Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saved by Grace: Tammy's Salvation Story (Part 2)

image by diabolik808 / text added
Yesterday I posted the first part of Tammy's salvation story. (If you haven't seen that, you'll want to read it before you read on.) Please welcome Tammy back with the rest of her story.

I felt as if I was an orphan. The only family that I ever really knew and was close to was gone. The last 2 1/2 years had been a time of trials and building my faith. I had seen so many miracles take place; I felt Jesus so close to me at times that I thought I could physically reach out and touch Him; I was also given a glimpse of Heaven through my mother.

God began dealing with our family, and me in particular. You see, I had a Catholic background they believe in "sprinkling an infant" for baptism. This is unscriptural according to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit had convicted me of my need for a believer’s baptism. You may be wondering what the big deal is about this?

I am frightened out of my wits of going under water. I tried to reason with myself that I had been baptized as an infant and that was good enough, but the Holy Spirit would not let this matter rest. I finally gave in and was baptized in water at the age of 30.

I don’t believe there was anything "magical" in the water, but I do believe that through my obedience in this area of my Christian walk, God honored this and began opening the scriptures to me and my family.

It was after this that we got rid of our TV and was kicked out of our church because of it! LOL They thought we had lost our minds when we removed this from our home. This was also the same year that I read my Bible through for the very first time – amazing what time I had on my hands.

Through various circumstances God opened the doors for us to homeschool – a secret desire of mine since my oldest son was first born.

In November 1996 God opened the door for us to start singing Gospel Music in various places like nursing homes, outdoor picnics, and eventually churches. In 1997 we started evangelizing part-time and then in 1999 we purchased an old 1970’s motor home for us to travel in. More doors were opening for us to come minister than we could handle. Everywhere we went, God opened the doors for us to minister to hurting people who needed encouragement; other’s needed salvation; some needed healing; and we even saw a man at the age of 88 receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues!

Family Bible Pict The cover photo of our first tape recording

I began having problems breathing and with each breath it felt like someone was stabbing me in the chest. I had several tests run along with some chest x-rays taken. Shortly after I got home from having the tests run, the doctor called and informed me that they had found a mass on my lungs. Was the years of living in sin taking a toll on this earthly vessel?

Since it was Friday, I would have to wait until Tuesday for the CAT scan. God doesn’t need a weekend to perform a miracle but apparently I did. We began to pray and on Sunday I went forward and the church laid hands on me and prayed. I didn’t feel anything and the pain was still there. I am not really sure when it exactly happened but I realized sometime on Monday morning that I no longer had pain. I went to my scheduled appointment on Tuesday morning and before the CAT scan could be run they had to redo the x-rays to make sure nothing had spread or moved. As they did the x-rays I could tell that something was not going right. They finally came out and asked me what position they had me in for the x-rays on the previous Friday. I showed them and the x-rays all came back clear – NOTHING!! I told the nurse that we had prayed and asked God for healing and he said it was evident that God had intervened because they had the x-rays to prove that the mass was there.

We continued to travel with even more faith in the healing power of God than ever before but the Word says that there is a time for everything and our time of traveling came to a close in 2001.

Sometimes we don’t know why God closes doors and then sometimes we have to wait to find out the reasons.

Our boys began raising dairy goats and became involved in 4-H. Our faith and spiritual understanding of the Bible had taken deep roots through our years of travel and study of the Word. We had become very involved in our church and we were focusing all of our attention on raising our family and instilling the Word of God in our boys so they would grow to be Godly young men.

Justin & Michael

I’ve heard it said, "If the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t climb it."

In March 2004, right before we were leaving the house, my son showed me a knot on his jawline. On Monday I took him to the doctor and they thought it was a possible infection. After a few weeks of treatment we were sent to a specialist and through a multitude of events, we found ourselves on June 21, 2004 at the ER of Cook Children’s Hospital where sometime before midnight an ER doctor looked at me and told me that they had found a mass and they did not know if it had reached my youngest son’s brain. Michael was 10 years old.
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" James 1:3
Everything we had been taught; everything we had tried to instill in our children; it was all being put to the ultimate test.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" 1 Peter 1:7
We didn’t have time to think about if we were "acting like Christians" – whatever was inside was pouring out. I am not lifting ourselves up, but without us knowing, their was a buzz amongst the doctors and nurses on the oncology floor about a family that was admitted on June 21st. One of the nurses finally let it slip to us and they all realized without us saying a word, that we were Christians. How could they know? I didn’t feel like a Christian – I felt like a failure. So many questions I had in my heart; so many things I didn’t understand; and somehow they were seeing through Christ through our family. It boggles my mind to this day when I think back to that first stay in the hospital.

16 x 20 300 July 10, 2004

It was right after Labor Day when we would find out that the previous treatment that they had given to our youngest son was fatal. It shut down his liver and we found ourselves in PICU for the next 13 days begging for God to perform a miracle. On September 21, 2004 I stood at the head of my son stroking his brow as my husband was holding his hand praying. I remember telling my son that I would stay right there – I wouldn’t leave him – until Jesus came to get him. At 10:10 a.m. a peace filled the air and God’s presence consumed that room. Heaven came down and touched us and I know that I will never be the same again.
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him." Genesis 32:24, 25
Jacob was never the same after that night when he wrestled with God. I know I am not Jacob, but I remember the day in PICU when God asked me to give my son to him – completely; to fully trust Him. It felt like someone was doing surgery on me without any anesthesia; the process was painful but the result was perfect peace in the Lord. I am not sure how many days later it would be before my son’s “Homegoing” would take place, but I know for certain that God’s ways are perfect and He makes no mistakes.

I have a choice, I can either allow God to continue the work that he has started in me or I can reject it and allow bitterness to take root. I choose to allow God to work His will in my life – no matter the cost – no matter the pain. I have seen a glimpse of heaven through my mother’s eyes and have felt it fill that hospital room as the presence of the Lord entered PICU to take my son home to his eternal home.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"  Hebrews 12:1
We sing a song that says, "I’ve come too far to turn back now." I’ve too much invested to throw it all away on the temporal things of this life and I am determined to finish the race that is set before me.

People will make fun of me and tell me that my religion is a crutch. Well, that is okay especially when you are crippled like me. I’ve been told I am in bondage and narrow minded because of my beliefs and the Biblical standards I live by. That’s okay too because I can be a little too narrow and make it through the gates, but if I am a little too wide, I won’t fit.

Dear one, are the trials of this life weighing heavy upon you? Look to Jesus. His yoke is easy and His burdens are light. Trust Him with your life fully. I cannot guarantee you an easy road, but what I can guarantee is that the One who created you, will walk with you, holding your hand, if you will let Him.
I would never have made it this far in life without Jesus holding to my hand – and even carrying me when I was too weak to walk on my own.

When I was wallowing in my sin filled life, I thought I was really living – each day was a party. I am here to tell you, I didn’t know what living was all about until I died to myself – this old carnal flesh – and was given a new life in Christ.

I could tell you so much about the goodness of the Lord and what He has done for me and my family but Melissa asked me to write "my story" not a novel. He is just so good and I never get tired of telling of His love for me.

If you don’t know this Jesus that I have been telling you about, won’t you give Him a chance today? He is waiting….

Visit Michael’s Journey to read the daily account of our son’s battle with cancer.
You can also visit me at Not Just Paper and Glue and find our family at Gospel Witness Ministries.

Thanks for being here and sharing your story, Tammy!

3 comments :

  1. I am so touched by Tammy's story! And God's grace as he works in the lives of his people. Amazing! Praying...

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  2. Tammy it takes such faith and strength to tell your story and to share it here with all of us.
    Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life.

    Melissa how wonderful of you to share this two part piece about Tammy- I know I have enjoyed hearing more about my friend.

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  3. Wow what a wonderful story--Jesus is always there when we need Him.

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