A number of years ago, the Lord spoke to me concerning a task he said would be an ongoing part of my life’s work for the Kingdom: “Gather the testimony of my Church,” he said. He then showed me these beautiful compilations, dozens upon dozens of large, hardbound books filled with the stories of those who had discovered hope and life through the salvific work of Christ, thousands bearing witness and describing for all who might hear their personal encounters with the Living God. At once, the beauty and impact of such a project spoke directly to my heart and aligned with all the Lord had shown me concerning how he is moving in the present age and the role he intends for me to play in this grand story he is unfolding (I will write more on both of these subjects later).
While I knew for certain that the “testimony project” was on the horizon, I stalled for a bit, unsure of when I might actually have the opportunity to follow through and respond to the Lord’s leading. Each time I thought of it, I would question: But is this the right season? After all, I was leading a very full and often hectic life—a homeschooling mother of ten, wife and ministry partner to my husband of twenty-two years, missionary living among the low-income residents in our community, part-time marriage counselor, and prophetic dreamer—waiting in hopeful anticipation for all the Lord plans to do in his Church and in the world in these last days. I did not know how to fit such an ambitious undertaking into my already hurried existence.
Then, on February 21st of this year, the Lord allowed something that instantly brought life, work, and ministry to a screeching halt. A hole in my heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO) let a blood clot generated within the heart pass through to my brain, fully blocking the blood supply to the right main cerebral artery and causing a massive ischemic stroke. The following morning, I awoke in the Neuro-ICU and knew instantly that my life was forever changed. The emotional, cognitive, and physical deficits caused by the stroke left me confused, frightened, and struggling to communicate.
But in the absence of normal functioning, the Spirit of the Lord rushed in and filled all of the broken, empty places. My heart, mind, and soul were ignited, and I was consumed with a passion for God and his Kingdom like never before. In the days, weeks, and months following the stroke, I encountered the Lord in ways I never imagined I might and discovered his nearness to a degree that I didn’t know was possible this side of eternity.
I have witnessed his goodness. I have experienced his miracles. I have heard his voice. I have been caught up in his Spirit. I have been mesmerized and captivated by the truth in his Word. I have received words from him spoken on behalf of others. I have been able to clearly discern the lies and schemes of the enemy. I have been set free from addiction and lingering wounds from the past. I have seen visions and dreamed dreams. I have been given a deeper understanding of the Father’s heart for his Church and his people.
I have been transformed.
And now, I MUST testify. I must join with the Psalmist, who declared,
“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone… Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:15-18).
While still in the hospital following the stroke, the Lord brought to mind the testimony project and how he had asked me to compile the testimony of the Church. But then he added, “The time is now. And it starts with you.” He said that I must testify to all that he has done for me, not just since the stroke but throughout my life, and then I must invite others to do the same. And so it begins…
“Come and hear, all you who fear the Lord, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.”Psalm 66:16