Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mercy and Grace: Part lll

Today, I am desperately in need of a reminder, of what Christ did for me. SO, on to part lll of my testimony.

I left off last time, talking about the realization of my eternal destiny. Even 14 years later, I am truly ashamed, that knowing what I did, I still did nothing. I KNEW my condition before God, and instead of falling on my face, as Saul did, I ran.

I had a lot of time to myself, during my recovery. My parents worked, my sister's were in school, and I stayed home, alone. I went to physical therapy and the chiropractor, but other than that, I was at home, on the couch.

I read, a LOT! My mom took me to Half Price Books, and I loaded up. I remember a comment she made to me. She told me that being confined like I was, was the perfect time to draw closer to God.

True. But there was only one problem, and it was a BIG one.

I didn't know God. To draw closer to someone, you have to already know who they are, and have some type of relationship with them.

I'll admit, that comment from my mom made me MAD! Who was she to talk to me about growing closer to God?! Saying that, implied that she thought I wasn't close to him.

I was angry. I did everything I could to keep from thinking about God.

Something I realize now, that I did not realize then, is this. . .

I was not angry at my mom. Oh, sure, I TOLD myself that I was. But the honest truth was that I was angry at God. I believed he existed. I never doubted that. That in itself was my problem. I knew God was real. I believed Jesus had died for my sin.

Now, what was I going to do about it?

If we are honest, doing nothing about Jesus, is, in and of itself, doing something. It is rejection. There is no other way to look at it. When we look at Jesus, believing he IS who he claimed to be, we do one of two things.

Accept him and the gift of salvation, or reject it and continue in our sin.

Accepting Jesus, and his free gift of salvation, is a very humbling thing. We have to admit that we cannot save ourselves. We have to face the fact that we are not good. We have to understand, that we come to Jesus empty handed, and he fills us with himself.

I spent months fighting this. I had grown up in a Christian home. I knew what the Bible said. The problem was, I had never put my faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ. I was trying to earn God's love. I went to church, and worked in the nursery, and in Sunday School. I went on visitation. I even read my Bible.

But it was all as filthy rags before God. I was making it all about me. After all, didn't God need me to do those things?

The Bible says in Luke 19:40:

40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Even if we are silent, and hold our praise, the stones will cry out in worship and praise to the Almighty God.

So no, God does not need me. BUT, he loves me. He doesn't love me because of what I can do for him. He loves me because he created me.

I find it hard to describe what it is like to realize that.

I said a few paragraphs back that I spent months running from God. It was 6 to be exact.

I will never forget the last week of March, in 1995. We had a revival at church. I was at every service. I sat through every message, as a battle waged, for my soul.

Wednesday night, God spoke to my heart. I knew with every fiber of my being that if I died that night, I would spend eternity separated from God, in hell. I went home in torment. Somehow I was able to go to sleep, but it was a troubled sleep. A sleep with no rest.

I took my Bible to work with me the next day, but I couldn't read it. I wanted to, I needed to, but I could not do it. Satan was fighting, tormenting me. I remember spending the whole day praying that God would let me make it to church that night, without dying.

It was the last night of the revival, and I had a sense of urgency. I HAD to be there. I HAD to hear the message that night.

I don't know how I made it through the day, but I did. I made it to church without any problems. I know the message was for me. It was like I was the only one in the room. The evangelist talked about how salvation wasn't about what I could do, it was about what God wanted to do for me. I remember sitting there wanting to yell, SKIP TO THE END!!!!

You know the part in The Princess Bride, where the king is in a hurry to get married, before it can be stopped, and he tells the priest to skip to the end?

That's how I felt! I wanted to skip to the end. I needed to get to the part where the invitation started.

When the message finally came to a close, and the invitation began, I did not waste any time. I was out in the aisle with the first note of music. I know the moment I accepted Christ. The second I stepped foot in the aisle, I had stopped running away from Christ, and started running to him.

I remember exactly what I prayed with my pastor at my side. I asked God to forgive me for fighting him, to forgive me for my sin and trying to do things on my own. I asked him to come and be the Lord of my life.

And just like that, my burden was lifted. I had taken the burden of my sin, laid it at the foot of the cross, and left it there. When I stood up, I stood righteous before God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Where would I be, if not for the mercy and grace of God?!

The words of this song describe what happened in my life. Jesus Christ truly is Beautiful!

Beautiful Beautiful

Album: My Paper Heart
Artist: Francesca Battistelli

Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace



Mindy Skains Barefoot Book Ambassador said...

OH I LOVE HER.... I have her song on my phone, so when folks call me. instead of hearing ringing they get to listen to her sweet voice.

Sandi said...

I love her too Mindy! Her album "My Paper Heart" is my new favorite!

Kari said...

I love your story. Thanks so much for sharing with me :)

Erica said...

BEAUTIFUL testimony!