Three major incidents in my life that drew me to God.
First was learning about the Lord after being raised Catholic at age 13. Walk w/ the Lord shaky at best. Went from handing out tracts at concerts to going out drinking and dancing on the weekends I started dating my future husband and he made a profession of faith but it was not a genuine heart change but just a desire to please me. I knew the verse about marrying an unbeliever but I married him anyway thinking he would become the spiritual leader which never happened. For five years after we married we did not attend church but when our oldest son was born I told him that I wanted to raise the children in church so we picked one near our home and started attending. God was so gracious and over time He led us from that church which taught milk to a church that was more doctrinally sound and eventually to a church where I was able to watch people live out their relationships with Christ. As I lived life on life, I was able to have modeled for me what a relationship with God and my husband should look like. We attended marriage counseling and for the first time was learning how to deal with sin biblically but Rob had already purposed in his heart to pursue a life apart from us.
Second big incident was a huge trial as I was now a single mom with a 5, 7 and 9 year old and seeking to respond biblically to a pending divorce. It was during that time that I learned to set aside my own feelings, repent of my sin, and cling to God for everything when nothing made sense. This was the greatest time of growth in my walk with the Lord and I saw His kindness, faithfulness, patience, and gentle care for me as I sought to be more like Him.
And then several years ago came my third incident. I was handed something on a silver platter that I had longed for and rather than turning and fleeing from it I bit. There is so much that went on during this time but the bottom line is that I was miserable in my sin but for a time didn’t want to get out of it but then I didn’t know how to get out. I was abandoned by most of my “friends” because for the first time “dirty” entered our church and nobody knew what to do with it (me). Although my children and my family were still there for me it was clear that there was a battle going on for not only my soul but my life. I tried to walk away from my sin but continued to get sucked back in. This lasted for a period of 3 months.
Then one night my youngest son and I were in Auburn for my nephews wedding and everything came crashing down as I lay in bed being bombarded with how I had disappointed and hurt so many people. I had Christian friends tell me my testimony was ruined and God was done with me and to be honest I was ashamed that God had proven himself faithful to me for so many years and I basically turned my back and pursued what I wanted. Satan was having a hay-day with me and convincing me that the only way out of this “mess” was to end my life. I felt as though if my friends who knew me best were done with me then surely God was as well. It was a very low point.
It was during that time that a friend called and he and his wife walked me chapter by chapter through the book of Romans. From man’s creation, to man’s sinful nature. The fact that there is no one righteous and that all fall short of the glory of God. He reminded me of Romans 4:5 that says “but to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” And Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 6 that we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to God. And on and on until Romans 8:1 which boldly states “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.” That is the moment that I learned the Gospel. I was sure I was saved before but I obviously based my salvation on me and the fact that I was a good mom and a good Christian. But for the first time I was being viewed as dirty and I saw myself as dirty but God’s view of me never changed. All along He saw the precious blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who paid the price for my sin – all my sin. I am not defined by my past or by my sin but I am defined by what Christ did on my behalf. That next morning I turned and walked away from my sin and sought out help to move forward.
There are many hurting people out there. Many who feel that they can’t ever be forgiven for their past. Many who have people in their lives that tell them they will never amount to anything. Many who would even say that God can’t use someone with “those” sins. But one thing I know for sure is that I was the one sheep that wandered away from the 99 and my Lord pursued me and when I couldn’t walk. He picked me up and he put me on His shoulders and he carried me back. Praise God that He isn’t done using me.
Here is an update of my testimony……the faithfulness and redemption of God in the flesh. I had to meet new friends and start life over in a new place. He brought people into my life and I had a renewed compassion for the lost who were deceived by the same one who deceived me. Through this time I was able to share the Lord and His faithfulness and love to many. One of those was a man named Dave who became my very good friend. One day after a couple of years he asked if he could come to church with me. From there he started asking questions until he finally asked, “How do I follow Jesus” to which I responded, “Go home and have a talk with God. Tell Him what you know about Him and ask Him to show you more. Recognize who Jesus is and confess to God that you know you are a sinner and desire to turn from those sins.”
Fast forward a year later Dave asked me to marry him. We have been married for 3 years now. He is my redemptive story! A few days ago we were sitting outside talking about what we are reading in the Bible and he starts reading from Psalms to me. I actually took a picture of this moment because I am in awe of God and what God brought into my life. I often times think back to the words, “God can’t use you. Your testimony is ruined” and realize once again that this isn’t about me at all. This is about God being God and taking the humble, repentant sinner and glorifying HIMSELF through our sinfulness. Isn’t that what Christ did for us? Our sin is now His righteous perfection in God’s eyes! Praise God that in spite of myself, He was faithful!!