Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Life in Christ

"Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story"
Ps 107:2

The Old Testament tells us 137 times to "REMEMBER".

So, even though life is whizzing by and I hardly have time to think (much less remember), I am choosing to! I never want to forget what the Lord has done... and is doing in my life.
November 1, 2017.
As I walked into the bathroom half asleep, Tim said...
"It's your spiritual birthday! I want to take you out tonight to celebrate."
He remembered before me.
I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth and tried to get my pregnant body moving. 
I said, "it was 20 years ago today".
Tears came as memories started flooding my mind.
Remembering who I was when Christ rescued me from the dominion of darkness...

"When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners."

Romans 5:6
The night before I went out with my boyfriend to Halloween parties dressed up as a Chinese lady.
We drank too much, fought, and he ended up leaving me at a gas station on the strip.
My college philosophy professor had tried to convince me there was no God and Christians were fools.
My mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I had placed so much sin between me and God, I knew my prayers were hindered. My sin blocked my access to God.

I knew about Jesus but I didn't know HIM or His Word.
I was LOST. 
I was empty.
What I didn't know is that I was being DRAWN (literally dragged) to Jesus.

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
John 12:32

Not long before this, I was at a fraternity party where the music was loud and sin was rampant. 
As I watched people dance and drink, I heard a still small voice that said,
"You don't belong here.  I have so much more for you."

It was clearly the Lord. 
But I wanted to belong there. So I stayed. 
But I had HEARD His voice. 
God was pursuing me into the darkest places.
Calling me OUT.

"for He called you OUT of the darkness into His wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9

God loved me WAY before I loved Him. 
He saw me and knew me first. 
He saw me WAY BEFORE I saw Him (conception!).
Reminds me of Nathanael in Scripture...

“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”

You see, God was with that lost college girl. He saw me. He loved me.
He placed great worth in me because I was created in His image.
I just didn't know any of this.... 

November 1, 1997, I was just sad. I felt horrible from drinking too much and staying up all night. 
The prodigal daughter began to realize who she was and that eating pig food was REALLY disgusting.

After I got home from my job, I went into my room.
I reached for a Bible that I had in my room over the years... but never read
I blew the dust off of the cover.
I opened the Bible and said,
 "God if you are real, I want to know you."
I turned to Galatians 5.
I read the passage that listed the fruits of the spirit and deeds of the flesh.
At the end it said, "those who live like this (in the flesh) will not receive the kingdom of God".
My life reflected the life lived in the flesh. That was me. And according to the Word of God, I was not going to heaven. The Lord spoke to my heart, "you are either for me or against me... you have to choose".

I fell on my face and cried out to God for salvation. I didn't want to pretend anymore. I wanted to know Christ and know I was going to heaven. I wanted to live my life FOR HIM.

I begged God to forgive me as I lifted my face off the floor. I knew I needed a Savior. 

As I received Jesus Christ as my Savior, my heart was "quickened" and I was born again. The floodgates of heaven were opened and forgiveness, love, and grace poured out into that room. I was changed forever by Jesus Christ. 

"I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes."

Job 42:5

 "the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace."
Col 1:6

"And I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart"
Ez 11:19

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins"
Eph 2:1

God had a lot of work to do in me. My heart had been made alive but I didn't know how to walk with Him. When I told the Lord, "if I can know you, I want to KNOW YOU", He gave me a hunger for His Word. All I wanted to do was read my Bible. It was ALIVE and breathing and speaking to me. I told everyone who would listen that my life had been changed. 

The next year would consist of God leading me to a Church where they taught me the Word (Calvary Chapel Knoxville). My mind had been trained by the world for 20 years. Now it was being renewed by His Word. I was turning away from the sin in my life and toward Christ. It was a radical U-turn that was only possible by the Holy Spirit. 
My boyfriend proposed to me and I said yes because I knew God could change him the way he had changed me. He was an idol I just struggled letting go of.
But the Lord spoke clearly to me that he was not the one for me and that He had a husband for me but I had to TRUST HIM and wait.
So, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the relationship ended. And I was FREE to run and grow without being all tangled up.
"let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Hebrews 12:1,2
I graduated from UT. I got my degree in Child and Family Studies (which is so funny to me since that is exactly what I am doing now!). I was getting my Masters in Education so I could be a high school health teacher. But all I wanted to do was study the Bible. So, my mentor encouraged me to go to Bible College. In a matter of weeks I was on a plane to Austria all by myself. Headed to Bible College. 
It was there that the Lord did major heart surgery on me. He began to heal me from the consequences of my sin. He began to pour out His love on me. I call that time my honeymoon with Jesus. It truly was. Every sunset over the Alps was for me...  weekend trips all over Europe with the Lord at my side. I had miles to go (and still do) but God began changing me... one day at a time. 
There was a prayer tower at the castle where I went to Bible College where I asked God for a godly husband (if it was His will for me). 
I could have never imagined the plans God had in store for my life.
I can't imagine that had the Lord not intervened, AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME, where I would be now.
These 20 years have been filled wish indescribable and glorious joy and they have also been filled with unimaginable pain and trial. God has been my constant. He has kept me from falling and when I do fall, He is the lifter of my head.
He purposed before the foundation of the world for me to be Tim's helper and to raise a small army of amazing children. I would have missed it all had I not responded to the Lord that night.
I am so thankful I said, "yes" to enter into the greatest love story ever told.
Life is far from pain-free because there is a horrid villain in the story but the Prince of Peace is SO FAITHFUL. He is good. He is worth our LIVES.
May I never forget who I am apart from Christ and all He has done for me.
Tim is my greatest gift on this earth. Our 8 children are a fruit of the amazing love Christ has allowed us to experience. We have a love so strong and it is not because we are great. It is the opposite. We are completely aware that our marriage is a gift from Him and we choose to give it back. Jesus breathes His life into our marriage and He enlarges our hearts for each other and for our children. His love NEVER FAILS or runs out.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Romans 5:5

"For You shall enlarge my heart."

Ps 119:32

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, today is the day of salvation. Stop what you are doing and BELIEVE in the name of Jesus Christ. Don't wait another minute!! Open your Bible. That is where you will find life and TRUTH!
 He loves you and desires to forgive you so that you can live in relationship with Him now and forevermore.

"There is salvation in no one else! 
God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

Also, if you have a prodigal child... KEEP PRAYING! 
I believe it was the prayers of others that were pulling me out of darkness. 
God is ABLE.
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear."
Is 59:1

So, what do you do when you have walked with the Lord and experienced His faithfulness for 20 years? ;)

1 comment:

Katy said...

I love reading your posts. So excited for you and your family to welcome a new baby girl! Hope must be so happy!