giving back

Two years ago I was laying in a bed with my daughter in Toronto, Canada. It was Christmas time and we were visiting my father for the holiday. I was pregnant with our daughter Lucy and my husband was serving in the war in Afghanistan. Two days into our trip Grace had gotten sick and we had to take her to the ER. She had a virus which left her listless, coughing and with a fever that was so out of control, she could barely breathe. It was all so out of control. We had just made this big trip that was supposed to be full of joy and fun and here we were in a strange place and sick beyond belief. It was cold and dark and I remember googling ERs and trying to find a place that would accept our insurance. She was so sick.I found myself so alone and scared. I stayed up with her all night, watching her struggle to breathe. I held her in the bath tub. We took hot showers to help open her airways and I just wept. I was crying out to Jesus to heal her. There was nothing I could do for her, except pray. I found myself reaching out to everyone I knew to pray...

The trip was so full of supernatural I just couldn't believe it. A few weeks prior to arriving there I had been trying to sell some things on our local yard sale website and included my phone number in the ad. While we were in Canada, I received a text message from a number I didn't know, and all it said was that there was healing in the name of Jesus and that there were so many of her friends and family suffering with physical illness and she was praying for us. I had no idea who this person was so I asked, and it was her. We had never spoken, but she had a word from God for us.

We spent days upstairs in bed, both of us. All we did was take baths, sleep and watch tv. For some reason the tv upstairs in the room we were in only got a few channels, one of them happened to be "the church channel". And as I lay there one night very late praying over Grace, James and Betty Robison were on with their Life Outreach International...Mission Feeding show. I watched in awe of the passion this husband and wife had for these suffering people...I watched and my heart once again broke for all the people in the world who suffer. Something happened to me that night. Something I cant explain. And as I sit here and write this out, I can now see how all the suffering in my own life was a beautiful way of preparing me for what God wants to do in me.

I was a mom in a desperate situation. A mom who was hundreds of miles from home, in a different country, pregnant while my husband served in a war. And I had a very sick child. I had no control and I hate not having control. My personality is one that God chisels at daily, the way I need to be prepared, have a plan and a way to execute that plan. And there was nothing that I could do. And then God just started speaking to me...

Melissa, my child, don't you know that I am already healing Grace? I hear your prayers... and I am meeting your needs. I have brought you here, to this place of feeling so helpless and scared so that you may understand what I am asking you to do. I need you to pray for all of my other children who are in need. All of the children who don't know me, and are hungry. I needed you to understand what it felt like to not know how to meet your child's needs...I needed you to understand that there are millions of mothers who cry out to me every night in desperation because their children are on the verge of death...because they are hungry.Everything I have let you see in this life, everything I have allowed you to go through, is for your good. It is for me. Just as you lift up your child to me tonight, so many others do, and they don't have the resources you do. Wont you help me? Wont you lay down all your fears and just allow me to work through you? Help me tonight, my child.

James and Betty asked for donations. They pleaded with whomever was watching and it was on their heart to do so. So what did I do? I gave 100 bucks. I didn't tell my husband, I lived in fear that he wouldn't understand that God asked me to do this. I just knew he would think I was crazy.

Grace eventually got better and we went home,just in time for Christmas. The day we got home, I went to get the crazy amount of mail that had stacked up. I opened a card that caught my eye, and it was from my mother in law. And in the card was a check. For 100 bucks.

It was then that I truly understood what God was asking me to do.

Trust and follow Him.

God has been stirring up a burning passion inside me to use art as a way to provide for my family and his. He has been using all of the pain and suffering in my life to bring me here. To a place where I feel so encouraged and confident in his love and hope that I could believe that I am able to make a difference, for him. I would love to use my art as a way to give back to our Amazing God who has been my healer, my encourager and my hope. He has answered big prayers for me and rescued me from places you wouldn't believe, and I just cant imagine my life without Him. It is my desire that all people have their basic needs met on this earth in the name of Jesus. That no more children would go to bed hungry or sick or in need and not wake up the next day. And I know that's a burden I carry on my heart and I will never be able to make that happen. I will never be able to build a well with my own two hands in a place where there is no water, and I will never be able to fill all the bellies of all the kids who suffer in poverty each day. But he can. And I want to be a part of it.

 I feel so blessed to live in a country where I have shelter, a clean place to lay my head at night and the freedom to worship my God whenever I choose. There very fact that I can sit here and share my love for our God and speak the truth is a freedom that most of the people in these countries don't have. They don't have a grocery store to drive their cars to and shop for food that will nourish them. They don't have a faucet to wash their bodies and quench their thirst. There are some days I cry over my basket of groceries and just thank God that He has provided so much for me and my family. I am just so grateful for the abundance we have here in the United States, in our home.

I used to never understand how God could use ONE person. I used to not understand how God could use ONE dollar. I used to think that the world had so much hunger and sickness and darkness that one person could never make a difference. Someone once asked James Robison, "James, it seems like such a big problem. What can I do about it?" I like Betty's response, "What we really need to ask is, "God, how much do you want me to do?"


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