Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dying to live.

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Christmas Eve

26 days ago I couldn't even hold a pen to simply write my name on the hospital admittance sheet.
 Today, I write my story to share with you.

For those of you who don't know, I am Tammy's husband Frankie, and I suffered a stroke that pretty much crippled my right side, from top to bottom.

I thought to myself,
"Well this is it.
This is how it all ends.
Why now God?
Why right before Christmas?
Who would take care of my family?
What would a Christmas be with them having to deal with a father and a husband's death?"

A final whisper came through my mind,

"Their Father will take care of them all",
and a sudden relief came from knowing, that all of my children and my wife had been born again through Jesus Christ.
And no matter what became of me, they would be taken care of by their Ultimate Father.

Although now,
 it was time to deal with my relationship with the Father.

If this was my final day on earth, was I prepared as I thought I was?
Why was he taking me in my 38th year of my life?
What did I do so bad that I deserved this?

I didn't know it at the time, but He was just scaring me enough, so I would listen with all of my heart.

Not like all the times before,
when I listened to Him until I was satisfied at the results in my life, and then went about living it my way.

He wanted me this time, to go the full hundred yards, not dropping the ball.

That night in the hospital, I was woken up by His Spirit and the nurses alot.
I made God a promise, that if I could have one more chance, I would live out the rest of my years on earth for Him, being I lived the first 38 for me.
I had said this many times before, but this time it came from a place far deep inside my soul,that I didn't even know I had.

The prayer I said to Him was really different than all the rest, that I can't even explain it.
And this time,
I knew somehow it was going to be different.

Through God's strength, it was going to be different.

The day after, the doctor came by my hospital room and confirmed that I would be able to make a full recovery, although it was going to take alot of therapy.

He said,
"Take this is a warning. It is time to make some changes."
Quit smoking, diet change, and other things. I had been a smoker since I was 14 years old.
  This alone was going to take a miracle.
  This same lecture was given to me by random nurses, who I seen the Spirit of God living in,
speaking directly to me.

I took it all in, listening with all of my heart.

When I was released the next evening, the doctor asked me if I wanted him to write an order for the nicotine patch to help me. I told him no. If I was going to do this, I wanted all of my strength to come from leaning on God.

That evening when I got home, I asked my wife, of 20 years, to pray with me for the Holy Spirit to come into my life.
Something I had never done with her in our 22 years together, pray.

Oh, the chains that came loose!

But, it still seemed to me that there was more He wanted me to receive.
I felt this before, but still felt I needed more.
I asked my wife to call a couple of life long friends of ours to come help us pray for the Holy Spirit to come into my life and take over.
"The Reinforcements" arrived.
We visited a little while and then Brother Dennis said let's pray.
Brother Dennis, his wife, my wife, and my son began to pray.

And Oh my!
I felt a fire coming out of me from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head.

I began crying, sobbing, and my muscles weakened.
It was like someone was ringing my whole body out like a cheap sponge.
After minutes of this, it stopped and I was left weak, but amped up at the same time.
I began to say to my friends how awesome it was, but I still didn't get the gift of speaking in tongues.

They all began laughing and said,
"Oh boy, but you were speaking in tongues!"

I began giggling out loud, because I never knew I had spoke in the Spirit. 
That's why this time felt so different than any other.
I truly released, for the first time in my life, all the things that I thought I let go of many times.
The chains of bondage were finally cut and melted down.

It would take an entire book to explain my life and all the things that had kept me bound, so I'm not even gonna try.

The important thing is, I was finally free!

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace
~~Lyrics of Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone, by Chris Tomlin

The next few weeks were going to be a challenge, from learning how to wait on the right side of my body to move seconds after my brain commanded it to, to simply going to the bathroom. 
I had many things to reteach myself.
I am a brick mason by trade, so I am used to being very coordinated.
Let's just say, alot of tears were shed just trying to do the simple things, such as walking the dogs, shaving, brushing my teeth, and cooking myself an egg, much less using my tools.

But, with God's strength I was able to endure, and things started to repair themselves.

Then the fear of,
 "Oh my God, my bills! What am I going to do?" entered my mind.

I began praying and He simply answered,
"Let Me work."

I seen my wife, who is always very faithful, worrying more than she should, and I told her,
"There is nothing we can do.  We need to rely on God and only God.  He knew this stroke was going to happen. He will take care of us."

So, we prayed, and comforted each other, knowing we had only what we started this relationship with 22 years ago, God and our love for Him, and one another.

And without asking for help from anyone but God, the next day things started to happen.

A job, that I could take my time with, came into my lap after a year of not getting a call for a side job, that I would have no choice but to go slow with, and slowly be able to rebuild my skills, had come through.
I could do it without anyone around to get embarassed with.
  I could take my time and reteach myself.

Someone went into our bank and paid out our land mortgage.

We were blessed with enough money to make up for my time lost at work, through a friend and the generosity of her place of her employment.

We were blessed with groceries to get us by, from another wonderful friend we knew through my wife.

Every day something new.
Ever day another blessing.
Again, never asking anyone but God to take care of us, and knowing that He would.

Our church stepped forward and paid our electric bill.

Some awesome people in our church stepped forward and offered to take care of Christmas for me and my family.

It was all so much to take in.
Our lives were touched by God in so many different ways.
And I know, I am leaving out alot of blessings, but there are so many to mention.

Through our prayers, God showed His love through people I didn't really know at all.

But, this showed me that they didn't have to know me, they just had to know God, who led them to help His son,
their brother in Christ,
who called on the Father for help from the inner most part of his soul.

There are other blessings that came, such as healed relationships with my children, that are far too much to mention.


for the first time in my life,

I can truly say that I have felt the love of a True Father that I have longed for my entire life!

And now that I have found it,

I never want to let it go!

This by far,
is the true meaning of Christmas, and the best one in all of my 38 years.

Thank you Jesus and Happy Birthday!

To anyone reading this, who is heavy hearted by my story, please don't let God have to scare you this much, to realize His love for you.

He is ready to come into your life as soon as you are willing to let Him.

Blessed be the Lord!

Love to all my brothers and sisters.

Merry Christmas!

Frankie Stelly

*Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts!

Romans 10:13
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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