Life Has New Meaning

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11 NLT

This photo is a testimony by itself. “How does it feel to be working again,” my son asked. “I’m so grateful to be here,” I replied.

The last time I served, I had a seizure. It happened in the middle of me talking to someone. Imagine talking, losing your train of thought, stuttering when you normally don’t, mouth twisting, then suddenly not being able to breathe.

Sidebar: [My husband sends pictures to my mom in love when we are volunteering. He just so happened to walk into the hallway moments before the seizure to take pictures per usual. He saw my face through the camera lens and walked towards me. Because, I could not speak I just looked at him, with fear in my eyes and tried to make my way to him, before collapsing in his arms].

I thought I was having a stroke because of my mouth twisting. Then, I thought I was dying because I could not breathe. LOL. I can laugh at how dramatic I am now that it’s over. I remember saying, “Jesus help me,” in my mind. At that moment, my husband grabbed my face and calmly said to himself I was having a stroke when I didn’t respond to him. He called for help and immediately began praying. I became unconscious and started having convulsions. It’s great to know that when I can’t pray, there are people around me who will.

The next thing I remember is being confused about what happened. Apparently, I was laughing hysterically during questioning. I was incoherent and unable to provide any information. I did not even know that I was on the stretcher. It did not register that the paramedics were there for me until they started wheeling me out of the church.

That day, my church was having a partner celebration to thank members for their contributions and highlighted all that the ministry had accomplished to date. I was excited about sharing my testimony that evening. So, with me having a seizure right before the celebration began, I could not understand why God allowed it to happen.

Let me be very clear: GOD DOES NOT CAUSE SICKNESS.

I spent the following week searching myself. Did this mean I was not supposed to speak? Then, I started worrying about a  mysterious, underlying medical problem since I never had a seizure before. I was faced with constant flashbacks of the experience. It was extremely traumatic. To make matters worse, a week later, I had another seizure while sleeping.

This week, I realized that it was all spiritual. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NLT

The enemy did not want me to speak. Duh! I’m always talking about how great God is and all that He has done for my family. My husband has called me the testimony queen for years. I thought my faith was solid, but it actually hit a plateau. I got comfortable.

I was confused after the seizure. I experienced brain fog and short term memory loss. It was difficult to formulate my words. It also caused the inability to focus or think clearly. Confusion is a side effect of the medication I was prescribed after having the second seizure. After prayer and mediation, it became very clear what was going on.

God is not the author of confusion.

Earlier last week I wrote in my journal about being chosen, since I am considered a rainbow baby. I reminded myself that I just have to weather the storm to reach the promise. Sunday, morning during Bible class,  I wrote how God changes you before changing your circumstance. Both CHOSEN and CHANGED were mentioned during the sermon! This was instant confirmation for me.

Earplugs for my MRI Brain Scan

I had an MRI Brain Scan today. This was the last test I needed to have for my doctors to come up with a prognosis. All of the tests I’ve had so far, have been normal *insert praise dance.* The machine is narrow and loud. If you are not claustrophobic, you probably will be with this one. I know I was.

The technician gave me a panic button in case it became too much for me and earplugs for the noise. Not a coincidence that I was feeling anxious on that table. There was a cage-like helmet over my head that takes the pictures. I thought about the helmet of salvation. I began to drown out the noise of the enemy, the lies, the taunting. I tried singing but could barely remember lyrics to my favorite songs. I recited several verses then I prayed the rest of the time. The entire procedure was 18 minutes, but the lesson I learned will last a lifetime.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phillippians 4:8 NLT

I do not know how much time I have to live, but I do know that I do not want to die with all of my dreams, gifts and unwritten books inside of me.

I don’t know what you are going through, but I pray that you have the mind of Christ and remain faithful no matter what. YOU have all power over the enemy. Find your purpose and stay focused on things that matter. Life is short.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planned to testify about my journey with lupus. Then, this happened.

Like a Fish in a Glass Bowl

Last weekend, my six year old daughter received a gold fish from a friend’s birthday party. The theme was a carnival and his mom fell short of nothing. She included all of the details you would see at your local county fair and it was simply amazing.

While transporting Bailey the goldfish home, the ride was a bit bumpy. My daughter tried her best to keep the fish bowl stable, so it wouldn’t shake around too much. But ya know…speed bumps and turns :-/. It did not help that we were driving in a severe thunderstorm, so I was understandably more concerned about our safety than the goldfish. After an hour drive with very little visibility, we finally made it home. The fish bowl had less water than we started out with, but we kept the gold fish alive as we had planned to. My daughter whispered to her, “Just keep swimming, Bailey.”

The next day, we purchased Bailey a larger home, some decor and food. During the transfer, she went crazy. Like a full fledged panic attack. Bailey did not know what was going on. I’m sure she thought she was dying. Ever heard of the phrase, “like a fish out of water” before? There’s a reason that’s a catchphrase. Anyway, Bailey had no idea that her uncomfortable situation was temporary and she was actually being prepared for something greater. She had no idea that she was going from the little glass bowl to a large aquarium. I wish she knew and I even tried telling her to calm down-“It’s okay Bailey, I got you…you have to trust me!” I know, I know she couldn’t hear me, but it made me feel better talking her through it. I already felt bad that she wasn’t in her natural habitat in the first place. Don’t  judge me. Once I placed Bailey into her new home, she settled down and swam the entire perimeter of that tank. It’s almost like I could see the relaxation as she explored the aquarium.


Bailey reminds me a lot like myself and I know that I’m not the only one. What are you afraid of? What are you panicking about? Why don’t you trust the process? You know darn well that it is temporary but also necessary for elevation. Why don’t you trust that God has you in the palm of His hand? Why do you lose faith just because the ride gets a little bumpy? Sure, you lost a little bit on the way….but you are still breathing. As long as you have breath in your body, you have purpose. So, today I encourage you to spend the rest of your life discovering and fulfilling your purpose. Trust that there is more than your “fish bowl.” There is more than what you can see, you just have to believe that. Even when you feel like a fish out of water, know that you are being elevated to something greater. No one ever reaches their full potential or accomplishes their dreams by staying in their comfort zone. It will be hard, you will want to quit. However, like Dory told Nemo and Tahlia told Bailey, “Just. Keep. Swimming.”

***Update***After publishing this blog post, I received an email from my friend. Turns out, she was inspired by Bailey as well, and it was too good not to share:

On Saturday, a friend of mine took her daughter to our friend’s son’s carnival themed birthday party.  Her daughter left the party with a new pet goldfish.  Yesterday she took her daughter to the pet store to purchase a home for “Bailey”.  This morning she shared a photo of Bailey’s new home and after smiling at her daughter’s excitement I thought, “That’s a big tank for a little gold fish!”
Immediately God took my attention back to our prayer …and enlarge my territory…   I was reminded that “a goldfish will only grow as large as its environment.”  Do you see where I’m going with this?  

This is probably more than you care to know about a goldfish but:
How big your goldfish will grow is determined by the animal’s genetics, not by the size of his environment. If your goldfish doesn’t have enough space to grow to his full size, he will likely die before you notice that the environment is not large enough. Even if your fish does survive in an environment that is too small, other problems are likely. These can include stunted growth, deformities and problems with scales and skin…The cleanliness of your pet’s environment, the kinds of food, and your feeding protocols are all factors…The size of your tank should be based on the size the fish will be when he is completely grown. The length of your tank should be at least seven times that of the adult fish’s size. This means that if you have a “tank suitable” goldfish, your tank should be about 70 inches long. The height of the tank should be double the height of your fish. If your goldfish doesn’t have enough room to move around, he can develop stress-related illnesses…A fishbowl is no longer considered an acceptable environment for goldfish. Bowls cannot provide enough space for a goldfish to grow to his adult size and cannot be set up to provide appropriate filtering and aeration. Most goldfish never reach their adult size in a bowl environment, even if the bowl is large enough. Bowls cannot provide the necessary setup for a fish to get required amounts of oxygen. 

So what did we learn from Bailey today?
1. It’s in YOU.  There is something(s) in you that needs to grow regardless of whether or not you recognize what “IT” is.
2. You need space to live and grow! Praying for God to enlarge your territory is seemingly a matter of spiritual life and death.  It’s a matter of fulfillment and purpose.  You may not die physically, but you are like to experience some complications.
3.  More territory alone is not enough.  You need a clean environment and need to take care of yourself.  We as women often neglect our own needs.  Self-care is key to your growth and survival.  Don’t ever not be able to do whatever it is God will call you to do in this coming territory expansion and answered prayers.
4.  Dream and Pray BIG.  If a gold fish needs a minimum of 15 gallons of water, what more do you think you need?


Father I thank you for every woman who has committed to pray bold prayers with me for 30 days.  I pray that we would dare to pray big, bold, crazy, ridiculous, exceeding and abundantly more than we could ask or think prayers and that you will be true to your word and bless us indeed.  Blow our minds in a magnitude where your favor, grace and glory will be the only explanation.  I thank you that at the end of 30 days we will have all developed a lifestyle and will inspire others to go big.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Have a dream-filled day! ~Cherron D. Keith