Five Minute Friday – Changes In the Last Year

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five MinuteFriday.  Even though I’m a day late, I wanted to take this week’s writing challenge.
Recently I was asked the question, “What has changed in your life over the past year?” 
I was hard pressed to come up with an answer.  At first glance it seemed as though nothing had really changed.  But upon closer examination, there were many things that had changed.
There has been the passing of many dear friends who died.  For those that were Christians, I feel a peace and look forward to the day in which I will once again be reunited with them.  For those who were unbelievers or those I don’t know if they received Christ, I think about them often and wonder where they are now?  Heaven or hell?  There is one friend in particular I wish I had been bolder earlier on and made clear the Gospel message of sin, repentance and salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ. 
One of the changes for good is at the beginning of the year I started keeping a daily journal.  I write in it at the beginning of my day before I start reading a Bible chapter and sometimes I add to it with scripture verses that really stand out that day.  Sometimes it’s short and I usually start out saying, “Good morning Lord”.  Other times…it’s pleading “Help me Lord!!!” and bringing my situation or the concerns of others before Him. 
Keeping a journal has been something I’ve wanted to do for years, but never, ever kept it up.  I’d start it but within a few days I stopped.  I’d stop because it wasn’t what I thought it should be, filled with eloquent prayers and words of wisdom. 
But then earlier this year I had the opportunity to hear Jennifer Barrick and herparents Andy and Linda speak.  They shared journal entries and prayers that Jen had written prior to their devastating car accident and after.  Hearing their story and being personally blessed by their faith recorded and preserved in Jen’s journals inspired me to continue my journal.
It’s exciting to write something that day, only to see the Lord work in that situation.  It’s heartening to know that our God sees and hears me and answers my prayers.  To know that He wants to have a personal ongoing relationship and He cares for me is what brings me back to that journal each day. 
If you would like to participate in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday Challengehead over to her website “Tales from a Gypsy Mama”.  Be sure to read some of the entries from other writers.  I can promise you that you will be blessed.

Miracle for Jen…An Encouragement to Hope in God No Matter What

It was my privilege to read “Miracle for Jen” a true story written by Linda Barrick with John Perry. 
On Sunday, November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was traveling home having experienced an almost perfect day.  Andy and Linda’s son Josh had played in a baseball tournament over the weekend and their daughter Jen was making her musical debut in the church choir that evening.  The choir would be performing one of Jen’s favorite songs, “Lord, You Are Holy.” 
Following the evening service the Barrick’s invited family and friends over to watch a football game.  But the Barrick family wouldn’t make it home that night.  In fact, it would be over 3 months later before the family would be home together again.  Unbeknownst to them, a drunk driver was barreling down road going 80 miles. 
The Barrick family was gravely injured when a truck ran over the family’s van.  Having sustained multiple skull fractures and brain injuries Jen was not expected to survive the night.  But God had other plans.
“A Miracle for Jen” details the long road of recovery for Jen Barrick and her family.  Jen remained comatose for weeks.  Family and friends rallied around the Barrick’s and sacrificially loved them and helped meet their needs.  Someone remained by Jen’s bedside 24 hours a day, praying, reading the Bible and playing worship and praise music. 
Having been warned that brain-injured comatose patients are often agitated and confused as they are waking up and may lash out, they weren’t expecting what would happen next.  A phone call came in the middle of the night, “Linda, you won’t believe this, but Jen started praying out loud for forty-five minutes and hasn’t stopped since.” 
This was just the beginning of God doing an amazing work in the life of a young woman who loves the Lord and had fully committed her life to Him. 
This family would never be the same again.  Their journey would not be easy.  Each day there would be a choice to trust God and the work He was doing in their lives and depend fully on Him or to give in to pain, bitterness and unforgiveness and doubt God’s love.
Linda Barrick shares openly and honestly about the struggles they faced as a family.  It was a journey they never wished for, didn’t deserve and didn’t understand.  It was their faith in God and His goodness that brought them through. 
Through reading “A Miracle for Jen”, my faith was encouraged, strengthened and challenged.  There were times I both cried and rejoiced.  This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.  This book is a keeper and one I want to read again in my own journey of life.
Through the generosity of Tyndale House Publishers I am able to offer a certificate for one free copy of “A Miracle for Jen.”  If you would to read this book, please leave a comment on this blog post.  In one week, Sunday, April 1, 2012, we will draw one name to receive the certificate for the free book.  I will contact the winner to get your mailing information and send you the certificate. 

Tyndale House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.  I am under no obligation to give a favorable review.