Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
When my husband and I got engaged in 2004, we immediately started looking for a house to purchase.
It didn’t take us long to decide on this little gem located on the south side of my hometown. It had a lot of square footage for the price and a huge back yard for the millions of kids we were going to have.
After our wedding, we quickly turned our house into a lovely home. We filled it with lots of love and have beautiful memories there. Little did we know that this little house did not return our affection.
Ok, so I realize that a house is not capable of feelings.
But in all honesty, I haven’t quite forgiven the house for what it did to me, I guess I just expected so much more from that cute little ranch style bungalow.
Absolutely nothing we did relieved the headaches, and it was beginning to affect every aspect of my life.
In February of 2012, I hit rock bottom.
I remember clearly the day that I laid on the floor of my kids playroom and balled my eyes out. I just wasn’t myself anymore, I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t think straight, I was having panic attacks and my relationships were suffering. I was a wreck.
I will never forget the phone conversation with my mom that changed everything.
I smile when I think about it because in the moment I thought my mom had caught whatever I had and was going crazy too.
She phoned me to say she had been reading a book called, “My House is Killing Me” by Jeffery May.
She said she looked up headaches in the appendix and discovered they could be caused by a low-level gas leak in my home.
Oh, mom, I love you, but seriously!?!
When we tested the house, we found that the water heater was putting off 500ppm of carbon monoxide when it was running.
The World Health Organization recommends that the indoor air level for CO be below an average of nine parts per million (ppm) for any eight-hour period, and below 25 ppm for any one-hour period.
The symptoms of chronic carbon monoxide exposure include headache, weakness, personality change, and anxiety.
BINGO! Once we found the source of the problem, we quickly remedied the situation and got me the medical care I needed.
Thankfully I was wise enough to listen to my mama even when her advice sounded a bit cooky!
It took me more than two years to regain my health after that scary experience.
It was the largest refinement assignment I’ve been handed so far in this life.
There were so many times throughout the recovery process that I was tempted to quit.
Quit trusting God, quit following the doctor’s orders, quit doing what I knew I needed to do to regain my health.
But, by the grace of God, I didn’t quit.
Now I am on the other side of that refinement assignment, and I am so grateful for the lessons I learned as I walked through the deep waters.
These last few weeks I’ve had the honor of being on Nicki Koziarz’ launch team for her new book entitled, “5 Habits of a Woman who Doesn’t Quit.” In this book, she follows the story of Ruth as she accepted her own refinement assignment.
“Really, Ruth had every right to quit. No one would have judged her decision to give up. And she could have justified the desire to quit more than once. But the first habit of a woman who doesn’t quit is this: She accepts her refinement assignment. An assignment of refinement is a situation in life where we are given the opportunity to either go through it or grow through it.” – Nicki Koziarz
Looking back over my own assignment, I am so grateful I chose to grow through it rather than just go through it.Are you GOING through a refinement assignment? Here's how you can GROW through it. #5HabitsBook
How about you? Are you currently walking through a refinement assignment? Are you just surviving, or are you leaning into God and learning how to thrive in spite of the deep waters that threaten to overcome you?
I’m so glad I got my hands on this book (thank you, B&H Books, for sending me a copy to review).
Nicki’s painfully honest storytelling made me immediately feel at ease with her, like she is my slightly quirky, always has a pot of hot coffee on, next-door neighbor.
And since I live on my own little “fixer-upper farm,” I could completely relate to so many of her stories about gardening, faith, and family.
I always enjoy reading books by authors who don’t claim to know it all, but are willing to share the tough life lessons that have brought them one step closer to the person they were created to be.
Nicki is warm and endearing, and her willingness to be vulnerable and honest about her shortcomings is a breath of fresh air.
A few of my favorite take-away’s from the book were: the challenge to discover my refinement assignment, to choose what I want most over what I want now, and how following through unleashes the power of God in my life.
I wish I could give each and every one of my readers a copy of Nicki’s book, because it is packed with so much truth to empower women to persevere, overcome, & walk in victory!