Great and Unsearchable Things

Things the Lord gives me, and then I write them.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just As I Am

Concerning the expectations of others, trying to live up to them, and fearing loss of relationship if you don't: I can't be less than God created me to be. I can't be more than God created me to be. Come what may. If the relationship is lost, the other person does not recognize your value. Take heart, though-GOD DOES and ALWAYS WILL.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The UnCut Version of the Testimony of God's Grace Extended to Me

I have been encouraged lately to share the testimony of God's grace which came to me in my darkest hour.
It happened in the year 1990, the year my second son, Patrick, was in his 10th year of high school. I had always been an avid church go-er, and so I thought my salvation was intact because I did believe in the truth of Jesus dying for the sins of all on the cross, and I inserted my name in the "all." The only problem was I didn't really acknowledge the reality of my Sins. I had treated that rather casually, because all I had heard in the church was about God's grace, and the church I was brought up in adknowledged infant baptism as the way of salvation, and then confirmation to more/less shore up the deal. I had done all that, and so to my knowledge, I was saved.
Only problem was I was miserable with myself. My behaviors were full of sin and wickedness with no hope of change, although I sought it earnestly by reading self-help books. The delusion the written answers provided somehow made we think I was doing them. I got some peace imagining that I would be able to change myself.
Shortly after getting married, the explosions of my past angers came to the surface. I had what the Bible refers to as "fits of rage," which manifested themselves towards the very ones God had given me to love; my husband and my children, which man has called abuse. I abused my husband and children, yelling at them because of life that I couldn't cope with easily. They became the targets of my sin. Over the years, the rage which I displayed and directed at them caused untold damage to their souls. By the time my second son was in 10th grade, the reaping of all the years I had sowed to the flesh, were starting to come to harvest in the sins of my children, and in the total emotional divorce my husband had done in his heart towards me for his protection.
It was total and unsolvable misery in our family. Our house was not a place of peace, but of turmoil and pain, each one of us trying to keep our heads above water in our own way. My children attempted to numb their pain through drinking, drugs, self abuse, and even crime. The hatred I had for myself in all of this was interpreted by them as my rejection of them, and so they were, in effect, rejecting themselves. And I was running scared and full of guilt. I desired to be free from the negative emotions, but I just didn't know what I could do. I even became suicidal, wanting to "be removed from my family" truly convinced that they would be better off. The only thing that kept me from that is the threat of going to hell, and knowing that if I did that than they might think that is the way out and try it themselves. The fear was increasing in me day by day. We were all just zombies, trying to get through the days of our terrible existence, not connecting or extending love at this point.
I didn't see God coming. It seemed like a normal day in our lives. The kids had gotten up to get ready for school. We live 25 miles from their school, and so we had to take them in the car because we were not in that school zone. ( a lie we were living in) When my son, Pat, was at the door getting ready to go out of it, I was yelling at him for some reason that I don't remember. (It really didn't seem to matter at that time. If I was anxious or feeling stress, I would just vent to feel some sense of relief. I didn't really know I was doing this, but felt my anger was justified for whatever reason. That is how unregenerate my mind was.) Anyway, as I was yelling at him , all of a sudden my husband came, took me by the shoulder and slung me to the ground. He has told me later that he wanted to throw me threw the glass french doors we have in our living room, but for some reason, he didn't. Then everyone left.
As I lay there on the kitchen floor in my sin, all by myself, I had never felt so abandoned and all alone. I was paralyzed to get up , and so almost immediately the Lord came to me and He showed me a vision. ( A picture in my mind) He showed me a dried up and lifeless cornfield, all scorched and dusty, with absolutely no life in it. It represented death. And He said to me (in the deep recesses of my soul)," If you continue down this dark path, this is how your life will end up. But, if you turn to Me, "I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten." It was then that I turned to Him for help, as He had offered me a promise of love and restoration I knew that I could not do for myself or my family." It had been my sins which were the locusts, and now, by turning to Him, He put forth this promise. I didn't want to die and I was desperate.
It has been over the years that I have begun to realize the awesomeness of His grace extended to me that day, 18 years ago. Here I was in the fallout of my sin (which was justified), and He comes to me and extends His hand of grace. I lived the truth of "while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me," in those moments. Over the course of the next few years, He saved my husband and 3 children one by one. It was simply amazing and breath-taking. Many standing on the sidelines were able to watch the glory of God in motion as He saved, and transformed, and is yet transforming us. The restoration process is all in His good time, and in His good ways.
It has been only a handful of times that I have told of this testimony as powerful and moving as it is. The Lord had to deliver me and is delivering me of trying to hide the shame of my past sins. I didn't want other people to know that I was "that bad." I am not realizing though that He took the shame, and I don't have to carry it any longer. And now, He is really encouraging me to come out with the uncut testimomy so that others who may think that their sins are too bad, and that there is no hope for them, would realize and be able to see that His grace will cover any and all sin no matter how bad. I feel like Paul when he said he was "the cheif of sinners." He killed Christians, and I killed little children (their souls), and someone who was trying to love me (my husband). I know that I can never erase the pain and heartache I dealt them by my hand, but I trust that God can and will do that. It is a miracle in itself that any of them are still talking to me. I deserved to be thrown through that door, and be killed. I deserved that cornfield of death, and I deserved hell. Who could forgive someones sins like mine, except the One who had died for these very sins? He came to me that day, and wanted me to know that He alone would rescue me-that He was giving me a chance to be saved. Still I cannot grasp the magnitude of what He did for me that day. I see more and more of it as time goes on. He has loved me with a great love, and He is teaching me today how to humbly and gratefully serve Him.
"All you who are weak and heavy-laden, come to Jesus." I was so weak that I could not help sinning. I had no power over it. I was so weighed down that I was helpless. He offers Himself to any one still now while you are yet living, no matter what you have done. If you would but turn to Him-call out to Him for help, He will be there for you as He was and still is for me and my family and bring salvation to you.
The time is drawing near before Jesus returns, (as I'm sure you can begin to see the signs lately) and He wants all to know that His salvation is for everyone, if they will but receive it by turning to Him in trust. He desires that all be saved, but He wants you to choose to be with Him.
He gave me that choice, when I was lost and alone and depraved, and He give it to you.