The stories below are an example of God's goodness and love for us. There are many stories like these within our White Stone body. If you have a story that you would like to share with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We serve such an awesome and unfathomable God. I would be utterly overwhelmed to try to write or even summarize all He has done in my life, even in the last few years! That being said, I’d love to share just a few of the ways He has grown me and blessed me lately. God currently has me attending a college in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Being a Catholic school far enough from home, it was tough to get used to not having some close friends nearby that had the same faith and values as I. Almost every single student there is Catholic, Muslim or Atheist. At the same time, I began to lose some of my closest friendships with believers at home. Through this, however, God led me to pour myself into His work, and He opened my eyes to the selfishness and faithlessness I was showing. I am not here to be served, but to serve. My Father has given me life, a relationship with Him, and a calling to be a living, breathing gospel to the world! When God reminded of this truth, everything in my life changed. To those who had treated me poorly, God let me see them through His eyes so I could pour love into them with joy. To those friendships that I had lost, God enabled me to forgive, pray for their walk in faith and grow to be a better friend myself. He revealed the purpose behind all He was doing in my life and the clarity left me in such worship and thankfulness that I am still in awe of how high his thoughts and ways are above my own! The Lord then pushed me to lead a bible study, in which a Catholic priest, a nun, and students from all kinds of faith now participate. I have seen them change, grow and experience healing and love in a way that is only possible because of God’s incredible goodness. We have talked about everything from salvation to thermodynamics, and I have learned and grown so much through teaching by God’s grace. I have gotten to serve so many of these people and bond with them in so many ways. He showed me how much He loves the lost and I am humbled every day by the love He shows others through me and all believers to bring the lost back to Him. It’s incredible to be a part of. God has also connected me to a church in Manitowoc that allows me to serve in worship and be with like-minded believers. He never fails to provide for our every need and loves to give to His children, even if He refines us in the process. As 1 Peter 5:10 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Whenever there was a time in which I was going through adversity, God never failed to bring me out of it so that I grew deeper in my relationship with Him, deeper in my love for others and more passionate for His work and the true life that Jesus brings us. Praise the Lord!!!
- Megan Baradic
August 1, 2008 I was loading tree branches on to my trailer to haul to the city disposal. Some of these branches were heavier than I should have been handling and needed to be cut again. Being in a hurry so I could get there before closing I didn’t make that extra cut and forced myself to lift it on the trailer. I knew I had hurt myself but I didn’t know how badly until the next day. I didn’t want to go to the doctor, so I put up with the swelling and pain for the next three days. Then on August 4, I knew that I had a hernia and needed to do something about it. I started to pray and said to the LORD, “I don’t want to go to the doctor.” I picked up the phone in my office and called the 700 Club prayer line and prayed with the prayer partner and we were in agreement for my complete healing. When I hung up the phone I could tell that I was healed and I raised my hands in the air and gave praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. I might add that all the symptoms were gone in a few days and I have never had a doctors operation for that hernia.
To confirm the above I want to explain that on November 6, 2015, I went to Aurora Primary Care in Oconomowoc for an ear ache. I was treated and given ear drops and left. On November 9, 2015, I returned and was treated for a urinary tract infection. During the doctor’s examination he asked me, “Have you ever had an operation?” I said yes, that I had my appendix out in 1964, and he then ask me, “What about your hernia operation?” to which I said, let me tell you about that, and I went on to explain.
I was also sent over to Aurora Hospital, Urology to Dr. Smith to be examined. During the examination he asked me, “Have you ever had an operation?” I said, yes, I had my appendix out in 1964. Dr. Smith then asked, “What about your hernia operation?” I said, yes, let me tell you about that and I again went on to explain.
I had no idea in those seven years that God had left a mark for the doctors to see and for me to use as witnessing tool. I want to say that we serve an amazing and mighty God. This is just one of the healings and blessing that God has done for me in my life.
Through us, inside us, all around us, and in spite of us--our story might be considered “in spite of us.”
It is a story of redeeming love.
I met Jimmy when I was eighteen and less than a month away from starting college. He was handsome, successful, confident, and seemed to have it all together. My life was just beginning and I was meeting new people every day, but there was something about him that made everything else fall away. Beneath his confidence and success, I saw something much more alluring—passion. Deep, relentless passion for his job, his family, his Jeep, and I hoped someday me.
But we lived an hour and a half apart. For every reason our relationship never should have worked out. Neither of us were disciples of Jesus, so we were building a relationship on much lowlier things. We chased everything that promised more and added story upon story to our castle in the sand. It should have come crashing down right away—but that wasn’t the story God had for us.
During my first year of school, I was miserable every second I was apart from Jimmy. I hated city life, was overwhelmed by my schoolwork, and felt completely isolated and alone. That’s where Jesus found me. I gave Him my heart and my life and fell in love with Him. But I kept back the piece of my heart that I was still allowing to fall in love with Jimmy. Jesus didn’t need that part of my life, and besides, I was doing better than everyone around me by even associating with Him. I couldn’t live without either of them, so I tried to choose both. I became enamored with the Scriptures. I started daily quiet times, scouring the Word, and learned so much about this God who was pursuing me. And the passages that made me squirm with conviction? I would gloss over them, attributing their dire warnings to cultural irrelevance. Those instructions applied to an entirely different time—no one in the 21st century could actually do what was called for. Really, God just wanted monogamy. And I tried desperately not to contemplate it further.
Jimmy gave me almost everything Jesus did. I could be vulnerable with him—my truest self, and he loved me unconditionally. He provided for me, romanced me, and let me chase after him. But he never let me make him my God. Somehow he knew there was one place in my heart he was never adequate to fill. I thank God he left that void.
Soon Jimmy began to want what I had found. God had been working to strip us of everything we placed our value in that wasn’t Him. Jobs were lost, cars were sold, and friendships crumbled. We started attending church, enduring an hour of shame over our bare left hands to be filled with God’s word and worship Him. We knew this was what our souls were created for, where our worth was to be found. We began to read the Scriptures together, falling in love with Jesus and His radical teachings, and falling deeper in love with the Holy Spirit inside each other. Together we gave our entire lives to Jesus—except our relationship; we had that under control. It was still Jimmy’s passion that allured me. But it had shifted from passion for the worldly to passion for the kingdom.
I graduated college and Jimmy continued to thrive in his career. We had an amazing relationship—except for when the conviction came. I clung to Jimmy each time its waves crashed over me, waiting for it to pass. Drenched in shame, I told myself Jimmy was real and the waves weren’t.
On June 18, 2015 Jimmy got down on one knee before me, surrounded by an idyllic 360º sunset on South Manitou Island and asked me to be his wife. Every detail was perfect and we were the only people for miles, our own Eden. We returned from our trip and hopped down the rabbit hole of wedding planning. But instead of wonderland, I found gut-wrenching conviction. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put a white dress and veil over my impure, jaded body. I couldn’t ask a pastor to consent to our disobedience by marrying us right out of sin. I couldn’t stand before my family and friends and say “this is the right way, follow us”. I couldn’t implore to our future children that it was acceptable for us, but they should really do it the right way. I felt completely worthless as a disciple as I fully realized the wretchedness of my divided heart. Wave after wave of conviction washed over me, sanding away the almost-truths until my heart was raw. I doubted that God could ever use me again; believing that anything He wanted to do through me was invalidated by my sin.
I knew what God was calling me to do, and I knew true obedience doesn’t wait. I told Jimmy I was going to move out, to prepare my heart, soul, and body for our marriage. My idealistic, eloquent spiel crashed hard into the succinct reality. We owned a house together, paid a mortgage together, and had not been apart for a long time. A few nights apart produced the worst pain I had ever felt in my life.
But even the pain could not outweigh the conviction. As my sandy foundation crumbled beneath me, I fell on solid ground: the word of God. I finally let myself read the tough passages, and the constant word on my heart was “repent.” Though this time apart was painful, it served the great purpose of allowing us to clear our heads and reconcile our spirits to God. And He gave us a way out.
We sat together one night and prayed. We confessed our sin, our fleshly weakness, and our unfaithfulness to Him, and we begged for forgiveness. We asked God to recognize us as husband and wife and braid Himself into the very relationship we had blockaded Him from for so long.
Peace washed over us like a flood. But we knew our obedience couldn’t stop there—we needed to be bound together legally, before both God and man. And we couldn’t spend a year in limbo, spiritually paralyzed while we waited for our wedding date to come.
We decided to do it the simplest, quietest, least pretentious way we could think of, in hope that He would increase and we would decrease.
Jimmy called the courthouse and left a voicemail asking to be married on September 25, about two weeks away. The receptionist returned his call, astonished, to inform us that they were booked solid 3 months out, but for the first time in her 25 years, someone had just cancelled and there was an opening on that exact date. Our door was opened.
We told no one of our plan and instead began covenant preparations. Not party-throwing, or event-planning, or black-tie-affairing. Instead we spent the fortnight preparing our hearts to be bound to one another for life. The covenant we were about to take was uniquely between Jimmy, Jasmine, and Jesus.
I felt no fear, no anxiety, no uncertainty leading up to September 25. The morning of the wedding, God led me to Colossians 3. My underlines and highlights denoted previous visits to the passages, but I knew God had more for me this time. As I read 12-17, I recalled reading them in the past and understanding that the words spoke of the conversion to faith.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
As I continued to verse 18, “wives submit to your husband…” I understood why God had led me there. Sure, in my Bible, verses 17 and 18 are divided by a heading, but in Paul’s letter, verse 17 would have flowed right into 18. God was giving me a mission statement for our marriage. As much as 18 was directed to me, as a wife, 12-17 applied to us, as spouses under His covenant.
I donned my thrift store dress and curled my hair to meet the one God had made for me in the place He had made for us. We were bound together in a simple, intimate, deeply profound ceremony, then departed as one flesh for a weekend honeymoon on Rock Island under the blood moon.
Practically, not much changed in our day-to-day lives after we returned from the short honeymoon. Our decision to step out in faith led to others, emboldened by God’s grace upon us, also stepping out in faith and choosing to follow His still small voice rather than the shouting world. It has been so exciting to watch the ripple effect of this orchestration, seen and unseen.
But one thing has changed: our intimacy with God. Before, we were only giving Him part of our hearts, while withholding some. Because of this, He could only give us partial understanding. But when we handed Him the keys to our hearts, He bestowed upon us the keys to the kingdom.
Our beaten, broken, sinful hearts in exchange for Glory. What an inequitable trade! Yet this is the deal He offers each one of us.
We have grown closer with Jesus over the past year than we have ever been. We were led to White Stone and found an incredible community of believers. We completed the Discipleship Class and crossed over into discipleship together. Our eyes, once veiled by our sin, have been opened.
We never demanded a sign, but God chose to give us many. But all of the tangible, obvious things are nothing compared to the treasure in our hearts. We have found the ultimate peace; we have been reconciled to our Heavenly Father. We have turned from sin and run home to Him. There are and will be those who call us selfish, or impulsive, or doubt our marriage will last. And since they cannot know our hearts, with the information that they have, perhaps their assessment is reasonable. But we are a braid, three strands not quickly broken. And, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:9
We marvel at the mountains that were moved to scoot some solid ground beneath our tower, once teetering in the sand, now firmly founded on the Rock. God has taken our small, half-hearted, mustard seed-sized faith, and planted a tree beside the living water. Together we stand in His marvelous light and reach for the sky, until He returns or calls us home.