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Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

That has been my prayer.  One of my favorite songs says, “….break my heart for what breaks Yours….show me how to love like You have loved me……everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause….”  I truly want to see the world as the Lord sees it and love others the way that He has and does love me.  Since I have started praying for this, the Lord has put me in situations to see Him minister to others and show me how we can minister to others.  Over the last two months I have gotten the privilege of people who are suffering under the trials of this world to share with me and I have seen how hard this life can be.  We were in the middle of all of the tornadoes in Alabama that came through and we drove up on houses where a tornado had just ripped people’s houses and lives apart and they were just standing with their hands on their heads in shock.  In trying to prevent a latino woman from having an abortion, I saw young women coming out of the abortion clinic crying because they had just had an abortion.  It was a sight that I think I will never forget and it broke my heart.

Now the question is, what do I do…. how do I respond to Him breaking my heart for what breaks His?  The first thought that comes to my mind is LOVE.  God loved me when I was unlovable.  He has given me hope in His love and His promises.  I have faith in His character.  He has granted me grace in my most difficult times to endure and even worship Him when the world thinks otherwise.  Therefore, I am to extend His love to others.  I am to share His hope and promises with others.  I am to share and teach others about His character so that they too can run to Him in their time of need.

My challenge to you – Will you open your eyes to see as He sees and love as He loves?  Will you allow Him to break your heart for what breaks His?  Will you help others by sharing the ultimate gift of salvation through Christ and not keep it to yourself?

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17  ” 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Please listen to this song and be challenged to love people right where they are and love them with the love that you have been given!!

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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Update and Prayer Requests

Hi guys!!  Whew!!!  What a busy whirlwind we have been in lately!!  I
apologize for not updating everyone in a couple of weeks.  We have
been tremendously busy!  We have over the past weeks met with new
churches, already supporting churches, possible future ministry
partners, spoke with around 300 AWANA children, I (Courtenay) attended
a women’s retreat with Kay Arthur and the women of Mt. Moriah, and
Jacob has even played in a couple of church softball games!  In the
middle of all of that, we have been doing home school and trying to
visit with friends and family!  We are currently in North Carolina at
a Church Planting seminar that will last until Thursday.

I tell you all of that to let you know that we really have appreciated
all of your prayers and we ask that you continue to pray for us…..
1.  We need energy.
2.  Quality rest when we can get it.
3.  Remembrance on my part to take my medicine – last week I forgot my
weekly dose of Methotrexate and I got in a lot of pain.
4.  We are attending a church planting seminar until Thursday
afternoon.  My parents are keeping the children and doing their home
school with them.
5.  We will be traveling on Friday to pick up the children and then
from there, we will drive to Mississippi.
6.  We are speaking Easter Sunday in Iuka, MS, then we will speak in
Alabama, then we will head back to SC probably on the following
Thursday.
7.  That we would share God’s love and grace with all of those that
the Lord places in our paths.
8.  As we share about the Lord’s work in Costa Rica and in our family
that others would be drawn to and/or closer to our Heavenly Father.

We love each of you and cherish your prayers,
Jacob and Court

Romans 15:4-6

4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,
so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the
encouragement they provide we might have hope.

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same
attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that
with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Have you ever really considered this verse?  Whatever means what?  Everything?  Perhaps.

That is how I am thinking of it.  Everything I do, I should do it all for God’s glory.  Before I left Costa Rica a young lady friend asked me, “Do you only listen to Christian music?”  And I replied yes.  I began to think on that.  And my reasons behind that.  Then thinking on my life…. Do I do all things as if I am trying to do it to bring God glory?  Quite a challenge.  I worship through music for His glory.  I assist others for His glory.  I live in Costa Rica and serve the Ticos, teams and my family for His glory….. but what about other things?  Little things?  Quite a challenge and I would extend that challenge to you as well.  Just to think about this mandate from Scripture.

That brings me to this weekend.  As many of you know, this time last year I was barely able to walk across a room.  When I walked, I walked very slowly and more of a waddle.  Last March we took the kids to CharlesTowne Landing and I had to have my kids and Jacob push me in a wheelchair to make it through the park.  When the Cooper River Bridge Run came around last year, I realized it was something I had heard of my whole life.  I always thought, “I am going to do it one day.”  And I wondered, “Is it too late?  Will I ever be able to walk like that again?”  My next appointment with Dr. Gary Gilkeson I asked him if he thought I would ever be able to do something like that again.  It was hard to even get the question out of my mouth and I was on the verge of tears anticipating his answer.  At that time, I was in physical therapy 3 times a week and I was relearning balance…. relearning to put my pants on without sitting down and lifting my legs up with my hands….. relearning and regaining strength in my legs, shoulders and arms.  When he replied that he thought I would be able to do that, I was relieved and shocked.  I hoped…. I dreamed…. but never would I have imagined that only 1 year later……

Cooper River Bridge

Cooper River Bridge

This past weekend was a major milestone for me….  Over this past year I have followed all instructions given to me by my doctors and taken all medicines prescribed.  And I walked and walked our driveway in Costa Rica.  But bigger than that, I had God encouraging me and lifting me and gradually taking my pain away.  There is no cure for dermatomyositis and interstitial lung disease.  Some people live with these diseases without ever being fully out of pain.  I had given my body to the Lord.  Followed instructions.  Left my progress and pain relief in His hands and His timing.    In God’s good timing and plan, He has used my doctors and modern medicine and really worked wonders in my body.  A couple of weeks after the last chemo infusion that I received on October 31st, I woke up one morning and realized I had NO pain.  I was in shock and praising God.  I was breathing easier and able to get around and do all of my everyday tasks so much easier.  God was so good and is so good to me!!

As we got closer to spring, I remembered my question to Dr. Gilkeson last year about the Cooper River Bridge race and realized that we were going to be in SC during the race and I knew immediately that I wanted to get in good enough shape to do it for God!!  I let my friends and family know my plans and asked if any wanted to join me.  Sure enough, my mom, sister Monica and friend Donna Porter wanted to join me.  We trained and practiced and all met up Friday to get set up for Saturday.  Saturday morning came and our goal was to finish the 10K in 2 hours.  We got up early and drove over to Mt. Pleasant.  We got into place and the race started.  As we finally got going, a little ways past the start line we saw a man on the side of the road having pacemaker problems and I thought, “Can I really do this?”  But pushed the doubt aside and pushed forward.  We walked and walked and walked.  Before I knew it, we were on the Charleston side of the bridge and the crowds were there cheering everyone on saying the finishline was right around the corner.  And then, there it was…. right there!!  The finishline!!  10K behind me!!  And not only did I finish, but faster than my goal of 2 hours.  We finished in 1 hour 49 minutes!!  Thank you Donna, Momma and Monica for doing this with me!  Many people were praying for me and us and I truly appreciate it.  God was honored and answered our prayers!!

I can honestly say that me doing that walk was not about me.  It was not about dermatomyositis and interstitial lung disease.  It was about God.  He is so amazing.  He has taken me from extreme pain and hardly mobile to no pain and able to walk 6.2 miles!  And even when I was in major pain over this past year and a half, He carried me.  He gave me grace to endure and persevere.  And He gave me the umph I needed to push through the pain and continue to workout and restrengthen my muscles and praise Him all the way.  He was the one that I wanted to walk for and do to bring Him glory so that others would see what an awesome God He is.

So that brings us back to our verse.  And my challenge to you and to myself is to do all the things we do daily for the glory of God….. making breakfast, washing clothes, disciplining children, being a serving/loving/helping spouse, employee, …….watching the sports game, shopping, spending money, giving money away….. all for His glory.  Tougher than it sounds.  What a big challenge in such a few words.

Here are some pictures from my big, glorious day walking the Cooper River Bridge for God’s glory 🙂

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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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End of March Update and Prayer Requests

Hi guys!!

It’s been another great week here in the States!!  All of our meetings and speaking arrangements have gone wonderfully!!  Highlights were the IABC Conference, speaking at Mt. Airy missions meeting, getting to see Dr. Gilkeson and meeting Will Browning!! Thank you for your prayers!!
This coming week’s activities include….
1.  My mom, sister Monica, friend Donna Porter and I are doing the Cooper River Bridge walk Saturday April 2nd.  This is to give glory to God for Him bringing my body so far in the last year that this is even possible!!  A year ago I could not hardly walk a block …. 6.2 miles would have been impossible!!  We have the dermatomyositis and the interstitial lung disease under control and we are praising God for this!!  This will be exciting and emotional all at once.
2.  We will be returning to the Upstate to share with the elders of Mount Moriah Baptist on Tuesday night and then Philadelphia Baptist on Wednesday night.
3.  In anticipation that my body handles me walking 6.2 miles on Saturday, I am going to attempt to go down on my Prednisone next week.
Thank you for keeping up with us and continuing to pray for us!
We love each of you!!
Court
Me and my love!
 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Our week with the World Racers!!

The World Race TeamWe had the privilege of working along side a team from the World Race this past week!  These young people spend 11 months in 11 different countries serving the Lord!!  It is a fantastic organization and this group represented their organization fabulously!!  We have experienced unusual cold temperatures in Costa Rica this week, however, we were still able to get a lot accomplished!!  The team shared their testimonies in the Bible studies in Cipreses and Santa Rosa!  They also did some planting with Jorge and also help dig out new irrigation for the new plants.  They also got to go the Victor and Melba’s house and visit and love on the children there!!  They also made us the welcome sign that you see in this picture!  This group just brought us so much joy and they expressed God’s love to everyone they came across with their joy!!  When I think of them, I just think of the joy of the Lord shining!!  🙂

You guys know how I love to cook and so I also cooked them a Christmas feast since they did not know for sure how they would be spending Christmas!!  I look forward to keeping up with these guys and seeing how the Lord uses their journey over the next 9 months!!

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful time of year when we can gather together and express all of the reasons that we are thankful to our Lord for His provisions!  He has not only provided for our physical needs and blessed us with wonderful families and friends, but He has supplied for all of our spiritual needs with the finished work of Christ on the cross to forgive our sins!  The thing that we are most thankful for!!

Here in Costa Rica, they do not have the Thanksgiving holiday, but we are celebrating none the less.  We are going to have a few tico friends over and I am going to attempt to cook an entire feast – including cooking turkey for the first time!!  We not only want to share with them this United States tradition of a big day of food and perhaps play some football americano, but also share with them how God has blessed us and how we owe Him everything for all that He has given us. 

God has truly blessed us with another year in Costa Rica of service for Him.  At this point, Jacob leads 11 Bible studies each week!!!  That is amazing and a huge answer to prayer!  The kids enjoy going with him to some of these and they enjoy playing soccer each week with the kids in Cipreses!!  The kids and I are enjoying homeschooling and I am thrilled with my health progress!!  In the last couple of weeks, I have been able to chase the kids around like I used to and play ball with them!  I am feeling better than I have in over a year!!  God is so good!

We have been so blessed by great friends and family that love us from a distance and continue to pray and support us!  Thank you so much!!  God is using you mightily here in Costa Rica, even though you are in the US.  We are praying for you as you pray for us!! 

Colossians 2:6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Here are some recent photos…

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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A Year of …. GRACE

What a day…. for that matter, what a year.  But I’ll start with today and go back.  We woke up to devastation from flooding here in Costa Rica.  It is reported that at least 20 have died because of landslides and flooding and many more are without houses.  Please be in prayer for our country.  While Jacob was helping Jorge repair our driveway and I was teaching the kids, I started getting a migraine.  Not much has helped relieve it and even while having that, I could not seem to sit still and rest.  So I sat down at my computer a couple of hours ago and opened my email.  Simple enough.  I noticed I had almost 900 emails in my Inbox, so I thought I am going to clean this out.  It was like a fun step back in time.  I was mostly delete happy, but occasionally a title would catch my attention and I would open it and walk down memory lane.  It went from preparing to leave SC in 2008, then to our year in language school and then to returning to the States for a brief trip and then back here to Costa Rica in fall of 2009…..

Then I came across an email to Johnny in December of 2009 and I decided to read it.  I was describing the fact that we had decided to bite the financial bullet and me go to the doctor here and then I described my symptoms. ….. It took my breath a bit…. all of the memories started to coming back of this past year….. I immediately remembered calling my parents on a Saturday morning probably right after that email and they were telling me they thought I needed to come back to SC to MUSC to be examined…. I yelled at them and fussed and carried on and told them no. (I cannot think of a time in my life that I had ever acted like that to my parents)  They said that MMBC leadership also thought I needed to return and so did their friend Dr. Joe John whom I had been talking to already asking his opinion.   I then proceeded to call Johnny and guess what, I fussed at him and I think I may have even yelled at him.  DIDN’T THEY REALIZE THAT NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME?  I WAS NOT COMING BACK TO THE STATES!!!  I then called Dr. John to fuss at him too.  🙂  (I hope that you all realize this is not my normal personality)  I will never forget that conversation with him.  As he was talking to me I started to cry.  He was right, perhaps I did need to return.   Dr. John, you were the one that got me to return.  Thank you…..

Back to the emails…. I started to go back to deleting them again.  I came across the one from Dr. John from the day after I fussed at him on the phone.  He was so kind and telling me that he had contacted a Dr. Gary Gilkeson, a professor of Rheumatology at MUSC who had agreed to see me as soon as I flew in.  I had no idea at that time what a huge blessing him sending me to Dr. Gilkeson was going to be…. My memories went to flying back and saying goodbye to my husband and kids and saying, “Mommy will be back in a week.  Everything is fine.”  I packed for 4 days.  I sat on the plane, honestly thinking, “Ok, so something might be wrong, but it will end up being small and I will be right back to Costa Rica by the end of the week.”  Looking out my window on the plane, praying, a rainbow followed outside my window the entire 4 hours finally disappearing into the sunset…. Got a call the next morning from Dr. Gilkeson and he saw me that day.  At that appointment I asked him if he knew I had come back to SC “kicking and screaming.”  He smiled and said that he had heard that  🙂  ….

Back to my emails…. I started rereading many of them after this….. I began to get very overwhelmed…. I am actually very overwhelmed right now as I write this….. I started noticing many things.  First, Dr. Gilkeson is a saint for putting up with a ton of emails and questions from me.  And he answered each one….. blessing, blessing, blessing…..   Then I started noticing that there were emails with 60, 70, 80 responses….  It was you guys…. I am weeping as I write that (wish I could give you all hugs right now)…. why?…. Because it is just so overwhelming to me how God has blessed me with so many people praying for me and loving me…. I began to reread some….. I had to stop….. I went to my bed, got in it, put on my iPod and began to weep….

All the memories of this past year started to rush back….. leaving my precious family here, Dr. Gilkeson explaining blood work, biopsy results,  medicines, my immune system, these diseases, being without Jacob and the kids, prayers, new friends, love, God’s love, God’s goodness, God’s power, God’s miracles, GOD’S GRACE.  Many people have said to me over this past year that I am some person special.  That I inspire them.  If that is the case, it is not me they are seeing.  I am just a person trying to live my life for the Lord.  HE, our God, is the one that gets all the credit for the person that you see.  HE is the One who has carried me.  HE is the One that has never left my side.  HE is the One that has kept every promise.  He is the One that has not allowed me to complain.  He is the One that kept me from not falling apart with my family in one country and me in another.  He is the One that held me together as I had to relearn to put pants on with my physical therapist Renee.  He is the One that did not allow me to get depressed over this whole past year.  He is the One.  He is the One.  He is the One…..

It is His Grace.  It has been a year of His Grace.  For without it…. can’t and don’t have to go there….  I can say that I am thankful for this past year.  I am thankful for these diseases.  I am thankful because I have been able to experience God in a way that I never have in my life as a Christian.  And I pray that somehow He will use it for His glory.  I go back to my Scripture verse that was on my heart during my last infusion….

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What does the future hold with dermatomyositis, interstitial lung disease and Courtenay?  I don’t know.  And I don’t need to know.  Because I have my God and Savior who will always be with me and THEIR GRACE is sufficient.  If you don’t have them, please click on our tab that says The Big Question.  Contact me or someone else that is a Christian that you trust.  He is there for you.

Me and the kids!! :)

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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