I know I shouldn't judge but I did anyway

judge not lest you be judged. matt 7

I have a confession. I’m a critical person by nature.

Being critical is being prideful. It’s thinking you know more than your neighbor and pride is the nature of man. It’s only by the Grace and forgiveness of God that we can overcome the pride of the flesh.

We criticize anything or anyone that’s different or anything we don’t understand.

If we don’t understand it, it’s wrong.

If it looks different than what we’ve been taught or known, it’s not the right way.

But is it really a question of one being right and one being wrong, or is it oftentimes more of a perspective and characteristic that is just different.

If we agree on Jesus Christ being the way, the truth and the life, instead of seeing minor differences in a critical manner, what if we looked at it as the beauty of the depths of God.

God is wholly complex, yet wholly simple.

There are depths of Him that we will be discovering and rejoicing over for eternity. That is evidence that He is so complex, so deep and so unsearchable, yet rejoices in revealing Himself and His love to the simple.

You can go to twenty different churches and get twenty different expressions of love for Jesus.

You’ll see silence in one,

Flags and dancing in another.

I can remember standing in different church services (living in Texas, you can almost visit twenty churches on one street), sometimes things looking different then I knew or even was comfortable with.

I’ve been raised to keep my mouth from speaking words of doubt. I’m grateful for my upbringing. It’s saved me in so many situations.

I remember visiting a church a few years ago and during worship they sang a line in a song that I would always change the words to whenever I would sing it.

Immediately my response was a critical and judgemental spirit.

I was judging them for not singing the song the way that I sang it.

At that moment Jesus spoke to my heart and said:

"These people are worshipping me out of a purer heart than you are right now.

While they are ministering to me, you are being critical and it’s keeping you from being a worshipper.”

 

It hit me.

My critical spirit didn’t affect these people’s devotion towards God. It was hindering mine.

I was too busy needing to be right.

The voice of Jesus changed me that day. Now I don’t want to be held back by legalities. I want to pour myself out completely and unhindered to the One who saved me and loves me.

In any church service, instead of being critical, I’m beginning to see beauty.

I would be critical of traditional churches. My heart has changed.

The heart of tradition was founded in beauty. The truth is many traditions were made out of adoration of the Saviour.

 

Do people hold too tightly to them and trust them MORE than they do Jesus?

Of course and this shouldn’t be so.

 

But didn’t I do the same thing as the ones I was being critical of?  What I was holding on to just looked a little different.

I trusted too much in my righteous acts and right doing MORE than what Jesus had done for me.

 

Does anyone have everything right?

No way. We are human.

 

But we are all on a journey, hopefully with hearts to see the true nature of God. To be only loving and never judging the one whom we call brother or sister.

 

I hope this speaks to some of you.

 

Life is far richer when it’s filled with the beauty of relationship with Jesus and not of pride that we know it all.

 

We don’t know everything and to know that truth is to set us free.

Let’s not look at someone who loves Jesus a little differently and judge them for it.

We are not the judge of the heart of man.

Let’s just love Jesus and see the beauty in how someone else does too.

How I was healed from Hepatitis C & how I learned that Medicine is not the enemy of God. part 3 (final)

If you haven't read part one and two of this testimony, you can read them here:

part one

part two

 When I say I got ready, that was in every sense of the word. I was about to go to battle. I had to pick up my weapons to fight. I knew spiritually, if I was going to go through this treatment, I was believing to go through it with NO side effects. I wrote out my healing scriptures BEFORE I went to battle. I meditated on the Word of God BEFORE I began treatment. I was in training. I have a notebook where I wrote out things my prayer friends spoke over me (I wrote about that in the second part of this testimony.) During treatment, all of these scriptures would speak life to me on days when I needed it.   

I got ready physically. I was about to go through a treatment that would in the natural lower my white blood cell count, cause extreme fatigue and throw my body in a loop. I was determined to go into it healthy and come out of it even stronger. I set out to work out, eat extremely healthy, no sugar. Honestly, the sugar one lasted about a week. Oh well. I really enjoyed that fro-yo. I didn’t even consider going off coffee just in case you’re wondering. I had found some research that said it actually is very beneficial to those going through treatment. I also heard that it caused more side effects, but I liked the first option better, besides I was believing for no side-effects.  And I definitely drank coffee like it was going out of business.

 So the time came to begin treatment. Here’s what the treatment consisted of:

They call it triple therapy, because I had to take three medicines.

1.     Sovaldi (the new FDA approved medicine)- take 1 in the morning

2.     Ribavarin – take 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening

3.     Interferon- 1 Shot once a week. Interferon is the one that usually has horrible side effects such as flu symptoms. Not everyone who goes through treatment has to do this. Certain geno-types of the virus do. The doctors said I had geno-type 1a, which was the hardest to treat, so I had to have this medicine.

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2014 at 8:00 in the morning, I got my communion elements, my Bible and my medicine and got ready to begin this journey.

The day I began treatment. Communion Elements, Bible and Medicine.

 

They say to take the interferon shot on the same day every week and to give yourself 2 days to recover from it each week. The flu-like symptoms rush in right after the shot and it takes about 2 days to really be able to get up after that.

I chose Tuesday, since I traveled mostly on the weekends. Actually, it was probably the worst time to do a treatment that people said would pretty much be a “forced” vacation. My book, ABBA, was coming out during treatment, along with traveling for ministry and book opportunities. This looked like the worst time to do something like this, but I knew it had to be done.

God’s timing is perfect. The timing that I found out, just “randomly” after a blood test. The timing of the new treatment. The timing of getting this cleared out of my system. No more dumb thoughts like  “You’ll pass this on to your future children.”  “Your liver won’t last you long.”

Shut up devil.

You’re done.

The blood of Jesus is in my bloodstream. The whole, merciful blood of Jesus.

So every day I took this medicine, 7 AM and 8 PM on the dot. Every Tuesday I took the interferon shot. And friends, every day I saw miracles.

NOT ONCE did I take the shot on Tuesday and it take me out for the day. There were days I forgot I was even on this treatment.

But then there were days where I was constantly reminded. I was walking through, believing for NO side effects and I can honestly say the only things I faced was some fatigue (Had to take a nap about once a day…I am NOT a nap person. But sleep is good, right?) and a few days where I threw up. But even in those days, I had my prayer friends. Even in the days where I was faithless, guess what…God was faithful.

            My prayer friends constantly stood in the gap for me in prayer. When I wasn’t feeling very full of faith, they stood in faith for me. I didn’t always, every day have an overwhelming faith in God. But every day God showed me His GRACE. I also whole-heartedly believe it was the Scriptures I stored up in my heart BEFORE treatment that sustained me DURING. I remember something my aunt has said, “Store up the Word in your heart when you don’t need it, and it will come out of your mouth when you do.”

            God showed up in so many ways, many surprising and unexpected. Two people that I know of, I was able to share my journey with them. One a wife, the other a daughter of someone who had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Both situations, they were unable to go through treatment because of the harsh side effects of the old treatment. But now, without interferon it was doable.

One person I know began the treatment and is currently walking through treatment, holding on to the promises of God.

A virus that was in his system for years and years, can be cleared with the power of God and the tools that have been revealed.

I’m so grateful God had crossed our paths with each other. I was able to share His testimony and faithfulness.

Another cool testimony. Girls, you’re gonna love this one. One side effect was hair loss. Interferon is a form of chemotherapy. It is used for cancer patients in large doses, much larger than treatment for hepatitis C. But in Hep C treatment, many people’s hair thins out. They cut their hair to make sure it’s not stringy and patchy.

Oh, also it is suggested that you don’t color your hair. Well…Even at 27, let’s just say I have come to the point in life where it would probably be a good idea to color my hair. I mean, Gray is beautiful…and if you want to rock it, then rock it well! But…I’d like to stay a brunette..like, forever.

I colored my hair about twice, didn’t cut my hair and believing to not have any hair loss.

This was a big thing to believe for. It’s probably the most common side effect on interferon.

Friends. My hair did not thin AT ALL.  In fact, it actually got thicker.

This next part I’m about to tell you is the absolute truth. And it is AMAZING.

Even without treatment, you lose about 100 strands of hair a day. It’s the natural process of things.

Near the end of treatment, I was washing my hair and seriously, no joke…NOT ONE hair came out of my head. NONE! I pulled my fingers through my hair to see if any would come out…It was amazing.

The next time I washed my hair, only one strand came out.

What?!

This doesn’t even happen in the natural.

It doesn’t make sense.

I believe it was God saying, “I have you.” He was showing me that it truly was beyond natural.

 

Every blood test I took (So many…) I took it expecting the virus to be GONE. My liver enzymes normal and liver function perfect.

When I began treatment, my viral load (Amount of virus in my system) was 2,000,000 copies. It sounds like a crazy high number, but it is about Med-High amount. My liver enzymes (AST + ALT) from what I remember in the 70’s-100’s range. The normal is 0-40 or so.

Before I began treatment, I received a sonogram (wasn’t pregnant…) to check my liver condition.

Having the virus in my body for 25 years, I got the amazing report that my liver had little to no damage.  Many people’s livers fail before 10-20 years.

God protected my body, even when I was unaware of the virus. It’s His grace.

During my week 4 blood test, I got the call:

“There is no more hepatitis C virus in your system. It is undetected. And your liver enzymes are 10 and 14.”

PRAISE GOD!

Guys, if you can imagine it…I fell  on my face and wept, giving Glory to God. 

That’s the key.

When I found out my blood was virus-free, I didn’t yell out,

“Glory to Sovaldi! Glory to medicine!”

No.

The medicine did not get the Glory for my healing. God did.

The medicine was not my healer, only a tool God used.

I continued treatment to completion and so many more miracles and testimonies took place and they continue to. My friends rejoiced and stood with me, and God showed off His Glory.

I just had my 3 month post treatment appointment July 8th. It’s at this appointment that you take, yet another, blood test and they check to see if the virus is still Undetected.  If the virus isn’t in your system at three months after treatment, the Doctors consider you “cured,”

AKA HEALED.

It was so awesome to hear when the nurse called and said,

“Good news. You’re cured!”

She told me something I already knew, but it’s just fun when doctors confirm the word of God to you.

Friends, my God is so faithful. 1 Peter 2:24 says that Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins and our sicknesses. Healing is for you. It is the children’s bread, and you are a child of God.

Whatever process God’s healing comes, it is from HIM which Healing comes. He is the one who gets the Glory.

Don’t disregard what He has put in your life: friendships, prayer partners and tools for health and wholeness.  Be brave to share your prayer requests. And shout your testimony from the rooftops.

Thank you for rejoicing with me.

I know God is faithful and I will live my life to proclaim that truth.

For the Kingdom,

Jenny 

 

How I was healed from Hepatitis C & how I learned that Medicine is not the enemy of God. part 1

I remember like it was yesterday, opening up the letter that read:

“We can’t accept your blood donation because we have found the Hepatitis C antibodies in your bloodstream.”

What? What the heck is Hepatitis C? Maybe they sent this to the wrong person.

Fear immediately rushed in and I begin to cry. My first step of action:

Call my mom.

“Mom, what does that mean?”

“Jenny, I don’t know what it means but I know what God’s Word says about it: By His stripes you were healed.”

I’m so thankful for a praying mother. I’m thankful the first person I called wasn’t someone who had no idea of the Goodness of God.

She spoke peace into my heart that day.

This is my story of how God healed me from Hepatitis C.  When I first starting talking about making this public, I had people that said, “Are you sure you want to do that? You know the stigma around it…people might get the wrong idea.”

You know, I’m willing to risk that. There’s no better thing to the enemy than to silence our testimonies due to embarrassment or pride. I’m convinced now more than ever that you receive Healing through Humility.

Friend, I’m willing to lay my heart out, tell my struggles, and inform you of victories if it would just help one person who has been diagnosed with this disease.  And I can not remain silent of the Goodness of God in my life.   

            So what is Hepatitis C? Hepatitis C is a virus in the bloodstream that attacks the liver. They call it the “silent killer” because people won’t know they have it until about 10-20 years down the road when their livers are failing.  Either they find out when they are in pain and it’s too late….or if they decide to randomly donate blood because of a blood drive at work (me. ). Hepatitis C is passed primarily through infected needles.  Oftentimes the source of it is because of infected tattoo needles or drugs.

            When I received this letter and yes…Googled it (Bad idea.) I learned the common sources of the virus. I haven’t done drugs and I don’t have a tattoo (I’m not against them..I even contemplated getting one. Here’s what I decided. If I’m 40 and still single…I’m getting a tattoo. Don’t ask why…I don’t know.)

            So I was still unaware of how I contracted the virus. I went to the doctor (better than Google) and they informed me that blood wasn’t checked for the Hepatitis C virus in blood transfusions before 1991.

    And then my mind went back to another story where God’s hand of Grace and protection was at work.

This story really begins 26 years ago, August 8, 1988. One of our family friends was taking me to daycare. At only 18 months old, I had just learned how to unbuckle my car seat. Barry J (the driver) turned around, telling me to get back in my seat. As he turned, so did the corner. The car went off the road and flipped, from what I heard, 7 times. Since I wasn’t in my car seat, I flew out of the window.

The only way it is possible I am even alive is miraculous.

I’ve heard of 18 YEAR OLDS being ejected from a car and dying on impact. I believe an angel placed me down that day. When the ambulance arrived, I was dead on Arrival. They immediately care-flighted me to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. I have a special place in my heart for that hospital now. I even met one of the paramedics years later. I’m crying as I write this. Just thinking how grateful I am.

When I arrived at the hospital, they injected dye to see if I had any internal damage. I actually still have a small scar on my stomach from the procedure. (That’s not widely known…probably because I don’t bare my stomach that often…haha) I had brain trauma  and a broken femur.  They put me in a full body cast. It was quite the sight to see…a little baby in a huge cast. I’ll try to find a picture. Well, it was at the hospital that I received multiple blood transfusions.

The doctors didn’t think I’d make it and the Hepatitis C virus thought it would someday take my life… but here I am today to say that God is faithful. I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord (Psalm 118:17).

To read part 2, click here.