Today I want you to meet my sweet, funny, amazing cyber-friend, Rachel Wojnarowski. Her story is one of God’s redeeming grace and the choice she’s made to chase after His plans and hold onto His hope — with all that she has in her.
I grew up in a wonderful Christian home with fabulous Christian parents. We were faithful to church and I graduated from Christian school. I went on to Christian college and completed the circle by teaching in a Christian school. My future husband was a “preacher boy” and when we married, the plan was that he would take a youth pastor position wherever God led. Only after we married, he had serious doubts about his calling and stopped attending church all together.
After two years of marriage, a precious daughter was born to us via emergency c-section. She experienced oxygen deprivation and required resuscitation, but she lived. Three years after Taylor’s birth, I discovered that her father had been having an affair essentially four of the five years we were married. In spite of that great protective environment I’d always known, and being faithful to God’s house, sin had erupted my “perfect” life and my marriage to this man didn’t withstand. Bad choices were made by both parties and we divorced.
In spite of all the pain and loss of the “perfect” life, God brought a solid Christian man into my life and He has given us a wonderful story of grace and redemption. But in the midst of Matt and I falling in love, my dearest mom fell severely ill, diagnosed with a rare type of anemia. Two months later the diagnosis was changed to leukemia and she lived just six short months after that. Mom was the strongest, most faithful Christian I’ve ever personally known; she was my best friend.
During my divorce and my mom’s death, the discovery process for Taylor’s developmental delays became more intense. Doctors often blamed the delays on her lack of oxygen at birth. But in my heart, I knew there was more to her issues. Nine months after my mom’s death, the diagnosis for Taylor came through: MPSIIIB, a rare, genetic metabolic disorder which causes gradual neurological degeneration. The average life span is 10-15 years and there is no cure, or even a treatment.
Upon receiving Taylor’s diagnosis, my walk with the Lord became intense. I did just what Renee talked about this week in chapter four. I asked all the why’s and the how’s. I wanted God to spill out His plan for my life in one day.
But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.
Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.
While God has richly blessed Matt and me with a beautiful family and more blessings than we can count, Taylor’s disease has not changed. Every day is by faith, that God would have His will for her life and ours.
Each day we claim His promises and make the choice to run towards His plan.
Rachel, your story has changed me. The first time you shared it in an email, I got Holy goosebumps up my spine, down my arms and into my toes! Your journey of choosing hope through your past and into the present brought tears to my eyes. I’m inspired by your faith and your surrendered life. To be broken daily, like bread, held up (like loaves and fishes) as an offering of God’s of love and mercy. You my friend are beautiful – inside and out.
And here are some behind-the-scenes “only Jesus knew” details: I didn’t know Rachel’s story. When God prompted me to ask her to be a guest I wasn’t sure what part of my book she’d write about. But HE did! How precious is our Jesus? He knew we needed to hear her story and be strengthened by the way she has chosen courage and one-day-at-a-time steps of faith. The way she is choosing to walk out hope gives us all a picture of what it looks like to live the message of chapter 4 with Jesus. Thank you, Rachel!!
Connecting in Community & Today’s Giveaway: What is God speaking to your heart through Rachel’s story? Also, is there anything from the questions He’s given us for the end of Chapter 4 you’d want to share? I’d love for us to connect here and talk about it.
Rachel has just released a new Ebook, The Scent of Prayer and she is giving away 5 copies to 5 of you randomly drawn on Monday from the comments left below today’s post. Just click “share your thoughts” and do just that.
About Rachel: Rachel is originally a small town country girl who converted to a suburban mother of seven by way of life happening. She and her husband, Matt, enjoy caring for their busy family, whose ages span 9 months to 21 years and includes a special needs daughter. Rachel leads community ladies’ Bible studies in central Ohio and serves as an event planner and speaker for special needs parenting groups. She is a member of the Ohio Writers’ Guild and the National MPS Society; and loves to inspire others through her blog by sharing faith, family, and fun. Wife, mom, reader, writer, speaker and dreamer, you can find Rachel on Twitter and Facebook.
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Carol H. says
Commenting late… (I’m behind in my reading).
This sentence from Rachel struck me:
“I wanted God to spill out His plan for my life in one day.”
That is so what i’ve been doing! Thanks for this realization. One day at a time – surrender!
Thank you to all the Ladies who posted their thoughts, and to Renee and Rachel for your inspiring stories. I became a Christian just 10 months ago and I’m 52. I purchased A Confident Heart when it came out in July, but it wasn’t until yesterday after I was drawn to read these post that I started to actually read the book. I spent 4 1/2 hours reading and answering questions…it was amazing. Then when I woke up this morning, I was back in fear; so now I am going to start on Chapter 4. Fear runs me and ruins me, and what I got from all of your writings is that I must have God in my heart all the time, not just in the morning or at bedtime. Thank you so much for opening my heart and my mind.
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Blessings to you, dear Laurie!
Lillie Daily says
Trusting in God on a daily basis is the only way to be strengthen and grow our faith in Him.
Thanks for sharing such a heart warming and thought provoking story.
As I read through your blog posts in response to this week’s reading, I am reminded of Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).
I have gone through many storms in my life, and am presently in the middle of one now. I am just now realizing that in these times, I must turn to God. I had grown so accustomed to turning to my friends, family etc for support, that I neglected to turn to God. I compared my walk with God to others’ appearance of relationship with Him and found that I just didn’t measure up. I had doubts about my own ability to be used by God, and to allow Him to love me. I couldn’t conceive of that kind of love, the kind that allows storms to happen to be brought closer to Him until recently. This is a battle I am still fighting, because for me, these realizations come when it seems no one else is there.
Reading this book for a second time with such a group of women has helped me to realize that I had turned away from God and began to focus on others’ thoughts of me, and how I measured in response to those thoughts and perceptions. When I have those doubts, I must turn TO God, rather than AWAY from His prescence. The enemy would like nothing more than to isolate me and sift me as wheat using thoughts that he himself planted in my mind to trap me. As Renee Swope stated, I have to strive and work daily to turn my focus to God, change my focus. I have to work that much harder to focus my thoughts on Him and His purpose for my life. For me, that means deleting negative thoughts, things and yes, people. This is a journey, but I am more than willing to walk it out.
I would love to read your book. I attended a retreat this weekend and the power of prayer has touched me. I know God hears and has plans for us all. I want to grow in my prayers.
Amazing story and the book looks like it will be a good read too. I pray the Lord continues to give you strength and years with your daughter. Lord Bless
Jennifer Klemple says
Loved reading Rachel’s story. It blessed me so much!
D'ana H. says
God’s plans are perfect for those He has called His own. He created each of us – fearfully & wonderfully! I am touched by your story – I cannot fathom your immense pain, discouragement, fear, loss – but I can tell you that you’ve blessed my heart by sharing. You’ve also helped me to remember to be ever so thankful for the health and blessings of my loved ones and myself! God bless you sister!
Thank you Rachel for sharing your story of faith and hope. It really touched where my need is today. God Bless.
Leigh F says
Your story is so encouraging.
Stephanie Hernandez says
What a great testimony. I also have a daughter with mental disabilities. We are now in the teen years and facing new challenges, esp. socially. It is so hard sometimes seeing her struggle, but I also know that God is in control. He has made her just the way she is and for a specific purpose and reason. I daily trust God for His will to be done in her life. (not always easy) One thing I know for sure… she loves Jesus. That blesses my heart more than anything! 🙂
Wow, what an amazing story. I’d love to win and read your new book. Blessings to you.
Such an amazing story of how God can turn things around for those that choose to follow after Him!! This Sunday our Pastor preached on closing/locking one door before opening/unlocking another door. If we have too many doors open at one time that gives the enemy a way to steal from us. We have to lock the door to the enemy so he doesn’t have any open doors to sneak in to attack us. That’s what this story brought to me as I read it. God bless you and your family!!
Vanessa Wynn says
Even through the midst of our troubles, He is there. All we have to do is trust Him for today, as you have done. You do have an inspiring message and I’m thankful that you have shared with us! Bless you and your beautiful family!
Suzanne G. says
When my husband fell ill in 2007, he was so sick….couldn’t hardly walk on his own. He eventually was diagnosed with double lymphoma (and is now in remission), but I have an entry written in my journal that I wanted The Lord to heal him, but I also didn’t want the ‘closeness’ I felt with The Lord to go away. We went forward with 5 difficult years, looking back it is evident that He carried us through. On theother side it is easy to see how we were carried, but when we are in the middle of the storm, sometimes all we can do is cling on to Him for survival. Rachel, thank you for sharing your story. What a blessing! Through these testimonies of God’s faithfulness we all can be encouraged:)
Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. It blessed and convicted me…in my pity party moments, I used to think I’d be better off today if only I’d been raised in a Christian home. Or if I’d had thisnthingor that person… hearing your story reminds me that no matter where we are, God is there. Thank you for writing about taking daily steps of faith. Thank you for reminding me that God sees us and will restore us. You have such a beautiful family and I pray you stay encouraged! God Bless You!!!
WOW…thank you so much for sharing your story. It has encouraged me so much and I read your story in just the right time. Today out of all days, I felt so alone, raising my two girls and then thinking back in 2009, I was also confronted with Divorce and then the death of my mother. I thank God for allowing this story to cross my path. Thank you so much and blessings to you and your family!
Renee Swope says
Hi sweet friends, I’ve been popping in and out this weekend, reading and praying a ton. So thankful that God carved out time for you to come and read Rachel’s powerful story of God’s grace and strength in the storms of life – past, present and future.
I had hoped to be more interactive with notes, but I ended up getting really sick. Finally went to the Dr yesterday and I have bronchitis. BUT it’s been so neat to see you all sharing and interacting with Rachel. That has meant the world to me – thank you for loving on her and Rachel – thank YOU for being such a sweet ambassador of His love and truth. So thankful to have this chance to minister with you!!
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Hey there! Thanks for having me; my privilege for sure. Praying for you to feel better STAT!
Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is such an inspiration to hear from someone like you who has been through so much and yet loves God all the more. It is clear you have put your trust in Him and your heart is overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rachel, thank you so much for your story and for reminding us: “that through His Word, God (has taught me)is teaching us that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.” And that we all must,
follow this “Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.” Your story is an inspiration to me, because I am going through a difficult situation similar to your, with not knowing what each day will bring (my husband has been out on work mans comp, since January – are we are continuing to deal with workman’s comp with them trying to decide if they will pay for an amputation that is needed due to his injury in which diabetic ulcers accord due to the injury). So we have been waiting now over 30day w a visit to his regular doctor , 1 workman’s comp doctor and now another workman’s comp doctor tomorrow (Monday). Then it could be another 30 days till they make a decision on his case. I need to remind myself daily, God is in control and I need to continue to have faith each day no matter what obsiticles we have .
continuing….. I have decided to write your saying: “that through His word God is teaching me that faith is not only a one-time decision, it is an everyday decision, and that I must continue to trust His plan for my everyday life for it is equally as important as trusting Him for my eternal life. Amen, God Bless sister in Christ with love
Rachel Wojnarowski says
You go Girl! So many promises to claim to go alongside it. Without meaning to spill the beans, I just can’t wait for this online study of Renee’s to get to chapter 12. You need a promise to claim? FANTASTIC guide in chapter 12. Ok, sorry. Now everyone is going to be peeking ahead. Move back to chapter 5, Girls. We’re getting there! 😉
I have enjoyed the Confident Heart this past month, awesome. The fact that we all have hurts, pain, disappointments . But I am surprised how many of us deal with depression. A tool the devil can use to hinder us. But with God all things are possible and we can rise above that with the verse Ps. 138:8 He will perfect that which concerns us. That is a one on one promise for confidence that He is really closer than anyone else and that He care so much and wants our love, respect and fellowship. A blessed time with Him. However some days are easier than others but for every valley there a two mountains so we can keep on climbing till we reach Him on that grand and glorious day.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your story…
The first thing that came to mind reading it is that no matter how hard things get, God is always with us. Some turn away from God because of trials and tribulations, but others run to Him to see us through the dark places we encounter this side of heaven…
Rachel / Renee, precious sisters in the Lord. Thank you for reminding me today that faith is a decision each and every day. I was recently diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. It’s only through my confidence in the promises of God’s Word and sisters and brothers in Christ who encourage me as you have today with this message that gives me the faith to believe that He knows everything about me and goes before me in the unknown. He’s given me a precious Word to cling to from Psalm 56:3 ~ When I am afraid, I will trust in Him.
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Lord Jesus, Thank you so very much for Debbie. I pray that You would show her Your awesome power and love through this time of her diagnosis and fear. Give her unfathomable peace in the midst of the storm and help her continue to cling to Your Word. Debbie, added your name to my prayer journal. Bless you for clinging to the Word!!
I know this has been on several people’s comments… But Oh it is so TRUE!!! “Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him fro your eternal life.” He has a plan for my every minute and I need to continually let go. Rachel thank you for being so transparent and honest. I pray God continues to bless you!
Michelle Cornthwaite says
Hi Rene, I spent last night reading chapter 4 and cried right through, it seems God has a great job to do in my life and your book is exactly where my life is, yes- thanx ONE DAY AT A TIME
❤ I am from South Africa so it is still Sunday night here, I guess it is already “tomorrow” by you❤
Does South Africa apply for the E book
God Bless You x
Jenny Mabe says
Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing your story. Its amazing how God always works things out to our good. Very encouraging and inspiring. The key is trusting in God during the good times and in the bad times. I’ve has to learn lately to trust God because trusting in man will lead to disappointment and heartache.God bless you and your family.
Susan M. says
Thank you Rachel for sharing, I am dealing with a son who has crohns and none of the infusions are working and we go day by day with faith that God is taking care of us day by day and we wait to see what His plans are for the future. We put our trust in God and the doctors He sends us to help us get him off the prndisone which has damaged his body so, I continue to pray and trust Him and wait. It has been 4yrs now and I have seen HIs loving hand help us so much and lead us. Now I pray for God to change my sons heart to see HIs love for him and not to blame Him for having to have an ileostomy performed to bring relief for the disease.
Thank you, Rachel and Renee- God speaks to us in the everyday and your calling to share His story in your lives breathes out comfort and encouragement to so many. Thanks for being His voice to those who need to hear today. Blessings!
Loretta Pearson says
What a testimony of Gods GRACE! I’ve found God’s healing is to be shared so we give others the hope we have received from God.
rebecca rodriguez says
Rachel,thank you for sharing your story. I will be praying for you and your family. While reading this the Lord showed me that no matter what the He has given us in our life good and bad. We have a choice to either to trust and grow in Him or to just give up and not care. I pray the Lord gives me strength to give him all the glory and trust Him to make me strong.
Blessings, this story is powerful for most mothers, it touch me deeply cause i past nine months thinking i was pregnant and learned after all my prengnant friend had their baby that found out they was pregnant after me, and still for me nothing i was constantly checking with the dr.’s here trying to findout whats wrong but all the keep saying is that sonogram shows nothing there. I prayed every day asking God is this Your mirical child i dont understand, i had all the synthoms and growth even the dr’s was surpise each time i went to them, when i could not take it anymore i travel to SDQ and visit two dr.’s that gave me the same results they said appearently you had either a miscaurage and your mind and body refused to accept it or your desire to be prenant and psycologicly because so, the hardest part is til this day with kids, church and work friend i dont have an answer of what happen. today i would have been hold a two month baby girl or boy in my hand but guess what my timing and God’s was not the same. i just have to keep holding on to faith that God has bigger plans for me, mothers day was hard also but God is in control, we can always count on Him to steping at the right time, trust me i was very angree with Him felt shame, imbarest, hearing my pastor speak words towards my situation, not much friend speaks to me and on top of all i have to speak to a shrink that thinks i was not stable because i was speaking to God, that God dont speak with anyone. after awhile i stop going to see him to get back on track, lots has happen end i still walks with faith in God that He leads our way, i will keep you and your family in my prayer may God continues to bless you in Jesus name.
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Dear Jesus, I pray for my friend, Angie. Could you please send help her way? She’s tired of this journey and we’d love it so much if You would provide someone to assist her in her walk of faith. I also pray that You would give her the sense of Your presence and she would know she can trust You. Help her to stay in Your Word and thank you for her sweet spirit. Amen.
Thank you and God Bless
I am a parent that has been through parental alienation this past year and It has made my faith stronger!! Hope you pick me!
Such an inspiration to live and walk faithfully day by day!!!!! Thanks for the reminder that we must make that daily decision, and to be praying for HIS will in our lives. Will keep your daughter and your family in our prayers. Thanks for sharing your story with us!
Pat T says
Thank you for sharing your story with us. What encouragement you have been for each of us you have read this. We all experience struggles and I try to be a “good Christian”, but God does not want us to be good, but to love Him unconditionally and always strive to be confident in Him. Renee you are a very strong encouragement as well. By sharing your story, you have helped me grow in my desire to be closer to God.
Kristi Stirler says
My oldest son was diagnosed with a benign pituitary tumor 3 years ago…almost 3 years to the day my 2nd son had a brain bleed. My 2nd son is fine, my 1st has ongoing medical issues that will last forever. I have asked God why so many times! The last time I had a really bad day, crying out to God His answer was why not you? Trusting that God will be there every day is hard, trusting that He has a plan for our lives is a daily journey that I mess up on a lot. It happened recently when my husband lost his job and now we are without insurance for the kids. Part of me went through panic mode, another part of me went into survival mode, another part of me wants to lean on Him. It’s a daily journey but your words this week have been all about how I need to daily turn my cares to Him. Thank you!!
Rachel Wojnarowski says
oh Kristi! My heart goes out to you. I have to tell you that not only is leaning on Him a daily necessity; there have been days where I had to ask hour to hour and minute to minute due to the wild ride of circumstances. He wants to be your peace in the midst of the storm. I added you and your boys to my prayer journal. Blessings, dear one.
Thank you so much for sharing your testimony Rachel. You have shown the marvelous grace that God gives us when we trust in Him. Thank you for being the precious Christian woman that has given so much to others. Great is your reward……
Sherry Smith says
Thank you for sharing your story. I follow you on Facebook, but did not know your story or the depth of your faith. God bless you.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your story, it was a blessing. The big picture that God has a plan for each of us is so awesome but equally awesome is knowing that he is present daily and walks beside us. I have to remind myself that he is right beside me when fear and anxiety come. Thanks again for your honesty and your strength.