The Time I was Given Salvation, but Decided to Give it Back

 

I never went to church as a child or adult other than occasional visits. When I was in my late 20’s I had been attending a church for a few months and one day I found myself walking down the aisle during a church service because I had just given my life to Jesus. I didn’t really understand the whole, ‘give your life to Jesus’ thing other than I knew that I had just been ‘saved’ and I was excited and happy about it!

Shortly after I was saved I was informed that because I was now saved, I could also become a member of the church. I hadn’t even realized until that moment that I wasn’t already a ‘member’ of the church.  I also soon found out that but there was a catch to being a member of the church.

To be a member of the church I had to be baptized.

I was still pretty new to all of this, and getting dunked underwater in front of everyone seemed horrifying to me. I really wanted to be a member of the church but did NOT want to get baptized!

And to make matters worse someone told me that if I didn’t get baptized then I couldn’t get into heaven!

Being saved by Jesus had somehow now turned into me freaking out about church membership, baptisms, and getting into Heaven.  None of this stuff had even been on my mind when I had asked Jesus to come into my life.

If this was what being saved felt like, I didn’t want to be saved anymore. I had felt a whole lot safer before the whole saving ordeal had happened!

Oh and also now added to the pot was this — my 7-year-old daughter had also been saved in Sunday school and she was scheduled to get baptized with me. The pressure was on and there was no way I could back out!

So the baptism happened and the joy I had felt at the beginning about being saved by Jesus was now lost under a huge weight.

Not only was the robe they made me wear to be baptized in heavy material that when wet made me feel as if I were coming out of the water with a couple of bags of rocks attached to my back.  But it added to the fact that I now felt weighed down with the overwhelming task I had in front of me to keep it together. I felt like a fake and knew I had to be good so as not disappoint God or anyone in the church.

After I was baptized I barely went church anymore. I felt like a huge failure and I eventually walked completely away from church.

The worst thing of all is that I also walked away from God. I felt like somehow I had been part of some crazy bate and switch scam and I decided that God wasn’t real.

I stayed that way many years but then I saw my father-in-law die and that was the day I met the real Jesus once again.

As my father-in-law took his last breath his face suddenly became peaceful, I can never begin to explain what happened, except that God let me see my father-in-law as he was entering his new home in heaven and the peace surrounding him felt as if it were surrounding me. There was this overwhelming feeling of peace and love and it felt like it was all put there just for me to grab hold of.  I remember going home that night with the loss of a loved one, yet I felt like I had gained something huge I knew at that moment that God was real and that He truly loved ME! Unconditionally.

I had been told by well-meaning Christians my whole life that I should go to church and somehow I had grasped on to the idea that if I didn’t go to church I wasn’t good enough for God.  I also thought I had to be good when just being who I was was good enough.

A hospital room at one of the darkest times of my life is where Jesus came and got me. For no other reason than because, He loved me… just as I was. There wasn’t a church building or baptism required to be a member of his family and the only strings attached were for me to believe in him and come into his arms.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Being saved by Jesus means that Jesus loves me so much that he gave up his life for me so I don’t have to be perfect.

The gift of Salvation is a God’s gift to ALL of us.

His gift is for any of us to take no matter who we are or where we are in life. It doesn’t have to be opened in a church building and we don’t have to be a member of anything to receive it. Once we accept it we are part of the family and will live in Heaven with him one day

I did eventually find a church that I now call my church home and I did even get re-baptized when I felt led by Jesus to do it not because I was forced to do it.

I love Jesus and the family of believers he has placed in my life and it’s good to have those people in my life because they help make that connection to Him even stronger. We worship together and learn about him together. We even help lift each other up in our times of struggle. So a church family is a good thing to have.

I did not share this story to condemn any church or denomination,  I shared it because I have met up with several people now who have had this same experience as me. I want others who read this to know that no matter who you are or where you are at you can come to Jesus just because He loves you and wants YOU right where you are.

If you already have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation that is awesome! If you want to share it with others and you are attaching strings to it, please stop doing that!

‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17

 

I’m Warrior, How About You? – Music Monday

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately but have been struggling to find the words to write about it so instead, I have remained silent. Today I have decided that I just can’t keep silent anymore and will let the words flow as they may… no corrections will be made so please forgive the typing errors.  Also – If you are alive and breathing then you’ve most likely seen or heard what I am getting ready to talk about and I have no idea what side of this you are on but hopefully you know me enough that what I write here comes from my heart and is said with love and that I am not trying to stir the pot in a bad way at all. Only love lives here on this blog ❤

Here goes….

Lately, the world seems to have gone a little crazy…make that a LOT crazy! People seem are so divided on everything and I’m really quite sick of it. Everywhere I turn I see people hurting others and making hate-filled comments on social media about everything you could ever imagine! I won’t bother listing them all here because I am sure you have already heard them all too.  If you can name it then I am pretty sure someone will most likely have a problem with it and say something negative.

Lately, it also seems like everyone is right… (according to themselves) And everyone who they think is wrong needs to be told publically about it in a mean way.

Am I right?… Or maybe I am wrong…

Does it really matter who is right or wrong?  We all have an opinion and we have a right to have that opinion, but is it really necessary to voice that opinion against one another all of the time?

What if we all just opened up our eyes one day and actually tried to really see the people we are around day in and day out as a fellow human being and then we just went ahead and loved them for who they are… no matter what they believe?!

Right now I have about 20 close people I know who are going through some very serious things in their lives. For them, there is a war going on right now and to them, it’s not against another person and it’s not about who’s right or wrong.  They have bigger fish to fry than that! So many are fighting very serious things right now, like the loss of a loved one, illnesses, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, seriously… I could list things forever and never end this list!  I’m sure you probably have a few of your own things that you could to add.

The struggle is real! and we all really need one another right now!

God didn’t put us here to go through things alone and he especially didn’t put us here to fight against each other!

What if we all just made the decision to become warriors FOR everyone else instead of only for our own agenda?

I’m not sure if today’s song goes with what I wrote today or not, but I really love this song and feel like no matter who we are…we all are… or we will be… warriors at one time or another in our lives. We all have struggles that we have to battle every single day.  I know I have been a warrior myself and hope I can say I am for others … No matter how hard we try there is always room for improvement.

Sooooo…..What do ya say, can we all be warriors for the same Team?

Let’s all give LOVE a try!

Here is the song, I hope you enjoy it and it makes you want to join me! – Warrior by Hannah Kerr

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Terri Siebert

 

 

My Hope is You ~ Music Monday

“How are you today?”

How many times have you answered that question with “good” when you really wanted to reply with this – “I’m just terrible!  I haven’t been feeling well lately and I have a whole lot of stuff going on in life that’s really hard to deal with!”

Sometimes as Christians I think we have this idea in our heads that just because we have Jesus we should be feeling happy all the time. I also think that when a prayer goes seemingly unanswered that makes things even harder.

Our God is supposed to answer every prayer…right?? But what happens when he doesn’t?

Unfortunately, we don’t get everything we ask for.

I do know that God hears every single one of my prayers, but the truth is he hasn’t answered every single one of my prayers in the way that I asked him to, and some I have been praying and waiting for a really long time, still with no answer.

I have quite a few prayers that I’m glad he didn’t answer my way because His way came out way better than mine. But then there are those other prayers like when my brother died or when my friend’s cancer got worse and she died too that I was not happy with his way. Those kinds of prayers do seem to happen a lot.

I know there are reasons as to why they died and others live or why one person suffers more than another. I’m not sure if I will ever get to know any of those reasons but I can tell you one thing I do know… I saw my friend cling to Jesus as she went through her last days and she seemed at peace and also through it all she was encouraging others and bringing them to Him!

Sometimes I’ve found that some of the biggest encouragers I know have some pretty bad ‘stuff’ going on in their lives but not all of them share that they are struggling with others.

Why are we like this when the truth is bad stuff just happens and we can’t be feeling good all the time!

I heard the following song on the radio recently and I loved it because the singer is talking about his job of standing on the stage night after night reminding broken people that it will be alright… when he himself isn’t doing very well.

This song encourages me because I have felt this way.

‘I know your able and I know you can, save through the fire with your mighty hand. But even if you don’t, My hopes is you alone’ (lyrics by Mercyme)

Haven’t we all felt this way at one time or another?

One thing to remember is this – no matter what you are going through Jesus is faithful and he will walk through it with you. He will even carry you if needed. ALWAYS.

My hope is Jesus alone.

Overwhelmed by You

Hey everyone and happy Monday to you!

I started my Monday off by receiving a surprise gift when I opened the curtains.

Not only did it snow again but we also had visitors.

There’s something extra peaceful about freshly fallen snow.  Couple that with a family of deer and I would say that God was giving me the exactly what I needed today.

An overwhelming dose of peace.

God alway seems to deliver just what is needed and He always seems to overwhelm me with his perfect timing.

Today’s Music Monday song is Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave.

Have a fabulous week!

Terri Siebert

There’s Never Been A Moment

I just absolutely love this song because it’s so true!

Have a great week!

 

Music Monday – I Have this Hope

The first time I heard this song was this past fall while working the Compassion table at a Tenth Avenue North concert. The minute I heard it I loved it so much and I couldn’t get the words out of my head.

Though I didn’t really realize it at the time, a major surgery, the death of my brother, and another surgery happening in the near future had me really out of sorts physically and emotionally.

For the next several months the song became like my theme song.

There were times when the physical and emotional pain became quite overwhelming. But every time I began to feel like I couldn’t take anymore this song would come on the radio and suddenly I would be singing it to God.

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go (lyrics by Tenth Avenue North)

As I would sing the words, I could feel his presence and the reassurance that he was right beside me through it all.

I have heard people say during hard times to cling to God, and I have done so. But how comforting it is to know that he is also holding on to me.

I have this Hope in the depth of my soul…..

Pick Up Your Mat and Walk

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,“Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:1-8

I used to be a different person. I used to feel like crap every morning because I used to drink alcohol every night. I remember when God placed it in my heart that I needed to change. He could have immediately taken the crave for alcohol away…but he didn’t. First I had to want to stop. I had to make up my mind to stop and then say, ‘I’m done living like this.” And then I had to be the one to take the first step toward recovery. Once I made the decision that I was going to stop that was the moment he began helping me stop.

He stood beside me constantly during the struggle to quit but I still had to be the one to consciously make the choice to quit every single day. Over time I’ve lost the crave to drink but I still to this day have to be aware of that decision because there are still times in my life that alcohol is placed before me and a glass of wine or a margarita still look quite tasty to me but I do know that quick moment of taste across my lips is just not worth it and will never taste as good as I feel now.


Over the past 6 years I’ve had 5 knee surgeries for torn meniscus and arthritis.  I have asked God hundreds of times to cure me. I have placed my hands on my knees and said, “God, please take this pain away and cure me.”

I truly believe he could have instantly cured me, but he still didn’t do it.

I also knew that I could have had knee replacement surgery but I didn’t want to do that.

The surgery seemed really scary and I also knew it would take months before I would get well. I was also afraid of the pain so many people had warned me about. But in the meantime what I didn’t realize is that the pain I would end up in from not having the surgery would be probably just as bad or worse.

Over time I began finding that standing was becoming harder and I couldn’t go to the grocery store or ball games or anything that required a lot of walking without being in excruciating pain. And my balance was gradually going away too.

While I was sitting around being afraid of the surgery the things I worried would happen from the surgery were happening to me anyway!

A few months ago I had a terrible fall in which I landed on my face. That was the day that I finally made the decision to have the surgery.

Knee number 1 was replaced September 19.

It’s been 4 weeks today since the surgery and I woke up this morning realizing that I may finally be over the worst part of it. As expected the past 4 weeks have been really hard and required a whole lot of work on my part. Over the past 4 weeks, I have learned a lot about suffering (I’ll save that for another blog) and I have also learned what it’s like to humble myself and let others take care of me…. I don’t really do that very well.

The biggest thing I have learned is that even though I am the one who makes the decisions about my life sometimes I don’t always choose the right ones. One in particular, was not choosing to have this surgery sooner!

Just like the drinking I had to be the one to make the decision that I truly wanted to get well.

Yes God could have cured me instantly but he didn’t. Instead, he left part of it up to me to decide. Did I want to walk? Yes I did and to do that I was going to have to take the initiative to get up take the first step. I had to put away my worries and say yes to the surgery.  And then I had to put in the hard work it would take to get well. Yes God still was the one to do the healing and He was also the one who guided the surgeon’s hands. He was the one who was beside me when I stood up the first time for rehab. He was the one sitting beside me each night when I cried in pain. He was the one pushing me through the exercises and giving me the strength to keep going as I got stronger each day.

Now I am glad God didn’t give me the quick cure I prayed for.

God had a better plan, He gave me new knee but I had to be the one to make the decision to get up and go and get it and now I am stronger because of that.

Now that I have started to see the benefit of my new knee I realize that this wasn’t just about knees. This was about so much more.

There were lessons in trust, trusting that God had this all in his hands if I would just let go and give it to him.

I learned a lot about God’s power and how he gives that power to us to use when we call on him. He is the one who has been pushing me through the physical therapy and His strength is sometimes the only strength I have to just get up in the morning…but I will never ever be able to use it if I don’t make any effort of my own. I can’t just be sitting around waiting when there are things I could be doing, things I know now that God wants me to do.  God can do anything and yes He can move mountains, but something I have realized in all of this is that the mountain that may need moving is sometimes my own attitude.