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

 

Take Flight

 

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Have you ever wanted to fly away from the life you are living right now?

Does your life sometimes feel like it’s nothing but one big struggle right after another?

Do you feel as if just getting through the day is too tough at times?

What if I told you that with Jesus in your life things could change?

You may be thinking your life is such a mess that he wouldn’t want someone like you.

I too have known that feeling… it’s not true.

Though you may not think it possible, believe me when I say this…

“He loves you”

He loves you no matter who you are or where you’ve been.

Jesus loves you and he wants YOU, and you are welcome right now just as you are.

Because your life has a meaning and a purpose.

Jesus loves you because you are worthy of his love.

He loves you just because you are YOU.

You are so adored.

And though you may think your life is just way too messy right now, I want you to know that Jesus specializes in messy.

He can help you clean up the mess and start a brand new beginning.

Jesus can turn your mixed up messy life into something of beauty.

All you have to do is ask him to come.

Tell him you want to know him and then ask him to come into your life and rescue you today.

He is waiting for you, ready to show you how to spread your wings and take flight as you soar with him into the brand new beginning of the rest of your life.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Her Clothes Were Not Good Enough For Church

“rad mwen yo pa bon ase pou legliz” (My clothes are not good enough for church)

I have been thinking about those words for over a month now, words spoken by a young woman in Haiti  just moments after giving her life to Christ.

This past April I went to Haiti on a mission trip with a group from my church. Several days of our trip we traveled to a church in a small village called Babaco.  To get to Babaco we had to travel down a road which we found out used to be a river.

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The road to Babaco aka dry riverbed

We were told that during a Hurricane the river had somehow just disappeared.  Nobody knows exactly where the river went but its completely dried up now and the church in Babaco is perched along what used to be its bank.

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Climbing the bank to the church

While at the church one of the things that our team did was we had a Bible study for the ladies of the village.  Our pastor’s wife, Ellie, along with another lady from our church, Judy, taught the class while the rest of us would sit with the ladies who were attending.

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Ellie & Judy teaching ladies Bible study

The first day of the class I was sitting in the back of the church when about 10 minutes into the class a woman with a baby came in the back door of the church. I happened to look up at her as she was walking in the door and we caught eyes.  I smiled at her and she returned my smile with a big giant smile of her own and then she came over and sat down beside me.

When I say she sat beside me that is actually a bit of an understatement because she didn’t just sit by me like a normal stranger would sit beside someone. Even though half of the wooden bench I was sitting on was empty she still sat just about as close to me as a person could sit to someone without actually sitting in their lap.  She sat right up against me.

As she sat down beside she spoke in Creole and even though I didn’t know her language or her mine we still understand each other.  She told me her name and she asked me what my name was.  She was very friendly and even though I do not usually like it when people to sit close to me, for some reason I felt immediately comfortable around her.

Her baby was a boy and he looked to be a little over a year old.  He was at the age where babies are just starting to toddle around and he was keeping his momma very busy that day.  To me it looked as if for most of the class she wasn’t paying much attention to anything the teachers were saying, but then the teachers handed out pink index cards with the words of the Bible verse Ephesians 1:13 written on them.Ephesians 1:13

The minute she was handed a card she started reading it out loud –

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Once the cards were all handed out Judy read the verse to the ladies and she began explaining it to them, telling them that when a person asks Jesus into their life they become sealed, forever belonging to Him.  As Judy spoke I noticed that the woman sitting next to me was now listening very intently and the more Judy talked about salvation I could feel that the woman was filling with excitement. Judy then told the ladies that they could write their names on the pink cards as a reminder.  Right away the woman next to me wrote her name on her card.

Judy talked a little more about salvation and told the ladies that she was going to be inviting anyone to the front of the room who would like to ask Jesus to come into their lives. By this point I could feel the woman’s emotion and could tell that she was really really excited and just about ready to spring out of her seat.

When the invite to come up was finally given she immediately got up and went to the front of the room. Myself along with the rest of our team went up with her and we all prayed with her as she gave her life to Christ.

She was the only lady who went up that day.

I have seen people give their lives to Jesus before but for some reason this time it was very emotional.  I am not sure if it was because we were on a mission trip or if it was just that I had never been involved in this sort of way before.  Whatever it was I couldn’t contain my tears of joy, and from the sounds of the other ladies sniffing I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt that joy.

After we were done praying we talked with her for a while and she told us that she usually didn’t come to church and she said the reason she didn’t come was because her clothes were not ‘good’ enough for church.

Really?!?

Hearing that really bothered me a whole lot and it made my heart ache. Here was a woman who had not know about the salvation she could have had in Jesus because she couldn’t come into church because of what she wore.  This church had a dirt floor and there was no electricity or running water and yet her clothing was not good enough for her to come in 😦

I was stunned.

And the story does not end here.

Later that evening when we went back to our guest house, we told the missionaries we were staying with about the woman who was saved that day.  When we told them her name they seemed really surprised at who it was.  They told us that she was known as mean woman and that she was also known as a troublemaker in the village.

Wow…. I found that so hard to believe because from the second I met her all I ever saw was a smiling, very sweet, and very friendly lady.

I just can’t imagine her being a truly mean person and  I wondered if maybe she was a troublemaker because she felt left out and maybe what was really going on was that she was hurting inside and maybe she behaved badly to cover for the hurt.

I don’t really know her story but since I have came back home I have thought a lot about her and this has sparked me to think more about the people who are in my own neighborhood.

Is it possible to that we could maybe be doing the same thing here? Could we also be keeping people out of church and ultimately God’s kingdom because of our attitudes? Do we have ideas about how people should behave or how they should dress for church? Do we label people with words like troublemaker and then let them keep that label forever?

Who decided that it’s up to anybody to decide anything about anybody else anyway?

What would you do if a known troublemaker walked into your church?

What if his clothing were ratty or dirty?

Better yet, what if his breath smelled of alcohol?

Okay so you’ve let him in, but would you smile at him? Would you go sit by him? Would you be his friend?

The answer is yes right?

The truth is none of us were ever good enough, but then we were sent a Savior,

Jesus.

And in order for others to know Him we have to invite and truly welcome everyone in.

Jesus would.

church Babaco, Haiti

Sealed in Christ and sitting on the front row

The next day we went back to the church in Babaco for another ladies Bible study. That day the woman came to class on time and she seemed different that day.  This time she didn’t sit in the back, instead she walked straight up to the front row and sat down. I could tell by the way she held herself she felt confident that she belonged in the church and she also knew she belonged in the front row.  She didn’t belong the troublemaker label anymore and she knew the clothing she wore was perfect because now… She was included in Christ when she heard the message of truth, the gospel of her salvation. When she believed, she was marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

She now belongs to Jesus.

Live

1john49

 

 

Cleansing and Forever Healing Rain

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The day I met you I was broken and burdened

Running away, chains of yesterday’s past tangled tightly around me

Weights of shame and pain sinking me to the bottom of a pit of self-destruction

Ashamed of my past

Ashamed of who I’d become

So tired of running

So tired of the pain

And then I heard you whisper my name

When you whispered my name I was afraid to lift my eyes to you

Afraid of what you would see, if you looked on my face

so full of shame, I knew I didn’t deserve your grace

Burdens I had tried to bury deep years ago were festering like poison, decaying my heart

I was such a mess, but your arms were still open wide

Could this be a place of rest for my heart so broken?

Softly you spoke…

“Just come as you are there’s no need to hide”

“Lay your past at my feet it’s not yours to keep”

“If you open your heart and let me inside I’ll show you a love and a life like you’ve never known’

How could this be? Why would you love someone like me?

“I have always loved you,” were the next words I heard spoken

“Fix your eyes on me and don’t ever look back”

Deep pain hidden within the pockets of my memories of yesterday came flowing forth in torrents as hope fell like rain showering down on me.

Washing away stains of my past

Things I thought were forever branded were washed away

Burdens lifting as my newly clean hands lifted upwards to you

Grasping on to all you had to offer

Laying down my burden and shame

Sorrows of yesterday washed away

by your cleansing and forever healing rain

31days
 #write31days

What God Taught Me Today About NOT Hushin’ My Mouth

31days

So its day 3 of the 31day blog challenge and I am sitting here at the keyboard wondering if I will be able to pull off another day of writing.  I have no idea what to write about today…. Hmmmm…. I got nothin’

I guess I could tell you about how I almost had a car accident today….

This is what happened – Today it is a beautiful fall day, the weather is just a tiny bit chilly, the sky is a dark blue and the leaves are starting to turn colors with just a few of them falling and blowing around on the road.  I had my sunroof open and my radio turned up loudly and singing along to Sidewalk Prophet’s new song “Save My Life.”  Now that I think about it I find it a bit ironic that I almost get in a terrible car wreck at the same time as song called Save my Life is playing on the radio.

I was driving and singing…..

Tell me what I need to hear

Tell me that I’m not forgotten

Show me there’s a God who can be more than all I ever wanted….. (those were words from the song)

All the sudden I see a flash of green coming fast to my right and realize a Green SUV is barreling down the road that is meeting up with the one I’m on looking as if he is going to pull out on the highway in front of me without stopping.  I am going about 50 miles per hour… I have no time to stop…. “Is he gonna stop?!?” flashes through my mind as at the same time my mind has already answered back, “NO HE IS NOT!”

There is no avoiding the accident.  I have no time to stop and he is already part way in the road right in front of me. I swerve into the empty oncoming lane and as I do it another thought flashes through my mind, “I am on a curve in the wrong lane is anyone coming toward me on the other side of that curve?” By now my car goes off the pavement on the left side of the road because he is still coming out, seriously am I driving and invisible car today??  I am partially in the grass and then on the road back and forth and somehow I manage to get back fully on the road and somehow back into my own lane. During all this I am seeing the other vehicle still coming on the side of my car knowing that at any second there will be the impact of him hitting me…

The Impact never came…

I am past him now looking in my rear-view mirror just in time to see him drive away as fast as he can.

Then it hits me… anger,

“WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU IDIOT?!” came roaring out of my mouth. And then at that same instant my body went into that Jellowy like feeling as the adrenaline rush I had been in for the last 20 seconds left my body. I was then shocked and like all…”What??”… “There is no way on this earth that I could have avoided an accident! What just happened here?”  By now I had to pull over to the side of the road because I was so jellowy that I couldn’t drive.

I sat there on the side of the road for a few minutes just thinking about what had just happened.  One second I am singing and in the snap of a finger I almost crash and it is all over with in less than 20 seconds.  Wow things sure can change in such a short time!  There could have been a very serious accident.  Both myself, the driver of the other car, and possibly anyone else who could have been coming around one of those corners at that time could have been seriously injured or possibly killed.  I still can not fathom any way it was at all possible for that accident to not happen but yet it didn’t happen.  I sat there on the side of the road a few minutes longer thanking God and realizing just how quickly people’s lives can change and also how quickly we can die.

I have a very good friend right now who has stage 4 lung cancer her doctor told her that there is no cure for her illness.  There are treatments to shrink the cancer and to help to prolong her life.  No matter what the doctors tell her she keeps living her life as if she will live a normal amount of time.  She believes she will live a long time and better yet God will cure her and I believe that too.  As I write this today I wonder, what is a normal amount of time to live??  None of us are guaranteed anything.  She has a cancer that some may say is a death sentence, yet I could have died today in less than 20 seconds and I am not even sick.  We are all dying and we have been since the day we were born.

And that prompts me to I ask you question….if you were to die today where would you go?  I will ask myself the same question though I already know the answer.  If I died today I fully believe I would go to Heaven.

My next thought is, of all the people I know who do not believe in Jesus, or who do believe yet haven’t given their lives to him….What if they died today, where would they go??  ya you know the answer as do I.

I had to stop writing for a while after I wrote that because that thought hit me like a ton of bricks and makes me really sad.

Sobering thoughts today here on the blog.

If this is true why do I not tell more people about Jesus? The truth is its uncomfortable sometimes.  I always think that people do not want me to tell them this stuff or that they may be offended and become angry. Who knows maybe you are reading this right now and offended. I may even get flack for this post in the comments or a few emails that is IF I am brave enough to publish this.

Why do I feel this way? Well I used to not believe and I did not want some Christian telling me what I did not care to hear.  I felt like I was being judged when someone told me about Jesus.   I was never against anyone who was a Christian I just thought to each his own and let them believe what they believed and I wanted to be left alone to believe what I believed.  My in-laws were Christians and I would even pray with them when they prayed at dinner to not make waves, I never really told them I did not believe though they did all know I did not go to church.  I even went to church a few times as a kid and also an adult. I thought I believed for a short amount of time but never really understood the whole God/Jesus thing (read here for that story).  I look back now that I do understand and I know its that I just never knew about the relationship with Jesus part.  Nobody ever told me about that part, I wonder why?  Maybe because they thought I  did not care to hear it…Yes  I know I just made a full circle but that brings me right back to this…because I did not care to hear it I think it most likely made them uncomfortable and they did not want to offend me. I could be wrong and its past now, this is just some of my ponderings that go on in my head that just happen to be coming out on the keyboard today.

AAAANYWAYYY… back to the not having a wreck story…. Today I was driving down the road singing and in the snap of a finger I could have died.   What if I would have died and nobody had ever told me that all I had to do was ask Jesus to lead my life and accept him as my savior that I would be saved?  What would have happened to me if I were not saved?  I would have went to Hell.

Harsh I know but I have to say it because whether or not we choose to have Jesus as our savior IS a matter of life and death.

Which leads me to one last question.  If having Jesus in a person’s life is a matter of life and death then why would I not be opening my mouth to tell someone about him? It is much better to be uncomfortable and take a chance on making people angry than the consequences of not doing it.

I think today God wants me to not hush my mouth sometimes.  I think maybe sometimes I tend to hush it to much in the wrong areas. I think he wants me to open it up and tell people about Jesus no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel and not worry about if it will make the other person uncomfortable or offend them. I need tell them, it’s my job while I am on this earth. Plus since Jesus has been in my life I am alive more than I ever was before.  He is the best thing that ever happened to me.  Why in the world would I not want to share that??!

Well that’s all I have for today.  I thought I had nothing to write but seems like once again I have a whole page full.

I am sorry if this post seems so harsh but that is what God showed me today to share on day 3 of 31 Days of Hushin’ My Mouth. I decided to leave this post just as I wrote it, so that means no looking back to proofread because I don’t dare want to chance rethinking what I wrote, woohoo I am feeling brave today  😉  Come back tomorrow for day 4, your guess is as good as mine as to what the subject will be  😀

Thank you for reading today,

Blessings,

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P.S.  If you do not know Jesus, you may leave a comment and I will try my best to help you get the answers you need.  There is also a link right –> here that has a lot of info about him too.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

To read the rest of the posts in this series you can click here – 31 Days of Hushin’ My Mouth

#write31days

Don’t Look Back

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Most of my childhood life was spent moving around the country. Sometimes our family moved twice a year and one year we moved three times! I was always a bit of on outcast because I never seemed to talk or dress the same as the other kids.  A lot of the time I was picked on and I hated gym class because I was always picked last for the teams or made fun of because I was not really much of an athlete.

Friends where something I did not have a whole lot of and usually if I did make a friend it was with the new kids or the ones like me that nobody else liked. It was really hard moving around and I never really became to close to anyone and I never really had a whole lot of self confidence and I never felt like anything was permanent.  The feeling of nothing being permanent was a good thing though because if I did not like where we were I always could count on that we would be moving again soon.

At the beginning of my 9th grade year of school we finally moved somewhere that we stayed for 3 whole years.  Things started the same way for me in this town as all the rest, nobody wanted to be friends with me so since I had a brother I hung out with him and his friends.  Because I hung out with the boys soon the girls in the neighborhood decided I was chasing after their boyfriends and so one day they decided to send a little boy as their messenger to invite me to come up to a little get together that they had planned… His exact words to me where “Terri, those girls up there are paying me a donut to tell you to come up there and they said they are going to kick you’re ass.”

Like I said earlier I never really had a lot of confidence and a fight was not really something I ever had any practice at either but I think something inside of me snapped that day, because I went up there.  I soon arrived at the top of the street where about 6 girls and most of the neighborhood kids were waiting for me, I remember being petrified but determined not to show it.  Still to this day I can hardly believe I went.

The girls began accusing me of stealing their boyfriends and other things that were not true and I remember telling them, “You all won’t talk to me so I hang out with my brother and his friends, and I don’t want your boyfriends!”  I can’t remember a whole lot more of the conversation but what I do remember is that nobody laid a hand on me that day.  I acted tough, they acted tough and I walked away with my dignity and a new sense of bravery.  The following day I was riding my bike down the street and one of those tough girls called me over and asked me to come to her house and hang out.  I did and from that day on we became friends and I became one of them.  It felt so good to be a part of a group.

I went on to become a real jerk after that day.  It was a time in my life that I figured out that acting tough kept me safe from being picked on. All my years of being a nice person never got me anywhere except shoved around and picked on and now here I was acting like a meany and people “liked” me. Being liked was what I always wanted.   I see it now but did not see it then …I still never really fit in and I am not sure if I was really ‘liked’ it was more like I was just left alone because they were scared to pick on me.  I still never was that popular girl everyone wanted to hang out with first and I usually was still chosen last for most things.

When I was 17 years old I met my husband who I am still married to and began my life as an adult.  Over the years as I grew older I feel as if I did a pretty good job of raising my children but no matter how good I was at  something I never ever had that feeling that I fit in or was good enough.  I had friends but I stayed on guard never letting anyone get to close. I always seemed to have a feeling of insecurity following me around that I could not shake.

In the early 1990’s I was running a very successful Tupperware business.  I had moved up in the company to an Executive manager position, had earned a company car, won many awards and was in the top 10 managers in our region.  On the outside life was good but inside I cringed at my success.  I did not like being on stage in the spotlight.  I really never tried to be successful it just seemed to happen.  I loved Tupperware and told people how much I liked it so they bought it, they booked parties and the people at the parties would decide to join me in the business. I remember at the time just being shocked each week at our sales.  I would be excited at how well it was going but at the same time I would be scared to death because the more successful my business became the more I had to be on stage at our meeting each week which really made me sick with fear.

You would think that success would have given me more confidence but instead I think what happened is I saw myself standing alongside people who I thought were really good, people who I looked up to and I did not feel worthy at all to be standing alongside of them.  Each week I would go on stage with a smile on my face while fear trembled inside of me.

Eventually one day the fear finally caught up to me.  I was standing in front of a group of people at one of my Tupperware demonstrations and my ears began to roar.  I barely remember anything much after that except for me standing in front of everyone telling them about a product, ears roaring, my heart racing and all the sudden feelings terror inside of me so strong that I wanted to run and hide.  Run and Hide is exactly what I did…. I looked at my hostess and said, “I don’t fee so well’ as I excused myself to go into the bathroom where I stayed for the next 30 minutes sitting on the edge of her bathtub trying to pull myself together.  I remember thinking I was going to die in there because I could not breathe, I was sweating and my heart was pounding so hard in fear I thought I would have a heart attack. I did not know it at the time but that was my first panic attack of many more to come in my life. I did eventually come out of the bathroom and I told the guests that I had a stomach bug of some sort and went home.

From that day forward I feared being in front of people because I just knew in my mind that it would happen again, the fear snowballed and eventually I quit selling Tupperware and found a job driving a school bus where I did not have to be in the spot light ever.

I spent about the next 15 years of my life staying away from social occasions.  My panic filtered into many life things like baby showers, weddings and funerals, I still went to what I had to go to but I spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom and always sat by the door at most events so I could escape easily if I panicked.  It eventually got to where I could not even go with friends shopping unless I was the driver of the car.  I had to be the one in control.  If I was not in control I would panic and end up making up the ‘I am sick lie’ and leave.  Eventually I found myself running out of meetings at work, and avoiding most social occasions It just kept getting worse and worse to the point that I  would get an upset stomach so when I said I was sick I truly was physically sick now too. I lived this nightmare alone, I never told anyone except my husband, one friend and also my doctor who diagnosed me with social anxiety and gave me medicine that did not help.

I went on like this for many years and then….I discovered wine…..

I never was much of a drinker but it just so happened one day I connected that drinking helped take the edge off my panic, actually it took a lot of the edge off.  When I drank I became a social butterfly.  It did not take much just a few sips before I went to the gathering and I would be fine, but the problem was I never could stop at just a few sips.

When I drank I was bold, I was free and did not care what anyone thought about me. It drowned out a lot of things one being my common sense.  What I did not realize at the time is that the drinking did not fix a thing.  It just masked things.  No matter how I tried to cover it I was still the same person I had always been.  I still hurting from all the years of rejection and I was still afraid of people. I had no trust in people or confidence that someone could actually like me for who I was.

It sounds really silly doesn’t it? But that is how I lived for many years. I became a social person I knew lots of people but I just could not attend anything social that I would involve having to sit in a room with other people that would notice me leaving unless I drank or if I did not drink I sat on pins and needles trying hard to keep myself composed. Over the years I was also a Realtor.  I know this makes no sense but I could meet with  strangers to look at homes and actually had moments that others would probably think I was a very outgoing person. Around the office I was friendly with everyone and even managed to teach a website building class at another real estate office but most of the time if you were to put me in a room for a meeting and I would fall apart in seconds and be running out of the room.

Fast forward to 2010….I found Jesus.   You can read about that here  https://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/your-gift-2/

Since 2010 I have been learning to trust again.  I have found confidence in Jesus.  I have gone into meetings and had him take over my fear allowing me to do what he calls me to do.  There is so much more I left out of the story on my journey begins page because it is a crazy story and I will tell you some of it is not very pretty, but the outcome thankfully is pretty.  I am not bold enough to put it out here on my blog yet but what I can tell you is that many times over these past 4 ½ years I have made a lot of huge mistakes that I was sure God would never forgive me for but he did forgive me and I have learned so much about his redeeming love, his mercy and his grace.

Over this past year I have had a lot of health issues and a lot of instances that I felt sad over my mobility issues I felt afraid sometimes and lonely. As I told in another post I kept my sad feelings to myself and my closest friends the ones I had let ‘in’ seemed to be going away.  Let me make it clear that no friends dumped me or anything they just have their own lives going on but because of my past I gradually I began to feel those old feelings of rejection creeping in and my confidence started going down again. that coupled with the pain in my legs just made a recipe of sadness inside.   To top that off one day about 6 months ago I found myself running out of a Bible study class having a panic attack.  After that first attack and it happened again and again until eventually I quit going to Bible study class.  It made no sense at all why I would act this way because I am in a whole church of people who love me and I love that class and wanted to be a part of it really bad.  Oddly I only had panic attacks when I was a participant in class, If I was in teaching a class I never would feel that way. It sounds crazy I know….

I actually worry about hitting the send button on this post because it will let anyone who reads it see the real me… it’s really hard for me sometimes to allow people to see the real me. I am not very brave, I am weak, and I am not always right where God would like me to be.  I know when I am strong that it is only due to his power.

Today at church our pastor gave a very powerful message about forgiveness.   I realized something while he was speaking…I think I have been carrying around feelings of rejection and anger for a very long time.  I realized I had put my hope in people when my hope really belongs in Jesus though I do believe that God puts people in our lives to help him and also sometimes they help hold us accountable to him.  If not for some of the people he put in my life who obeyed him and were there for me holding me accountable to God I am not sure I would have gotten as far as I am now.

I have a friend who is very humble, this friend was one of my biggest cheerleaders when I was trying to quit drinking.  I know that my friend will say that it was all God…My friend will be right because it is all God, I never could do a thing without God’s strength, but I also know that in the beginning, I would have caved so much more easily had I not had a live person to hold me accountable and remind me that God loved me.

I got to thinking today why doesn’t God just wave a magic wand and just fix it all?  After all he is God and he can do anything right??   I think He wants us to help him do his work; He wants our loyalty, our faithfulness to him.  He wants us to be able to give up our own life plans to do his plan.  If we do not take care of what he puts right in front of us we can never be at peace because it’s up to us to show others the HOPE that only he can give… He puts hope right in front of us to give away when he gives us someone who needs him.  He is the hope among all the hurting and suffering people and we have a job to do.  We pass that hope along and I am so very thankful that someone took the time and helped  to show me the hope I have in Jesus.

I started this post talking about my past and how I still get old feelings of rejection inside even when I know in my heart that I am really an okay person.  I think that the enemy knows my weaknesses so he gets to me where he knows he can hurt me the most. Thankfully I now know my weaknesses and by knowing that it makes me stronger.  I also know I am a child of the King and he loves me and guess what!? NOBODY can ever take that away from me.

Today after the sermon my pastor offered the chance for everyone to give their lives to Jesus.  He also offered those who had already given their lives to Jesus a chance to start over again. Today I found all of my past insecurities boiling up to the surface and I found myself forgiving all those past hurts from many years ago, things I never even realized I had been carrying around for 30+ years .  I found myself asking once again for God to make me new and told him I wanted to start over and one more time I asked Jesus to be my savior. I am not sure how many times it will take but if I have to start over every single day for the rest of my life 20 times a day then that is what I will have to do.

I know my blog post today is very long and all over the place If you are still here reading you will be happy to know that it is almost over but not before I tell you that your past does not have to define who you are today.  You can rise above it.  It may try come back once in a while but you can choose not to revisit it. There is no reason to ever look back because you are not going backwards, you are going forward.  Remember most of all that you are loved and worth so much more than you can ever imagine.

Thank you for reading,

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If you have never asked Jesus to be your savior and would like to have him come and help you change your life, all you have to do is ask.  Ask him to forgive you of your past sin and then tell him you would like to live the rest of your life with him leading you.  If you have said that prayer before and need reminding as I did then say it again and again.  If you said it for the first time let me know, I would love to hear about it.  Also don’t ever forget you are loved and adored by the creator of the universe.  That is a pretty awesome feeling isn’t it?   ❤

Here is a really good song by Francesca Battistelli I think you will enjoy.

He knows My Name