Testimony of Faith: Hold Her Hand

    -Testimony guest post submitted by Kari Tyree

Where I live, the Texas mountain laurels bloom mostly during February. Full-grown, they are gorgeous trees covered with purple blossoms that make the air smell like grape SweeTARTS. Wouldn’t you want to be that beautiful, if you were a tree?

One February, I held my daughter’s hand as she took tenuous steps along the rock border of our small raised garden bed. While watching her take slow, careful steps, I was reminded of something that happened almost nine years previously when I was in grad school and felt extremely unsure of myself.

At the time, I struggled with anxiety. During one Christmas break, I visited my mom and dad and went to their church for the Christmas Eve service. When it was time for Communion, we had a moment of silent, individual prayer in the peaceful sanctuary. My prayer went something like, “God, I know I need to be more like the woman who twirls around in big, flowing skirts at the top of bright, green hills with blue skies all around, her face shining as she looks up and laughs at the clouds. That woman is so exuberant and full of life. I need to be like that, but I’m not. I don’t trust You enough. I’m so anxious all the time.”

Then, amidst my insecure ramblings, a vivid picture, like a painting, came to mind. It was a picture of a young woman wearing dark-coloured clothes that fit her well but were not flowing skirts. She was walking along a pathway that wasn’t lit very well, and the whole background was fairly dark, too. But the woman was not alone. She was walking slowly while holding a hand whose owner was not visible. On seeing this image, I felt like weeping with relief. A sense of freedom came over me. God showed me this picture to tell me that, though I was going along slowly and didn’t have an outgoing, exuberant personality, I trusted Him and walked faithfully as the woman He made me to be. Though I was careful, I was just as beautiful as the bright, spinning woman on the hill.

When my daughter walked with careful steps along the garden border, she trusted me to catch her and to guide her in the new adventure she’d discovered. She was being completely herself and was completely lovely while doing it. If she’d been running along recklessly, I probably have been a bit frustrated, and she would have been more likely to hurt herself. There are benefits to being deliberate and cautious, even if they come with the burden of anxiety, at times.

Some people are quick to settle in, establish “roots,” find their niches, make friends, and adjust to new roles. Some are slower. The Texas mountain laurel is notorious for being a slow-growing tree that may not bloom for several years. We have one in our yard that we planted almost right away after we moved to our new house in our new city. After one year, there was barely any visible growth at all and certainly no blooming. My husband told me, when I was feeling a bit down regarding my ability to settle into my life as a new mom in a new place, that I was like the mountain laurel: slow to become established, but full of the potential to produce beautiful blossoms after a time.

When I look closely at our little, slow-growing tree, I can see new, bright green leaves at the ends of some of the older, darker green branches. When I look closely at my life, I can see improvement and growth—even growth as I move away from anxiety towards trusting God. Perhaps the growth is small, but it is there, nonetheless. Praise God, who always holds my hand and causes all kinds of growth—whether fast or slow, big or small, joyous in purple blooms, or deliberate in tender stems and leaves!

 

About Kari Tyree

Tyree lives in Texas with her husband and children. She homeschools her children and enjoys tinkering on the piano, crafting, reading, and (mostly) writing in her free time. Visit her at facebook.com/karityree.writer and at karityree.com.

Interview with Carrie and Richard Fischer

If you haven’t yet met Richard and Carrie Fischer, now is your chance to meet this incredible couple who champion the rights of the unborn and whose greatest desire is to serve the Lord with everything they have. I’m sure you’ll be blessed today. 

Can you tell us about yourself and your back ground? 

Carrie Holland was born to a single mom on June 10, 1969, 6 months after her mom’s failed abortion attempt on her life in December of 1968. She was raised by her mom and stepfather, with two sisters and one brother. From about 5 years old until 13, Carrie began having recurring nightmares of a baby fighting for her life in her mother’s womb, which led her to eventually ask her mother if these dreams meant anything to her. Her mom broke down in tears of repentance, confessing to the attempted abortion which likely took Carrie’s twin brother or sister. Just before that confession, Carrie had just gotten off of her bicycle, when a lightning bolt split the banana-style seat of her bike in half! Within a week or so, Carrie had forgiven her mom for what she’d done and endeavored to move on with her life. At the age of 27, Carrie’s birth father called and spoke to Carrie for the first time. They agreed to meet, and the two of them had a chance to correspond with each other for the next 3 years before he died of lung cancer. Following the death of her birth father, between the grief of losing that relationship plus the bullying she received due to the facial deformity she was born withwhich doctor’s attributed to complications from the failed abortion attemptCarrie went into a serious depression. She tried to commit suicide by downing a bottle of anti-depressants and drinking a bottle of wine, but when she woke up she didn’t have any symptoms. It was at that point Carrie realized that God had a plan and a purpose for her life, but it would take many more years to discover that she was being called by God to publicly share her testimony in hopes of being able to save as many babies as possible from the fate she almost suffered. Having never been asked on a date for the first 41 years of her life due to her facial deformity, Carrie remained single until 42, when a man named Richard Fischer entered her life through a rather miraculous set of circumstances.

Richard was born on December 12, 1958, to a military family that lived in Middletown, Connecticut. Over the next 15 years, they moved 13 times, including two different places in Germany. In his early teens, Richard, finding some of his father’s porn magazines in an open bathroom cabinet, quickly developed a horrible addiction to pornography and, eventually, to a life of sexual promiscuity. At the age of 25, Richard, after numerous girlfriends had come and gone, returned to the woman he had first had intercourse with and they were married. After 9 years of marriage, she decided she wanted another man and the two of them divorced. About 9 months after the divorce, Richard married his second wife. This marriage lasted 17 years until she passed away following a 4-year battle with liver failure. 6 months later, a friend of Richard’s sent him a picture of a place he had only seen in a God-given dream around the time he and his second wife had met at church. Two months later, this dream would lead Richard to drive nearly 1000 miles from his home in Maryville, Tennessee, to Austin, Texas, to a place called Hamilton Pool, the place he’d seen in his 18-year-old dream. During the previous two weeks, God had been telling Richard he would one day become one with someone with a facial deformity. While still in Austin, he happened across Carrie’s profile picture on a mutual friend’s pro-life Facebook page. Learning that Carrie had never been asked out on a date before and that she lived 3 hours away in Houston, Texas, and after some soul-searching prayer, Richard decided to ask her out on a date. They arranged a double date with another couple Carrie knew and trusted. Before their dinner at the Asian City Restaurant near Deerbrook Mall was over, they were both convinced that God intended them to be married. After numerous miraculous confirmations, the two became husband and wife 3 months later. 

What is your faith background? 

Carrie was raised going to church, and she made a decision at about 12 years old to ask Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. But at that time, for her, it was just repeating some words and there was no real change or repentance to go along with the profession of faith. Sadly, many people in the churches she attended treated her horribly and didn’t show her much, if any, real love. On one occasion, for seemingly no apparent reason, her pastor grabbed her by the throat, held her against a wall and told her she would never amount to anything. Needless to say, Carrie became  disillusioned with church and would struggle greatly with social anxiety issues. When Richard came along and showed her unconditional love, she began a slow process of opening up to the Lord and some people but remained very guarded in most social situationswith the exception of the times she was asked to publicly share her abortion survivor testimony. 

Richard’s grandfather on his father’s side was the head of his Lutheran Church’s Sunday School department, so when he visited his grandparents in Seymour Connecticut, he would attend church with them.  But other than that, Richard’s parents only took them to church on Christmas and Easter. His grandfather also helped with some of the maintenance duties at church, so Richard enjoyed getting to ride the riding-lawn mower, and helping out in other ways. Richard’s father was the first in the family to have a “born again” experience with the Lord when Richard was in his late teens. For one of his birthdays in his early 20’s, his father gave him his first Bible. At that point, Richard’s ungrateful response was, “What am I going to do with this thing?” But in the months that followed, though it remained under his bed when anyone was looking, Richard began to read it in secret. A few years earlier, Richard’s father had taken him, his mom, and his only brother Steve, to see a presentation by a quadriplegic named Joni Eareckson (now Joni Eareckson Tada). Richard was amazed by her ability to draw and paint using her teeth instead of her hands to hold the artist tools. Joni’s testimony book was the first book Richard had ever voluntarily read cover to cover, and it began to influence him towards Christ. Around the time his father gave him his first Bible, an old girlfriend sent him a letter where she told him her testimony of meeting a group of people that didn’t believe in sleeping around or getting drunk and that they had led her into a relationship with Christ. On the evening of May 7, 1982, while lying on his bed, Richard prayed. He asked God, “Would you be the center of my life?” The next day, Richard began to see many things differently and began to be convicted of his sexual promiscuity. 

In addition to his personal, pro-life calling with Carrie, Richard also believes he is called to reach out to others trapped in sexual addiction, and offer them the same salvation and deliverance that He had received from the Lord.

What ministries have you been involved with over the years?

Carrie was involved for a while in a Houston chapter of Aglow Ministries and occasionally went with her mom to minister to women in prison.  Before marrying Richard, Carrie had begun to share publicly about her abortion survivor testimony and had been on a local affiliate of Daystar TV. After their marriage in 2011, Carrie continued to speak at various venues from Houston to Tennessee and was honored by an appearance on International Minister Andrew Wommack’s “Gospel Truth” show. This brought Carrie, Richard, and Carrie’s mom the opportunity for a couple more local TV interviews in the Houston area. Carrie’s testimony has also been featured in several books written by other authors, but  Carrie also won a writing contest a few years ago. In addition to a cash prize, her story became chapter 4 in a book called Learning to Lean, appearing with 9 other authors in that book, published by God TV. 

Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, upon his conversion, Richard began helping wherever he could around the churches he was involved with. Upon joining a Messianic Jewish (Jews who believe in Jesus) congregation where he attended for a little over 20 years, he was invited to join the congregational dance team and became the assistant dance team leader before he and his previous late-wife moved from Virginia to Tennessee in 2005. Before her passing in 2010, they began establishing a pro-life work. This project was later named the “Zion Benjamin International Memorial for the Unborn,” named after Carrie and Richard’s first of two miscarried children. Together, Richard and Carrie operate several groups and pages on Facebook and also maintain a YouTube channel where they share various aspects of their lives. One of Richard and Carrie’s other interests is aviation, so in recent months they have started a Facebook group called “Aviation Praise and Prayer.” 

What is your life’s mission and how do you intend to accomplish it?

Together, Richard and Carrie have been called by God to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. They are evangelists with a heart towards ministering healing and forgiveness to the post-abortive as well as the disabled, and anyone else who will listen to the message they have to share. They have been given numerous visions and dreams, including holding conferences to encourage anyone with low self-esteem that they are “Wonderfully Beautiful made in God’s image”. In conjunction, with Wonderfully Beautiful they desire to establish a free high-end clothing and accessories closet to help people understand their value to God and to help them dress for their future success in the business world. They also were given nearly identical visions to establish a ministry called “Harbor Inn House of Hope,” a home from women and families facing crisis pregnancy situations, where they can find safety, security, hope, and healing, and a support system to help them keep their child rather than to choose abortion. They can only accomplish these visions with God’s wisdom, and the support of God’s people who read or hear about their vision and choose to come alongside of them in prayer and with tangible assistance. 

 

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What creative tools do you use to accomplish your life’s mission? 

As mentioned earlier, they are heavily involved in social media and, at present, the bulk of their ministry is carried out through those venues. Richard is also a photographer and often marries photos with the messages he types under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They have also been given a vision to resurrect a faith-based greeting card business Richard once owned, which will be another creative evangelistic tool. 

What obstacles have you encountered? How did you deal with them?

They have encountered numerous obstacles to achieving our goals, including job loss, homelessness, illness, and injury, but they endeavor to deal with them by staying in relationship with the Lord, and with their family and friends, trusting God to provide for their needs as He has promised: “Seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.” 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about yourself and serving God? 

God is able to meet them where they are at. He understands what they cannot do on their own and gives them the strength to press on through what seems to be impossible in the natural. Whether that is guiding them to people with publishing experience to help Carrie write and publish her first full-length book, sending someone to help with car repairs at no charge or to offer them a place to stay for a period of time, or offering financial assistance for food, gas, and hotel, God is more than able to meet their needs and has done so on numerous occasions through both natural and supernatural means. 

What is your definition of success? Of failure? How do you manage your expectations?

Success for Carrie and Richard will be measured on that day when they stand before the Lord, and He says to them, “Well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of the Lord!” Also, they measure success by the two mothers who have confessed that because of Carrie’s testimony they chose to give life to their child instead of aborting them! 

 

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Who/what are your biggest influences? 

The Lord Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone and Foundation of their faith, and His early Apostles. Also, people like Joni Eareckson Tada, Keith Green, Nick Vujicic (motivational speaker without arms or legs), and Lizzie Velásquez (dubbed by some as the world’s ugliest woman, but who is also a motivational speaker).

Who or what is your support system?

 The Body of Christ, both locally as well as worldwide through social media.

Do you also have a job or are you in ministry full-time?

Carrie has been on disability for many years but wants to get back into the workforce as God leads and enables. Richard was a career carpenter for 41 years in the home remodeling industry. A little over a year ago, just before his job dried ended through no fault of his own, Richard heard the Lord speak on three different occasions, to retire from his construction career to “fish for men.” That said, Richard is exploring several custodial positions in the Colorado Springs area where they will be moving, Lord willing, at the end of July 2019.

Other hobbies or interests? 

Richard enjoys aviation, photography, Davidic-style worship dance, singing, playing the recorder, and creative writing. Carrie enjoys aviation, painting, shopping, and interior decorating.  

What is the most difficult aspect of fulfilling your life’s mission and how do you cope with it? 

Dealing with the negative people that think we are wasting our time following our God-given dreams, or who falsely accuse us of various things. 

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives seeking to serve the Lord with their gifts? 

Do not give up on God or the dreams and visions He has given you because, in His timing, you can indeed “do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” 

Can you tell us about your future goals? 

Fulfilling everything God has shown us and making numerous friends along the way who will not only help us fulfill our goals but who will allow us to help them fulfill theirs.

How can readers connect with you?

We would love to connect with you through any of the following means:

email: Zion Benjamin International Memorial for the Unborn69@yahoo.com

cell: 865-719-9096

Facebook links: 

Richard: https://www.facebook.com/richard4sperrymovie

Carrie: https://www.facebook.com/carrieyvette.fischer

Carrie Speaker Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Carrie-Fischer-Abortion-Survivor-SpeakerBlogger

Make Abortion Go Away Group:  http://facebook.com/groups/unitedforlife

On Call for the Kingdom Group:  https://www.facebook.com/oncallforthekingdom

Aviation Praise and Prayer Group:  https://www.facebook.com/aviationpraiseprayer

YouTube: http://youtube.com/cyh4031

Customizable abortion survivor tracts: 

https://www.tractplanet.com/Custom-Tract–Fearfully-Wonderfully-Made_p_466.html

Pro-life Bio/Resume:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TrpnFCCDnTw4i7GSTcHYgoEPC-yRI8cPB9USg8wsseI/edit?usp=sharing

Make Abortion Go Away Store:

https://teespring.com/stores/making-babies-loved-again

Donation information: please contact Richard and Carrie at one of the previous links to learn how to donate to their ministries.

 

A Lesson in Turning Frustration into a Blessing, and Finding God’s Heart

There are times that even our most frustrating experiences turn into blessings—if we choose to look at them that way.

I’m a social worker, and I spend a lot of time in my office. When I’m not seeing families, I do reports, phone calls, notes, planning, etc. For months, I was one of the only people in my section, and I had grown used to the quiet. No voices, no noise, and only the few seconds interruption when people passed through from one section to another. Gradually, people began to populate the offices around mine and, as expected, the noise level increased. Worse, none of our offices are properly sound insulated, so…let’s just say that I can hear—through the wall—when the kettle in my neighbour’s office has finished boiling water!

Anyway, there are two child educators who have recently taken up residence next to my office. They see children—young children—who don’t always want to be ‘educated’ in how to develop their language and social skills. And they make it known.

Today was just such a day.

I like kids. They’re cute. I keep my office bright and cheerful with blow-up toys of SpongeBob and Sandy, and posters of Thor and Optimus Prime line the walls (okay, they are really for me, not the kids, but that’s our secret). Usually when kids act up it’s not done to intentionally make those around them miserable. Often, they’re tired, hungry, or just don’t understand where they are or what’s expected of them. But, I admit, when I’m working in my office and need peace and quiet to think, the noise gets to me. Today, it got to me a lot.

I got up and complained to the secretary. I made a written complaint so that the topic could be properly addressed with my boss, in the hopes of finding a long-term solution to resolve the issue.

But, while this was going on, I kept thinking: Why don’t I just put on some music?

I rejected the idea at first because doing so would only be a short-term solution, and I didn’t want to be driven to pop earbuds in my ears every time a child visited the floor. But, after a colleague made the suggestion, I finally did. I ended up playing an old, old CD by Darrell Evans called Let the River Flow.

 

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I used to love this CD. As it played through my earbuds, I remembered times 20 years back when I’d dance to it through my parents’ living room, worshipping, smiling, and just enjoying the presence of my Heavenly Father. That album is all about freedom in Jesus and embracing God as our Father. I remembered the joy I felt while listening to it, and how amazing I felt afterwards.

I sat at my desk, smiling. Remembering. Thinking. Saddened by the fact that, over the years, I don’t dance like that anymore. By the fact that taking time to simply sit and really listen to the lyrics of worship music like I used to isn’t something I do much anymore. Life has become busy, tiring. Rest often means chilling out at home in front of Netflix, rather than holing up in a quiet place with God, communing.

Ha. As I write this, Darrell sings, ‘Light me again with passion for You.’

I pray that, too. For me, and for you.

–Delia

Video Testimony: The Bakery Jesus Built

I love this short video about one woman’s complete trust in her Lord to bring to life the dream He put in her heart. 

The key to success, I think, is realizing that the Holy Spirit will bring our Father’s plans to fruition, not necessarily our own. The trick is to: 

Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Tough to do, yes, but that’s what the Bible teaches.

To illustrate, I am posting this following video, The Bakery Jesus Built, produced by Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur, for those who are struggling with fear, doubt, or uncertainty about the call on their lives, and to those are creating, building, or planting but are struggling keep moving forward.  

“Can I really do it?” you ask.

Yes. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13)

Enjoy this 10 minute video. Ask the Lord to speak to you about the blocks preventing you from walking in your calling with confidence. Then ask Him to remove every single one of them. 

 

Blessings!

–Delia

Stepping Out in Faith

Stepping Out in Faith

by Lela Markham

 

The other day I was explaining to someone how the process of a discovery writer works for me. I don’t often know where the characters are going to take the story until we get there. I sometimes know the broad strokes. So, for example, I might know that a character will live to the end of the series, but I don’t know how she plans to escape the vengeful Celtic goddess who is bent on her destruction even as I write. I am as surprised when I write it as I hope my readers will be when they read it.

That has spiritual significance. God does know the ending and even the twists and turns of our lives before we do. He’s omniscient. We, however, don’t. If we’re Christians, we know the end of the story … we will enter into His kingdom in the fullness of His grace and it will be nothing but good. But we aren’t told what the next five minutes holds or even our physical life’s ending. We are expected to take it on faith that God has only good in store for us.

Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.”

There’s a cabin in the Alaska wilderness that my husband and I have hiked to a few times. Built by a friend of ours, it is accessed by a rope bridge across a turbulent and icy-cold river. During some parts of the summer, you could cross at the ford, but it’s safer and warmer to take the bridge … and crossing the bridge is a total act of faith.

Imagine three ropes disappearing into the mists. One is the foot path. The other two run parallel about three feet above the footrope. The two upper ropes are connected at intervals to the footrope, but there’s a lot of open territory and a scary drop to a deadly river. Then imagine that you can’t really see the other side because of the fog and even if you could, the anchoring tree is behind other trees, so you’re not even certain it will hold.

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We knew our friend crossed it all the time. We trusted him not to want to kill us. But stepping out onto that bridge was a sheer act of faith in our friend’s character and skill.

The other side of that river is a cozy log cabin set in a beautiful glade. Well worth the crossing, but you have to cross it to get the reward. Moreover, you have to walk out on faith that the bridge is properly secured. You’re more than three-quarters of the way across before you can see the attachment and feel like this wasn’t the dumbest thing you’ve ever done.

When I crossed it the first time, a steady wind was blowing that kept jostling the bridge. I tried not to look down into the milk-chocolate froth 20 feet below and tried not to think about what would happen if I slipped and fell carrying a full pack. Swimming is beside the point in a glacial river. You’ll die of hypothermia a long time before you get to the shore. Turned out the best strategy (forged by a half-dozen crossings now) is to stare resolutely as the far shore … or the fog where the far shore ought to be … and put one foot in front of the other until you get there.

That’s so much like the walk God expects us to take through turbulent times and perilous places. We should know He has our best future in view, but it’s still going to be painful if there are mishaps along the way. The future God has prepared for us is worth it, if we only remember that each step gets us a little closer to it …

 

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Lela Markham is the pen name of an Alaskan novelist who was raised in a home built of books. Alaska is a grand adventure like none other with a culture that embraces summer adventure and winter artistic pursuits.

“I don’t seek to be known as a Christian author, but as an author for whom Christ is so central to who I am as a person that He shines through.”

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