As I reflect over the past 36 years from August 21, 1982 – August 21, 2018 I’m still in awe and amazed at all the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. January 29, 1999 were the darkest hours for our family. Stacie was ripped from our lives, Kristie left to bleed to death on the concrete floor of the basement of our home, brutally assaulted by a jealous and angry young man. We’re thrust into the literal pits of hell, as I anxiously awaited the outcome of Kristie’s extensive five-hour surgery, hoping and praying with every fiber of my being she would survive. Wondering what will become of us?

I sat by her beside pleading and praying when in the early morning hours of January 30, 1999, Christ quietly came into Kristie’s ICU room and gently whispered to me, “She is healed.” I knew instantly in my heart she was completely healed. The doctors would later confirm what I already knew. Yet the uncertainty that lay ahead in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years would test us to the brink of hopelessness. My comfort was knowing Christ would never leave us. Light begin to dawn, faintly at first, and gradually we begin to see the light of Hope that was there all along. When we were shrouded in darkness, Christ shone the brightest. It was just a little difficult to see while being blinded by the horror of what Stacie and Kristie suffered at the hands of Paul Powell.

I believe time heals all wounds, but only when we embrace God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Without any one of these, there is no hope to be found here in this life. Thank You God, You are the great I Am.  I choose to embrace my Lord and Savior and follow in His every step, staying closely behind Him as He leads the way to healing, hope, and especially forgiveness. Without Him, I am absolutely nothing. With Him, I am everything. My life has purpose beyond measure.

This morning, as I thought about Stacie and this day, being what would have been her 36th birthday, a word came to mind. Purpose. Of course, this doubt popped into my mind, “What is my purpose?” So, I went to scripture to see what God has to say. As it turns out, He has a lot to say about purpose. Here are a few that stand out to me today. Exodus 9:16 – “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”(NIV) I pondered His words and asked Lord, do I really understand my purpose. I realize it’s me I doubt, not the Lord. Is what I am doing what You’ve called me to do? Is there more? Am I missing anything? Lord please give me clarification.

I continued to read scriptures on purpose, and read Job 36:5, “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.”  Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Isaiah 46:10, I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 55:11, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” And Acts 2:23,  This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” 

Acts 2:23 completely nails it (no pun intended) for I am guilty as charged. My sins nailed His beaten body to the cross that day. It was His body. On the third day, His spirit ascended into heaven and one day very soon, He will return to gather His flock and take us home.

I have Hope knowing He died willing for me, as was our Father’s purpose that day. My role is to be obedient, trusting and following His plan for my life. God’s plans and purposes, we’re set in motion even before the first day of His creation. Why should His plans suddenly change now? What am I, but a single blade of grass, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8. I’m thankful the Lord meets me where I am and gently reminds me who I Am and who He is, Our Heavenly Father. Especially on this day as we celebrate Stacie’s life of sixteen years.

He personally chooses us for His purpose, not ours. And how often do we stray and believe we are living for Him, when the truth is, we are living for ourselves. I know I am guilty of this. And Lord, I ask for Your forgiveness for straying away. Thank you for the path that is narrow that leads to life. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

I am reminded of my purpose in this life. To be obedient, to follow Him where ever he leads me and sends me, because I know He is always already there. He goes before me to and waits for me, leading me, guiding me with His purpose in mind. I trust You Lord Jesus with all my heart.

Today, August 21, 2018, I celebrate Stacie’s 36th birthday, with God’s purpose in mind. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Praise You Lord. Thank you for choosing us and giving me the wisdom to follow You. Amen.