Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God's Redeeming Love {Day 25}: He Was Always There {A Testimony and Giveaway}

When I first joined the church I still go to today, I was reluctant to get involved.  Not because of anything other than the fact I was shy.

But, there was this woman that would NOT leave me alone.  Piper showed up everywhere I went {even my chiropractor's office}, inviting me to stuff ... meetings, events, whatever.  

It got to the point where I would notice her and turn and walk the other way, praying she wouldn't spot me - haha.  I laugh at that now because she is one of my closest friends and a true gift in my life! {She wore me down :) }

I mention all of that because after you read her testimony, you will see how God has miraculously changed her life.  She serves Him relentlessly and inspires me to do the same.

 {Piper and her husband, Benny}

{Our families, riding the Virginia Creeper ... we LOVE their family!}

Enjoy her testimony ... 

When I was a little girl I experienced loss ...

My parents divorced when I was 5.

A friend I played with almost all the time died when I was 7.
My Dad remarried.
My grandfather died when I was 10.

When I asked the Lord in my heart when I was 12 years old, He saved me by shedding His blood on Calvary. I do know that very day God put a desire in my heart that through the years became buried deep. You would think that would have saved me from a life of sin. Problem was I had no one leading and guiding me in the Lord.

My Aunt and my grandmother continued to pray for me. Problem was no one else, walked the walk or talked the talk.  My Grandmother would tell me God has a plan for you, and everything happens for a reason. I was a teenager. I had no clue what any of that even meant. 

I spent years and years searching for something....didn't even know what that something was.
I searched in places, went head first into sin and after sin, always coming up empty.

After a failed marriage that resulted in me falling deeper and deeper into sin's hold on me, I became very insecure. You see, I was believing all the lies that satan had filled my head with in the short time I was married.

You are useless. No one will ever want you. You are ugly. You are fat. You cause trouble.
You are a failure. It was like a recording that played over and over! 

Once again, I set out on a search to find whatever it was I was searching for. I was full of bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, spite, you name it and that was me all rolled up into a big ol' MESS. All of my own creating.

You see, God will let you go as far as you can go. So I went. Again, I made bad choice after bad choice.

I woke up one morning, not exactly sure where I was, where I had been. Emotionally, I can tell you I was in a very deep pit. One that I, at that very moment, realized was of my own making. My choices had caught up with me. One bad choice led to another and another. I was at the end of myself. I knew that I could not do this anymore. I had no where to look but UP to the Lord. You know what? He was there with His arms open wide, just waiting on me. My child come home. Such love! 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2
Within days I was back in church, whenever I could go (I worked most Sundays). The first Sunday I went, there I sat, broken, full of fear, still full of all the junk that led me to that pit. The same pastor that baptized me when I was 12, was preaching on Forgiveness. Oh boy, just what I didn't want to hear. I was ready to check out. This was insane. How could I forgive him?? He broke his vows, his promises.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 

As he broke this verse down, I was doing just fine until he said, "There is someone sitting in this congregation that is harboring unforgiveness. Your relationship with the Lord cannot grow with this bitterness and hatred in your life. No matter how you were wronged you are still commanded to forgive." 

My heart was pounding.  He didn't know the hurt inside, the pain that I was feeling. At this point I felt as if I was the only person in that sanctuary. He was looking directly at me and he said, "Jesus knows your pain, He felt that pain and pain you will never know. Don't you think He feels pain when you choose to sin? What if He didn't forgive you of your sins? What if He wouldn't forgive you for not forgiving another child of his? He loves you and He loves the person that wronged you." 

O.U.C.H. Hard words. Just plain TRUTH.

Broken and defeated, my heart was about to pound out of my chest. I knew that I had to ask to be forgiven. My sins were just too hard to live with any more. I couldn't get to that altar fast enough. I had to repent my wickedness before the Lord. I had to forgive the person that wronged me.... regardless if he even acknowledged it. I got up from that altar and was FREE from the bondage that had bound me so tightly. I chose that day to recommit my life to the Lord. This is the day, that I also found out that it was a relationship with Him that I was missing. No one had ever shared that with me. I learned that it must start with me and that day it did. 

It was in the days ahead that I realized through all I had been through in my life, HE WAS THERE! He was what I was searching for all along!! In all the ups and the downs He was always there. He had a plan for me just as my Grandmother always said. I thought of all the times I had been far from that plan. Going completely in the opposite direction. How could He love me? 

Because it is who He is. What He IS and always will BE. He took my bad and made it for His good and His glory! He has blessed my life more than I could ever deserve or ever imagined at that time in my life. Thank you Lord for loving me and rescuing me ....right there in that lonely pit of the muck and the mire. 
 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

My LOVE story with the Lord has had its ups and downs and there is so  much more that I can share. I am thankful that He isn't done with me yet!! My LOVE story continues as He works in my life. He set me on a rock that day that and I have to cling tightly to it most days. But His steadfast love remains. I was never good enough, I am still not good enough. BUT HE IS THAT WHICH IS ENOUGH!! I still fail, I still fall into defeat, I may change but His love will not!!

God loved me when I was that scared little girl.
God loved me through the hard teenage years.
God loved me through my failed marriage.
God loved me through my faults, my failures, my discouragement.
God loved me out of that pit. Set me on the rock and the path to redemption.
God loved me and He has poured blessings on me.
God loves me and He continues to love me even on my bad days.
He loves me with an ever lasting love. 

Do I understand.? No, but I do believe. Most days I have to remind myself that HE LOVES ME.

He has always loved me. And never once did He give up on me.
He changed my life for His good and His glory!
He was and is always there!!

He has always loved you. And He hasn't given up on you. He is always there! 


Thank you, Piper! I love knowing that through all the places we drag the Lord to, He still loves us and never leaves us.  

Piper {who sells Paparazzi Jewelry} is giving away a beautiful necklace/earring set for one of you lucky ladies.

To enter, leave a comment on THIS post, along with a way to get in touch with you.  Only one comment per person please.  I will close comments on Thursday at 8pm and announce a winner Friday morning.


Piper said...

Oh, I cracked up when I started reading this post!! My name is Piper and I am a stalker!! HA!! I still laugh about this, especially since the Lord has given us the gift of friendship. Thank you for this opportunity to share my testimony. Even though it was hard. By writing my whole testimony, I was reminded again just how much HE LOVES ME. How He saved me from myself. I praise HIM today for His love and His blessings on me. And for our friendship. Keep on being obedient and pointing others to Christ!!
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

SHE IS A STALKER!!! However she wants everyone around her to know how much Jesus Loves Them! ESPECIALLY children! I love your testimony!!! I love how your testimony is proof that God uses the broken and renews and sanctifies them. I love you friend! Im so glad God brought me all the way from Texas to be your friend!!! (He does stuff like that)

Jeannie said...

I have so enjoyed the testimonies and devotions that you have posted this month! Thank you to each guest for sharing their stories of grace and redemption!

petrii said...

Ok first off, I LOVE PIPER!!! Her story is real and FULL of grace and truth!! His relentless, pursuing love changes, transforms and ignites. Your story is powerful.

Hahaha a stalker in a really good way =) I love what you say in your comment above, "He saved me from myself." PRAISE THE LORD!! Indeed He does, and certainly continues to do so in my life. I am so thankful! You are a gem, precious girl!!!

Melene@Sing For Joy said...

I will be sad when February and this series is over. It has blessed me in so many ways. We are in the process of choosing a college for our first born to attend this Fall. We visited one over the weekend where she has already been accepted and her Dad and I believe it is where she should go. She is struggling with it due to fear and anxiety-and the size of the school. We visited a church in the area on Sunday and the message was from Psalm 46. Then I come home and read your devotion. All of the testimonies have been encouraging to me too. Thank you so much for doing this!

Carolyn Mc Eachin said...

Your testimony has touched and blessed my heart. I thank you for doing the hard thing and sharing.


He has turned your anguish (of the past) into JOY (of today).

Praise His Holy Name!!!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever!!

Kimberly King said...

What a friend we have in Jesus. I love where God can take us from, the ashes and make something beautiful. I LOVE how God pursues us gently to bring us unto himself. I'm glad he never lets me go when I'm not even sure where I'm headed. I'm just so thankful God loves me!!!!!!!

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