Rejoicing In Suffering (Testimony Part 4)
When I was in the 6th grade, I believed in God and was attending a Catholic church. At that time, I was not mature in the Lord yet. I was invited to spend the night and attend a church banquet at one of my classmate’s home. Everything seemed to be going along well earlier that afternoon until I had to announce to my friend and her mother in private, that I had my period (this was my first one). Unfortunately, they only used tampons so I had to call my mother and ask her to please bring me some pads. My timing making that phone call was not good. You see, at the time, my family was sitting down at the dinner table eating their supper. As I explained to my mother my situation, she announced to everyone at that table that I had my period. I could hear laughing in the background from my siblings which only made my situation worse for me. I was feeling pretty low. My mother did bring me my supplies that I needed. Thank you Lord! At the church banquet, I had an enjoyable time. All the while, as my friend was building me up, telling me how much her brother, who was older than me, really liked me and thought I was very pretty. I was only 12 years old at the time.
Later that evening, when we got back to my friend’s house and her mom and dad had gone to bed, her brother came home. He was sitting in a lazy boy watching television. My friend kept telling me to go over and sit with him because he really liked me. I had never had a boyfriend in my life and didn’t realize what was really happening. So I went over and sat in the chair with him, talking to him. He made me feel special by the attention he was giving me. Later that evening, the 3 of us migrated to his bedroom. It was a large room with a twin bed on each side of the room. My friend sat on one bed and I sat on the other bed with her brother. We talked as he was showing off his muscles, lifting hand weights. I’m not sure how long after that he grabbed me and pulled me down to the floor but he did and now he was laying on top of me on the floor. I tried to scream but he covered my mouth while he pulled down my pants, then he pulled his down. I looked over and saw my friend quickly turn her head away as she lay on the twin bed. He then proceeded to rape me. After it was over, he got up and left the room and went back out to the living room to watch television. I just laid there crying my eyes out. I never told ANYONE. It was a painful dirty secret I had to carry with me throughout my high school days.
In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
When I became a mature Christian, and drew close to Jesus, I started reading the gospels. The Holy Spirit opened my heart to trust God in all things. I have forgiven my rapist and my friend. All Christians, like myself, are expected to experience suffering. “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29). I know some Christians who are suffering, but are not being made steady, reliable and confident. Instead, they are being made bitter, resentful and angry, even to the point of denying their faith. Suffering, you see, does not produce these kind of qualities automatically. You can go through suffering as a Christian and be filled with anger, rage and resentment against God. So what makes the difference?
As Paul explains, the difference is seeing the suffering as evidence of God’s love, and not His wrath. You will then experience His love in the midst of your suffering. The Holy Spirit will pour in your heart an experience of the love of God that is so radiant and glorious, that you will not be able to help but to rejoice in your suffering. But, if you see your suffering as God’s wrath, you will become frustrated, angry, resentful and miserable. This is why Paul brings in this description of God’s love for us. This suffering is not coming into your life because God is angry with you, it is coming because God loves you. It comes from God’s heart who is putting you through some development in order for you to grow. And he loves you enough that he will not let you go without suffering, but He will take you through it. Therefore it is not His anger you are experiencing, but His love.
If we have been disciplined by our fathers of our flesh, and we know they love us, then why can’t we believe that God loves us too, even when he puts us through times of trials and tribulations and suffering? When you understand that truth, then you can rejoice, because you know that suffering will produce the things that make you what you want to be, a child of God.
Throughout my years, I have had to endure many sufferings and now I have come to realize that I never would have chosen one of the trials that I have gone through, but I would also not have missed any of them for the world. There is an awareness that I now have that this suffering has done something of supreme value in me. Therefore, I wouldn’t have missed it. But I wouldn’t have chosen it, either! This is what rejoicing in suffering truly means.
©Lorraine Goodwin 12/2/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
God Sends His Angels (Testimony Part 3)
On a warm and starry night back in July of 1991, my younger sister and I were at our friend’s house at a party. The house was located in the backwoods. We were both drinking and having a good time in the company of our friends. I was 23 years old. At some point in the evening, my sister wanted to go home. I tried to convince her to stay longer but she really wanted to leave. So I finally agreed to drive her back home. The drive took 30 minutes and when we got back to her house, I told her that I was going to go back to the party. So I left and I drove back. As I entered onto the dirt road to my friend’s house that was surrounded by a wooded area, I realized that the car was going too fast. I tried to slow down but I was already in a curve. That’s when the car started veering to the left. As I turned my head to look, the car was now heading towards the woods which was heavily populated with large pine trees. I started screaming at the top of my lungs, ” No! Not again! Please, not again God!” At that very moment, I saw two enormous angels swoop down in front of my car, and I felt the car being lifted up. The angels had picked the car up off the road! They then moved the car, setting it back down in the middle of that dirt road. The car then stalled and the angels flew away. I sat there in shock, as my eyes began to tear, I started crying, and thanking God for saving me yet again. I could not believe that I had just witnessed two of God’s angels, sent to rescue me. I sat there for a while thinking about what had just taken place. I thought, “Wow! I can’t wait to tell everyone what God has done for me again!” After some time had passed, and I got myself composed, I started the car and drove down the dirt road to my friend’s house still thinking about my encounter. I was so filled with gratitude and appreciation and yet excited by what I had just experienced that when I arrived back to the party, I was telling everyone what God and His two angels had done for me.
When we are faced in desperate situations and call upon God, He does hear our cries and He will come to our rescue. I am a living testimony, here to tell you that God is always with you, watching over you and keeping you safe. He wants to “lift you up” and to take you out of your distress. In Psalm 50:15 declares this Word from the Lord, “And call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” As children of the living God, our heavenly Father calls us to cry out to Him for deliverance. Let us cry out to Him with humility, sincerity, and faith. “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:19)
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/19/2018
Lorraine’s Testimony (Part 2)
Twenty years ago today, my son Dillon, was delivered into this world based on God’s promise to me. Although at the time, I could not understand why my son was born premature. During my pregnancy, I had developed toxemia which lead to preeclampsia. If I hadn’t gone to my doctor’s appointment the day before and my doctor telling me I had preeclampsia, it could have been fatal for me and my son. I was told to go to the “special hospital” immediately. While at the “special hospital,” I was constantly being monitored in the ICU. This was on a Friday night. The next morning, my monitor kept going off and this one time when the nurse entered the room to check the monitor, she turned to me and asked, “Did you feel that?” I replied, “Feel what?” So the nurse then said to me, “I’m going to get the doctor!” Within seconds my room was filled with doctors and nurses and I was handed a consent form to perform an emergency C-section. At that moment, my eyes were filled with tears and I couldn’t even see the line that I was signing because of the fear of what was going to happen to my son since knowing I was only 29 weeks in my pregnancy.
I was told that premature girls, on average, have a better outcome than premature boys. After Dillon was delivered and cleaned up, I was only allowed to touch his nose, before they rushed him away to the NICU. My son had the normal premature health problems, jaundice, apnea, RDS, and anemia. He had infections and he was not eating. On day three of his life, his intestine had torn and he had emergency surgery performed for an ileostomy, now he had a colostomy bag. He also had a feeding tube inserted because he was not eating. I was allowed to hold my son. About a month later, he was brought back to the operating room because he was still having problems eating. He would vomit and was not making a stool. They found that he had scar tissue that had twisted his intestines. They also found that he had a hernia on both the right and left sides.
January 2, 1999, he was taken back to the operating room where they removed the colostomy bag and reconnected his intestines. They also found the left hernia healed but the right side had not. They replaced his feeding tube with a bigger one. On February 3, 1999, my son was transferred to Baird 5 floor where he was thriving. On February 15, 1999, his father and I were able to finally bring our son home after almost 5 months of being in the hospital. While at home, we had to feed him through his feeding tube, taking shifts, and administering his medicine along with the endless doctor appointments. On October 20, 1999, my son had to be readmitted to the hospital because they had discovered that he had a second stomach. We would joke, as he got older, that the reason why he had a second stomach was so that he would have plenty of room for his dessert. During this entire time, not only did the hospital provide for our needs but the Ronald McDonald House provided us a place to stay so that we could be closer to our son.
Today my son, Dillon, has a clean bill of health. We do sometimes think he still has two stomachs by the amount of food he can eat. My son had a rough start in his life. Even during his school years, he was developmentally challenged because he was diagnosed with non-verbal learning disability due to his prematurity. I have always told him, “that just because they put a label on you, you can do anything and everything that everyone else can do, just a little different.” Now when you look at him, you would never know that he was premature. He is doing great! He has his own place and a good job. He has adapted and overcome so many obstacles in his life. I am so proud of him!
I want to say “thank you” to the doctors, the nurses and all who have been involved in my son’s life over the years. I am especially thankful to God for fulfilling his promise to me. I may not have understood at the time, “why my son had to come into this world the way he did,” but now I can say I do. The devil was trying to kill both of us, to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose here in this world. I now know that God’s hand was on both of us. Dillon is faithful and loyal, like a son, as his name means. A warrior whether he knows this or not and God is training him up to be the soldier that he is. All for the glory of God’s kingdom! Happy Birthday my son! I love you and will forever more.
©Lorraine Goodwin 9/25/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
Lorraine’s Testimony (Part 1)
In May of 1987, I was in a horrific car accident. I was 19 years old at the time and was out drinking that night. I got intoxicated. The vehicle I was driving hit a tree causing the car to spiral out of control down a hill. All the windows were down in the car. As the vehicle was coming to the bottom of the hill, half of my body was hanging outside of the car. My right foot was stuck under the gas pedal. As my top torso was falling backwards to the ground, I could see the top of the car’s hood coming at me. When I landed on the gravel, within seconds, I felt the impact of the vehicle crushing my mid section. The car had landed on its passenger side and now gas from the gas tank was pouring out onto the ground and being absorbed into my skin of my back due to the fact that there was no gas cap. I was rushed to the hospital where they had to do emergency surgery. I had 7 fractured ribs, 2nd degree burns on my back and a severed liver. I lost my left kidney, my spleen, and 7 pints of blood. I almost died but..
During the operation, I was drifting in and out. At one point, I actually saw the doctors removing something from me. Then behind me, I could here the anesthesiologist saying, ” We’re losing her! We’re losing her!” As I heard these words being spoken, I was drawn to a bright white light that was in the upper corner of the operating room. At that moment, I knew I had left my body because I could see the doctors and nurses and everyone else who was there working diligently to save my life but all I wanted and knew was to go into that light. So I did.
When I entered the light, I was now in a very vibrant “color of the rainbows” tunnel that was spinning exceedingly fast. Then all of a sudden it slowed down, almost to a snail’s pace. I could still see the bright white light ahead of me. But then came the darkness. I was still in the tunnel and the light was now very bright. On both sides of me were many people and I could here them crying out, “Help me! Help me!” I call them the “lost souls” because I know where they were headed, to Hell. As I was almost to the bright white light, I could see a shadow of a woman in the light saying, “Go back it’s not your time,” but by this time my spirit was being drawn into that light like a magnet. There was no turning back for me now!
I was brought to a court that was set high above the clouds in the sky. The floor of the court, the stairs, the thrones before me and the pillars, were all a beautiful pure gold. As I stood there before Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, I was overcome by His presence, the love that I was feeling that He has for me and all those things of which surrounded Him. God is pure “love” and when you combine the two words “God” and “love”, you create the word “gold.” My eyes and my heart were opened that day to see and to feel His love and His divinity. Jesus’ love is the gold of God. Although I am a sinner, I was allowed to enter Heaven and to speak to my Father because of His great mercy and grace. When I was sent back here and stable enough, I was telling my family and my friends that God had told me that when I was to have a child that I would have a son. On September 26, 1998 God’s promise to me was fulfilled and I gave birth to a baby boy. His name is Dillon which means faithful, like a lion (loyal), like a son. I can’t thank God enough for saving me that day. It was part of His plan and His will to save me. I have many more testimonies of how God has worked not only in my life but in the life of my son’s as well. I only pray that this testimony touches someone to believe how precious Jesus’ love really is and stands on His promises to us. Blessings to you all.
©Lorraine Goodwin 9/13/2018 Inspired through the Holy Spirit