I have not always been a Christian. My childhood was not easy and alcoholism ran its muck in the family. My poor mom had a terrible battle with the disease of alcoholism but I want to state up front that my senior year of high school she went and received helped and has gone to meetings and is nothing like the mom I grew up with now. I am so proud of her. Also, her testimony is one of grace and power that the Spirit does give us to change to be born again! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
However, I was raised with a mom who was dependent on alcohol and my father worked all the time to provide for his family and I honestly don’t remember him doing anything but working and coming home and watching TV with us. Though his wisdom is instilled in me because we had good conversations when we did have them. My dad never let me know that he knew what was going home when he was at work. I thought he didn’t have a clue.
I started teaching dance and I wanted to dance as much as I could to stay away from home. Dancing became a release for me. Now, I can see God’s loving hand in this situation because I danced for a Christian dance studio. So, I knew about God but I didn’t really think he would want this crazy messed up girl. Though, I prayed my students knew Him. So, I was dancing 4 days a week (Monday through Thursday) and I spent Friday and Saturday nights with my Granny (a routine that started for me when I was 3 years old). Then I became good friends with Elizabeth through dance. Her family took me to church, a Catholic church, but I am so happy for the foundation that it laid. Through the Catholic church, I did learn the gospel story. I was still pretty unsure if Christ wanted me but I understood what He did. I am so thankful for Elizabeth and her family and am honored to now call her my sister-in-law! She is an amazing woman, who I love dearly. I am glad that Jesus allowed someone so loving to be such an important step in saving me.
Then I graduated high school…
I thought that I had to earn people’s love so I started stealing from the leather shop where I was working at the time. I would steal and give it away in hopes that the people I was giving it to would love me. People like my husband (then boyfriend), Elizabeth, my mom, etc. I ended up getting arrested, thank God I was arrested for it.
In that time, everyone was pointing at my sin and I wanted to run from it. I didn’t want to face it. I was like Adam and Eve hiding in the garden running from their sin. I moved in with my Granny. Granny was always praying for me and she loved me unconditionally. She truly was my best friend and one of the only people I knew I could depend on. But on the TV at my Granny’s house, I heard John 4. It struck me so much that I ran to my room and looked it up. Here Jesus was not pointing at the woman’s sin but instead He wanted to give her Living Water before addressing her sin. This is what needed to happen for me because I needed to know Him in order to give my sin to Him. That was the moment that I fully understood and accepted what He did for me. That He took the cross to pay my debt and He would be my living water. He told me He loved me, wanted me, and wasn’t giving up on me.
You see, He wanted the Samaritan Woman even though she was going to the well at a weird time in the day to avoid people. She thought nobody wanted her too! I can relate to this woman. And here Jesus wanted me. All these years that I didn’t feel good enough and wondered if he would want me… and I just had to accept Him.
He wants all! His power and blood make even horrid sinners, like me, “good enough”. Until I caught a glimpse of Jesus really wanting the “least of these” in John 4, I could not understand why He would want me but He did! And from that day on I have been changed because I received the power of the Holy Spirit who helps point out what needs to be changed, helps me want to change, and helps me understand who He wants me to be.
After fully accepting Him as my Lord and Savior and being equipped with the Spirit, my life has so much joy and love. I can not imagine walking in this fallen world without Him. My husband and I have had so many challenges in our first couple of years. His training began a few months after we were married and we had our first beautiful daughter. And when we were having our second,Jonathan David, he came 16 weeks too early and we only had 4 days with our son. At Jonathan’s memorial service, I finally answered God’s call to ministry. I started there at the service and gave the reason for my hope (1 Peter 3:15, states to always be ready to give a defense for the hope you have). Because the Lord that met me in John 4 was also the Lord that took the cross and rose again so that death could simply be a see you later and not a goodbye. My hope was in Him and Him alone. He broke me free of sin and He broke me free of eternal grief.
Our marriage suffered greatly, to the point that we were almost divorced several times. Two grieving people on two different grief roads is difficult, to put it mildly. But the last time divorce was on the plate, we separated and I remember being totally done and just praying for God to wrestle with Daniel. Like He did with Jacob and if he came out limping I really didn’t care! But God did wrestle with Daniel. But He wrestled with me too! Since then our marriage is stronger and better and to be honest… I am having a lot of fun in this life with this amazing man by my side! I love him. And those years of hardship… well our God is the God that “makes new what locust devour”! Praise Him!
Through being lost, through the loss of a son (and multiple miscarriages), through marriage challenges… God has constantly been there and aided me. In the moments where it looked dark, He would always shine a light for me. He would always make Himself known to me. Sometimes, I thought He wasn’t there but all I needed to do was open my eyes and I would find Him. I don’t know what sin you are under. But I know that God is the God that took this thief and turned her into a pastor and I do not doubt that He can do the same for you! Now, I am a confident daughter of God who knows that love is not earned, it is freely given. I now am the evangelical pastor at our church, bible study writer, mother, wife, speaker, etc all because of God’s amazing Grace! He is so Good! He can be trusted.
Accept Him, if you haven’t already! He wants you, Sweet One! Oh, He wants you!