Chapter Twenty Four:
Star’s Blog/God’s Blessings Abound:
I know it’s been awhile since I blogged, but life has a way of throwing surprises at you, and the Lord certainly has a way of blessing you. Even after something horrible happens the Lord has a way of turning something good out of it, like my sister Hope getting shot, she is now in a chair, paralyzed from the waist down, but she is doing amazingly well despite that, I know that is God. She is not one to let things drag her down for too long, and that is but for God’s Grace.
I am so glad that I have the life I have, that things have turned out the way they have. Test after test and still the Lord remains faithful. The world can throw things at me, but the Lord is always by my side.
I have not written lately though, because I have been busy, both with speaking engagements and raising my daughter. That’s right Ferensheteh is with me where she belongs and the monster who has spent the past few months trying to destroy my life is in prison. I know that is for the Grace of God, without his Grace I would not be here, neither would Hope or Ferensheteh, we serve a merciful and loving God.
As I stated earlier Hope was shot and paralyzed, She is now in a chair, but please don’t feel the need to pity her, God is still using her in wonderful ways, and she would not want your pity believe me I know my sister, almost as well as I know myself. Sometimes I think I may know her better than I know myself.
I know I have come a long way from that scared little girl who came to America those years ago, when I first became a Baxter I was a scared little girl, but I am no longer that little girl and I am no longer running scared. I have found something greater than fear, and that is faith, it has wiped those fears away, and replaced it with joy. I will always live with what happened to me before, but I am no longer defined by it. God has saw it fit to do something good, out of a situation that was terrible.
I am so blessed to be a Baxter, to have the family I have. I know that some people broke at far less than I did, but I was blessed because the Lord was with me, even when I did not know he was with me he was there, and he was with my daughter and sister as well.
I did spend some time after Hope was shot, feeling guilty, wanting to take the blame, but Hope assured me over and over again it was not my fault. And I know now she is right I am not the one who pulled the trigger and I certainly did not ask for this to happen to her, but like I said despite the circumstances Hope is doing well. She has been back to work for months now, actually she went back to work after she was released from the hospital. I guess that is the beautiful of being a freelance author, and working from home.
One thing that I know was hard for Hope was having to let go of her third floor apartment, but we are all glad she is close to home. Ferensheteh loves her aunt, and wants to do anything in her power to show her that, and to help her. She truly is her Mother’s daughter LOL.
When people see Ferensheteh and I they most often think we are sisters. Who would think a nineteen year old has a daughter almost ten? But she is my daughter and when they learn that I am often looked at with pity, which I do want or need. Ferensheteh may have come out of a violent situation but I never want her to feel unloved or unwanted, because she is both loved and wanted.
I am blessed because of my daughter, and I love her, despite everything I know she is a gift from God, something beautiful come out of a horrible situation. I know some people look at me like I have lost my sanity, when I tell them that my daughter was a gift, but she is, and God truly can make something beautiful out of a situation that is very ugly.
I know the Lord can turn something good out of something bad, and I know too that he works miracles even today, because the fact that I am here is a miracle. The fact that the good Lord has gotten me this far in this journey called faith. I want to continue to live for him, to serve him, and I know he will give me the strength to share my testimony as long as I need to. Hope too has been sharing her testimony and I believe someday Ferensheteh will as well, because we are all called to be missionaries, to share our journeys of faith whether it be next door, or across the world, at least that is the way I believe.
Mom and Dad are doing well, as is the bookstore. We worried at first, but the Lord has been providing for us, and making this venture worth-while. Mom and Dad are doing what they are called to do, and that in itself is a blessing.
I am still writing my book, because I feel I need to share my testimony not only when I speak but in written form as well, because I will be able to reach to others that way. I know that the Lord will bless me though, and will help me form the words I need to form.
Chapter Twenty Five:
Now that we were all back home, all away from the worries, we were all given the chance to get to know Ferenshteh better, my beautiful little girl. I looked at her, and saw so much promise and hope in her, but more than that I saw the Lord’s love. Some people wondered why I did not look at her as a curse, but how could I look at this little girl, my precious gift from God as a curse? Despite the violent way she came into this world she was surely a gift, and I would never let her feel otherwise.
Lord let my little girl never feel that I do not love her, because I do Lord, and I look at her as a gift, because that is what she is a gift from you. I know that I could not have come this far without you, and that I could not let my little girl without you, so I am grateful for all you have done.
“Star I don’t know if I could be as strong as you are.” Hope said, as we sat in the family room one evening. Ferenesheteh had long since fallen asleep and Hope and I both were having difficulty getting to sleep. We were used to staying up late into the night talking.
“Hope look at all you have endured, you are strong too, but I think we would both agree our strength comes from the Lord.”
“Amen to that Star.”
“Are you working on something?” I asked Hope, she was sitting at the computer, but seemed to be unable to focus.
“I should be, I just keep staring at this page. I was asked to write about what happened to me, this is hard. How do you do it Star? What you went through is so much more than what I went through?”
“Hope it’s not some kind of contest to see who was hurt the most, hurt is hurt, we both had bad things happen to us, the fact that we endured them shows that we are both strong in the Lord.”
“I guess you’re right, but why am I having so much trouble writing about this, I thought I dealt with it.”
“Hope you are still healing, and there’s nothing wrong with that, don’t be so hard on yourself if it’s meant for you to tell your story I know you will.”
“Yeah I guess you’re right, I don’t know why it’s so hard though.”
“Hope please stop beating yourself up, you are still healing, your heart is still healing it was your legs that were paralyzed, but your heart was hurt because something evil happened to you.”
“I know Star, I just thank God that I had you and Mom and Dad to help me through it.”
“So do I Hope, so do I. Why don’t we have a Bible Study together and after that and a good night’s sleep you will be able to write.”
“That might be a good idea.”
We opened our Bibles to Romans 8 and began reading the Lord’s Word together:
Life Through the Spirit
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Thank you Star.”
“For suggesting we have a bible study, for keeping my mind off the fact that I am having such trouble getting this started, for reminding me it’s okay to grieve.”
“Hope you did the same for me, when I first came to this family do you remember what you told me?”
“Yes that sometimes tears were not a sign of weakness, but a sign of someone’s strength, because they were a sign of someone who has endured a lot and is not afraid to let those emotions go.”
“Exactly Hope. Don’t you still believe that?”
“Of course I do Star, I guess I just needed a reminder.”
“Well I am glad I could give you that reminder.”
“I love you little sister.”
“And I love you big sister.”
After spending some time in prayer and talking Hope and I were able to get some sleep. A good thing because the next morning was church, and we wanted to make it extra special for Ferensheteh because it was our first Sunday back from speaking, so it would be her first Sunday to go to church with us, to go to church as my daughter. I could not believe what a blessed feeling it was to take my daughter to church, something so simple was such a blessing, because I knew It was something she missed in Afghanistan. Going to a Christian Church in Kabul could prove to be a death sentence, and my heart broke just thinking about it, but my daughter was here with us, safe, it certainly was the good Lord smiling down on us.
Thank you Lord for what you have given me, for my beautiful daughter, and the family I am blessed with. I know that you have helped me overcome things I could not overcome without your help and I am grateful for that. I am so blessed, and yet so unworthy of those blessings, and still you bless me Lord, and bless my loved ones and I thank you for that. I ask that you help Hope find the words she needs to tell her story, and help her heart to heal, because I know it is broken over what happened to her, but she is going to be okay with you Lord I know she will be okay. I appreciate you Lord, and I thank you.
“Mom do you think people will like me at church?” Ferensheteh asked the next morning as we got ready.
“I think they will love you, but that is not why we go, do you remember why we go?”
“Yes we go to praise Jesus.”
“That’s right sweetie, and if you get scared that’s okay, it’s all new to you, but remember Jesus is with you.”
“I know Mom.” Ferenesheteh said, sounding more confident than I felt.