I write this to you today because I feel lead by the Lord to do so. I believe He wants me to share of my long and winding road to Him because there are many people out there who will be able to relate to it. My story is complicated, at least to me. It is not a cut-and-dry salvation story. It is not a salvation story where i can name an exact time and date when i met my Savior for the first time and then lived for Him from that point on. I believe He wants me to share with you because like me, there are many people out there, perhaps some reading this post now, who have suffered or are suffering presently from a distorted image of Jesus Christ, not because of anything He has done to them but because of something that has been done to them by others. And because of this skewed view of Jesus, they cannot or will not allow Jesus into their minds and hearts....at all.
This condition is a tragic one, for as Jesus tells us, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6
Deciding whether or not to believe on the name of Jesus is not child's play. It's serious business, a matter of life and death. It's a matter of life and death. Jesus shared with us over two thousand years ago, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33
The Very, Very Beginning of Part II
On January 28th of this year I shared with you the beginning of what most people might refer to as a salvation testimony. The title of that particular post - "How Was China?"
How could i have anticipated that in the almost two months that have gone by since, i would struggle to find adequate words to share with you who Jesus is to me, how I came to know Him and why i choose to follow Him now? Even as i type this, my words ellude me, my mind grasping for an image to hang onto and nail to the paper. Not because i have nothing to say, but because i have so much to say and do not know where to even begin. "Please Lord, help me to tell Your story inside of me."
I hear many people share that when they came to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior their lives changed in an instant. The Bible tells us this will happen. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
Accept when I was saved at the young age of thirteen I knew nothing of God's Holy Word so i didn't understand the reason for the change I experienced inside my heart and mind. I knew only that my life was a disaster and that i had made it so. I was so sick of myself, my negative attitude and the pain i had perpetually inflicted upon the innocent simply to satisfy my great need to deflect pain off of me and onto others. Until those others wouldn't take it anymore. I was then left with the choice to look at myself or not. I cried out to God. God, please help me! Please forgive me! I can't do this without you. I am so mean without You! Please, Jesus, please change who i am. Take away my anger. Take away my bitterness. Take away my hurt. Take away my grudge against life and please oh please replace it with Your Love. Change who i am now! And please help all the people whom I've hurt forgive me.
And i did change. My heart changed. My focus changed. My vision of the future changed. I began to desire a life filled with holiness and purity. I had big dreams for my future, about going to college and never smoking, cussing or drinking. About how i was going to let God bring the right man into my life, about how i was going to stay pure for that man.
I no longer wanted to gossip, condemn or make fun of people. I wanted to be good. I did not want to do bad things anymore. I did not want bad in my life. What i wanted above all was to be a "foot soldier" for Christ. I was raised inside a church who did at least teach me this one thing, and i clung to the image of who i became through it - just to be a simple foot soldier for Christ. That is all I really wanted.
The only problem was there was noone in my life, in my circle of influence, who wanted these things for me too. Instead, i was surrounded by those encouraging me to do just the opposite of what my godly vision showed me. I was considered an idealist, and this was not a good thing in their eyes. And i did not know anything personally about the Bible. I did not know that i could just pick up the Bible, read it and be inspired by God Himself to stay the course inspite of conditions. So you see, even though I was saved, my soul was saved, I lost my way for a long, long while. I lost my purity. I lost my vision. I lost sight of who I had become through Him in the instant i came to know Him. Hence, began the downward spiral. First, very slowly, but by the time I was sixteen i was running so hard and so fast away from me that I soon lost sight of the One Who Saved me. i also lost sight of the person He made me to be, and I denied myself that hoped-for future.
And before you know it, in order to stay the new and destructive course I had systematically carved out, I felt i had no other choice but to deny Him.
Fast Forward a Few Years
I was nineteen and in my second year of college. I had enrolled in an Anatomy class, and to my dismay or surprise, we had an actual cadaver to work on in order to learn our muscle groups, bones, ligaments, etc.
At this point in my life, I totally threw the concept of God out the window. I had it all figured out you see. Because my childhood, and hence life, had been so traumatic, I decided there just couldn’t be a God because in order for me to believe in a God, I would have to further believe He actually placed me in the family in which I found myself. No God would ever do such a horrible thing, right? Or if there was a God, and He allowed me to be born in such a family, then He was a cruel God, one I would have to be angry at forever. Due to such erroneous thinking on my part, I found it either nobler or just easier to believe in no God at all - until I witnessed the actual workings of the human body via the cadaver in my Anatomy class that is.
Until.I.saw.with.my.very.own.eyes... the intricacy and complicated mechanism found in the human body, a body in which I realized with glee that Chance had played no part at all. And I stood in AWE! The human body became proof positive to me that there was a God, and not just any God, but a MIGHTY GOD whose imagination stretched far beyond the scope of human comprehension.
I worked at Pizza Hut at the time, and would go to work every day and update my coworkers about my new discoveries in regards to this human machine and proclaim with gladness that I KNEW there was a GOD and He was MIGHTY and AWESOME and filled with LIFE and CREATION. Just by enrolling in that Anatomy class, a class which I did not need to graduate, my life and perceptions of life changed dramatically and completely. I will tell you, my coworkers at Pizza Hut thought I had flipped my lid. You see, they were used to the cynical me, the flippant and sarcastic me, not the me who got all wound up over something she couldn’t actually prove or see. I was surrounded by naysayers, agnostics, atheists.
Yet even though that Anatomy class changed my life for good for the better, I remained lost and extremely self-destructive because... there was a missing component in my newly formed thought processes involving God, and His name is Jesus. Jesus, whose GOOD NAME and HONOR had been stolen from me due to some pretty warped and twisted meanderings of a couple older brothers (the oldest of which, due to years of sniffing glue, actually thought he was Jesus Christ) allowed by my parents to spew out verbal rampages concerning Jesus and the Bible even on the youngest of us twelve at will without rebuke or reprisal of any kind - and thus setting in slow motion a type of confusion over the name of Jesus that i battled for years. It became a constant struggle for me to not lose sight of WHO HE REALLY IS. And for a time, I lost the battle and declared openly to anyone who would listen that He did not exist.
Until that night when I was twenty two years of age…. Having lost everything that mattered to me, I felt utterly alone and absolutely petrified for my future. And I turned to Him. And He showed up. Even after I rejected Him, He showed up. As I sat on my bed in my little efficiency apartment, rocking myself back and forth as I had done countless times previous through the years, weeping bitter and sorrowful tears, I looked over at the mirror hanging over my bureau and saw a picture of Jesus, a picture I had held onto since childhood and one in which I hung up in every place I lived. Ironic, isn’t it?
I called out to Him in human desperation, and He showed up. Rocking me gently in His arms and promising me He would never leave me, I had a renewed HOPE for my future, no longer filled with fear and dread. As I felt His Loving Presence and Gentle Arms around me, I knew that what i was experiencing in that moment was REAL. This supernatural experience filled me with such a deep sense of gratitude that i have Loved Jesus ever since!
There is more, and I will share it soon. It is all written and ready to go. When you visit again, I will share my journey from the moment Jesus came to my side to the present day and what I have learned about His Undying, Unending LOVE for ALL of US!