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Before becoming intentional about my daily walk with Christ, my life was a fantasy gone wrong. I had a habit of being in love with tomorrow while neglecting today. I believed with enough effort, persuading, and perseverance, I had the ability to manage myself, my relationships, and anything else that needed “fixing.” This sort of self-reliance kept me pushing to work hard enough to get in front of trials that came along...control them...prevent them. Perfectionism had become an art form. Over the years I became chronically ill. I was also riddled with depression and anxiety and physically unable to work in a career field that I loved. I also found myself in a marriage that was broken beyond repair, though I wouldn’t accept that truth until many years later. The belief that I could fix another individual had fundamentally stripped away every part of who I’d known myself to be. I despised my husband. I distrusted myself. I’d lost hope in everything.

Eventually, the weight of carrying and trying to manage someone else’s sin nearly killed me. Upon discovering another betrayal within my marriage in late 2018, I completely fell apart. The devastation I felt was incomprehensible. Finally, it started to become clearer that my self-reliance would no longer serve me. I began to wake up to the reality that THIS was going to take God. Self-reliance was so deeply rooted in my spirit that it took God allowing me to fall flat on my back (both literally and figuratively) to break that stronghold. Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally - I had to have my feet swept from underneath me and experience emotional pain so tremendous that I truly wanted to die. I wouldn’t wish this particular wakeup call on anyone! However, it left me as an empty vessel for God to pour into and Christ to occupy. It was during that time that I began to understand with my whole heart the meaning of Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” I cried out for God to help me and asked that NO stone would go unturned during my healing process. With the prompting of Psalm 119:18, I began asking God to “Open my eyes so that I may see.”

Suddenly it was so clear to me why attempting to be perfect for myself (and for God) my entire life had led me further away from both. You see, (just as Romans 7:18 says) from a very young age I had the desire to do what was right, but not the ability to carry it out. The negative core belief that I could solely manage my sin (and others’) meant that I was forever failing and forever trying to no avail. It felt as if the misshapen puzzle piece had finally been identified. After having lived very intentionally, the realization that I was truly powerless in my own strength resulted in a lifelong weight being lifted. I began to understand how necessary it was for God to allow me to face a trial that I COULD NOT handle on my own. It was crushing to accept that no amount of self-motivation, hard work, or good intention would dig me out of that despair. I had to come to the end of myself. But without the affliction in my body and the “pain-wrapped” gift within my marriage, my pride would have never allowed me to do so.

About a year after I began strengthening my relationship with the Lord, I went through another traumatic event. In late October of 2019, I received a call from Missionary Ellen. I remember so vividly that I took her call while sitting on my closet floor, as I had been emotionally distraught just moments before. Missionary said to me “Paige, I just wanted you to know that I will be praying for you next Saturday on the Mississippi Prayer Call at 6 am, 12 noon, and 9 pm.” At the time I was in awe that she reached out right in my time of need. I believed it was God working through her to dry up my tears at that moment. I would find out just nine days later that the nudging she felt to pray for me was for a much bigger purpose!

On October 28, 2019 (just two days after Missionary prayed for me) I had a medical emergency at home. After experiencing immense pressure/pain in my head I asked my husband to call 911 before lying on the floor and losing consciousness. While he waited for the ambulance to arrive, I began to seize and became unresponsive. It would be days later before I awakened and learned I’d suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, which caused a subarachnoid hemorrhage (life-threatening stroke). In the wake of my emergency, medical professionals had decided to incubate me and transfer me to a different hospital where I would endure several life-saving procedures. When I regained consciousness, doctors and surgeons gave details about what I had undergone, and what to expect in the coming weeks. Even as I heard how serious my condition was, I remember feeling unimaginable peace. I had this “knowing” in my spirit that I was going to be okay. I knew that this was just the beginning. Not only would I overcome this, but I would be healed from ALL the sickness I’d experienced up until that point. God saw me through 16 days in the ICU being pumped full of medication, suffering an additional mini stroke, several surgeries/procedures, and ultimately a 21-day stay in the hospital. When discharged, He blessed me to be able to go home instead of having to live in a rehabilitation facility. Being at home brought on a host of challenges, but I knew that I was still blessed and highly favored.

Just a few weeks after being discharged, I landed back in the Emergency Department for chest pain, which led to a diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in my lung. During a nine-day hospital admittance, I began having severe panic attacks. That initial peace and “knowing” I’d felt the prior month was quickly overtaken by extreme fear. Missionary Ellen prayed me through many days in the hospital. Shortly thereafter members of the Mississippi Prayer Call became my solace, my family, my daily lifeline. For two years I would go on to fight almost daily panic attacks and the belief that I was dying. I struggled with my mental health because believing I was dying was contrary to what I knew God had promised me. There was no doubt in my mind that He had something extraordinary planned for my life, but I had to get past the day-to-day struggles - both physically and spiritually. It hasn’t been pretty and certainly hasn’t happened on my timeline, but I never stopped reaching for Him. For the first time, I can say I desire God’s hand in EVERY area of my life more than I want things to happen my way.

Recovering in Christ has been a divine gift that I never quite understood I needed before all the despair I experienced. As I’ve worked hard and allowed God to light my path, my relationships have been transformed, my negative patterns and beliefs are dissipating day by day, and I’m experiencing true joy and peace again. I’ve always been so willing to do the hard work, but the question I began asking myself was “who’s hard work?” I now invite God to steer me in the direction He plans for me to go while I continue to embark upon this healing journey. By the GRACE of God, I am no longer laid out dazed and confused. Instead, I’ve made it back upright. Some days I walk, some I jog, and some I can only crawl, but most importantly there is consistent forward movement. I often remind myself that I tried it my way, which led to a multitude of devastating consequences not to mention the feeling of being stuck. So, now I surrender. God has kept His promises. He’s been faithful through it all. While I’ve suffered through many storms as I recovered from the brain aneurysm rupture and decline in mental health, I also began to recover from everything else He said I would. As I continue to trudge forward in pursuit of this FULL healing, the Mississippi Prayer Call and its members will forever be a crucial part of my story.


Updated: Jan 7, 2021

James 4:2 NASB You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.

The latter part of James 4:2 is very familiar to most of us. In many church circles and throughout my life, I would often hear someone retort, “You have not because you ask not.” The message they were trying to convey is that there are many times that the unmet needs we have, or any unfulfilled desires remain as such because we never asked anyone to help us with them. While well intentioned, this is not the whole of what James was trying to convey to us.

I remember one day my three-year-old daughter was whining about a snack she wanted. It was the typical time of day when either I or her father would allow her to have a “special treat,” typically gummy fruit snacks. This day was no different, but we were a little behind schedule. Emory, in expected toddler fashion, began to fuss and was visibly agitated by the tardiness of her snack. When I noticed her mood, I immediately realized she’d not gotten her snack. I started towards her, snack in hand, when I realized we were entering the beginning stages of her becoming hangry. As her mother, I knew exactly what she wanted. But also, as her mother I wanted to teach her to articulate her needs rather than just lash out because of how she is feeling. In times like these, we say, “Emory, use your words.” She was resistant at first, but eventually, with a little coaching and coaxing, I was able to get her to reveal that she was sad because she wanted gummies. Much to her surprise, I had the gummies right there in my hand the whole time. I was just waiting for her to ask me for them.

As God’s children, how often are we like the people James mentions in James 4:2? Or Emory? We need or want something and rather than just ask for what we need, we begin to instead develop strong desires for that thing we want and lash out when we ultimately do not get it. If only we could realize that God, our Heavenly father, is standing there all along. He already knows what we need. However, He wants us to recall His faithfulness and trust Him enough to just ask. How quickly would we ask God for those things we need and desire if we could really get a revelation of how He is standing there with exactly what we need, patiently waiting on us to just ask Him for it. After all, Matthew 7:7 says that “If [we] then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will [our] Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

James 4:2 is not just about God giving us what we asked for. To limit the frame of this scripture in this way would sell God short. God wouldn’t be God if He gave you what you wanted and left it at that. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to “let [our] requests be made known to God.” When we continue to the next verse, we see that our requests are rewarded with “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, [and it] will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus.” Our gracious God not only, receives our requests, but He honors them and grants us His peace. This is the perfect display of the God of Ephesians 3:20 (“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. . .”) We may pray for a career promotion, and God may indeed grant that. In addition, however, He grants us wisdom so that we are good stewards of the financial increase and operate effectively in a leadership role. God knows how to bless us fully, in excess of what we even thought to ask of Him to give us, wisely giving us what we need and what we want. God wants us to think of Him as not just the God of the overflow. But He is the overflow. More than things, God wants to give us more of Himself. Luke 11:13 reframes how we should read the scripture as quoted earlier in Matthew 7:7. Luke puts it this way: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who as Him?” From Luke’s account of his time with Jesus, we learn that the very thing that we have for the asking is God Himself.

Call to action: Thank God for hearing you when you pray. Recall the heart of David in Psalm when he asks of God, “Teach me your ways.” (Psalm 86:11) When given God’s ear, and before asking for any specific thing, consider asking God first for more of Him. Then, trust that because you have delighted yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) He’s just that good.

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