Where I Come From
“I was just a child, when I felt the Savior leading
I was drawn to what I could not understand.
And for the cause of Christ, I have spent my days believing
That what He’d have me be, is who I am.”
The opening lines from Greg Long’s, “Mercy Said No”, could pretty much be used to sum up my childhood. I was raised in the church..in fact, I can’t remember not being in church. We were definitely a “there everytime the doors are open” kind of family. I realized that I needed Jesus and His forgiveness when I was nine years old. I can still remember the day, the details, the feeling of awe as I prayed for Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be Lord of my life. I have no doubt that I was forgiven that day. Had I died at any point after that night, June 9,1987, I know that I would’ve found myself in heaven with my next breath. But is that enough? To just….
…know we are going to heaven?
…live our life anyway we choose?
…know we have “fire insurance” and are safe from hell?
Unfortunately, that’s what my life looked like for years. Not just through the rebellious teen years, or early adulthood, but up until recently…at 40 I finally listened to God and realized there is so much more! So much more He has for me, so much more He wants from me and so much more I want to accomplish for Him.
Life for me was not what you would expect from a girl raised in church. By all outward appearances, my life was that of a typical Christian kid, but underneath was confusion, insecurity and a desire to be more, have more, do more. My family also looked good from the outside but in the privacy of our own home there was so much going on that no one else knew about. The world as I knew it exploded around me with the dreaded words: broken vows, infidelity, divorce.
I felt like a small child staring out over the destruction of what was once my security. Who was I now? Where would I find safety, security and acceptance now? Unfortunately, when I should’ve run to God, I ran in the opposite direction and embraced the world and all it had to offer.
I completely turned my back on God and what He had for me. Somehow through all of that, God still chose to bless me. I met the man I would marry, moved to the other side of the country and was married by the time I was 20 years old.
Life seemed to move so quickly from that point on. Within the first five years, we had moved to multiple cities, had two children, and returned to the church. My husband, who had not been raised in church, was saved shortly after we started attending (between the birth of our first and second child). We ended up moving back to his hometown to care for his mother after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was shortly after that time that I began to see that I was suffering from a “cancer” of my own….one that was eating away at me slowly. While it may not have been the kind that would kill my body, I was dying spiritually and emotionally, little by little…day by day. But above all things I was a wonderful actress!! I was always taught that appearances matter so, even though I was questioning all I knew and was, I powered on and kept up a “good” front. Through a new career path for him, the loss of his mother, the birth of our third child and purchasing our first home, we continued in church and I remained in the role of good Christian wife and mom. My reality, however, was always bubbling under the surface. There was a constant flow of doubt, questioning and insecurity in my heart and mind. I was having a seemingly constant negative conversation with myself…asking questions I would never think to say aloud…dreaming up scenarios I wouldn’t dream of sharing with others…questioning even my basic beliefs that I was taught as a child…
…was I running to something or away from something when I moved across country?
…was my life really what it should be?
…was he really who I was meant to be with?
…was God really there, and if He was, did He really care about me?
On the surface I was calm, serene, everything was fine, but underneath the pressure was building and I felt like I would explode! I was at war with myself, the world and God, on a daily basis.
This constant tug-of-war continued off and on for the next ten years until one day I hit a point where I was just tired of fighting. I had lost both of my parents to different illnesses and I just felt exhausted trying to keep up the charade. I still knew I was saved but I just felt like God was so far away and didn’t really care what I did or didn’t do. I hit a point where I was pretty much going out and doing whatever I wanted and I didn’t care what God, my husband or anyone else thought. I was on the verge of throwing it all away!
The very night that I truly believe would have been the end of all I knew…when I may have “pushed a button” that would have destroyed everything I had…my husband was out-of-town, I was stubborn and felt defeated, and I was spending time with people who didn’t care what I did…I came down with the flu! Raging, head ringing, throat burning, fever ridden flu. That night, as I was “stuck” at home, I was miserable! I felt awful but mostly I was just mad that I didn’t get to go out and do what I wanted to. As the night wore on and I was looking for something to do, I finally decided to watch a YouTube link a friend had sent me. At this time in my life I felt like I was two different people. There was the me that my husband and kids got to see (this me was mostly pleasant, said all the “right” things and was even involved in a Bible study) and there was the me that select friends would see (this version of me wanted to party, acted like she was single more often than not, and had conversations that never should’ve taken place). The first me was the one that decided to watch the link because I knew at the next Bible study the ladies may ask if I watched it and well I had to keep up appearances, didn’t I?
That moment ended up being a completely pivotal, life-changing, God ordained moment in my life. As I listened to that sermon, by Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church, I felt God reaching out to me. That night, January 6, 2018, God touched me and He changed me! Pastor Furtick said, “God is good. He is with me. He is for me!”
* You can watch the sermon that finally reached me at https://youtu.be/L5m2YSQLgbA
As I watched I understood that even though I was saved as a child, I had spent my entire life thinking it was all about me..what I do, what I don’t do, how people see me, how I “measure” up…and on and on. That night, when I truly opened myself up to receive His Touch, I understood that it is about relationship. I had a saving knowledge of Jesus but I had never walked with Him…or talked with Him. I hadn’t truly learned about Him or how He wanted me to walk with Him. That night changed my life…
…I realized that a true relationship with Jesus was the missing piece, the answer to all of my questions.
…He alone had the power to free my from all of my chains.
My life will never be the same because, on that cold January night, God reached down to me and used a physical illness so He could heal me of a spiritual one, with His one faithful touch!