“Rejoice in the Lord always. I’ll say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).
There are times when this verse seems impossible—stretches of life when rejoicing in the Lord is truly a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15). One of my favorite worship songs is “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”, because it proclaims that our praise will be consistent even though are circumstances are not.
But (THANK THE LORD), there are other times when the praise springs from our lips and our hearts without any prompting—moments when God’s blessings and provision are so obvious that we cannot help but shout them from the rooftops. I am so grateful to be able to say that the last few days have been like that for Ryan and me. God has done some powerful things through some amazing people, and I just need to praise His name and give him all the credit for these gifts in my life!
Unadulterated joy often originates in times of pressure, and this time is no different. Last Wednesday, we were feeling overwhelmed and honestly crushed by the medical debt that has piled up from all of my treatment over the last fourteen months. I had just gotten a call telling me that Sky Lakes Medical Center (where I got all of my radiation treatments) sent one of our larger bills to Collections. We have been making large payments every month to everyone we owe, so we were confused and feeling helplessly small against a huge system. We prayed and reminded ourselves that God had brought us through much worse, but I have to confess that my heart was anxious.
Then God started to reveal all the ways he was already knocking down doors. Our amazing friend, Jeremey Fleischer, sent us a link to a fundraiser he had set up for us on rally.org. He named the Rally after my cancer-fighting motto, Joy is Strength (http://www.rally.org/joyisstrength). Ryan and Jeremey are close friends, and Ryan had expressed his worries about the medical debt. Jeremey heard his friend and God’s prompting and took action. As soon as he made the site live, money started coming in! People were and are continuing to bless us with their generosity. I started to feel peace that even if we couldn’t get everything straightened out with Sky Lakes, we would be able to start paying Collections.
Yesterday, Ryan and I prayed together and went to Sky Lakes to see if there was anything we could do. Ryan did an amazing job of sincerely telling our story and expressing our confusion to the wonderful financial counselor at Sky Lakes. She was moved with compassion. Based on our excellent payment history, she pleaded our case to the Director of Billing at Sky Lakes. She called a few hours later to tell me that he had been thoroughly convinced that our bill shouldn’t have been sent to Collections, and he would go to bat for us with Collections. But she warned me that Collections rarely gives accounts back and there may be nothing he could do. I thanked her for her efforts and kept praying, along with my family and many wonderful friends.
Not long after that, she called and said, “Are you ready to be blessed?” My heart jumped! Collections had returned the account to Sky Lakes, and we could keep making payments as we had been! The Lord is so much bigger money woes!
I know that money trouble is by far not the worst affliction. We are so thankful for all of the medical treatment I have received, and it is with (mostly) thankful hearts that we work to tackle those debts. But I am overwhelmed by how God is using people to show us love by helping us in this. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Countless times in the last year, people have loved us by paying for bills, accommodations, gas and even vacations. I pray someday (SOON), we can begin loving on others in this way.
In the midst of all this money strife and blessing, the BIGGEST reason this mama’s heart is singing happened on Saturday morning. I made my sweet boys some yummy French toast and slipped away to take a shower (a quiet shower time is reason to praise God in itself!). In the few minutes I was gone, Ryan was able to guide Sawyer in a monumental decision. Sawyer has loved God and believed in Jesus for a long time, but this proclamation of his faith fulfills my greatest hope for him in his life on earth. We did a lot of celebrating this weekend, as I know they did in Heaven: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Click here to watch Sawyer tell you in his own wonderful words.
I know that some of you are reading this while you are in the midst of the battle, in the throws of a “sacrifice of praise.” I pray that God will give you reason to do a happy dance and find joy deep in your soul. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who continue to bless us with your love, generosity and prayers.