Long overdue.

It all started about a year ago. I had this deep desire begin to be planted within me to share my story–my testimony as it’s often called–on a broader scale, but wasn’t sure just exactly how. As I was discussing this God-given nudging with a friend, and sharing in detail a bit of my past and what God had brought me out of, she agreed to pray along with me for more opportunities and venues, as well as the most sensitive wording, to share. A year later, our prayers came to fruition as I was granted the opportunity to stand up and give my (much confensed) testimony in front of my peers at an evangelism class I was auditing this Winter at a local seminary. What can I say other than God is faithful!

Other than this blog (which I now realize while typing out this post is as a whole, an ongoing collection of my story) I had never before had such a public platform of which to share my story. And by the grace of God, I shared without a scratch in my voice or blink of the eye (are these even idioms? I probably shouldn’t be blogging late at night haha!), which to me demonstrated that true healing has so evidently occurred. Again, praise God!

So that is exactly what I wish to share tonight. Keep in mind that it was written and spoken as if to be given to a group of non-believers but also to my peers at a Christian establishment, so you’ll find it a bit more parred back than my normal posts. But sometimes, that holds just as much power, don’t you think? 😉

May we all be ever more reflective of what God has done in our lives during this Lenten season…and if you don’t know Him personally yet, I pray that you may come to know Him as I do–as savior, lover, merciful redeemer, friend.

I pray you find encouragement and are blessed by this, but above all, that it points you to Jesus, as that is always the ultimate goal. 🙏🏽

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good evening, as I was preparing the points of my story I wanted to share with you all tonight, there’s been a song that I couldn’t keep off my lips and out of my mind and heart. It goes like this: “Old things have passed away, Your love has stayed the same, Your constant grace remains the cornerstone.”

It ’ s based off of the scripture you can find in 2nd Corinthians 5:17,“ T h e r e f o r e ,if anhome is I n Christ, he is a new creation; old things h ave passed away; behold, all things have become new. ”

This verse is especially meaningful to me given my wreck of a life before I fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. Have you ever been at the end of your rope? Have you ever gotten yourself so deep in a rut that you doubted if you’d ever get out? Have you ever been so despondent almost to the point of death?

Raised in a Christian home, you wouldn’t think that these would be questions that someone like me would relate to, but quite the contrary: I was completely broken and powerless to help myself before I truly invited Jesus into my life. I went to church, sang the hymns, read my Bible, and prayed to God. I came from a relatively stable home, yet even in that place of supposed safety I was not completely sheltered from the harm and evil intent that exists in this world.

I had my first encounter with the corruption of this fallen world when at the age of five I was inappropriately approached by a neighbor. Through the years, the initial abuse I experienced took other forms. Verbal, physical, emotional, and none of it according to God’s original design for my life. After years of harboring these injustices in my heart, a victim mindset settled in and patterns of shame, self­hatred, rebellion, promiscuity, and addiction, all wrong responses to the hurt I carried, began to surface and take hold of my life.

My heart was entrenched in bitterness and resentment, unable to forgive and not aware of my utter need of saving. I sought my self­worth in performance, both at school and on the track or in the weight room­­and later on even far more detrimental ways, in the bed of many a stranger. Throughout college, my self­destructive behavior reached an all time high, and it is truly a miracle that I am alive today to tell my story. All my vain attempts to numb my pain only succeeded in driving me farther into depression. Many times I contemplated taking my own life, as the alcohol, drugs, and other addictive habits I’d developed had proved insufficient to truly mend or heal what had been broken long ago.

I was a shadow of the joy­filled person God had created me to be. Yet, all that time, even in my darkest moments, He never left me. One day, while lying in the bed of my boyfriend at the time, I was startled by a notification alarm on my phone. As I glanced at the screen, the Bible verse of the day flashed before my eyes, and the ultimatum and words so resounding and clear rung through the entirety of my being: “If you truly believe Me you have one of two choices: you can keep on this road, which is leading to destruction and death, or you can choose to follow me and truly live out what you say you believe.”

In that instant, the Holy Spirit took hold of me and woke me from my stupor. I knelt down before Him in that bed, damaged and lost, and repented for the life that I had been living, the wrong paths I had let myself go astray upon­­and He met me with kindness and gentleness as I felt the weight of my wrongdoing and sin lift off. Later that day I booked a one­way ticket home, packed my bags, and made the decisive choice to give up my sinful life and give myself wholeheartedly to truly following this Jesus who, though I turned my back on before, had always believed in and held deep within my heart.

As a symbol of rededicating my life to the Lord, I was baptized for friends and family to witness, and from then on led a life of faith and reliance on God to meet my needs and heal my wounds. My newfound road of true faith wasn’t always easy, as I still carried hurts and “baggage” as we call it from my past, but the more and more I sought after God, the less my heart had room for anything else. The more I spent time in the Bible and in Christian community, surrounded by people who discipled and ministered to me, the less I desired to slip into old habits and the more I was transformed and my old lifestyle a thing of the very distant past. Six years later, I am truly a new creation, a radically different person. I have kept my vow renewal of purity which has brought a sense of self­worth and wholeness that I have never experienced before, and have been alcohol and drug­free since, completely liberated from the bonds of my addictions and all because I said yes to letting Jesus be the Lord or the leader of my life, and letting Him gently guide me upon this new path. He has patiently stood by me even when I may have tripped or lost my footing, and His kindness has always welcomed me back.

There is so much freedom, and goodness, and joy, and peace that I cannot ever properly begin to explain it in words. Where I formerly was weighed down by stress, anxiety, panic, depression, and hopelessness, I am now filled with inexpressible joy and peace, patience, and eternal comfort and rejoice in a hope that has solid foundation in the promises of Christ. Even in my current struggle and fight against Lyme disease, I wake overflowing with joy and fulfillment in being able to commune with God each day and to know and experience His unconditional love. My past is proof that God can deliver anyone no matter how far gone you think you might be or how difficult your predicament, or even how unlovable you may feel. He forgives entirely, heals completely, and loves extravagantly. To live my life fully surrendered to His will and His purposes, to glorify Him in all that I do and say, has truly brought me the most satisfaction and joy than I ever thought possible. He brings healing far beyond the physical, and hope that this world cannot even begin to offer. Call upon Him, and He will answer. Seek Him and He will be found. It’s a narrow road, but one that is worth the journey. I can attest to this. From a broken vessel made whole I can now say with assuredy: It is truly well with my soul.

 

 

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