As a former missionary to Mali, today’s faith stalwart has experienced many lessons regarding His strength working in her weakness. While in Africa, Joanna Parham‘s youngest son, Ryan received 3rd degree burns over 40 percent of his body. Because of their remote location, it was four days before they could reach Parkland hospital in Dallas. Ryan was in burn care for almost 10 years and has had over 30 surgeries.
After the medical evacuation out of Africa, Joanna’s marriage began to feel the stress of the crisis. Soon, the pain and sorrow of divorce followed.
Sit with Joanna, a single mom of four, as she describes her most recent crisis – a financial one.
“My van dying was a crisis and nothing about the news was pleasant, bright or sunny.
“Although Isaiah 45:3 is one of my favorite verses, I don’t instantly search for treasures when I fall into darkness.
“Instead, I try to figure out how to turn on some light. Problem is, I can’t find a light switch because it is too dark.
“How would we know what light is except that we know what darkness is? Jesus isn’t afraid of the dark; actually He has hidden many treasures for us there, so often He gives us dark.
“Feeling totally alone and defeated, I call a spiritual mentor and confess every conceived sin and compromise in my life; maybe I’m the cause of my darkness!
“I don’t ask her how to find a car; I ask her how to rid myself of these things that make me feel like a failure. She assigns me a plan: get rid of ALL piles and clutter. She says it causes me stress, is a source of constant condemnation, makes feel like a failure, which then makes me overeat!
“Don’t organize it or try to sell it, just box it up and get it out!”
“I wouldn’t have this stuff if I knew how to get rid of it!” I put my head down and cry, “I don’t know how to get out of this darkness.”
“First, it was an email, then a text. Next, I saw a quote, heard a song, found a verse. Light began to trickle in.
“A friend “happens” to drop by and gives me a book on organization, simplicity, and ordered thinking.
“Sitting on my bed, I wiped away my tears and begin working on my new strategy.
“I meet a new prayer partner, who just happens to be leading a new study called, “Foods by God”.
“Another phone call, “Joanna, are you in need of a car? My husband and I have an old van we don’t need, you can just have it!”
Light, goodness and mercy replace the darkness.
Before my mom died, she told me, “Joanna, whenever you find yourself in the darkness and it seems like God is so very far away from you, know that He is actually very near! He has spread His feathers over you and He pulled you very close to His side. Under the wing of the LORD, it is very dark.”
Are you in the dark today? What are you going to do about it?