Year of the Shepherd
Our year at Shulamite Ministries was shared in these ways:
Shulamite.com ~ the home page of all we are about.
Getalongwithgod.com ~ the intimate journey of disciples.
Shulamitepodcast.com ~ discovering God anew together in Body life.
ReadMk.com ~ our regularly updated collection of Martha’s writings.
The Year of the Shepherd
For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven…
Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV
In January 2014, I heard someone say in a sermon, “Last year was a wash, a terrible year. I want to get rid of last year (2013). Let’s just throw last year out and start with a new year.”
Oh, I was so grieved. I wanted to object and say, “Wait! You can’t throw out a year of your life. You can’t discard God’s story in the making! You will miss Him and you will lose you!”
The worth of your life is not whether you were happy, whether you got your dream or even if your worst nightmare suddenly appeared. The worth of our living is coming to know Christ through every experience and segment of time.
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly].
Philippians 3:10 AMP
The Wonders of His Person! Paul’s goal became his contentment in the upheaval and shocks of life. To know Christ is a purpose that takes you beyond suffering, outside crisis and into a realm of what is Real. You can see the unseen if you look for Jesus. You can know the unknown if you listen to His voice of Wisdom for your times.
If ever I had a year to discard it was 2014. In that terrible and amazing year, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Tale of Two Cities).
THE WORST OF TIMES
I have told the story in Get Along With God, so I’ll be brief. My husband had been stricken with a rare debilitating disease. We lived on the edge of crisis every day for a whole year, starting in October 2013. I lost count of the times we rushed to the emergency room. I have no concept of how many days we spent in the hospital. His suffering was terrible and unrelenting. Life as we knew it seemed to have ended permanently.
THE BEST OF TIMES
Yet we were wrapped in a cocoon of God’s love and kindness. I was carried by an energy and endurance beyond me. Prayer went up constantly from the Shulamites and you dear saints, who live far and wide. At the end of the year, his doctor said to me, “Your husband is a miracle.” His recovery to a very normal life is as rare as the disease.
My daughter’s cancer was the shock of the year. At our first meeting to pray for her, we were absolutely assured by the Spirit that she would live a long life and be fully healed. And she was! In that process, the beauty of her spirit glowed as her need for Christ increased. We spent lovely hours together with the Lord, some of the most special times of our lives.
The Best and Worst was not over. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the first of November. Mine is the Lord’s body, the solution was the Lord’s decision and He sent me to the best of the medical world. The Lord carried me like a lamb through the short four-week process, at the end of which I was declared cancer free, with a 90% chance of never having cancer again.
I have named 2014 “The Year of the Shepherd.” We lacked for nothing. We went through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ without dying and since ‘God was with us,’ we experienced only Life, Protection, Victory and even…a melting awe of gratitude for the ‘wonders of Christ.’
The incredible family of Shulamite Ministries, all you supporters – far and near – shared our burden and bore our suffering with us, spiritually, practically and without wavering. Day after day. You prayed us through for months and months. You all, my heavenly family, lived and proved the faithfulness and love of Jesus was living and powerful, utterly real in you. We Kilpatricks and Nortons all will rejoice at your future reward!
The following is what I wrote in our blog about it, at the end of the story of ‘the best and worst of times.’ This is my certainty, my joy and my hope for all of you who so faithfully keep us alive and ‘on the air!’
God bless you with this proclamation from Psalm 23:6, which we lived fully in 2014 and know to be eternally sure!
Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow us all the days of our lives, and through the length of our days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be our dwelling place.
All because Jesus really is the Good Shepherd!