that is just the tip of the iceberg! If you are involved in ministry, you may find yourself even busier.

If we are not careful, it is easy to become overwhelmed, burned out, and exhausted at times during this journey, all while striving to be that godly example our children depend on us to be. Staying strong in the middle of the continual depletion of reserves is not easy.
When we can put our chaotic daily schedules on hold and make the time to daily go before the throne of God, something powerful happens within us. He gives us that supernatural strength for this journey. He fills our minds with a peace that passes all understanding. He replaces our everyday worries and stresses with a joy and strength while He whispers into the deepest part of our hearts letting us know that everything is going to be okay.

Isaiah 40:29-31 reminds us, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

My friend, life’s journey of motherhood is going to always be full of mountain tops and valleys; but with each valley you walk through, you will find your strength for this journey can only be found in Him.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore, my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed” (Psalms 28:7-8).

Note: Erin Rodrigues has served alongside her husband and two children as missionaries to the nation of Portugal for the last ten years.
(Information from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesprayerinternational@aol.com)

“God Provides Strength on the Journey” by Stephanie Gossard.

As the mom of a child with a disability, before I go on a trip, I like to gather everything I need in advance. I pack everything we will need. And then I pack everything we might need. God does not work this way. We see an example of this in the Bible when Elijah was hungry. God provided him with food. “And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook” (I Kings 17:6). God did not provide Elijah a storehouse of food; instead, he gave him a meal precisely when he needed it. God provides for the needs of our family in the same manner.

I will admit, at times, my strength for today doesn’t feel like enough. When I pray, I often ask God about the future. I want to see the beginning and the end of the journey. I want to see the whole plan laid out. I want all of the tools, resources, and strength at the beginning of the journey. But instead, God simply promises to provide. This assurance is found in Philippians 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Resting in this promise requires trust. I must rely on Him to supply my immediate daily needs, as well as the needs there will be in the future.

There are times I am overwhelmed with all that is needed. My child has needs I cannot provide, both today and in his future. But God is not overwhelmed. Instead, when my strength is gone, He provides His strength. As it says in Exodus 15:2, “The LORD is my strength and my song.” God not only provides for our physical needs, He also sends people to speak into my life. He sends those who can join me on the journey and offer wisdom, counsel, and fellowship. What a blessing it is to connect with others in the body of Christ.

Even if you don’t face the same challenges our family does, we can all be assured that God knows our journey and will provide strength exactly when we need it!

Note: Stephanie Gossard is the content manager for ABLE ministry, a program within Ladies Ministries. ABLE ministry exists to work alongside churches as they accept, believe, love and embrace individuals and families affected by disability.
(Information from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesprayerinternational@aol.com)

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