A blogger, vlogger, author, and stroke survivor. In this week’s feature, Ann talks about fulfilling God’s plan in our lives–when our plans are interrupted.
Q: What does “Confidence Without Compromise” mean to you?
A: I had an AVM rupture and massive stroke in April 2011. Although I have a significant brain injury, my deficits are primarily physical. It is a total-body impact, but the Lord kept me cognitively intact. Even though something bad happened to me and even though I do not understand everything, I am 110% confident that the claims of Christ are true. Just because I can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it’s not true. This assurance was a gift from the Lord.
I accepted that Jesus Christ is who He says He is. This is how God rescued me from a lifetime of anger and bitterness.
I was able to evaluate the claims of Christ through the lens of catastrophic illness. He took away my independence, my financial security, and my future plans in one fell swoop–but He gave me a choice. I have not modified my standards in any way, and I urge others to reject the temptation to compromise and act on partial information. Reliable conclusions are based on information that is whole or intact. You cannot pick and choose parts of the data that you like, that make you feel good, or that are socially palatable.
My goal is to present an authentic picture of Christ–one that is not necessarily the figure we see in pop culture but the King and Gentle Shepherd, revealed in history as told by the scriptures.
When people look me, they can feel the Christ-based confidence burning from within. When people feel the heat, they are drawn to the warmth. They are curious. They want to know why I can make such staggering claims even though I became sick. It’s because I am accessing a completely independent power-source: Christ.
Q: How has your faith given you confidence?
A: I think of how God chose to make a way for us to have a relationship with Him–completely independent of our own performance. I don’t need to do anything. Christ did everything already. Even though I have a hole in my skull, one in my neck, my MRI looks funny, and I have mental health struggles (PTSD), I am equipped to be the exact person God intended for me to be. Not that I am already there, but I’m on the right track, which is thrilling.
This has been the journey of a decade. I became sick in 2011, and my prayer journals indicate that I made a conscious decision to follow Christ in 2008:
Who do I want to be?
(1) One who is fit for the Master’s use
(2) One who is available to go where He sends
The fact that the Lord allowed me to find this note is very special. Scary, but special. Ten years ago (before the illness), I signaled my intent to be useful in the King’s service. I prepared for the mission field and thought God was calling me to Africa. It would have been my honor to go, but it turns out I simply underestimated the calling.
Q: What is a go-to Bible verse that you turn to when you need confidence or hope?
A: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me” (Psalms 138:8). The Lord knows and is actively working on all the things that matter to me and the people I care about.
Q: What encouragement would you give to other young women regarding living for the Lord?
A: How to deal with the problem of ambiguity. In other words, what if “walking in the direction of freedom” leads directly into the “Red Sea?”
God didn’t tell Moses the plan beforehand. He simply said, Go camp out in front of the Red Sea. And there were A LOT of people–the entire nation of Israel that had been enslaved in Egypt. However, they became scared, knowing the Egyptians were coming for them. (Pharaoh led 600 chariots in pursuit of this ragged bunch of travelers–families with all their belongings–not an army.) The Israelites complained, thinking it would’ve been better if they had died as slaves in Egypt. Moses encouraged them to have faith and then cried out to the Lord. In response, God said, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” (Genesis 14.15 NASB). This was a direction of freedom that led right into the sea.
Their job was to keep moving even though it was an impossible situation.
I serve the God of the impossible who split the Red Sea and allowed Israel to walk through on dry ground. In the midst of the unknown, I know I can obey the commands God has already given me in the Bible.
Based on the Word, here are six concepts I know are always the right thing to do. If I concentrate on these things, I will be busy following the Lord’s will as the next step is revealed to me. And if I need to make a decision, I can filter it through these concepts.
- Honor your parents – Ephes 6:2
- Be anxious for nothing – Phil 4:6-7
- Seek ye first the kingdom of God – Matt 6:33
- Run to win – I Cor 9:24
- Go and tell them – Mark 5:19
- Do good unto all men (especially those that are of the household of faith) – Gal 6:10
Learn About Shredded Grace
At ShreddedGrace.com (formerly Learning How), I present my Christ-driven recovery. All of my books are non-profit and available on Amazon.com. My work is an easy, non-threatening way to introduce people to the claims of Christ and to encourage believers.
Q: How have you seen God work in your life and the lives of others during your involvement?
A: The Lord makes sure the people who need to find me are able to do so. I attract people who have known high levels of medical trauma and/or were victims of violent crime. They find me online, in the supermarket, at the airport–wherever!
If you know Christ, I’d appreciate your prayers as I navigate these deep waters carrying the name of Christ, because nothing else is adequate. I have many friends who have joined me on this adventure–some of them know Christ, most do not. It is the greatest joy of my recovery that God gave me friends who are so different from me who stuck around to support me. These people tolerate a lot, and I’m grateful for that.
Connect With Ann
Youtube: ShreddedGrace (Watch Ann’s 5 minute intro)
Learn more about Confidence Without Compromise here.
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