This post is a continuation or further enlightenment of my last post...Reflections and Blessings From 2008. As I had mentioned in that post, 2007 was the year that nearly broke me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It wasn't just 2007, it was that year plus the 6 years prior that lead up to my near collapse.
I am sharing some emails that transpired between my wonderful friend and pastor's wife, Dorinda, Pastor Rusty and myself. This will give you another glimpse into where I was emotionally and spiritually. This gives a greater meaning to our blessing in 2008...The Year of the Lord's Favor per His promise to me on December 13, 2007.
October 8, 2007 - To Pastor Rusty (most of our communications are via text or meetings)
Please pray for me and Roger....we are about to go to war with each other. We had a big fight on Saturday, tried to put it behind me yesterday but still lingering and got into it again today. I know Satan wants to drive a wedge between us and cause friction with us but we seem to have taken quite a few (huge ones) backwards and I am stressed, frustrated and angry. I have tried all weekend to "shake this viper off into the fire" but reality is that nothing seems to change much. I am so stressed, having panic attacks, frustrated and many more emotions due to the real estate issues. We have one more house to rent and found out last week that two more will be empty at the end of October. One can't pay what she owes this month because she lost her job and the other one is moving and her job messed her check up so her rent will be late. I have paid 3 out of 7 mortgages and there is not anymore money right now. We've tried to talk about it but with our personality differences...I worry and get stressed, where he takes everything with a positive attitude and like it will all take care of itself. I know that I stress more because I see the bills everyday and rob from Peter to pay Paul weekly but he "says" he is worried and stressed and that his words should be enough.
I am overwhelmed with stress and emotions and feel very, very ALONE in this mess.
I need your prayers in a big way.
Thank you for everything...love you guys!
October 9, 2007 - From Pastor Rusty
Good morning Jennifer! I prayed for you yesterday, and did again this morning. How are things going now? Any better? You guys have been faithful to God, now He will be faithful to you. Have you been reading my daily blogs? If not, you need to. I have been talking about HOPE. Love you guys, and pray for you daily!
Pastor Rusty L. Blann
**He shared many more encouraging text messages and words during our weekly counseling sessions**
October 16, 2007 - To Dorinda
All I can tell you is that I can't take anymore. All of this has just about done me in mentally, emotionally, my family, my marriage and now it is taken it's toil on me spiritually. There is NO PEACE in our lives and it is destroying us day by day. Hard?, is such a "soft & kind" word compared to what we are feeling and going through right now. I just wish I could understand, see what is ahead, but as much as I hate to admit it....my faith is dwindling and I am sick to my stomach with the feeling of throwing up everyday. I cried so long and so hard last night trying to pay my household bills that my eyes are still swollen. There is no answers! We feel completely helpless & screwed except for a miracle.
I thought that I felt defeated during the lawsuit, but I have never felt so defeated in all my life....honestly!
I have felt so much anger and hatred in regards to my life, our finances, our situation and it is spilling over into my family relationship with Tyler (no patience & we have been fighting) and my relationship with Roger. I am losing the will to fight or even care. I just want to quit and run away. I know my few friends are sick of hearing me whine, complain and be so negative but this is how I FEEL. Sorry to also seem to be dumping on you lately.
Thank you for your support and prayer. I would be doomed without them!
October 17, 2007 - From Dorinda
that's what friends are for. I just want you to know more than anything, that God is going to take care of you in the best way for you. Sometimes he just wants to teach us to let go so that He can work His perfect will.
I hope I don't come across as "preachy" - it's just that I believe what I say. I have experienced God's provision so many times it is unbelievable. We have been where you are - maybe not the exact situation, but on the brink of financial doomsday. I can count on a few fingers when He came through in the spectacular. I cannot even begin to count the times He has done things His way(which was a trial to wait on God's timing) and each time we came out better people because of it.
It is when we are at our lowest that God wants us to completely let Him have all of us - our life, our family, our spouse, our children, our finances, our material possessions - we have to be willing to lose it all - and not be bitter because of it.
I shared on my blog about my struggle the night before Taylor was born. I just know that God is not withholding a "financial" miracle just to watch you squirm. You have come so far in your walk with God. John 10:10 says the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but Christ came to give us life and more abundantly. God wants you to have that abundant life and sometimes we have to be pruned (John 15) to have that wonderful abundant life. Pruned as in realizing that we grow more when our total trust is in Him and Him alone.
Hang on- God is never late. He wants what is best for you. He is a good God and He is faithful. If you are tempted to believe otherwise, know where those thoughts are coming from and tell the enemy to leave you alone.
Trust in Him. Lean on Him. Worship Him in spite of your circumstances. Don't be offended at God. Allow His peace to flood your soul.
You are a dear friend. It hurts me to see you hurting like this. Please know I am here for you. I know you would be here for me if I needed anything. I am praying for you with all my heart!
Love you girl! and hang in there!
December 13, 2007 - To Dorinda
I am not a Bible scholar and don't read/comprehend very well either...so Bible reading is extremely difficult for me! But, I was searching...flipping page by page through the Bible this morning looking for something to speak to me....I read several verses but nothing...then I
happened upon Isaiah 61. I read it and thought "WOW"...so I immediately texted you & Pastor to ask to see if I could pray or did it make sense/fit to pray Isaiah 61 over 2008. Pastor texted back immediately and said "yes, you can & should pray that over your year....The year of victory for the Woolbrights! I asked him to agree with us...will you join with us?
I love verses 1-4, 7-9 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. vs. 4...restore places long devastated.
vs. 7...instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion (I like that) and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion (there's that phrase again) in their land and everlasting joy will be theirs.
I'm ready to shout! Has the fear, anxiety or depression left yet? No, not completely but I will hold tight to God's unchanging hand.
What do ya think?????
Thank you for being a wonderful friend and prayer warrior...I could not have made it through the past couple of weeks without my friends and pastor lifting me up...I couldn't stand on my own and didn't want to...but you all kept me from falling by your faithful prayers. Please don't stop now...satan should be very afraid...so he is probably getting really geared up now...but he had better look out....I'm on a mission with God by my side.
December 13, 2007 - From Dorinda
that is amazing...
i haven't been home this morning and my phone was completely dead (because i gave Jordan my charged battery and was charging his in my phone) .....
anyway- last night before i went to bed i was praying for you. i did not hear an audible voice but i knew God was speaking to me to send you an email about the power of praying the word ..... and after talking to you the other day about 2008, Isaiah 61 was on my heart!
any way - here is what went through my head last night as i was praying for you....
Hebrews 4:12 says -
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thought and attitudes of the heart.
The KJV says quick and powerful
The part about the double edged is what I want to get at. On one side it fights the devil. The enemy cowers when we SPEAK the word of God. He knows he cannot begin to battle that power.... It was the spoken word of God that created the universe and that cast the enemy from the portals of heaven to where he is now. The spoken word of God is powerful when fighting the enemy. That is why it is so important to not only read and meditate on God's word but to speak it out loud. The enemy cannot read our minds. He shivers on what he hears out of our mouths.
The other edge of the sword is where the power of meditating and reading God's Word comes in. From one side we fight the enemy- from the other side we clean ourselves up. Rusty's blog on Tuesday I think dealt with that. But God's word penetrates to our soul and spirit and circumcises our heart.... as the Bible says - that just means it helps us to crucify our flesh.
So - when you read Isaiah 61 and you get to verse 7 - that says "instead of their shame my people - Roger and Jennifer Woolbright - will receive a double portion and instead of disgrace Roger and Jennifer will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity (robbery of people not paying their rent). In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them! Tell the devil out loud what God's word says. Shout it at him. Then meditate on it every day. This is God's promise to you! I am so glad God gave you this verse before I had a chance to share it with you, because now you know that God promised this Word to YOU.
Throughout the Bible we are told to
meditate on God's Word (think about and repeat over and over again to ourselves)
pray God's Word ( the only way we can be sure to pray according to the will of God)
speak God's Word (like Jesus did when he was tempted to be discouraged - spoke it out loud to satan)
remember also verse 10 in the rough times: I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoice in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.....
Jennifer, God is raising you up to be a warrior. I know you are tired of fighting the emotional and spiritual battles, but I see the warrior spirit in you. God sees time so much different than we do. He is infinite and we see time through our finite beings. Time for God is just like this line below
He looks down and sees the beginning as well as the ending and all the points in between. He sees your good times and your rough times, but ultimately He sees your rejoicing in heaven for eternity. That is how He works all things for the good of those who love Him.
That is why placing our trust in Him is so vital. Trusting Him when we are tired and worn out. Trusting Him when we feel all is going down the tubes. Trusting Him when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Simple trust. He has promised you victory - so tomorrow, if it brings worse news than yesterday, you can trust in Him.
The other scripture I have been praying for you and Roger is Psalm 25. The whole chapter deals with asking Him to show His ways and teach His paths. It is my most favorite chapter in the whole Bible. I probably read it about 10 times each week. ( I copied and pasted from http://www.studylight.org/)
Psalm 25 1 F48 To you, O LORD , I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O LORD , teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD , your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD . 8 Good and upright is the LORD ; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, O LORD , forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the LORD , for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. 18 Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
okay - I'm done preaching. but i really wanted to share this with you today.
Rusty, just read this and asked me to post this to his blog - taking your name out of course. so if you see it - don't think i just copied and pasted it from Rusty's blog... Ha!
love ya girl! you are a precious friend. i love you dearly and am so thankful you consider me to be your friend.
February 15, 2008 - To Dorinda
Subject: I'm Not Forgotten
During my prayer time this morning, I was reflecting on the past few years and all that has transpired, the promise God made me on 12/13/07 of Isaiah 61, the real estate problems and what they are saying about our economy. The fear and anxiety wanted to start creeping in but God reminded me of the song that was played during the Purity Is Power service on that Wednesday night...I have since downloaded it to my computer and listen to it all the time.
I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten , I am not forgotten, God knows my name....He knows my name....light over darkness, strength over weakness, joy over sadness....He knows my name....father to the fatherless, friend to the friendless, hope to the hopeless....He knows my name....I will praise Him....I am wonderfully made.
I began to think about the scripture in His word that talks about He knew me before I was in my mother's womb, He knows the number of hairs on my head, I am not forsaken and He will NEVER leave me. He knows about all my struggles, all my victories....He knew every aspect of my life before my life ever began in my mother's womb over 45 years ago.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
He knew that He had blessed me with loving, godly parents who would raise me to love Him, fear Him and serve Him. He knew all about my first marriage, the birth of my son, Brandon, He knew about the details that would lead up to my divorce before my son was two years old and was separated right after his 1st birthday. He promised to be the Father to the fatherless and he was that. He was my provider during those years when on paper my salary and child support would not begin to pay our bills but He provided. I never missed a bill, never was late on a bill, never missed a meal and never borrowed a penny from anyone. He knew all about Roger's marriage and the details that would lead up to his divorce. He heard my prayer when I prayed for a husband who was (1) a Christian, (2) financially stable, (3) good looking and (4) loved my son as much as he loved me. My friends told me that was a "tall" order but there is nothing impossible for God. He provided that also when he sent Roger to me. He knew the promise that He told our pastor at the time to tell me on my birthday in 1989, my 27th birthday...a couple of months after the death of my father (my best friend) that from October 1989 to October 1990 would be the best year of my life. He also knew that from October 1989 to August 1990 would be the worst year of my life up to that point. He heard my cries when I cried out to Him in emotional pain, angry with situations concerning my ex-husband and the anger that boiled inside me and was consuming me, the loneliness I felt raising my son alone and missing my Dad plus just a disastrous year up to that point...it had not been the best year of my life but the worst year of my life. He saw me when I left all my anger toward my ex-husband and the situations revolving around that year at the alter and gave it all to Him that August 1990. He heard me when I told Him that He had promised that this would be the best year of my life and it had been the worst...He only had a couple of months to turn it around. There is nothing impossible for God. A couple of weeks later....I meet Roger Woolbright...the gift from God, the answer to my prayers, a true blessing of the Lord. That was Septeber 2, 1990 and my birthday was October 20th. By my 28th birthday, I was on a trip with Roger in New Orleans and it was truly the best year of my life. God is faithful and He honors all His promises. We were married 5 months later and have been married 17 years next Saturday, February 23rd. God also knew all the attacks the enemy would launch on our family over the past 5 years and the victories that He would provide. He knew that 2007 would be a terrible year for our family but He promised me through His word on December 13th, 2007 that 2008 would be the Year of the Lord's Favor for the Woolbrights....Isaiah 61. This was confirmed to me by Dorinda the following day because God impressed upon her to tell me to read Isaiah 61.
So, I ask myself....what do I have to fear? What do I have to be anxious about? God knows my name, He knows where I am, He knows all about my life....before it began, in the present and in the future. He is a sovereign God...He is in control....He sees over the hills and around the curves...He was with me in all my yesterdays, He is walking with me today and He has already been in all my tomorrows. Nothing is going to happen to me today that God and I can't handle. He sees the big picture and I only see the one right in front of me.
He doesn't matter what happens in my life....God already knows and He already has a plan in place for me and my family.
Just wanted to share this journal entry with you!
February 15, 2008 - From Dorinda
what a powerful word.!!
I want you to really pray about what God wants you to do in lay ministry. I told Glenda this past weekend that watching you grow spiritually has been one of the true joys in ministry.
The class I am teaching on Wednesdays is not just about finding spiritual gifts etc, it is about finding out what God wants each person to do in ministry in the church that brings them joy and inner fulfillment in their lives. I am so passionate about that right now. I want everyone to have the joy of knowing they are finding God's purpose for their life.
You, Jennifer, are a treasure. You are gifted, talented, and passionate about your relationship with Christ. God has something He wants you to do, that YOU are the best qualified at. Only you can know what that is. It doesn't have to be an in front of people kind of thing, but it may be.
Just keep journaling. I - as in Dorinda- not a "God said" thing - would love to see you have a blog. People read my blog, rusty's blog and laurie's, and they say - oh, well, they are in ministry. (they tend to forget we are real people, with real struggles -and real goof ups like everybody else) But for a non- vocational ministry person to have a blog about their walk with Christ and what God is speaking to their heart..... sounds powerful to me. Just something to pray about.
I love you dearly and appreciate your friendship more than you will ever know. I appreciate your honesty with your friends and about your walk with Christ. God has great things in store for you and your family!
***And that is where Through The Storms of Life by An Ordinary Christian Woman's Heart was birth.***
GOD IS SO GOOD, FAITHFUL, MERCIFUL AND MIGHTY. THERE IS NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!
Writing my blog has been such a blessing for me! I am so thankful for all of the wonderful friends that I have made and precious ladies that I have met.
I have kept all of these emails on my computer and printed in a notebook because I don't ever want to forget where God has brought us from, what all He has brought us through and the many blessings He has bestowed on our family. It was a rough ride but I wouldn't change a thing because I now seen the spiritual growth in me, as well.
REFINING FIRE...is painful but so necessary to be all the God wants us to be.
I love each and everyone one of you...thanks for making my first year here a blessed one.