In the past I have considered writing a post on how I got saved, but I just never did it. Then a sweet friend at church not too long ago asked about how I came to know Christ. Finally, this past week has been such a life changer and I could just shout from the rooftops with joy, that I HAVE to share. I feel God leading me to do so. I also had urgings from my husband to do so.
My life growing up was harder than some, but easier than most. I do want to say first of all that I love and honor my parents, as we are commanded to do so. This in no way should be taken as anything but that. My mother gave birth to me, chose to give me life, and my mother and father cared for me and raised me the best they knew how. They made mistakes, I make mistakes, we all make mistakes. Both of my parents were alcoholics. They divorced when I was five. My mother has also suffered from mental and emotional problems most of her life. I lived with my mom and saw my dad every summer and every other holiday. We moved a lot. I was sexually abused by my grandfather. I was physically, verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused by a boyfriend that I lived with for three years who was very controlling. I myself was an alcoholic and I tried many different kinds of drugs. I had several boyfriends that I lived with. I also had sexual relationships with other guys as I was growing up. I became pregnant at 15, but had a miscarriage. I dropped out of school when I was 15. I was angry. I shoplifted multiple times. I lied often. I dishonored my parents and my elders. I was far from God. I do remember, however, often times praying, even as a little child.
When I married Sean and we moved to California in 2005, he deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps. It was at that time that I started really praying and I also started reading my Bible. I didn't know what else to do. I was so fearful I was going to lose him. However, I still drank a lot, hoping to numb the pain.
After a season of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, Sean and I started to feel like we were becoming "good" people. We started going to church. We even got baptized in 2007!!! We prayed regularly. We really tried to follow God and to be obedient. We tried to teach our children about God. We tried to honor him with modesty and with guarding our eyes, ears, mouth, and heart. We tried to cleanse our lives of things ungodly. We had family Bible time most nights. We really tried to immerse ourselves in everything we could that would bring us closer to our Savior. We saw God working in our lives. We have been blessed by Him.
Unfortunately, I was never taught one simple truth. At least not in the way that I needed it explained to me. Until this past week. You see, I was still trying to do everything in MY on strength. I have had years and years of waking up every morning, promising God that this time I was going to do it. I was going to be perfect. I wasn't going to sin. I was going to be who I thought I was supposed to be and who I thought God and others wanted me to be. I failed. Everyday. I got discouraged. But I would pick up the pieces and try again. Everyday. Some days I thought I did better than others. I believe I would have gone to Heaven. I believe I was saved. However, I was not experiencing true joy or victory. And I knew it. I saw it in others. I wanted it. Bad. But I didn't know how to get it. I would get so angry at God sometimes. Wondering why He wouldn't give me the fruit of the spirit. I questioned my faith. I didn't understand. I remained bitter, angry, critical, jealous, envious. I even tried to not love God anymore. Nothing worked.
Then this past week we attended 4 days at the ATI homeschool conference in Nashville. The first two days were horrible. I felt even angrier. Even more bitter. Judgmental. Envious. I couldn't be as good as all these other perfect families. Why didn't God want me to have victory? Then I heard exactly what I needed to hear by Mr. Jamie Lash (one of the speakers). He told me how I am not a sinner anymore. I put away my old self when I was saved and now I am a new person. I have always been taught that I am still a sinner and unable to help myself. I'm not. I'm a saint. I don't have to sin anymore because I have God's power, strength, and might. I am a saint who will occasionally sin, as Mr. Lash puts it. What freedom!!!! What victory!!!! To know I don't have to be my old self and that I don't have to try to fix it in my own strength. That God wants me to be exactly who I am in Him. It doesn't matter if I wear a skirt and watch G movies and go to church three times a week, that is not want it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, I believe these things are good and important, by they were not giving me victory. I want to tell everyone how much Jesus loves them. How much He loves me. He died for me so I could have freedom and victory. So that I could know the truth. That the fruit of the Spirit is in me. I don't have to try to obtain in my own ways. That I was made to love God and to love others and to serve others.
It's funny, variations of this have been presented to me countless times, BUT I finally get it. And I'm never letting go of these promises. If I get frustrated with my children, which I will, I know that I don't have to go down the anger path because I have God. I can't do it on my on, but I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.
One other major point that I took away from this amazing conference came from Mr. David Gibbs. He told me how I am an ambassador for Christ. My one and only job in life is to represent Him. What an honor and a privilege.
I pray for anyone who reads this that you are encouraged. I am here for anyone who wants to know more about the love of Christ.
Jesus loves YOU! And ME!
Here is the site for ATI http://ati.iblp.org/ati/
Also, for 9 dollars a month, you can subscribe to the Embassy Institute to hear more powerful messages from amazing people. https://embassyinstitute.org/