CBN’s Helping the Homefront celebrates lives changed for those families serving to keep America safe.
“Hey, I'm Anthony Evans. I am a worship leader and author, and a producer from Dallas, Texas. I'm also a preacher's kid, which some of you may know. My dad, his name is Dr. Tony Evans.
It was hard for me. And it wasn't just because my parents were pastors. It was the pressure that came along with being that. Because I would hear people say, you know, oh my gosh, you're Tony Evans Jr. Are you going to be just like your dad? People would say that to me all the time. And they just thought they were saying something fun and passing, and they had no idea. It felt like they were put giving me a cinder block to hold while I was treading water.
I spent most of my younger years, most of my childhood hurting internally while projecting that I was okay to my family and my close friends. That is what made being a preacher's kid a little bit hard for me, and then how I was built. I'm a very emotional person. But, as a kid, I didn't understand these floods of emotions that I would have all the time, and I didn't know how to deal with them. So, I would internalize them.
Growing up it was kind of like, 'Have you prayed about it?' And I'm like, yeah. I mean, what do you mean? 'Have you read this verse? Have you?' And the thought of adding anything to that, to prayer and reading God's word is like, almost came off to me like blasphemous to think that you could get additional help reading the verse, be anxious for nothing. Like that's amazing. I need practical tools on how to be anxious for nothing. So, that's what held me back, was thinking maybe there's something wrong with my spiritual life.
There’s, there's so many instances. I just remember, one time being on stage, having just gone through a broken engagement, and singing about the faithfulness of God. I just felt crazy standing up there at that point singing what everlasting God, or, you know, faithful rises way upon the Lord. So, I, in between songs, I started telling this audience all my business. I mean, I'm sure at some point they were like, we just came to worship. Like, stop telling us all this, it's too much. But I was, I was broken. I, and autopilot was no longer going to work. It was not going to work. There was going to be a crash if I did not address it. So, I remember walking off that stage and going and sitting with my father and being like, I got to do something here because this is, this is no longer going to work for me.
When I met my current therapist, Stacy Kaiser, I was actually in a place of desperation. What really got me on the road to recovery was a meeting with Stacy, she just stopped the session, stopped all the kind of clinical stuff, and she goes, 'Okay, hold it. I just want you to know that I am sitting here from you, and I feel like I'm supposed to tell you that God is with you in this. And I have never seen somebody as covered as you are.' If a pastor would've told me that, I would've been like, yeah, of course. I mean, God's covering, but for her to tell me that, it was... it was different. And that's what started my true road to healing. Because for some reason I believe that while you're in the mess, God's not with you. It's get yourself together and then God will be with you. And she stopped that session to say, 'No, no, no, no. God's with you in this and He wants to walk each step with you as you get yourself together.'
Super, super freeing. Absolutely, that changed everything.
You know what? I actually like who I am today. My former self didn't know the true value of me without doing something for it. My former self didn't understand the concept of being accepted without having to perform for it.
Do you like living with yourself? And if you don't, there is a master renovator who is ready when you give Him the keys, now you got to do the work. But when you give Him the keys, He will come in and start to do renovations that will make you so happy to live with yourself.
If you trust what the Lord says that He's going to finish what He started, there will be a renovation that happens very soon if you stick to it, that will be so worth the pain you're facing now.
'God, I pray, Lord, that their hearts right now would be encouraged that they would not feel alone. That, You would show them what the next step is and that You will remind them that one step in the right direction followed by another will end you up in the place that you want to be. Thank You so much for Your provision in our lives and Your peace and Your healing that you promise to bring. We love you with all that. We are in Your name we pray. Amen.'”
“I didn't like seeing her like that. She is the glue to our family.” Ruben Perez remembers the day it happened. It was November 9th, 2021. After visiting family in El Paso, he and his wife, Rachel, had arrived at the airport to catch their flight home to Virginia.
“He was pulling our carry-on bag and my foot somehow hit the side of the carry-on bag,” Rachel recalls. “And I fell. I turned slightly sideways because I didn't want to fall backwards and hit my head. But I noticed my shoulder and my hip were hurting.”
After they got home, the pain in her Rachel’s hip subsided. The pain in her shoulder was a different story.
“It just kept getting worse. It got to the point where I couldn't raise my arm up at all,” Rachel says. “And stretching for things was extremely difficult.”
Ruben agrees. “I had to help her with her hair, because she couldn't lift up her arm to do that. Quite a few things that she just couldn't do.”
“I could not lift the laundry basket,” Rachel adds. “I couldn't even move a pan from the stove. I had to use both hands, or I'd ask Ruben to lift this for me, reach that cup for me, do this for me. I mean he had to help me get dressed. I have hobbies that I enjoy doing, and I couldn't do them.”
For the next couple of months, Rachel lived in constant pain. Over-the-counter pain medications only helped temporarily.
“She was always hurting,” Ruben says. “I could tell. She wasn't her happy self. I didn't like seeing her like that.”
At one point, she talked to a friend who is a physical therapist.
“I knew my arm wasn't broken,” Rachel says. “I knew there was nothing that basically they could see on an x-ray or anything like that. And so, she gave me some exercises. But I still couldn't raise my arm. I still couldn't reach. It got so bad that I couldn't rest. I would get up at two, three in the morning and come downstairs, because I couldn't stay in bed if my shoulder was hurting. So, I would sit up, I would read my Bible.”
Then, on February 28th, 2022, Rachel was watching the 700 Club with her daughter, Elvia.
"I was hoping that they would mention somebody with shoulder pain. I kept saying, ‘Please pray for me.’ Rachel laughs, “and I heard Gordon on 700 Club say:"
‘I’m seeing someone with tremendous pain in the joint and back of the shoulder. God is able to restore, He’s able to heal, He’s able to completely get rid of that injury. All of the pain can leave you now and it is leaving you now. In the name of Jesus, be made whole.’
And I said, "Oh my gosh! He's talking about me.” Rachel laughs, "I said, 'I receive this healing. I receive it, Lord. I know this is meant for me.' I could move it, and it hardly hurt anymore,” Rachel continues. "It was just like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I told my daughter, 'Look, Elvia, I can raise my arm, I can raise my arm!' She got excited, too. We praised the Lord and gave all the glory to Him.”
When Ruben came home from work Rachel was waiting to share the news.
‘“She says, ‘Look, I can move my arm!’” Ruben recalls. “And as we spent that day, that evening together, I saw that she did move her arm and that she was still celebrating that it didn't hurt her anymore, thank God.”
The pain hasn’t returned since and, today, Rachel is back to her active life!
“Ever since then I've been able to do the things I couldn't do before,” Rachel notes. “I enjoy doing them again. And I feel that freedom.”
Ruben agrees. “Now she gets up happy – now she grabs her own mugs and her own plates and everything. I still try to help her, and she doesn't let me anymore. She still wants to be that independent woman that she's always been.”
“It's all due to the power of prayer," Rachel declares. “You have to have faith. You don't give up, and you do it all for the glory of God. You give Him the glory. Because He will heal you. He has done it for me, and He can do it for anybody.”
TRUE LOVE AND COMPLETION
“Madi,” as she likes to be called, has learned a lot about relationships in her 27 years. She admits that she, like many other young women, have looked for their identity in a relationship. “If I just had a significant other, I would feel whole and I have to follow my heart above all else. While there are obviously wonderful aspects of being with another person, these ideas aren’t the fullest expression of God’s love and calling for us,” she says. "We will never feel the security we crave if we try to build it on the quicksand of today’s version of love. But what about a love that is never changing, never failing, and never leaving? Isn’t that what we all want?”
When it comes to relationships, Madi says that we live in a world that tells us we need to find our partner to be truly happy, to complete us. She admits that we were made for love, but says for too long women have defined that as the love of a man. As a newlywed, she’s quick to say that Grant has added more laughter, joy, and fulfillment to her life than she thought possible. “But that’s the point: He’s added. He hasn’t completed.” She offers another perspective. “Here’s a healthier ideal: complementing. It says, ‘I don’t need you in order to be whole, but I want you because you add value to my life.’ Completing speaks to lack, complementing speaks to addition,” Madi clarifies.
LOVE IS BLIND
“It’ll get better once we get married. He’ll change. I see potential! My expectations are just too high.” These are some of the false notions Madi says people want to believe to make an unhealthy relationship work. “When it comes to relationships, we tend to have selective vision. We see what we want to see. We focus on their potential instead of looking at patterns displayed in their everyday life.” As to why we do this, Madi says, “I think it often comes down to fear. We’re afraid of the cold, hard truth. We’re afraid of what is on the other side of accepting the truth. We’re afraid to be alone or rejected.” She counsels that it is far better to face the truth, even if it leads us somewhere we don’t want to be for a while.
Madi points out a number of “red flags” to be cautious of when dating someone and sensing that things aren’t what they should be. “The red flags you tolerate or ignore at the beginning lay the groundwork for the kind of relationship you build,” she warns. Some of those warning signs (from a woman’s perspective, but of course apply to both) are:
• He Isn’t Healed from His Past.
“If a guy isn’t healed from past relationships, hurts, or addictions, it will create obstacles in your relationship and likely have a negative effect on you. And if he grows defensive, secretive, or deceptive when you ask a question about his past, he’s got baggage that you don’t want or need to take on.”
• You Are Dating for Who He Could Be and Not Who He is Now
“Don’t date someone’s potential,” Madi advises. “Don’t date someone that you hope will change. If he isn’t doing it now, what makes you think he will do it later? Relationships don’t change people; they reveal people.”
“How far is too far? If we don’t have sex before marriage, what if it’s bad in marriage? Is it bad to watch pornography? How do I deal with the shame for everything I’ve already done?” Madi made a firm stand not to have sex with the young man on The Bachelor, and received both praise and criticism for it. She’s taken much time to think through her convictions and answers all these questions, admitting her own struggles, and offering great grace no matter what one’s sexual past has included. “Here’s the thing – sex and all sexual acts were created to be experienced in the confines of marriage and to bring unity to the marriage. But when we experience them outside the covenant of marriage, they bring the opposite.”
Madi offers these words of advice: “If you are asking yourself, ss this too far? It’s too far. Don’t try to get as close to the line of impurity as you can. Try to get as close to purity as you can. Crossing the line of impurity or dancing beside it hinders your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband. Chasing purity and holiness with all you’ve got helps grow your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband.”
A few ways Madi offers to women to remain or return to purity are:
• Pray for forgiveness and confess for healing.
• Know your why. What’s your reason for having boundaries in the first place?
• Pre-decide your boundaries and tell someone. Decide before you’re in the heat of the moment.
• Surround yourself with godly friends – those who love you and love God even more.
• Feed the Spirit - What you feed and nurture grows.
• Pray for strength – What feels impossible is possible with God.
Purchase your copy of Madi's book, The Love Everybody Wants, here: www.TheLoveEverybodyWants.com.
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