If Not You & Me, Then Who?

IF NOT YOU AND ME, THEN WHO?

Denise Johnson

Key Scripture: Luke 8:1-3

Jesus valued women. Jesus listened to women. Jesus walked with women. Jesus healed women. Jesus empowered women and Jesus equipped women. Who are these women Jesus equipped?  

Me and you, that’s who. 

Google says that the word equip means to supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose. What strikes me throughout the Bible is how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, like Mary for example. I’m sure this ordinary young lady didn’t feel ready the moment she was asked to be the mother to our savior, but she said yes anyway and through her willingness God equipped her.   

I was born in Buffalo, New York, to a 16-year-old single mom in 1965. My mom was expelled from school for being pregnant, she was shunned by her family and was on welfare. At the age of 7 years old I got sick and had what everyone thought was laryngitis. Much later I was diagnosed with papilloma viral growths on my vocal cords and did not have a voice for 10 years, I could only whisper. For more than 20 years I had one or two surgeries per year to remove these growths. 

Having grown up Catholic, my grandmother had me on many prayer lists, vacation always included a visit to a shrine where I was practically bathed in holy water and I was taken to a well-known faith healer twice by my well-meaning aunt. 

After a few years of not attending church at all, I started, at the age of 22, attending protestant church with my husband. It was during that time that I accepted Jesus as my personal savior and by the age of 28 had more than 30 surgeries on my vocal cords. While attending a young couples Bible study someone asked if they could pray for my upcoming surgery, of course I said yes. Someone else asked if I had ever prayed for healing, I said, oh gosh let me tell you, I have been on prayer lists, been bathed in holy water and been to a faith healer twice. She said, “but have you ever prayed for yourself?”  

The answer was “no.”  

During that group’s prayer for me, I prayed for myself for the first time in my life. Like Mary, I said yes to God when I could have easily shrugged it off and continued to let others pray for me.

After surgery, the doctor told my husband, who was waiting patiently in the waiting room, that my vocal cords looked like I had never had any surgery. For some reason, God healed me. Me, ordinary me. 

As a new Christian I felt stunned, was this real? I continued to go to the doctor who finally told me to stop coming. For a long time, I wondered why God saw fit to heal me from this viral disease that I should have battled my entire life.   

Then a few years ago, I felt stuck in life, stuck in my faith, stuck in my relationships. I prayed for God to show me why I was stuck and tell me how I could serve him. I again prayed for myself and God’s will. I was told by God (I’ve always felt very awkward saying those words, because who am I that God would speak to me?) that I was to use my past experiences and my voice to help other women.  Jesus valued me, Jesus listened to me, Jesus walked with me, Jesus healed me, Jesus empowered me and Jesus equipped me to help other women by using my life experience and believing like Matthew 19:26 says, “…with God all things are possible. “

Steps of Faith: Lord, thank you for always patiently standing by, waiting for us to turn to you.  Thank you for seeing the ordinary and equipping us to do extraordinary things in your name.  I pray your perfect example of grace and love is seen by all and replicated toward everyone around them.  Please wrap your arms around the women of LifePoint and equip  them to walk out their gifts for your glory. Thank you Lord, in Jesus precious name. Amen.

Deeper Walk Scripture: Exodus 3:11-12, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 4:11&12

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