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Archive for the ‘Ponderings of a Mother’s Heart’ Category

God’s timing proved to be perfect in every aspect of this journey. Kory had several things going on that the Lord allowed him to complete before the day of his surgery. One of those was that Kory had been preparing to test for his second-degree black belt. He had spent months training: learning katas, perfecting kicks and jumps, and practicing his stances–spit and polish down to every last detail. Several of the instructors spent countless hours helping him to get ready, training with him day after day. Mrs Perez, a sixth-degree black belt and a quiet, mild man filled with compassion and a heart for the kids that he trained, worked with Kory until his kicks were flawless, building up his endurance to withstand the hours of testing he would endure. He pushed him hard, encouraging him at every turn.   Image

 

—-Mr. Perez—

Knowing that his days of activity were limited, Kory took full advantage of every opportunity he could to work out at karate and spent a lot of his time at home training as well. We would be at the studio five to six days a week, arriving as early as possible and staying as late as he was allowed. He pressed hard in preparation for this important event, knowing that he would not be able to participate in karate for a least a year. Something that had been such a consistent part of his everyday life was going to be gone for a significant amount of time.  ImageImage

Kory tested for his second-degree black belt on May 27, 2006, four days before his surgery. The test seemed to be brutal but proved to be an incredible example of Hebrews 10:24 NIV: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  ImageImage

His fellow karate friends came to support him and tested with him. We could hear them yelling his name and cheering him on, encouraging him to keep going. Mr. McHorse, another instructor, would rub his shoulders, give him water, and coach him between sparring rounds. I could tell that Kory was struggling to breathe because the testing was so strenuous, but he pressed on. I remember thinking, ‘This is what the body of Christ looks like!’ I saw 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV in a whole new light: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact your are doing.” What an encouragement they were for Kory.   Image

—Mr. McHorse—   Image

In the end, he earned that second-degree black belt. Here is a portion of the speech Kory gave at the graduation ceremony:

      “Last Friday was one of the toughest things I have had to do so far. I could never have done           it without the love and encouragement of everyone here and the people that came to help me test.

Thank you, Mr. Brannan, because you made this test possible for me. Thank you, board members–you all helped me so much during this time. It’s been a joy to work with you. Jacob Brannan, I want to thank you for all your help, not only for being a teacher but a friend too.  

Mr. Perez, I especially want to thank you for cheering me on from the very start. You have believed in me and encouraged me to do things that I would never have dreamed of doing. you have been like a father to me. 

Through these past years, this school has taught me courage, respect, self-discipline, and self-control. My behavior reflects the AAMA School, and I feel it’s my duty to honor the school and the instructors at all times, but above all, I must honor God.”   Image

—Mr. Jacob Brannan—  Image

How blessed we were by the wonderful people that our Lord had put in Kory’s life. For Kory, the studio was more than a place to learn karate and to work out. These amazing men invested in Kory as a person, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. They supported him through the hospital stay with prayers, visits, and encouragement. They still, to this day, are a part of Kory’s life. I thank God for these godly men of integrity who shape so many lives.   Image

—Mr. Brannan—   Image

—Mr. Benfield—

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact your are doing.           1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

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“The most powerful Bible study I have ever done, and my all-time favorite, is The Life-Changing Power in the Blood of Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. I have done the study twice and read through it regularly. Jennifer doesn’t know it, but she also walked through those few months with me. This was one of the studies I was doing during that time, and God used it in a powerful way.

I met Jennifer in person at a ladies retreat a few months ago at Pine Cove in Tyler, Texas. I am so thankful for her heart. She was wonderful! She ate her meals with us and sat by me during breakfast one morning. She was so gracious and patient. I know she must have thought I was a stalker or a “creeper,” as Kory would say, I left there with at least five autographs.

She didn’t know how many hours we spent together, crying out to the Lord. She didn’t know that our Lord used her in so many ways, not just in this experience but also in so many others. My friends knew. In fact, one incredible friend paid my way to see Jennifer, because she knew.

During this amazing study, I was reading a part that says that when God looks at us, He sees His Son. I began to pray that He would give me a greater understanding of that. A couple of days later, this is what I read:

—-“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13).  These truths are written down so that you and I can be confident that the Son’s life flows through us; so that we can believe in the present-tense life of Jesus operating in us. When the Father looks at me, He does not see “Jennifer, who believes in Jesus.” He sees ‘Jesus in His Jennifer form.” This is called eternal life! (Jennifer Kennedy Dean)—-

That made much more sense to me, but still, I wanted to wrap my brain around it. I began to to pray and ask God to give me an even deeper understanding of what that meant. And several days later, He did.

I had decided to take “before” and “after” pictures of Kory’s chest. So I called Kory into the room and began to take pictures of his chest from different angles.  When I uploaded the pictures to my computer, I was stunned.

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 I had truly never realized how bad his chest really was. I never saw how deep it was.  It was as if I was seeing it for the first time because, when I looked at him in person, I didn’t see his chest–I ONLY SAW MY SON!Image

It was one of the most profound moments of this journey. I knew that the Lord was showing me what I had asked of Him. He was showing me in a way that I could understand how He looks at me.  He used my son’s chest to paint this beautiful picture of how He views me.Image

I finally understood. When He looks at me, He doesn’t see the ugly stains of my sin. When He looks at me, He only sees His Son.”Image

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1a

You can get Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s Bible study- Power in the Blood of Christ here:

http://www.prayinglife.org/bookstore/the-life-changing-power-in-the-blood-of-christ/

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The years that Kory had to wear the braces were very difficult times for all of us—for him because of the pain and discomfort he suffered, and for those of us who loved him because we had to watch, helpless, as he struggled with it.  ImageImageImage

He would have to lie on the floor on his stomach while we strapped the brace on him very tightly. It was such torture for him. He wore it to bed at night and to school in the mornings so he could take it off in the afternoons for football and karate.  

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 It constantly cut into his skin, leaving pinch marks along with huge callouses on his back and stomach.

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 Eating very much was impossible because the brace was so tight that it made him throw up.ImageImage

 

Often, when he took the brace off, the seamless shirt he wore under it was soaked with sweat.Image

 Sitting in class was also very hard because the bottom of the brace cut into his abs. It put holes in his shirt when he leaned against something, and his shirt always had little spots of blood on it. His nights were restless and brutal. . . . . . .  Image

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  Romans. 8:18

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