July 11, 2012

The two loves of my life and five special blessings


In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8

Sin can forever change the journey our life takes if we do not understand God’s forgiveness and grace.  At fifteen, I committed a sin that forever changed my journey and sent me on a path of self-destruction that lasted until I was in my thirties.  I realize now at thirty-six, my self-destruction came as a result of not fully understanding what forgiveness in Christ truly meant but through God’s grace and mercy, He has shown me great things and I now have an understanding of His character that has changed my life. 

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I lived for many years unhappy and unsatisfied.  With each purchase of a new toy, new home, new car or new outfit, I just knew I had found sheer happiness and joy.  I knew all my dreams had come true and the sky would stay sunny forever.  I was wrong.  Within days and sometimes-mere minutes, the feeling of happiness would vanish and I was back to feeling empty.  I wanted so much more from life but because of sin that had settled deep within my life, I could not attain the relationship that I truly wanted with God.  Now at the time, this was not something that I recognized.  You see I did all the right things according to “church standards.”  I attended church and bible studies.  I participated in various ministries and served when called.  From the outside, I had it all together.  I even believed I was doing all the “right things” but there was still such a void within my life.  It took that day of destruction for the truth to begin to surface. 

Sin does that.  We become blind and numb to what truly matters.  We want to hear from God and we even plead with Him for a sign of His presence but we cannot find it.  It is not because He is not there; it is because our sin serves as a barrier that separates.  Now I will not divulge the sins of my teenage years right now but those sins shaped me into a person that was very insecure and naive.  Satan used those characteristics within me to speak lies into my heart that kept me from trusting the promises of God. I was easily manipulated and trusted the wrong things.  I placed my faith and hope in people instead of God.  I began to justify the choices I had made as a teenager and rationalized within myself that I could make it all up to God by getting my life together as an adult.  I have now learned that it just does not work that way.  It took such a long time to get here but now that I am…OH MY GOSH!!  There is such FREEDOM!!

Back to sin and forgiveness.  Here is the truth that changed my life and brought me tremendous FREEDOM!  Forgiveness is complete even when confession isn’t!  There is it!  That simple truth changed my life.  The thing is though that I did not just hear that truth one day and got it.  Nope!  I did not have anyone to share that simple fact with me but instead, God used the past few years to teach this truth to my heart.  You see throughout my life I believed each time I committed a sin that I lost the love of God and had to start all over again.  I believed that I had to do certain things and live a perfect life in order for God to love and bless me.  I made His love conditional.  I have learned it is not that way at all.  That was just another lie of the enemy to keep me from God.  I had to learn that when I came to Christ, He forgave all the sins of my life committed in my past as well as my future.  I learned that I do not have to confess the sins of my past all over again and I do not need to fear that God will reject me if I do not keep my slate perfectly clean.  Jesus died on the cross so that all my sins were forgiven once and for all…forever.  I learned that my relationship with Christ is secure forever!  However, I had to come to understand that my lack of confession is what hindered my relationship with God. When I sinned, I was still forgiven.  God still loved me. It was my lack of understanding repentance and confession that kept me from experiencing His amazing freedom. Throughout my life, God still worked and blessed me.  Though I had wandered off His path for my life at the age of fifteen, He still gave me health and five healthy and beautiful children.  He protected my children and me and He still continues to do so. He was always right there with me though I was not fully aware of how to access Him. Those years spent on my own path were years filled with unhappiness and emptiness but those were consequences suffered from choosing my own way.  It has been heartbreaking but life changing as I have experienced God work out such bad things into such great things for His glory. 

Last year I became single again.  My prayer over the past few years has been that God heal my heart and make it a heart that longs only after Him.  My prayer was also that if it was God’s will for me to ever be in relationship with anyone, that He send me someone that loves Him as much I do.  Pure and simple, I want someone in my life who longs to walk with God as much as I do. I believe He has answered that prayer. That story in and of itself is one that I cannot wait to tell someday and is a story full of sin, grace, mercy, love and forgiveness as well as answered prayers and God has placed that person in my life.  The person God brought into my life happens to be a person that I would not have expected but through a set of circumstances that could have only been set into motion by the One who controls the Universe, it happened.  I spent a year falling in love with God.  I spent a year allowing Him to penetrate my life and put my broken heart back together and in return He has blessed me with an incredible man.  Now this man has his own history but he is someone who has found and experienced forgiveness and grace as I have and has forever been changed.  We both walked away from our past changed.  We both walked away from our sinful past and found a forgiveness and love that we now understand and want to share, together.  It is amazing.

I have never been this happy.  My life according to the world is not perfect but in a world where God is in control, it is perfect because of His love and blessing.  Everything in my life has changed.  I live a simple life now.  A life spent experiencing “family” and understanding the purpose of why I am here on this earth.   God has given me the amazing blessing of walking hand in hand with my best friend as we serve and love Him together.  We are taking this journey together and together we are living out God’s design for what a healthy relationship should be in front of my children.  We are worshiping and ministering side by side.  God knew the longings of my heart and He has fulfilled each one of those longings.  I feel so undeserving but I am learning that God is faithful. He is not faithful because of what we do and do not do but instead He knows our heart and our true character and He rewards and blesses accordingly. 

I do not know where you stand today in your life or what trials you might be facing but I do know this….God is faithful.  He is full of love and forgiveness.  He longs to bless us and to fulfill our deepest desires and longings but we have to walk toward Him.  We have to find our way out of the dark and choose to tune out the lies that Satan would whisper into our ear.  (Be aware that those lies can come from anywhere. Satan can use friends, family and even pastors as a way to make us doubt God’s voice.  Satan used Peter to try to cause Jesus to doubt. Matthew 16:21-23) We must always be on guard but most importantly, we much know God and His character.   Once we understand who He is and the way in which He loves us and the freedom and happiness He brings into our lives, we will experience more than those without Him will ever be able to comprehend and it will make us want to shout from the rooftops…How great is our God!!

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