This is my story of faith and redemption. I have posted this in a previous blog, but it is the first time sharing my story here.
This last Sunday at church, Pastor Dave (dad) spoke on the salt of your story. If you missed it, watch it here. We’ve been studying the parables Jesus used as He told stories. There is so much power in a good story; a tool that God gave each of us when sharing the good news of who He is.
It got me thinking of my own crazy, complicated, and gracious story. The one where God took ahold of a lost girl and helped her find her way back to Him. My story was not one that happened easily or quickly. It took years. It was a process and I think in some ways, it still is. He still is unfolding Himself in new ways to me, leading me, pruning me with His grace.
One day, years ago, my mom sat at the edge of her bed crying as if I had died. I had just told her that I was converting religions, that I didn’t need “religion” like she did. In my stubbornness, it felt easier to walk away from it all instead of dealing with the hurt and the mess. My mom must have been praying fervently on my behalf, because my heart began to soften when months later I accompanied my mom to church. That one time at church sparked something in me that I wasn’t ready to acknowledge yet. I still felt like I could do it on my own and I kept my walls up high. I was comfortable (or so I thought) in the life that I had built- with my rules, my way.
I was still on the edge of my faith a year later. Occasional visits to church turned into more regular visits, but something was still missing. My heart was still not surrendered to Him and I was guarded. I needed to encounter God in a real way like I’ve never experienced before. There was never a time growing up in a Christian home, that I had to decide God or the world… until now.
God ordained and orchestrated the craziest way to capture my heart. It is truly my love story that I still get blown away from. He connected me with a few friends in Florida and before I knew it, I was taking a risk and flying out to meet them. That week changed my life. I stayed at a married couple’s beautiful home and slept on the floor of their music room. They were so generous to have a stranger stay with them and little did they know that a breakthrough was right around the corner for me.
To this day, I still think God gave the wife severe migraines just for me (sorry girl!). A few days into her horrible stretch of migraines since I arrived, her husband gathered friends and me around his wife in the middle of their kitchen and declared healing over her. As the head of that house, he asked everyone to lay hands over her as he prayed for Jesus to come. A prayer and act of such simplicity was the “light switch” moment in my faith. I have never been prayed over like that. That was what a marriage centered around Jesus looked like. Of course my sisters both married great men of God, but it wasn’t until I was out of my box that it really clicked for me. Over the course of that vacation, the wife spoke into my life of God’s goodness and relentless love for me. She gave me tools to help me get closer to God and to find out who I am in Him. That week God changed me and I couldn’t go back home the same as I left.
I had been in a long term relationship, one that was on and off, but lasted for about 8 years. My entire teenage years were devoted to this relationship and slowly my relationship with God had withered away. I got off the plane and got in the car with my mom. We sat in the parking lot and I sobbed and told her I have to change, I can’t stay the same, that God did something in me while I was away. We celebrated with burgers.
The next day, I had to tell my then boyfriend of the work God had done in me. I told him that I need a man who loves Jesus and would walk in faith with me. I need a marriage that would be honouring to God. I asked him if he could be that man for me and he said no. In that moment, I walked away and that was the night God began to heal my heart and pour out new promises for me.
I chose Jesus and He restored me. He made me new again. I had never experience joy like this before. I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the fresh start He gave me. He gave me a kinder, softer, and sweeter heart. I had no idea what was ahead, but He did. He fulfilled the greatest promise; my husband. He knew the man I was supposed to marry; one who is kind and generous and a man of character. A man who loves God and will walk in faith with me through all my days.
I am so overwhelmed by my Father’s goodness and grace. Now nothing is holding me back from pursuing a relationship with Him. He has set me free and all the pain and the pruning was so worth it. My story isn’t really about me, it’s about my heavenly Father who didn’t stop chasing me, even when I was stubborn and hurtful and turned from Him. He took all my broken pieces and said “you are my masterpiece and you are mine”. My short comings, sin and failure didn’t stop Him from constantly pursuing me. This story is of the redemption of my heart; a renewed relationship with my heavenly Dad.
It’s never too late to begin, to start over or to un ravel God in a new way. He proved to me that the life I was living paled in comparison to the life He intended for me. Is God tugging on your heart? You may be on the edge of your faith, you may be running like I was or you may just be lost- un sure of it all. I promise you, your own story is waiting to be told just around the corner. All you have to do is surrender and invite God to come closer. You are so lovely and marvellous to Him. He is running to you; a love that is so relentless.