Countless mornings I sit with my coffee and a deadline, unsure of where God wants me to go with a particular post. I pray. The words follow. I hit publishin my blogging program with a quick, “Lord, I hope this speaks to someone because I don’t know if it even made sense to me!” Inevitably, those are the days someone emails and says it was just what they needed. I’m not at all sure what I’m doing or why. I’m not an expert at anything except learning the hard way. And I love experiencing the reality of God’s word through the most vulnerable, uncomfortable moments of living life. Even more, I love finding out that someone else is or has done, thought, felt, and said the same things that make me feel like a failure at times. It gives me hope. Lets me know I’m not alone as I fumble, stumble, mumble, grumble, and find myself more and more humble. So I write this blog out of obedience, hoping my lessons, transparently shared, will help someone else in their journey to be more wholly His. These glimpses into my life are mostly current. Today, I want to share my testimony – the chronicle of how a patient and merciful God pursued and saved me, then compelled and empowered me to live in such a way as to experience His fullness, faithfulness, and abundance. This is my story. The girl behind the blog (in case you ever wondered).
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a).
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
I have very little memory of my formative years. When I look back on that time of my life, I see darkness. My family didn’t go to church. God had no part in our lives. When a crisis threatened to tear our family apart, my mom started going to church. My sister and I went along, and one Sunday morning, I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. I walked the aisle, repeated a prayer, and was baptized. Within months, we had all given our lives to the Lord. He restored and renewed our home, and light entered my world. We were faithful, active members of the church. I was in the choir, attended Sunday and Wednesday night activities, went to weekend retreats and summer camps. On the outside, I was living the Christian life with my family. On the inside, though, I saw everything ugly about me and couldn’t see how God could truly love and forgive me. When I tried to get perfect for God so I would be acceptable, I failed. Repeatedly.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
Eventually I gave up and turned away. I sought acceptance from all the wrong people by doing all the wrong things. Gripped by eating disorders and addictions, I sank deeper into despair. On the outside, you would never know. The front I presented to others was one of perfection and success. I was happy! On the inside, however, I hated myself for my failures. My sins. I knew I was living wrong. Remorse was my constant companion. The more I sought satisfaction from the world, the greater my hopelessness.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ diedfor us” (Romans 5:8 ).
“The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b ).
Several years after graduating from college and mere months after marrying my first husband, I could no longer stand living in my own skin. I was determined to change my lifestyle, and another family crisis stirred in me a deep longing for legitimate, meaningful faith. The kind I saw in others that had only served to exaggerate the desperation of my empty existence. I was done. It was time to genuinely seek the Lord. It took a while for desire to become action, but misery is a powerful motivator.
My first marriage failed, and I found myself living alone for the first time in my life. I still didn’t have the power to make good decisions and started going to church again. But religion failed me once again (or I failed it). No amount of checking the right Christian habits off my daily to-do list saved me. I had no idea how to live in relationship with the one true God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together,
and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-8).
My husband and absolute love of my life, James, and I started dating two months later. We married three months after that. To say it was a disaster would be putting it mildly. I would not recommend the path we chose, but I do recommend the answer we found: Jesus.
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’
and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
In the words of Paul Harvey, tune in Monday for “the rest of the story.”
Sharing His goodness as we become more wholly His,