For most of my life, I didn’t know anything about a relationship with a personal and merciful God. One of the greatest things I struggled with was pride – in the form of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and trusting only in me, myself and I! I also carried around shame and guilt from my childhood which I kept completely to myself. I focused all of my energy on my education and career. In all honesty, my priorities had always been 1) career, 2) self, 3) children, 4) my marriage.
Due to emotional stress, I began to drink frequently. Each evening after a 10 hour day at work, I would have glass after glass of wine. It did not interfere with my work, however; my inner thoughts were in a tailspin. I was struggling inside with debilitating and defeating thoughts of intense worry, fear of abandonment, fear of the loss of a loved one, lustful thoughts and coveting (other people’s things, their appearance, their relationships). What appeared fine on the outside was really just a mask for the big hole in my heart.
One day at work, I received a ‘chance’ invitation to a group bible study by a co-worker. After many months of ignoring the persistent invitation, I finally decided to check it out. The group was studying right out of the bible which fascinated me. I attended the study off and on whenever my schedule permitted. The discussions during the study group created so many questions for me about God and the afterlife. I began to read the bible for myself (from a Gidion bible in a hotel room while traveling on business). I began reading from the Gospel of John, as was suggested to me by a member of the bible study group.
One evening, after a particularly heartbreaking day, I got down on my knees and prayed out of desperation, asking God for forgiveness, and confessing my belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. By the Lord’s grace, He brought me to the point of saving faith and I truly repented for all of my years without trusting fully in Christ. My life was turned over to the Lord that very night. I immediately felt an indescribable peace in my heart and soul! I am amazed that even with all my years as an off-again, on-again church-goer and being a “good” person in the eyes of most, it took me that long to truly accept the Lord’s free gift of eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
What had kept me from receiving His gift until then? First, I had to hear the Truth and then I needed to understand that eternal life with God is a gift. It is a present custom-made especially for the guilty, the shameful and the brokenhearted. I kept thinking, “If I could just try a little harder in this area or that area maybe I would be good enough”. In my 20’s, I was very involved in the New Age and Self-Help movements. But deep down, I was still searching and I knew I would never be good enough in the sight of the Lord based on my own merits. It wasn’t until I realized my brokenness, that I first saw Jesus!! I began to realize what His death was all about. His death for my life! His perfection for my imperfections! His gift to me because of Love! I had to abandon any and all efforts to make myself right with God based on my own merits and surrender by faith to Him. This meant giving up the self-reliance I held so dearly. By faith, I chose to lay aside my pride and become humble at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you know what? He was waiting for me with open arms.
Once my faith was in Jesus, many of the sinful thought patterns that controlled me for so many years seemed to be erased overnight! The Lord gave me new priorities. He showed me what incredible blessings He had bestowed upon me with my beautiful family. My career and personal accomplishments, which defined me and became my identity, were no longer my top priority. I believe the Lord wanted to break me from that big idol I had in my life and help me to form a new identity in Him alone. And isn’t it amazing that God reached me through a bible study at work – in the very place that I idolized? God is so amazing!
Certainly, I still struggle with sin and temptation, as everyone does, but I now have the peace of knowing I have a loving Savior and Redeemer who will comfort me and lead me on the eternal path. He has given me a new heart that makes me painfully aware of my sin. This awareness of the sin in my life brings me to my knees before the Lord in reverence and repentance. Studying God’s Word and implementing His teachings into my life helps me to endure trials and temptations and holdfast to His promises.
I feel so blessed to be able to share a part of my spiritual journey with you. You can read about a vision the Lord gave me by clicking here. The poems on this blogsite reflect the word of my testimony and walk with the Lord. Thanks for ‘listening’! May the Lord’s grace be with you.
Ask – And it shall be given you
Seek –And ye shall find
Knock –And it shall be opened to you.