"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to SAVE the world through him."
~ John 3:16-17 NIV, emphasis added
Today I'd like to dedicate this post to my daughter, Baby G. Everyday I'd like to dedicate my life to the one who has SAVED me. For without forgiveness and love, without the joy of new life, without the HOPE of all eternity & without HIS saving grace . . . I would be lost. My life would be radically different (and not for the better) & I would not have my sweet beautiful little girl. In fact I would not have my family as it is today.
This post is about restoration, transformation, freedom, & most of all HOPE. If that's not your thing, that's okay . . . come back another day. BUT, I really hope you keep reading. Because this story is amazing. I couldn't make it up if I tried. It is so much more than what I can write here but here is just a touch of the grace my family has received.
Let me start out by saying this has nothing to do with me. I never could have accomplished any of this on my own. You see five years ago I was a very different person than who I am today. I was full of a lot of darkness, resentment, bitterness, dare I say hatred . I felt trapped and totally insecure in who I was, as a wife and mother. My marriage was trapped in an endless cycle of addiction and co-dependency. I wasn't able to keep up with my business or with my life. The devil loves darkness & I was finished. I was being crushed by the darkness. The picture I wanted others to see, the one I worked so hard to paint, was crumbling at my feet.
In Jeremiah 2:13 Jesus says: "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." When my pastor read that passage on this Easter Sunday, I immediately remembered. Wow. That had totally been me. There I was, trying to do "it" on my own. Didn't matter what "it" was I could fix"it", I could handle "it" on my own.
I've always been "Christian" in the sense that I've always "believed" in Jesus. I had religion & I lost religion, I never understood religion . . . what I didn't have and what I desperately needed was a relationship.
But back to the cistern . . . if Jesus is the living water, then a personal relationship with Jesus would be the way to be filled up. When we dig our own cisterns, we try to do it our own way. Yep, five + years ago that's where I was. Trying it all on my own and failing miserably. I was broken and nothing good was flowing from me. I had filed for divorce a year or so before that, just wanting relief. I now know, I was looking for it in the wrong place. I had dug my own cistern & yes that was my nasty water I was carrying around. Go figure.
That's when a beautiful, random-to-me in my world, stranger invited me to come check out her church. (Love you Brandy, & eternally grateful to you.) I was so broken on the inside . . . I said yes. God knew what I needed. I knew the first song that I had found what I needed, for what I was searching for. But I was skeptical, I was scared & I had oh so many walls.
"How Wide, How Deep, Is His LOVE for You" Nobody had ever told me that! Or maybe I never listened. Either way, there it was huge on the screen before me. And there I was, singing with tears streaming down my face . . . my heart of stone, the wall I had built up trying to protect myself began to slowly crumble. A flake at a time at first. Then pebble by pebble. Finally, stone by stone. When the barriers had been broken down, I was finally able to hear that gentle knocking on the door of my heart. And I answered! Praise GOD, I answered!
Though a progression of time God showed up B.I.G. in my life, in my familys' life. He saved me. I prayed for my now ex-husband for God to either save him or get him out of my life. Horrible prayer, right? I'm human. God sent and angel in a living body to my husband and saved him too! I didn't find this out till much later. God is so GOOD!
My prayer . . . my plea . . . over & over again was "God, please change my heart." One day in service God answered my plea, with a thought. It was simple and undeniable. "Support, your husband." I wanted to resist. I remembered all of the junk. Made excuses. Ultimately, I knew that the thought was of God. I stepped back & let HIM change my heart. Over & over again.
Ultimately I was SAVED. Our family was RESTORED. He TRANSFORMED me. I experienced FORGIVENESS of myself & others that I NEVER thought possible. I learned unconditional LOVE. I was born again to NEW LIFE. And given JOY & HOPE. All of the impossible things, have been made possible for me. All through that one amazing act of LOVE. God sending His one and only Son to die for me & for you.
My prayer is that if you hear that gentle knock on the door of your heart, you answer. And then hold on for the ride!