#36 “Against All Odds” God

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

Infallible and strong. A superman daddy, in her eyes. He’d been in the marines too—but that was before she was born. He was a giant not only in his work—he successfully ran his own businesses—but also in his faith.

The man lived and loved and breathed Jesus. He wanted anyone and everyone to know the Provider like he did—as an “against all odds” God. Prayers and Psalms decked his storefront; they were on his lips just as much. He led hundreds, maybe thousands, of people to Christ. Tom even spent time with addicts and DUI offenders, bringing Sunday services or Bible studies to jail. He loved people who were sometimes called “unlovable.”

His exemplary efforts weren’t out of pride or spiritual self-acknowledgement, but out of a plain and ordinary calling to bring others into the family of Christ.

And that’s how he thought of himself—ordinary. Not the sort of ordinary that is self-deprecating, but the kind that is humble through the honest knowing of one’s self. He liked to build things and people—to restore them.

Yes, he was strong. He was healthy. He was able. He didn’t just live life, but brought it with him to anyone who would take it.

When she got the call, the sorrow hit deep and sharp. The news took the very center of her heart and snapped it half. There was an immediate chasm where the future should have lived.

You see, it was too soon. He had “crunching lungs,” she said. It was pulmonary fibrosis—a fatal disease.

He stopped building. He stopped visiting his grown children and his little grandchildren. He stopped because he couldn’t make it up a few steps or down a slope.

He stopped being superman.

He stopped restoring old things.

And they lived that way—between hope and death, prayer and mortality, future and finitude.  Their whole family was caught there. The intervals of life stood quite still—yearning, perhaps, to gasp breath into an oxygen-less reality. They existed within a ceaseless liturgy of last rights where death was imminent.

And then there was a glimmer. It was like the sliver of light you’d see under your parents’ door when nightmares struck as a little child. You knew you could go in and feel cozy and safe and loved.

For them it was the promise of a new pair of lungs—working, breathing.

But, you see, it wasn’t a door wide open. It wasn’t jumping-up-and-down-on-the-bed. He was old—73. Not old enough for memorial but not young enough for a new organ. So, there was hope, yes! That hope, though, was held with kid gloves.

Not for his little girl, though. No. She knew a set of lungs would be his. She took heart in faith.  Not the kind of faith that says everything will be rainbows, unicorns, and tutus. It was the kind that looks to Jesus, the Provider, and waits with hope—and anticipation.

There were complications. All the antibodies in the new lungs had to match every disease his old lungs had faced. And he had lived a long life of health and sickness, like anyone. The doctors would have to clean out his old antibodies to make a match, which meant a long process of pumping blood out, filtering it, and pumping it back in. He was already weak.

Because of his age and height, it was a challenge to find lungs that would be a right fit. To open the possibilities, they were asked if he might accept lungs from an overdose patient. The answer, of course, was yes. Their dad had already lived among and ministered to them—of course he would accept. They were like family to him and there was no fear there. The risk, however, of contracting HIV from the new organs was high.

So they waited. And he grew thin. Gaunt, maybe. Not like her super-dad. And so, not like himself. The breath was slowly leaving his body. The odds were against him. But faith hoped in Provision.

Like a shiver of excitement, the phone rang. And she just wept. There were lungs! But her stomach was twisting and nauseous, and her emotions confused. Life for her dad meant death for someone else. And they knew it was probably a young person—who most likely died from an overdose.

So the tears were of relief and sadness, joy and pain, hope and heartbreak.

But, against all odds, he would get his lungs. Against all odds they would remove machines and he would breathe again. Against all odds, the Provider—Jehovah Jireh—would take the last offering of an addict and exchange it for life, for wholeness. Restoration would be inserted between life and death because of an “Against All Odds” God.

Author’s note: I love this story because it makes me wonder. It makes me wonder if one of the addicts whom Tom saved in prison could have been his lung donor. It makes me wonder how Tom’s family will someday minister to the family that lost their loved one—and I am sure they will. Or, perhaps the drug addict’s family will minister to them. It makes me wonder what goodness the future holds.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#35 Obedience to Speak Love

Photo by Erin E. Photography

It has been the cry of my heart lately for this joy the Lord has instilled within me to spill over to His people. How sweet is this place—the place where we can stand before the Lord as the broken beings that we are and feel overwhelmed by the love He lavishes upon us when we feel so far from worthy. It is here in this place that we see that this love can’t just stay captive within us, but is meant to spread like wildfire among us. With this revelation, I have asked God to reveal my spiritual gifts to me and allow them to bless others. Being the faithful and sweet God that He is, He has done just that.

I was home in Cincinnati for the weekend and attended church with my mother one Sunday morning. We found a seat in the crowded room and began to worship. I am very observant and absolutely LOVE watching people worship Jesus, so sometimes I feel like the Lord wants me to worship by watching. When I do this, I see glimpses of heaven around the room, hearts surrendered, weights lifted, and expressions that long to see His face.

This particular morning there was a woman two seats from me that I could not seem to pull my eyes away from. She was PUMPED to be at the service. You know those people that you see at church that are about to just lose it because they are completely sold out on the love of Jesus that they may just fall out of their chair or burst through the ceiling? Yeah, well, she was one of those. It was awesome.

Worship ended and our pastor delivered his message. To be honest, I have no idea what it was about, because the whole service I heard the Lord telling me something about this girl that He wanted me to share with her. Me being the sometimes doubtful person that I am, thought to myself, No, this isn’t from the Lord; I’m making this up. I kept going back and forth in my head the entire service, and by the end of our pastor’s message I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything to her. Usually when I feel the Lord is wanting me to speak or deliver a message to someone, my heart is beating out of my chest, but it wasn’t in this particular case, so that’s what further supported my reasoning to not say anything. Shortly after thinking this, my heart began to beat really fast and I could hardly stand keeping the words in any longer. I was still dead-set on not saying anything though. But as we all know, God is persistent, strong, and fierce with his love, so He was not content with stopping there.

Before our pastor got off stage, he said, “I feel like there’s someone in the room that has a gambling problem and I want to tell you that he wants to deliver you from that. I just had to say that; I couldn’t be disobedient to the Lord.”

I then thought to myself, You’re funny God. Fine, I’ll tell her; I can’t be disobedient either. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “The Lord has been speaking to me about you this whole service, and I’m not sure what this means to you but I feel like the Lord wants you to know that He is so proud of you and is holding the weight that you surrendered to Him.”

The woman began to weep. She reached out and hugged me for quite some time, crying in my arms while I whispered, “You’re beautiful” in her ear, and I just held her for a minute. I looked at her one last time, smiled, and went on my way.

I don’t know the story behind it all or what this meant to her, but I do know on that very day the Lord used the cry of my heart to speak love and life into hers, and for that I will be forever grateful. He hears our cries, he puts courage in our bones, and he uses His children to speak the language that only He could create—love. To Him alone be the glory.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#34 “Give Her Your Bible”

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

There’s something about a Bible that’s been worn down over the years that speaks to my heart. Church bulletins stuck between the pages, corners folded down to keep your place, notes scribbled in the margins—it’s all beautiful to me. A lovingly worn Bible is, to me, a visual representation of an intimate history with God.

As you can imagine, I was very attached to my own Bible. It was a thick, leather Bible that was a light purple color. I never would have picked purple for myself, but my mom had chosen it for me, and I learned to love it. I often scribbled prayers and commentary in the margins of my Bible, and sometimes I stuck pictures of people I wanted to pray for between the pages.

I carried my Bible with me everywhere my first semester of college, which was an intense season of growth in my life. To me, that Bible represented a new intimacy with the Lord that I had never experienced before. Meanwhile, I was becoming friends with a very sweet, quiet girl in one of my classes. Neither of us missed class often, and we would talk every class period as we worked on projects.

Around Thanksgiving, she stopped coming to class. Two whole weeks went by, and she was never there. I became concerned, and so I asked the teacher if she had heard anything. She hadn’t. I didn’t have any way to contact her, so I just prayed for her. And, the next week, there she was when I entered the classroom. She told me about some personal things that had been going on, but there was no reason she should’ve been in class that day. Due to some health issues, she missed so much of her classwork that she could no longer get credit for her classes. So, there was no benefit to her even showing up for class that day.

I know that God is the reason she was there. That day, through the courage and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I invited her to coffee. A few days later, at the end of finals week, we met for coffee. We talked for a few hours about our lives, and although she was not an active Christian, God told me it was okay to talk to her about Him. He made it clear to me that her heart was ready to receive what He had to give through me. So, I talked to her like I would any other friend. I told her stories of God’s handiwork in my life, and dreams He was putting in my heart. She was eager to listen and share her own ideas and opinions.

As our conversation wrapped up, God made it clear to me that I was to give her my Bible—my beautiful, worn-in Bible that I loved so dearly. Surprisingly, it wasn’t at all hard to give it away. God whispered to me that seeing all my notes and underlines and pictures would help make her eager to dig into His Word. Rather than being sad that I had to part with my memento of a special season of intimacy with God, I prayed that God would impart that same season onto her.

Giving her this gift was one of the most joyful experiences of my life, and I know that God had planned it far in advance. When I handed her the Bible across the table, her eyes lit up as she said, “Purple is my favorite color!”

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#33. God Of The Impossible

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I have been healthy all my life—until August 2015. It started with cold-like symptoms. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, but after a few days I got worse. I went to the ER and the doctor said I had a virus and to let it run its course.

I continued to feel worse but made myself go to work. My symptoms began to change. I broke out in a rash on my arms, and my lymph nodes in my armpits and on the back of my head swelled to the size of golf balls. I went back to the doctor the next day, and he did bloodwork. That night he called me and told me that my white blood cell count was over 100,000 and that normal is 10,000. He told me that I needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately and that I would be getting a call from the admissions office of the cancer center shortly because I had leukemia.

I didn’t panic like I thought I would. In one ear I could hear what the doctor was saying, but in the other ear, I heard a small voice say, “It’s okay.” I had peace. I started packing my bags and heard that voice again, “It’s okay.”

The first thing they did was a bone marrow biopsy, but something went very wrong. I was in terrible pain. They had to call in the chief of staff to take over. They had wanted to start the chemo as soon as possible but had to wait because of the complications from the bone marrow biopsy. I developed a serious infection that raged through my entire body. The infection even filled my stomach and I had to have a tube inserted through my nose into my stomach to pump out the infection. I had a dangerously high fever, which was destroying the cells in my body. They gave me ice baths and antibiotics but couldn’t get the fevers down.

Finally God brought the fever down and they were able to start the chemo one week after I was admitted. But then another problem…they placed a line in my arm to give me the chemo drugs and I developed blood clots, which started to travel through my bloodstream. This was life-threatening, as the clot could lodge in the heart, lung, or brain. They started me on blood thinner injections three times a day in my stomach. The chemo drugs were given to me continuously, 24 hours a day for seven days. This made me so sick. I had a reaction to the chemo and more high fevers with nearly constant vomiting.

Through this all I had a peace. I was praying and kept hearing, “It’s going to be okay.” Many people were praying for me. My father is a pastor as was his father before him, so I had a close relationship with God and knew how to pray. My sister was documenting what was happening with me on Facebook and thousands of people were following what was going on and were praying for me. People from all over the country were sending me messages of encouragement and praying for my healing, telling me how they were inspired and their faith had increased because of my story.

I was supposed to have four rounds of chemo, and after the first round, they did a bone marrow biopsy to see if the chemo had any effect. Miraculously, there was no sign of leukemia in the bone marrow! None! The doctors said the results were astounding to them. It is very rare for a person with my type of leukemia to be cured after only one round of chemo. It was so unexpected that the doctors said, “It wasn’t us. It had to be a greater power.”

Even though there was no sign of leukemia, the doctors wanted to make sure everything was gone, so I went through more chemo. My immune system was wiped out and I had to wear a mask all the time. I got a bad infection in my thumb and arm and had to have multiple blood transfusions, but I stayed positive, kept a smile on my face, and praised God through it all.

After two more biopsies and still no leukemia, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health and said I didn’t need the last round of chemo because my results were so good. God delivered me not only from the mental anguish and physical pain and disease, but also from financial struggle. I was unable to work for 10½ months and my medical leave had run out. I was down to my last penny and my coworkers came to my house and gave me $2,000 they had raised through a fundraiser at work for me—where people paid five dollars to wear jeans for a week. This program is continuing today and my coworkers now vote on different people to benefit from this money in my honor every month.

I now have a whole new outlook on life. Little things that would have stressed me out or made me angry don’t bother me anymore. I have become a more grateful person. And I have learned that there is nothing too hard for God. He is a God of the impossible. No matter how dark it may seem, no matter how bad the diagnosis, God is able to change the prognosis.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#32 A Sign Of Answered Prayers

Photo by Erin E. Photography

Thursday, September 6, 2012, was like so many other Thursdays. I drove the 40 miles to care for my grandchildren. We spent the day together, had dinner with their mom, my daughter, then I drove the 40 miles back home.

That’s when things got very interesting.

Our neighbor across the street was having trouble getting his car in their garage. My husband and I went over to see if we could help. His wife and I stood on his lawn and my husband was some distance behind the neighbor’s car. Then it happened. I went blank—unconscious, actually. The neighbor had accidentally hit me with his moving car.

I remained unconscious for over a month and amnesic even longer. When I awoke, weeks later, I knew I was in the hospital. I asked my family what had happened and where I was. My daughter explained I had been at the hospital in ICU for four weeks and then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital a few weeks ago. I would be going home soon. That explained part of the mystery, but what had happened to me? Why the extensive stay and care? I soon learned that I had received extensive damage to my body, including many broken bones and head injuries with brain damage and blindness in my left eye. I realized I was very limited in my ability to function or remember.

When they released me home a few weeks later, it was with a potty chair and walker plus a list of appointments with various doctors and therapists—speech, physical, and so on. I am a retired registered nurse, having worked in surgery, recovery room, emergency room, as well as on the floor with patients. I had an awareness of my situation, somewhat. Only when I was home and read my medical reports did I appreciate the extent of my blessings. When I read the reports, I cried. For the first time, I realized how close I had been to death. From my nursing experience, I knew that a person with my injuries could have died. I realized God had given me another chance.

I have been a faithful Christian throughout my life—no smoking or drinking, and working in a church community and doing my daily devotions. Before the accident, I had been very strong and healthy, and because of the wide range of my activities in the community, many people knew me and prayed for me after my injury. My family and their many friends had also prayed for me for weeks.

Gradually, I realized what an extraordinary blessing God had given me. I had not prayed for myself because I had been unconscious and amnesic when I woke up. God answered the prayers of many people on my behalf. God continues to bless me. When the people in my community see me, they, too, know their prayers were answered.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#31 God’s Open Arms

Photo by Nicole Tarpoff 

I am a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, and four weeks ago on August 1, 2016, my brother passed away due to an overdose. The emotions that hit me when I discovered this were indescribable, and crying with my other older brother is a memory that will forever be branded into my mind. While this moment was tragic for my family, God was able to use this instance to guide me back to Him, and I hope that He uses me in the days to come to aid others with their losses and struggles.

My dad is an associate pastor, and my mom is involved in anything and everything to do with our home church. I committed my life to Christ at an early age, and as a child, I was at church every time the doors were open. My dad was even the one who got to baptize me—a precious memory. My older brothers were always quite rebellious, and in my head I was deemed “the perfect child” at a very early age. This is not something you want to have in your head.

Going into middle school, I went to all the camps. I sang on the worship team, went to all the conferences, and had a daily devotion. I loved going to church and loved having God in my life. While my late older brother during that time was struggling with addiction and choices, I was a prayer warrior for him. There were many nights I wailed, crying out to God for my brothers and their salvation. While things were up and down with them, I considered myself a steady person in a steady relationship with God.

Now enters my desire to please people and for everyone to like me. While this may seem like a trait not as harmful as others, going into high school and college, this is terrifyingly dangerous. All of a sudden, in my junior year of high school I was in a new relationship, and shifted into a different friend group. I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be considered cool by my new set of “popular friends.”

Wanting to be cool in high school means doing and partaking in a lot of things that can elevate your status. I got swept up in being cool, and started going to church less and less. While I may have thought I was becoming popular, my relationship with God was becoming less than lukewarm. I wasn’t praying daily, and probably could not have told you when the last time I had cracked open my Bible.

Rejecting God at this time made me feel like I was achieving an even better status with my peers. All of a sudden, it was senior year and I was committed to go to the University of Kentucky. Looking forward to the start of college, all I could think about was, “Big SEC school and sorority.” I was looking forward to the new adventure, but nowhere in my mind did I even consider God fitting into that plan. Sure, my dad made me visit BCM and CSF on my college visit, but I knew that being 1,400 miles away from home, my parents wouldn’t know if I attended or not.

So going into freshman year, you guessed it—I pledged a sorority and continued on my path of sin. Freshman year was a whirlwind. I rarely talked to my parents, which I now realize was because of the guilt I felt deep down for doing many of the things my brothers had done in secret. I rarely went to church, only going a few times when I had felt I was an extra bad person. When I saw others claiming to be Christians and doing the same things I was involved in, I would laugh to myself and call them hypocrites. But as Matthew 7:3 clearly states, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

That summer I knew I needed to make a change, but due to my own selfish desires, I was not prepared to do that. I wanted all the benefits of having God on my side, without being on God’s side. I hated going to church, knowing the sin that weighed me down.

On August 1, 2016, I lost a brother; but on August 1, 2016, I rededicated myself to God. I cried out, “Lord, I need you. I can’t do this without you.” In the coming weeks, I had the strength I needed, provided by our Almighty God.

I recognize I need God in my life, and that I need God on my side. Every day I wake up and ask how I can be a witness to my friends, co-workers, and peers that day. The day I finally confessed my sin and guilt, it was as if a 10,000-pound boulder was removed from my shoulders. I cried for a while and my heart ached at the amazing and awe-inspiring forgiveness our Lord gives us. My daily devotion was Nehemiah 1:9 where God says, “But if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”

Knowing that even though I have messed up, and I am not “the perfect child,” God has me and is always waiting for me to return to Him with open arms.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#30 Thankful For The Pain


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

I am a runner, and this story is about how God used running and something else—really, someone else—to heal me from one of the greatest pains in my life. 

A little backstory…

My church has a ministry that reaches out to women—dancers in the sex industry in local strip clubs. I am a massage therapist, and in 2007 I was asked by the church to provide massage therapy for the women this ministry served. I agreed and approached it very casually. I wasn’t worried about it. After all, I had been in bars before. How different could this be?

But it was very different and made me very uncomfortable. As I was providing the massage therapy for the women, the thoughts I had were so disturbing. I wanted to stop, to leave. I thought, “Why did I agree to do this?”

And then I felt Jesus saying, “Don’t you know if I were still on this earth in flesh I would be here?”

I had been viewing the women through my eyes, but Jesus gave me His lens. It was then that I could truly see the women and my heart broke for them. A seed was planted that day and I wanted to serve them and help them. I knew I couldn’t go back into the clubs to help—I had terrible dreams for weeks after my visit—so I asked God to show me how to help.

This experience—this softening of my heart for this specific group of women—was used to prepare me for what was to come. The next year, my marriage came to an end due to my former spouse failing in various areas of sexual sin. I was devastated. We divorced, and for months, I was in a pit of despair. In the midst of all of this, I had planned to run a race but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t healthy. Everything was about “that thing” that had happened to me.

Finally, I felt God saying, “Let’s get the focus off of you.” I felt as though I should start running again; specifically, I felt that I should run in a race to raise money for women at the Refuge for Women, a place that provides a safe haven for sexually exploited women.

I called the director of the Refuge and told him I felt like God wanted me to run a race to raise money for the women. There was a long pause on the line and then he said, “We just had our first board meeting, and during the meeting we prayed that the Lord would press upon the hearts of ordinary people to raise awareness and money for this ministry—and then you call and tell me this!”

The Lord gave me visions that I would conduct my own races for the women at the Refuge and put teams together to race and even run with some of the women served by the Refuge. All of this has come to pass. Running that first race was particularly healing for me.

But there was another run—a training run—that I will never forget. I was training for a marathon and had gone to visit my parents at their farm in Ohio. I needed to run 18 miles the next morning, which proved difficult given their location and many country lanes/roads. I carefully planned my running course from my parent’s dairy farm to the little town of Bryan, Ohio, and wrote the directions on my hand.

I got to mile 15 in the little town and there was a big detour sign. I couldn’t get through. I had to choose a different road. I soon came upon a Dum Dum sucker factory. It was early Sunday morning and the parking lot was deserted. But in the distance I could see a person sitting on the concrete with their head down. As I got closer, I could see it was woman in high heels and a mini-skirt who looked like she had had a really “rough” night. I didn’t want to, but I felt God urging me to go to her. 

I took off my headphones and walked over to her, “Excuse me, are you okay?”

“No, I’m not,” she said. 

“What can I do to help you?” I asked. 

“I’m lost. My phone is broke and my boyfriend doesn’t know how to find me.” 

“How long have you been sitting here?”

“I don’t know.”

“How did you get here?”

“I don’t know.”

The factory was in the middle of a residential area. 

“Why haven’t you gone to one of the houses to ask for help?”

“Have you looked at me?”

“Well, I’m here to help you.” She used my phone to call her boyfriend and I asked her if I could stay with her until he came. She said I could. Then I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. I prayed for her and soon her boyfriend arrived. He was very thankful. I offered them money but they said they didn’t need money. 

What are the chances that I would encounter this woman? I could have chosen many weekends to visit my parents. I could have chosen a different road at the detour. But I chose the one that led me to this woman. I believe it was God’s plan to lead me to women that represented an industry that had destroyed my marriage and nearly destroyed me—a painful reminder of a hurtful time in my life. But again, Jesus gave me His eyes and His compassion. He used this experience, this encounter with her, to heal me.

When I think about what I am most thankful for, there are so many things. Perhaps it sounds weird to say I am thankful for the pain—but I am. This current version of me is much better than the version of me before. God had a “beauty out of ashes” plan for me—and only God can come up with that kind of plan. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#29 Difficult Times Deepen Faith

 Photo by Erin E. Photography


“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19

A few years ago I went through a period of doubting—not about God’s existence, really, but about..I don’t even know. Maybe it is better described as a time of confusion. I felt a distance and separation from God that was unbearable, a “spiritual drought” as they say. I was also feeling guilty because God had provided many blessings to me and I felt I had no right to question.

This vicious cycle of feeling distance from God, then doubting, and then feeling guilty, led me to seek guidance from my pastor. When we met, he asked if there was anything in my life that might be leading to the separation—maybe something I needed to deal with, like a particular sin. We talked through this and I committed to self-examination, as well as to ask God to reveal anything in me that might be leading to my feeling of distance from Him, so that I could appropriately deal with it. Before we ended our meeting, the pastor suggested that I keep a journal in which I would regularly write down my prayers and God’s answers to those prayers.  

Trying to heed the advice of the pastor, I bought a spiral bound notebook for the purpose of keeping a journal. I must admit that the idea of writing in a journal on a regular basis stressed me out because my life was really busy. I was a working, single mom. When could I carve out time to do this? I was working many hours in my job and had many family responsibilities. But deep down I knew that this was too important not to do.

Over the next five years, I poured out my heart to God on the pages, filling one and then another notebook with my fears, joys, sadness, failures, and successes. Recently I sat down with the journals to read through them cover to cover—something I had never done. I was amazed by what I read. Over and over I had asked for God’s help in the little and big things of life and consistently God had responded. And when God didn’t give me what I asked for, over time I could see why and the good that came from it. The global perspective of looking back over the last several years, versus the usual perspective of a slice in time, gave me new insights as to why certain prayers weren’t answered. It was for my own good and for the good of others. 

This documentation of the day-by-day faithfulness and wisdom of God with numerous specific examples has tremendously deepened my faith. I am scientist and skeptical by nature. I have studied the Bible and have read numerous books on apologetics—many of which have made convincing cases for the Christian faith—but this personal documentation over the years of my own experiences and God’s faithfulness, THIS is what has made a profound impact on my faith.

On the first page of my very first journal entry, I wrote, “Lord, I ask that you use this difficult time to help me grow stronger in my faith.” Indeed, God did. If I had never experienced that difficult season of doubt, confusion, and distance from God, I don’t believe I would have started a journal and many of the wonderful things God had done for me over the years would have been forgotten. This difficult time in my life DID without a doubt deepen my faith and I am very thankful to God. 

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;

I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

They are constantly in my thoughts. 

I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. 

Psalm 77:11-12

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#28 Twin Christmas Blessings

Photo by Erin E. Photography

 My church back home in Chicago participates in Operation Christmas Child, and one year they were handing out boxes and came across a set of twins. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough boxes to give one to both of them, so they gave them one and said they could share and split things up. When they opened the box, God appeared in the most amazing way. It just so happened that the person who packed the box put two of everything inside. So both of those kids got a toothbrush, school supplies, and each got a couple of the same toys. It’s one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#27 Finding Fulfillment In Him Alone

 Photo by Killian Rose Photography

Over the years I’ve experienced God through the realization of answered prayers. At times I’ve felt His goodness when it was a “yes,” while other times my faith and trust in God were tested when His answer didn’t align with my own plan or desires. Sometimes, though, my favorite “God moments” have been when God really shows up. In these times, His presence is made known in such a way that it leaves me breathless, in awe, and shall I say, almost a little freaked out? These experiences are always such powerful reminders to me that my heavenly Father loves me and He hears me.

This past fall after my serious boyfriend and I broke up, I was left completely brokenhearted. I cried out to God in pain, anger, and desperation, asking Him why, and where was He. I was disappointed, confused, and not understanding God’s plan. In tears one night I decided to pull out my devotional book. It had been awhile since I had read it, but I was feeling the need for some encouragement, and honestly it felt easier to me at the time than spending time in deep prayer.  In that moment, God showed up in the way that only our faithful God can. The words leapt off the page and I knew He was there, that He had been there all along, and that He heard me. 

The words in Sarah Young’s  Jesus Calling read:

“Come to me when you are hurting, and I will soothe your pain. Come to me when you are joyful and I will share your Joy, multiplying it many times over. I am all you need, just when you need it. Your deepest desires find fulfillment in Me alone. True confidence comes from knowing you are complete in My Presence. Everything you need has its counterpart in Me.”

There I sat, sobbing and speechless. He knew in that moment it was exactly what I needed, and for that I was so grateful.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.