1 Corinthians 1:4-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 I thank [a]my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed [b]in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Peter 1:21 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
I have spent most of my life with a feeling that I would be a part of something bigger than myself. That I would be a part of something that would leave a legacy and have a lasting impact here on earth. Most of you may know that I dealt with a great deal of fear and anxiety in my life that made it very hard to live at times. I had seasons where the desire to chase after God was high and seasons where I was just too tired to run the race. The amazing part was that God never stopped tugging on my heart. He would always find me where I was, even when I wasn’t looking for Him very deeply. Looking back on this side of victory I can see God was with me through all the trials and tribulations that I faced with fear and anxiety. This deeply rooted desire to find out who God is was something that I just could not let go of regardless the magnitude of the opposition I was facing.
This started a new chapter in my life where I started to lean into God solely on the promises of His goodness and faithfulness because often times I didn’t “feel” like he was there during painful panic attacks or long seasons of worry and fear. I knew His attributes and His character. I knew He had a plan for my life. I knew that someday I wouldn’t have to deal with this burden anymore. I spent many nights on the floor begging for freedom or relief. The problem at the time was that I had the knowledge of who He is but I lacked the understanding. Knowledge and understanding are two very different things. Many atheists shared the same knowledge as I did of who God is and his character but that doesn’t mean that I understood any more than they did about how deeply He loves.
All of this took me down a road of discovery. I asked God to begin to speak to me on a regular basis and I started reading my Bible more often. I didn’t read every day but I spoke to Him daily in a way much like I would talk to my own father. I also found myself spending a few nights on the floor of my office with a pillow, some worship music, my bible and a flashlight just asking God to cut deep into my heart and begin revealing Himself to me.
This is where Judah comes into the picture.
Around this time when I was digging into His word and learning to hear His voice, my wife and I were trying to conceive. If you don’t know Marissa, she was born to be a mother. She has spent her entire life loving on children and spent much of her teenage and young adult life watching kids for a living. It anyone deserved to have a baby to love on, it was Marissa. My wife went through a rough time dealing with Infertility and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) mixed in with many emotional and spiritual battles. She tried everything her doctors felt were inside the realm of “safety” and nothing worked. She turned to homeopathic methods and started learning about essential oils. There were days that we felt like her body was on track and many that felt like we took two steps backward. She then decided one day that she was going to let God take control of the situation and she was going to just focus on “Marissa”. I supported her in this decision. She wanted to get healthy. She wanted to exercise and eat better things that were more natural. I even had my eyes opened to some amazing foods that “by design” were more delicious than their packaged counterparts. Marissa showed me what it meant to be strong in the Lord during a time that felt hopeless.
I spent several hours on the floor of the office one night just praying to God. I had a list of things to lay at His feet that admittedly were about me. I didn’t feel like I had higher ground in life at that moment. I prayed about anxiety, work, family as I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t find one bible verse that spoke to me. I closed my bible and just began to ask God to speak to me. I sat in silence for a little while but then very clearly I heard a voice tell me “go tell your wife that if she eats an apple every day, she will have a baby”. I was stunned! I began to explain to God how ridiculous that sounded and if I did follow His command, what would I do if my wife thought I was crazy? I decided to listen to what He said and got up off the ground, walked into the bedroom and told my wife what God had shared with me. She listened. She processed. I told her that I loved her and she told me she loved me. I went back into the office and began to pray again.
I got home from work the next day and she had just got back from the grocery store and carried in these big bags of apples. I asked her what was going on and she said she was trusting what God had said. I laughed internally a little because I was excited and it also hit me again at how wild the request from God was.
4 weeks later, we found out that Marissa was pregnant!
I had no words. I knew it was God. I knew why it happened. We stepped out on faith and she prophetically acted on what she believed was true. Kingdom reality. “On earth as it is in Heaven”.
The 18-week mark passed and we had our routine checkup at Mercy Hospital for our baby. By request, my wife asked for us to hide the gender until it was born to keep it a surprise. I wasn’t a huge fan of this but I respected her wishes. She is the one birthing the baby, she gets what she wants! We completed our 18-week ultrasound and they found what they thought was an extra blood vessel on the babies heart. Marissa’s older sister died of a very similar, if not the same, condition about 5 months after she was born. The doctor wanted us to take the baby to Akron Children’s Hospital to see a “Cardiovascular Specialist”. It was very discouraging and heartbreaking to hear this. Marissa and I had a few weeks of emotional and spiritual attacks but in the end, we chose to trust God because He is faithful and He is good.
I choose not sugarcoat the following events.
We went 3 weeks later to Akron Children’s Hospital to see what was going on with our babies heart. I was a mess. I had allowed panic and anxiety to consume me. Marissa was scared and needed me to step up and be the man of the house. I felt so weak and we stopped several times before getting to the doctor to have some pep talks to make it clear just how important it is that I am there for my wife and child during this visit. I very fearfully guided my wife and mother-in-law to the office for the exam. We got into the exam room where Marissa was being prepped for yet another ultrasound.
All I remember is jumping up out of my chair and yelling that I was having a panic attack. Adrenaline was pumping through my body, I was dizzy, I had clammy feet and hands, my vision was blurry and I was sweating profusely. The nurse asked me if I wanted water or if I would like to wait out in the “waiting area” and I chose to run out of the room, down the hallway to the elevator, out the elevator to the front door of the hospital when it hit me. If I was having a medical issue, I was in THE place to go for medical issues! I took the elevator back to the floor my wife was on and ran back into the room and said “I don’t know what to do!”
I rested my head on my mother-in-law’s shoulder while I had a complete and total breakdown. I was crying and praying harder than I had prayed in a long time. If I was to place a point in time where I was at my lowest, it was right at that moment. As I was praying and resting, God spoke to me again saying “If you extend your arm and command the heart condition to go away, in my name, it will go away”. without hesitation, I told Him that I was in NO condition to pray for my son but He told me “if you just reach out, I will give you the strength to do it”.
I reached my arm out and commanded the heart condition to go away in the name of Jesus and went back to just resting from the panic attack. The doctor finished the exam in about 2 hours. He turned to my wife and I and told us that he could not see any issue with our babies heart. None. Not one problem! The doctor was so confused that he wanted to go back and talk to the original doctor to help educate him on what to look for in the future so this didn’t happen again. My wife was so relieved and full of joy, I was left in awe of God. I could not comprehend what had just taken place. I knew that it was not a mistake. I knew it was God.
I began to spend more and more time with Jesus leading up to the birth of our baby. Jesus took me on amazing journeys in the Spirit telling me that our baby was destined for great things and so was I. It would be my role to set him up for a Kingdom “home run” if you will. I accepted that honor without hesitation because I knew that God’s plan for Judah’s life was full of adventure and crafted from heavenly things.
God met me again on that office floor several times, just before our baby was born, and told me that I would be having a “son”. I was so excited! I selfishly wanted a little girl but I could not wait to meet my son. I told my wife to prepare for a boy. I told my family to prepare for a boy. I told anyone who asked, that it was going to be a boy. I even threw off a few family members because they thought the doctor told me the gender and i had to tell them that it was God that told me. The reaction was surprising. After all that we had been through, there was a little bit of skepticism from even the most devout Christians i know.
I couldn’t put my finger on it but I felt like God was asking me to let Him handle this one. When Judah is displayed to the world, they would know His word was true. I didn’t have to prove anything or convince anyone of His mighty power and glory. I had found my peace in Him.
I rounded the corner to meet my son for the first time eye to eye but I felt like I had known him all along. He also knew me the moment he saw me. He was beautiful. Truly a masterpiece of Heaven. I have a connection to my son that many won’t get to experience but many will get to experience my son.
If you question if God is real, alive and active today. If you question His faithfulness or goodness. Please let this story be a testament to His heart and intent. He wants nothing more than to love you, walk with you and give you the desires of your heart. He wants to show you things of the Kingdom and reveal His glory to the world. He is a good Father. Just ask!
From this moment on, I will chase after Him all the days of my life and I know this is just the beginning of our adventure.
If you deal with Infertility or PCOS I want you to say this out loud:
Jesus. I receive this testimony for myself. I believe You are who You say You are and I trust You with my life. I believe You are a good father who wants nothing more than to see His children set free. I ask that You come and touch me in a way that I have never been touched before. I ask that You would come and heal me of all things that go against your command to “be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:28 and restore me to the way I am designed in the Kingdom. Thank you for deeply loving me. Amen.
Mathew 6:10 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.