Thursday, 31 December 2015 20:19

Mike and Jo Yates

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RRJ: Can you begin by sharing when you two first trusted in Christ for salvation and made Him Lord of your lives?

 

Jo: I was 10 years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior.  I responded to an altar call at Forest Park Baptist Church and was baptized shortly thereafter. This was the beginning of a journey with the Lord, and there were times of back sliding and other times of great spiritual growth. I believe that we all go through seasons in our walk with the Lord, no matter what our age.

 

Mike: I had heard about God and Jesus Christ throughout my young life, but I did not grow up in a church-going family, so I was never introduced to Jesus in a personal way, until I got married. At the age of 23, I responded to the invitation to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior while attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference.
 

 

 

RRJ: You’ve been married for 33 years.  How important of a role has your Christian faith played in sustaining your marriage?

 

Jo: Our faith in the Lord has played a HUGE part in surviving this thing called marriage.We would not have survived without the Lord’s sustaining grace! Marriage is hard work and requires communication, trust, unconditional love and denying self.  Most of all, it requires being committed, being “all in” for the long haul…for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…until death do us part.  It is a covenant that we entered into with the Lord and “is not to be entered into lightly.” He is the third cord that holds it all together. I praise Him for holding us together through the tough times, because it just keeps getting better and better!

 

Mike: God has been the glue that has held our marriage together over the past 33 years. Like most people, I have had many ups and downs in my Christian walk. I have always had faith in God, but I just kept getting in the way, with the mind set that “I” can fix it myself.  God has shown me over the years that He will take care of it all,  if I will just move out of His way.

 

RRJ: Over the past few years both of you have been through some incredible physical challenges.  Can you tell us about those?

 

Jo: Yes, wow, where do I start? For the past 4 ½ years, Mike suffered greatly from Lyme disease and the coinfections that come with it. This was an incredibly hard time in our lives because my robust “man’s man” became a shell of a man who was in constant pain, suffering from seizures, tremors, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, extreme GI issues, severe weight loss due to swallowing difficulties, and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, over these past 4 ½ years, Mike was very depressed and even suicidal at times, due to this evil disease that was wreaking havoc on his body. Life for our family was just about surviving one day at a time. The burden of this disease that we tried to conquer in every human way possible was defeating us all.


As for me, on September 15, 2014, I suffered a major cardiac event where my heart just stopped and refused to start back beating.  Medically speaking, there is no way I should still be alive. My ejection fraction rate when I got to the hospital was less than 5%, which is not conducive with life.  The paramedics that worked on me said that they expected me to be DOA when I got to the hospital, but God had different plans. I somehow (all God) survived the night and was moved to UAB the next day where I was put on a “life saving” (ECMO) machine that allowed my heart to rest. From there, it was just a “wait and see” scenario for the next three days. On Thursday, my heart began to show a few blips on the heart monitor and I continued to improve. Three weeks later, I was able to come home, and 15 months later, I am able to do all the things that I did prior to this event! TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

 

RRJ: God healed you both and it’s given you a new outlook on life.  How has personally experiencing his healing power changed the way you approach life and each other.

 

Jo: Yes, both Mike and I have experienced healing in ways we could have never imagined! I know that my healing came from the Lord due to the countless prayers that were offered from thousands of people on my behalf. But during this storm, God was working in Mike and our children, and preparing our hearts for what he was going to do for Mike just 10 months later. So many “stood in the gap” for us during this difficult time and for that we are humbly grateful. As I recovered and returned to normal activities, Mike was continuing to decline in his health. After taking about a year off from pharmaceutical drugs and going a more holistic route, we began seeing a new doctor.  Mike was to start back on intense antibiotics, but his stomach was so messed up that he was not able to start these as planned. He could not keep anything in his body and his weight plummeted to 164 lbs. He was dying right in front of my eyes, and I didn’t know what to do. A dear friend recognized this spirit of death and offered to come and pray for Mike. After four hours of intense prayer and deliverance, Mike was healed and set free from the torment and oppression that had been trying to “kill, steal, and destroy” him! What we have learned from our experiences is that, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The reality of spiritual warfare has been an “up close and personal” experience for us.  We have learned how to recognize the enemy and to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13-18)


We have also learned that each day is a gift from God, and as the return of Jesus draws closer each day, we want to share our stories of healing and deliverance. We want to offer hope to others who are going through their own storms of life.  We want others to experience the true freedom and abundant life that is ours through the blood of Jesus. We are so excited to be vessels that our Lord can use for His glory!

 

Mike: Since being healed and set free from spiritual bondage I (we) have become more aware of our surroundings and the people we come in contact with. Our eyes have been opened to the needs of others before ourselves.  Both in our conversations and in the way that we look at things, God has made us more aware of what is of Him,  and what is not. He has given us the tools to battle the spiritual warfare going on all around us.  Being healed and set free has also drawn us closer, first and foremost to our awesome God, and to each other.  The Lord has done such an amazing thing in our lives, that we just have to share with others!

 

RRJ: What advice and resources would you suggest for newlyweds seeking a successful and lasting marriage?

 

Jo: The most important thing is to let go of “self” and let God be the head of your marriage. Seek Him first and everything else will fall into place. Easy to say, but hard to do.  When you fall short, and you will, just stop and turn back to Him. He has a most wonderful life already planned out for you. Get into His Word, so you will know how you are supposed to live this life.  You are not always going to understand the things that happen in life, but trust Him! Because He knows what He is doing and He sees the big picture.  Remember it is about HIS PURPOSE...not ours!

 

“God will work all things together for good for those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28

 

Mike is the operations manager at Interscapes and Jo is the home manager.  They have been married 33 years and have two adult children, Brantley and Carson. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 08:37
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