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?”

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FOR YOU…I WILL WAIT

(Some days I just need to break open my special “Hope-List” journal and remind myself of what God has waiting ahead for me : )

THE MAN OF MY HOPES

Processed with RookieI desire…

A handsome man after God’s heart❤

A man who boldly lives his faith in Christ; who is 100% sold-out for His cause; who is completely unashamed of the Gospel (the FULL Gospel) and will exercise his gifts; a man who is a leader and someone of noble character; a man who is a doer of the Word & not merely just a hearer; a man who is obedient to God & His word no matter the cost; a man who will weep with those who weep and care for the broken-hearted, the destitute, the lonely, the sick, and hurting; a man who will be able to teach & preach God’s word and who really lives out what he believes; a man who is hospitable; a man who is accountable to other godly men for his life, heart-attitude, and actions; a repentant & humble man and someone I can laugh together with; a man with a clean & pure heart; a man who respects and honors me, women, and authority and also someone who loves children & the rejected of society. And most importantly…a man who reveres, honors, and loves the Lord above anyTHING or anyONE else!

And, for this man…I will wait.

 

Santa’s Workshop

While I was praying with my friend today (August 31, 2012), a picture popped up in my head that I believe was an encouragement not only for her, but one also for youImage

It was of…Santa’s Workshop. (And, yes, I DID just make reference to thee most magnificent of places located at the center of the North Pole.) In this picture, I saw a few of Santa’s elves busy at work on all sorts of projects and projects that would later become gifts delivered promptly at their designated time of arrival. Gifts that were crafted by the blueprint of someone’s heart’s desire. Gifts that began with a wish-list, a dream. Gifts that someone has been believing for and waiting on with hopeful expectation that some day soon will come. I saw one elf working on putting together the body of a doll, and another one assembling the wheel of a pink Barbie car. And, this was all happening NOW, at the end of August, months before the expected time of arrival and all being done…in the hiddenness of the secret place, somewhere far, far away.

This picture is an encouragement for us to believe! To believe that what we have been hoping for, dreaming of, and expecting God to do…He WILL do and is in the process of doing, even right now. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Even though we may not be able to see evidence of this happening in the present, He is and has been working on our behalf, in the hiddenness of the secret place to bring about His promises…at the right time. He has not forgotten you and has your very best in mind. Just like Christmas day is the time where little children wait all over the world with joyful expectation to receive a gift they have been waiting for (and not just any old gift, but one that came from their heart’s desire), so too God wants to encourage you to be in expectation for the gift He has waiting just for you. A gift wrapped beautifully and tied nicely with a bright red bow on top. A gift that has an appointed and purposed date when it is to be opened. A gift with your heart’s desires.

My hope for you today is that you will once again enjoy the childlike faith to believe, dream, and hope for what is waiting inside this gift that is being made right now specifically FOR you…in the hiddenness of the Secret place (by the very best “Santa” there is ; )

Merry Christmas to you!