Monday, November 14, 2011

A Sacrifice of Praise

I take it back! I said I wasn't going to have a guest post testimony today since I'm guesting at Becoming a Strong Woman of God!  I just received this emailed testimony. It's unscheduled but POWERFUL! I pray that it blesses you today!
Please Welcome
Melissa Rice to
Beautiful Mommy Feet!


Have you ever had to sacrifice something dear to your heart? Perhaps it was something so precious that you didn’t know how you could possible live without it? I have and here is my story.

Last January, my husband and I buried our third child. Josie Grace joined her two brothers, Jesse, (1) and Toby, (2 ½), in Heaven. Josie spent all of her 2 ½ months in the hospital. She was born with four major heart defects, the worst that her doctors had seen.

Once again, God had placed my husband and me in a hospital mission field. Everyday we were presented with opportunities to share with people about the God we love and serve. Because of her brothers medical histories, God began opening doors with the medical staff. Doctors would ask, “How are you going to do this again?” Over and over God would give us the words to answer them. We read in
1 Peter 3:15:                              
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer
                               to every man that asketh you a reason
of the hope that is in you with meekness
and fear.
What a joy it was to find that some of her doctors and nurses were also believers and they became an encouragement to us.

On day 69, the cardiologists came into her room and told us that there was nothing more they could do. Machines were supporting our daughter’s life, and now, we had to make the decision to turn off the machines. After many tears and many prayers, we gave our daughter back to God.

Once again, God was asking us to give up a child. I remember begging God, “Please don’t ask us to do this again! It’s not fair!” Over and over, hour after hour, I pleaded and argued with God. When I finally came to the end of myself, God, in His great love, reached down and filled me with His peace. “OK, Father. I give her to you, but Lord. . . . . . could you please show me just one reason why?”
 
He did.
That night, when Lee and I were back home with our two daughters, Lindsay and Bethany, God began to show me “why”. One dear lady had written to me, that very afternoon (not knowing that Josie had died), how, because of Josie’s life, she was now a child of God’s! I immediately looked up and began to cry. The “why’s” began pouring in. My Almighty God, had heard my simple prayer, and had answered me over and above what I could have imagined.

A few days later, on the night of Josie’s calling hours, I was standing in the foyer of the church, waiting for Lee to park the car and join me. We were to go into the sanctuary, before anyone else arrived and see our precious Josie Grace for the first time since she had gone Home. As I stood there with my daughters, I began crying.

How could we go through this again? It just wasn’t fair. I turned away trying to compose myself and through my tears I looked up. On the wall in front of me, was a sign that my grandfather had carved over 20 years earlier. The sign read two simple words: Praise Continually.
“God, are You serious? You want me to praise You now? You can’t possible be asking me to do that. . .my daughter is lying in there dead, and you want me to praise You now?”. . . .

He did.
 
“God. . . .I can’t do it. . . .You will have to do it through me. . . I just can’t. . . . . . . . . . ok, Lord. . .
I. . . . .
will. . . .
praise You.”
 
Hebrews 13:15
says,
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”
Did you read that? Offer the sacrifice of praise. How? By Him.

On my own, I could not do it. I was mad, sad, hurt, every grief filled emotion you could think of. . . .but then God. God in His amazing mercy reached down and gave me His strength. I still cried, but through my tears I told Him that I would praise Him in this storm.

Three times God has asked us to give Him our precious children. I am reminded of what that Apostle Paul said in
2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
 
   “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me.
    and He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”    Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

That night and many, many times since, I have experienced His strength and peace. It is only by His grace and mercy that I can even write to you now and share what God is teaching me.

It is easy to be thankful and praise God when things are going great, but what about when things go bad? Can you praise Him in the storms of life? Can you praise continually? Will you praise continually?

I may never understand why God took three of my children Home, but I do understand that He knows what is best for me. I do know that He wants to make me more like His son. I do know that He never asks me to go through something that He hasn’t been there first. Life is hard, but God is still so very good.

Let me encourage you to spend time everyday in God’s precious Word, learning and growing. When the trials and storms come, and they will, we need to fully lean on God and His precious Word, and get our strength from Him.  We are told in Colossians 2:7 that we are to be:
                             "rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught,
                     abounding with thanksgiving."
 
Will you join me in "abounding with thanksgiving" and offer your sacrifice of praise?

                    "for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased."  Hebrews 13:16b
 

5 comments:

  1. Blessed to meet you Melissa Rice. Thank you so much for this blessing of sharing your testimony with me(us). I know it was not an easy thing to share. Please know that it was not shared in vain. Such a POWERFUL witness!

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  2. What a powerful testimony. Tears filled my eyes as I read this. Thank you for choosing to be obedient to God even in the midst of tragedy. Thnak you for being a model of faith. Yes, it would be hard to praise God in a circumstance such as this, but what an amazing opportunity to share Christ's love for others even as you suffered. Beautiful

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  3. Well, if you can praise through the worst pain I can imagine, then I guess I can too. Peace to you...

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  4. Oh Melissa, I can't imagine your pain, but I can rejoice with you that the God who created your precious children now holds them in His mighty hands. Praying prayers of comfort and healing for you and your family.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Jana

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