Category Archives: Faith

My Testimony To God’s Faithfulness

cross against blue sky

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It seems only right to have my first big post be about Jesus and how He saved me from myself.

Twice.

Salvation

I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 12 years old. I began an on-and-off relationship with Him through my teens and early 20s. I was badly hurt by some churches and some Christian brothers and sisters and by my mid-twenties pretty much ignored Him. I still believed; I just didn’t do anything about it. I became a wife and mom/stepmom, had a suburban soccer-mom kind of life, tried to be a good person and pretty much did my own thing.

God let me go my own way. He never forces relationship with us. He also knows me well and knows that if He pushed, I’d just push back. I’m kind of ornery that way. Besides, He had things to teach me later down the road.

Out Of The Pit

In 2007, within two months, my world shattered. My foundation for life just crumbled underneath me and I went to a very dark place. By February of 2008, I just could not go on as things were. I was my husband’s caregiver and mom to two kids still young and in school. And I hurt so much and felt so abandoned and alone.  Something had to give.

In the dark of my room, in the still quiet when everyone else was sleeping, I began to hear whispers. Not aloud although they certainly were clear enough to have been spoken.

“You are not alone. You have never been alone. I am with you.”

I’d love to say I listened immediately and returned to Him but it took a while. The whispers got louder. One day I pulled out the blue King James Bible that my grandfather had given me for that first born-again Christian Christmas back in 1975. I read. And read some more. Sobbed through the Psalms. Found renewed hope in the New Testament. Learned of God’s faithfulness through the Old Testament. I prayed. I found a church and started attending and eventually met some of the women who would be among the biggest influencers in my life to date. I even submitted to my husband when he wanted me to stop attending church. Oh, how I struggled with that one. But the Bible says to submit and one of my wise women told me that we are told to submit to our husbands unless it is outright sin and if our husbands steer us in a wrong direction, then that’s between them and God. It sounded right.

And I guess that was the first time I obeyed/surrendered in something that was really hard. My Isaac-on-the-altar moment. The first one anyway.

And God moved in big ways.

My husband’s health deteriorated. He found prayer and a renewed relationship with the Lord. We prayed for God’s will in all things: surgery or not, this treatment or that, what to do if…

My husband died March 8, 2010.

God had put things so perfectly in place. He had grown my faith. He had given me a network of Christian sisters — in person and online. He had given me an unshakeable faith in His sovereignty.

Certainly there have been bumps in the road. Long and lonely nights, all of the firsts, a family torn apart by the loss. A new marriage, vision loss, health issues. The Lord has been there, right in the middle of all of it.

I cannot imagine doing life now without the very real presence of the Holy Spirit inside me, the certain knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me lavishly, that Jesus Christ offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for my sins and a perfect example of how to live to be pleasing to the Lord.

There’s a lot more to share but I just wanted to share with you that the Lord is the best friend you’ll ever have. Friend, Lord, Master, Savior. It seems counterintuitive as though you’re giving up your freedom in order to serve someone else. In truth, salvation through Jesus is the most freeing thing there could be.

If you’re lost and struggling, I would love to talk to you, email, skype, whatever. It is not the Father’s will that any of His children be lost. Just reach out to me at shelby.ketchen@gmail.com.

FMF: Surrender

Surrender is the word for today’s Five-Minute Friday linkup. And though my blog is nowhere near ready to go I am surrendering it to all the hints the Lord has been less and less subtly dropping. So, timer set, here we go:

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this prompt was “I Surrender All,” one of my favorite hymns and a dangerous one. To my mind, if you sing that song, you’d best think about the words and mean them.

I want to write. Need to write. Have to write. The problem is that I’ve been fighting the Lord about my topic. He has been rather insistent of late that it’s fine if I write about faith and fitness but my focus needs to be on marriage.

I don’t want to write about marriage. Mine is difficult and trying (it’s my second, entered into 4 years after my first husband’s death) and there’s hardly a day I wouldn’t rather just run away.

Last May, though, I surrendered to doing what the Lord wanted me to do. I was all set to move out, bags packed and a place to go, when my husband asked me to just stay through the summer to see if we could find some common ground on which to build. I prayed about and I knew that the Lord was telling me “Yes, Shelby, stay.” So I have.

I have been rebellious. For several months I was mindful of being as Christ-like as possible in interactions with my husband, being a biblical wife. The last couple of months, though, rebellion and resentment have crept in.

Everywhere I go, I am reminded of Jesus’ character, his teachings to love and to turn the other cheek. I’m reminded that my need to write is God-given and that I should use that gift to the purpose GOD has for me and not what I want for myself.

So I surrender. I’ll write faith and fitness but focus my writing on being the wife God calls me to be.

This blog is His, after all.