Joy is Tried by Storm

 

sunset HC

The month of July brought forth many blessings and yet it reminded me of the words, “when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou has taught me to say, ‘it is well, it is well, with my soul.”

But now you ask… how can you speak of both blessings and sorrows in the same breath?

Seven months ago  I was struck by the hand of God with a stroke. That was the beginning of the lesson pounded in me for the rest of my life. The words from 1st Thessalonians 5: 18 became as natural as my breathing.  “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I give thanks that as the months have passed, I have made a full recovery from that stroke. For this I give praise and thanks to the Lord.

Almost exactly seven months later, the Master’s Hand touched me again and this time it was my heart. I was rushed to the hospital on July 3rd as my pulse slowed to heartbeat of 28 to 35. The rhythm of my heart hovered there for the next 8 hours. It was decided that between my AFib and the slow rate of my beating heart, I needed a pacemaker.

Did I want a pacemaker? NO! Was this the will of God concerning me in Christ Jesus? YES! Could I truly give thanks?

I did, and it became the most incredible experience of my life!  I was not only able to give thanks for those 8 days in the hospital, and the mistake that was made when they punctured my lung during the implant or my collapsed veins due to being NPO with no fluids causing it to be nearly impossible for the techs to insert the IVs … BUT… I was given a tremendous JOY with each passing moment.

Where did the joy come from?  It came from the Lord God, who made Heaven and Earth! My joy came in proclaiming Him to medical professionals.  As each cardiologist or doctor entered my room  I would ask them,  “Are you a praying man?” Being in liberal New England, the majority of them responded with a “No” and with that, it was a God-opened  door for me to proclaim the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to them. I next would ask each of them, “How can this be? You didn’t make my heart; you didn’t fashion or design my heart.  Should you not be talking with the One Who made it? You do not know me or my heart, but you are the one person  that has God-gifted wisdom and knowledge, and the delicate hands to be used in heal me. You are absolutely nothing, but in Christ Jesus, you can become everything. You will become much better if you talk to the Creator, the One who molded me and fashioned me in my mother’s womb and the One who knows my most inner parts better than even I do.”

Time after Time, with every new medical professional that entered my hospital room, I had the privilege with a tremendous amount of joy to proclaim my Lord.  I felt an identification with the Apostle Paul who proclaimed our Lord while in the confinements of prison. It was another opportunity for me to live and experience His Word,  In everything give thanks for it is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I truly believe that God’s plans are not to harm us but that we might prosper… and there is no greater prosperity on this earth than pure joy!

I saw rain drops on my window, joy is like the rain
Laughter runs across my pane, slips away and comes again
Joy is like the rain

I saw clouds upon a mountain, joy is like a cloud
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, always sun not far away
Joy is like a cloud

I saw Christ in wind and thunder, joy is tried by storm
Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind, yet still afloat
Joy is tried by storm

I saw rain drops on a river, Joy is like the rain
Bit by bit the river grows, till all at once it overflows
Joy is like the rain.

(Medical Mission Sisters)

I continue to run the race before me, strong and brave against the foe, looking only unto Jesus, as I go! Now I am staying in the race with a pacemaker to keep me going and I indeed give thanks to God for it as it is the will of Christ Jesus concerning me.

I pray that you will permit God to draw you near to Him with every and all circumstances and that you will be able to see that His plans are not to harm you, but that you may prosper. As you see this,  you can honor Him by giving thanks in everything, knowing it is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. May you, too, experience the tremendous joy that floods the soul when proclaiming the good news of Christ to everyone that God sends your way.

Blessings on your day,

Sue

Advertisements

A Stroke By The Master’s Hand

“Oh, Lord, I know it is not within the power of man to map his life and plan his course.” – Jeremiah 10:2

I could have never mapped out all of the intricate details of my life nor had the strength in myself alone to live the ups and the downs. It has taken a lifetime for me to begin to fully grasp and appreciate that the Master has designed every detail of the canvas of my life. With this understanding comes the perfect peace that all things do work out for the good for those that know and love Him.

The Heavenly Father continues to paint on my life’s canvas. He  is working on a masterpiece and has been working on it since the day of my birth, perfecting every detail accordingly to His master plan that was designed for me from before the foundation of time.

He has made use of various brushes, textures, and colors to bring forth His creation in me. From the beginning He allowed deafness to overtake me. Those colors reflected confusion and separation as laughter and ridicule overtook the child that talked funny. Then there was the gray storm clouds of sexual abuse as a child from a close family friend.

He created the bright colors of the joy of triumph as a champion skater to soften the agony of defeat in my days as a failure in my academics. He elevated me in my professional role at the FBI thus giving the world the TV series, Sue Thomas: FBEye.  In those days it was not all that it appeared to be.  Although I was successful at the FBI, in my spiritual life I was a miserable fugitive, wanted and pursued by God.

My faith in His Divine Plan went even deeper on the night of December 1st, 2017 when the Master while at work painting my life’s canvas, took one stroke of His brush and created a stroke in my cerebellum. In one instant my life changed as I knew it. I was unable to walk and swallow. I couldn’t even sit up on my own but kept falling to the right side.  My precious eyesight was affected with severe double vision.  By one stroke of the Master’s hand my life took on a new dimension and I had to let go of my own ideas and trust His hand that He always knows what is best for me.  I experienced first hand those words of Jeremiah, when he wrote, “it is not within my power to map my life nor to plan my course.”

My thoughts

In the last 2 months I have been recovering. I spent two weeks in the hospital, and then had home visits from the physical therapist. With physical therapy I am regaining my strength and re-learning how to walk. I can now climb fourteen stairs in my home with assistance. My throat and tongue muscles have slowly come back, and I can enjoy a meal and eat regular food again, although it is a slow process. Something I marvel at is that I did not lose my speech. To me this is so profound. It took many years for me to learn to speak, and in the stroke of a second it could have been lost. In God’s goodness and mercy He did not take from me my Gift from God and my Gift to God, my ability to speak. Since that day of the stroke of His hand, He has even given me 6 speaking appointments this spring, to proclaim Him and to make Him known!!!

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29: 11-13

What an exciting walk it is with the Master!  He has formed each of us in our mother’s womb and designed our lives before the foundation of time. Each and every minute is safely in His hands with the purpose always of leading us back to Him. He will use each situation to  reveal Himself to us that we may grow in understanding and wisdom.  This wisdom and understanding of Himself is His prosperity to us – such knowledge is wealth untold!

This latest stroke by the Master’s hand is teaching me to walk anew in my faith and understanding of Him.  Now I ask you, what situation are you facing, what crisis is in your life, that He has painted on your canvas today to bring you to Him in a deeper way?  Remember, all things are from Him, with Him and in Him. As He was in the beginning, now and ever shall be, world without end, AMEN!

Faith that moves mountains, but….

1Corinthians13-2IfIHaveNotLoveIAmNothinggold

As we know, the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon humankind is love. It is the most delicate and priceless gift  ever given. But it does not always come in fancy wrapping paper with brightly colored bows; rather it can come with the ugliest wrappings and trimmings, which are also called human nature.

Is there someone in your life that has inflicted great pain on your heart and spirit? Has this someone caused you to stumble in your walk with the Lord? Have you gone from a dislike of this person to a dying decay of resentment, bitterness and even hatred??

I’ve had this experience and I finally realized that this was a God given gift to me showing me His infinite mercy and wisdom. Yes, He has blessed me with the spiritual gifts of prophecy and wisdom and I  have faith that moves mountains but with this one life that He put into mine, I could not love with a pure love, and thus, I became nothing.

Time has gone by while I have attempted to give this thorn to my Lord over and over. I testify to the fact that if we do not learn the lesson well the first time, the school master will return the lesson more severely and more painfully. The small thorn that once was a mere splinter had grown into the insurmountable weight of a cross and I had taken upon myself to bear the weight and after a time it had caused me to stumble.

I cannot change this person no matter how much I wish or try but God can change me and there lies my only hope. Hope is standing in the dark and looking out and seeing the light. I realized that to move forward I must surrender all of my emotions and feelings… I must surrender myself and put this person before me and above me in every way. I must reach out and hold them in my arms with an embrace and whisper, “I will never let you go for without you, without love for you, I am nothing.”

 

Friends, a new year begins along with a new day!  Let us remove the weights of bitterness, resentment, and hatred‎, and begin anew! All the ugliness and trimmings of your gift will be made new when you realize the person that causes so much pain in your life is a gift sent by the hand of God to show you that all you do and all you behold is nothing…

… but the greatest of these is love.

The Excellence of Love gives all and expects nothing nor seeks anything by its giving. Love is simply giving while forsaking looking for anything in its return.

December is Giving Month

OSN Team

God in His timing is always perfect! We have just learned that PayPal will give 1 percent to every dollar donated to Sue Thomas Ministries for Operation Silent Night through their PayPal Giving Fund which is specifically designed to bless nonprofit organizations such as OSN. Friends, will you support this outreach and help get the word out to your friends through email or Facebook so they can join you in supporting OSN? To have this opportunity to receive a 1 per cent donation from PayPal right before we hit the streets for the homeless is a unique gift for which we give thanks.
OPERATION SILENT NIGHT is well on its way with bakers, baking, and orders taking! We are praying for a record of 450 dozen homemade cookies sold this year! You can see pictures of the cookies at www.facebook.com/operationsilentnight

The release of The Just Plain Values Magazine with the OSN story has just been released. You can read the article here  Yes, we are in full swing and we ask for your help from November 28th – December 31st.
Please simply hit this button to give  – your gift brings forth the warmth of blankets and clothes and food to eat to the hidden lost people of the streets.

donate button

The greatest gift you can give is to the least of your brethren as you give unto Him. Your gift does make a difference!
For Him and Those Who Sleep on the Streets,
Sue thomas, Co-Founder
Deborah Shofstahl‎, Co-Founder

 

 

Take a breath

It’s that time of the year! Is your heart overflowing with thankfulness every day or are you holding your breath until the turkey arrives picture perfect on the laden table? Our National Day of Thanksgiving may be scheduled for next week, but before the count down begins and everything switches into full speed, and you’re madly dashing to complete and check off the to-do list, please remember to pause, take a deep breath, and give thanks for the countless blessings that have been bestowed upon you throughout the year, through God’s generous giving, or His gracious withholding. Oh, there is so much to give thanks for!  These winter months are a perfect time to smell the bouquets of fragrant roses that were handed to you throughout the year. First, give thanks for your very breath of life,  then take a deep breath and continue counting one by one. In today’s frantic society the season officially begins before Halloween. We all know this is nothing short of a nightmare, so if you have survived this far, then give thanks for the grace of getting through your nightmares!

Colossians 3.17

We stay busy around here. This month, my interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth airs on her radio program,  Revive Our Hearts. The dates are November 27th, 28th, and 29th.  Be sure to check your local Christian radio station for the time the program will air. It is called “Finding Hope In The Silence” and is a series you won’t want to miss.20170503_-204

The month also sees preparation for Operation Silent Night’s annual fundraising  Christmas Cookie Platters. Last year over 400 dozen cookies were sold -this year the goal is for 450 dozen! Please check out Operation Silent Night’s Facebook page for more information and delicious pictures!

We will keep you posted on current news so please stay with us! Our hearts are overflowing with thanks and we consider you to be one of our blessings.