Sunday, June 20, 2021

My Ebenezer Stone

1 Samuel 7:10-13 Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizoram to place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.
    Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
    So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines.

Since I last wrote here over four years ago, there have been some moments, some events, some changing of the tide in our family that I have just been too busy to record. Berkley, my oldest, asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior, we built our dream house, had our bonus baby, Pacey Grace in May of 2019, and made it through a global pandemic all in one piece. I’ll write about all those things, but I have to acknowledge the greatest miracle in our family. This record is my Ebenezer stone. A reminder of what the Lord has done.

Throughout the forming of my husband’s companies and the building of our house, the stress mounted. Stress that no human was built to carry. His stress and frustration spilled over onto me to the point of feeling like I might be sick at any moment. It was a tough season. And once it was over, you would think that my husband could finally relax, but what we have figured out is that as soon as his body comes down from the high of all the stress hormones of a season like that, his body comes crashing down into a depression. This happened in summer of 2018 when we moved into our new house and then again in summer of 2020 after a CRAZY busy summer of work. By Fall of 2020, I wasn’t sure of how much more I, or our family could take. My own body was at a constant humming level of anxiety as I anticipated an irrational explosion from him at any moment while also trying to maintain a safe and peaceful home for my babies. It helped when I was honest with those close to me about what was going on. I have friends and a church who do not judge or condemn him. They love him and accept him exactly where he is, and join me in praying for his freedom from anger, depression, and anxiety. 

I honestly don’t know what we would have done without our church family. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have found our church in 2017. Here, we feel so loved and cared for and accepted. The culture of our church is that we can come, however broken and bruised we may be, and we will receive the love and grace of Jesus. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING scares these people away. They know the love of Jesus and live to release it to others. When I had reached my breaking point that Fall of 2020, I reached out to the prayer pastor and let her know what was going on with my husband and said we needed an army of prayer. She had all our pastors and elders pray for him together. That week, several of them reached out to my husband and he was starting to feel a little better. The following Sunday, after service, our lead pastor approached my husband and asked if he could lay hands on him to pray.

My husband met me and the kids at the van afterward and was a bit bewildered. He had felt something change. Later that week, he was completely different. He told me that he doesn’t think he’d ever felt so good in his life and considering how terrible he had felt in the weeks before, he can give credit to nothing else but the prayers that were prayed for him. He had been delivered from anxiety and depression.

We had been co-leading a Missional Community Group before all of this... or trying to during the pandemic, but it wasn’t going well. After being delivered, my husband was stepping up to lead and began investing in people and relationships with our church family. This wasn’t even a year ago, and he’s now starting a non-profit that creates joyful memories for foster children and their families by providing experiences that promote fun, support, and reunification.

Just to clarify... less than a year ago, he was completely broken with anxiety and depression, unable to be the employer, leader, friend, husband, brother, or father he was created to be. Today, he is leading, loving, serving, and living with so much joy and freedom that it has overflowed into the birth of a ministry that exemplifies his heart for children. Watching it all has been the greatest miracle of my life.

I do not want to give the illusion that all problems are solved, and he walks perfectly in who he is in Christ every moment of every day. But moments of backsliding no longer last weeks or months. Things that used to cause stress and meltdown have gone from mountains to ant hills. Nothing has impacted my faith as much as the transformation in my husband. He is a new creation and I will never stop praising the Lord for His mercy, grace, and faithfulness.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe who created my husband to love and care for the least of these. I bless your miraculous healing of depression and anxiety and I ask for even more. The freedom that my husband now has in You, Jesus is beautiful and miraculous, and I bless it in Jesus’ name and ask for more!

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