CATERFLY-CAPTURES: AMBER WILSON

(Today’s CATERFLY-CAPTURES I am featuring a dear friend of mine, Amber Wilsonphoto-4. You may know her as the popular and highly accredited food blogger, “For The Love Of The South.” Since the day Amber and I met through a destined meeting in our church’s bathroom (I tell ya, women and bathrooms-ha!)…we’ve quickly become forever friends. She is one of the most beautiful of women both inside and out. Not to mention crazy creatively-gifted and wonderfully humble about it all, too! (You should definitely head over to her site to see—you’ll be so glad you did!) I wanted to share with you this snapshot of Amber’s story from her graduation over ten years ago. It’s so amazing to see her now—you would NEVER have imagined what she walked through! AMAZING!! I pray this also gives you hope in the area you need it most!)

“In Times of Graduation:

I can almost hear the applause, feel the square-shaped diploma holder in my hands, and feel the weight of the world being lifted off of my shoulders. Walking across that stage will not only be a victory for myself, but it’s a reminder of everything God has brought me through. The short jaunt across this platform represents a leap of faith.

This cap and gown are only for the ceremony. The smile and wave to the family are for the photos. My steps do not only reflect these past few years studying, but they reflect doing the impossible for God. Doctors told me that I would never be able to attend a normal university. But here I am, staring at a stage, with cap and gown in hand, thinking back to the miracle of God that brought me to where I am today.

My “impossible” situation began long ago, whenever my back was burdened with a bone tumor. I was 15 years old. I saw more of the hospital than I did of a football stadium or my school cafeteria. Originally, I was told my back was broken. I comforted my family by saying it could be more serious; it could have been a tumor or cancer. Then a day later, we got a call saying that it was a tumor. I said, “It could always be worse.” Who was I to complain about my situation? God used me through many lives along the way. One story stands out in particular.

There was a nurse that took great care of me. One day, we started talking about God. I told her that I didn’t know why I was going through this trial, but it was for a reason that was greater than me. She paused for a moment and then began to tell me about her life. She had a son that was the same age as me. He had a strong relationship with God, one that she never quite understood. Her son was diagnosed with leukemia and had passed away in the same room that I was laying in. She continued to say she never understood why God took away a person with such faith in Him. She told God she would never let go until she found a child with the same faith her son had. There in front of her, speaking out of the mouth of a child in the very room her son passed away in was God. His great peace allowed her to let go of the anger of her son’s passing. God brought me there for this nurse. For her and many others that felt that same peace and saw God in the eyes of a child.

There was a short time when we did not know if the tumor was benign or malignant. I knew if it were cancer, God would take care of me. Fortunately, this rare bone tumor was not cancerous, but there was a chance for it to grow back in my lungs. There have only been 2 other people with the same disease and one of them passed away. The odds were not in my favor but God was. The tumor never grew back, but what I was left with was permanent nerve damage that affected the use of my left leg.

I am constantly reminded of the pain. I bear scars like everyone else. They tell a story. They tell God’s story. I am at awe of God’s amazing grace and power. Through therapy, I was told that I would never be able to be like everyone else. There are better days than not. Through these past four years in school, I have been involved in yoga, kayaking, rock climbing, writing, photography and cooking. I have yet to miss more than 1 day in a semester in college. Everyday that I have been able to sit in a classroom is a testimony to God.

So this achievement today is more than just an achievement in my education. It represents doing the impossible for God. I would rather live in this daily pain and remember what God has done for me than to have never been in pain at all. I will carry this with me like a cross as I tread across the platform, receive my diploma and thank God for being my mountain mover in life. Here’s to the next step in life. Here is loving deeper, living whole and never complaining about my circumstance. Who am I to complain?”

GOD CARES ABOUT COFFEE

God cares about coffee.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”             photo-2

Four months ago, I stepped out on some Jesus-water and in Abraham-style faith…resigned from my job. My heart had been woo’ed for quite some time before I took this leap, but my passion to share with others the messages of “Caterfly” and increased health challenges tipped me over. So much could be written about this sojourning season I’ve been in, but let’s get back to why God cares about coffee.

When the changes of my financial status came along, so too, holding it’s hand came some tightness in my budget. Needs vs wants type of deal. Well, one of the “wants” first to go was my foo-foo-fancy coffee-drinks from one of numerous charming coffee shops found around this lovely town of Nashville. No sob story here…but just wait ‘til you hear how much God cares.

I hadn’t really dwelled much on it, but last week, ON THE DAY OF CHURCH (http://www.thebelonging.co) , I shared two separate heart whispers with God about my desire for one of those coffee-drinks. NO ONE ELSE BUT GOD WOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Imagine sitting in a crowd of hundreds, when a beautiful young lady goes to the front of the church during an appropriate time to share and basically speaks of this unknown information?

She said something to the effect of: “God put this one person on my heart and I actually don’t know who it is, but you’ve been giving regularly and you haven’t seen a change in your finances. And for you budgeting is really tight. And to the point where…and this might sound kinda stupid, BUT THIS IS HOW MUCH GOD CARESthis person has had to go on without buying coffee, maybe on their way to work or during the week. They don’t buy coffee at Starbucks or wherever you go anymore because you have to live on such a tight budget. Your trying to trust God and you’re doing the right things, but you haven’t seen the breakthrough. WHO IS THAT?

I have not been wrecked like this in a long time. I was so overcome by God’s love that I sat there and wept for most of the remainder of the service and continued when I found more blessing in my purse later that night. A total of $336. Enough to pay my bills, tithe off of that, give an offering, and…buy myself some yummy foo-foo-coffee-drink.

NO ONE ELSE BUT GOD KNEW.

May you be encouraged by my testimony and know that God knows and cares about you. He hears you and loves you so much! So delight yourselves therefore in Him and He WILL give you the desires of your heart…even if it’s as silly as coffee. Because remember…

God really does care about coffee. : )

(Malachi 3: 10)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. TEST ME in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compassion International & Sweet Wawu : )

There is a little 13-year old Indonesian princess living across the world from me named “Wawu”, a precious young girl who captured a piece of my heart years ago. From the moment I laid eyes on her…at a Natalie Grant concert through…a picture of her tucked away in a white envelope that I raised my hand to receive.

And, this was no ordinary envelope!

I remember holding it in my hand for a few seconds before opening it, having the sobering realization that I was about to be introduced to someone that God had designed for me to be in relationship with, a divine connection of purpose and destiny. And, then, there she was…this beautiful young girl with a smile that was resilient! Tears welled up inside me as I stared at my new little friend and someone that would be in my life for a long time because of this golden opportunity of being able to sponsor her for a measly $38 a month. What a privilege!

I sure do love snail mail (who doesn’t, right?), but there is nothing that compares to the joy I feel when I see a letter waiting for me in my mailbox from dear Wawu!  I see God answering the prayers I pray for her and hear about her prospering in school, sports, friends, and family, etc. Deep joy fills my heart!

It’s fascinating to me how God connects people and even those across the world. And, it’s ministries like “Compassion International”, who are helping bring hope through provision in the practical and the spiritual that make this all possible!

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I am so grateful for this ministry and encourage you to check out Compassional International’s website (http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm) and sponsor a little-one today!!

And…pray for Wawu…I believe she is going to be one of Indonesia’s greatest leaders!! : )