I’m Not Afraid of What You Think of Me

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January 1, 2012…that was the day I started this blog.  I really had no idea what a blog was other than I felt like God wanted me to start one. What would I write about? I’m not a writer. Will anyone read what I write? Those were the kind of questions that kept filling my head but I did it anyway.

A shocker to me was that the readers came. As time went on I became more comfortable with sharing my thoughts, and oddly the readers still kept coming back.  Most of the time I never really paid much attention to the stats or how many people had actually read. People clicked the like button and people commented, over all the blog seemed to be going pretty well.

But then my worst fear happened….

More people I knew in my personal life started reading. People from my personal life had read the blog before but it was starting to get to the point that every time I posted someone would come up to me and say “I read your blog….”

Nothing bad was ever said to me, actually everyone always gave me very sweet and positive comments, but suddenly I found myself afraid to post. I feared that the people I knew in my real life would see what I wrote and think I was weird or something. It was like suddenly the inside of me was out there, exposed for everyone to see.

When people I had never met face to face read what I wrote I was brave but when my real life friends began reading I suddenly felt frozen with fear of what would they think of me.

I never stopped writing but found that t I couldn’t seem to post anything anymore. I would write, then read what I had written and then tell myselft it was too weird or not good enough. When I wasn’t posting I called it writers block but now I call it something else…FEAR.

Now let me tell you about my weekend.

Saturday… Lately God has been leading me in a new direction. It’s far from where I feel I have been since starting this journey with him but the crazy thing is that over the past few weeks…. Or make that months there have been many little poofs of eye opening things that he has sent me that have shown me this is for sure the direction he is sending me.  a few weeks ago I even had a moment that I realized WOW I was already there and didn’t even know it!  But now I feel as if he wants me to take it farther and that is pretty scary to me.  I am not sure how to start or where do I start… how do I do something I know nothing about???  I know this is probably not making any sense and I started this paragraph with Saturday but never started on Saturday uggh! If you could just hang with me a little bit longer I will try my best to spit this out.

Back to Saturday…Saturday morning I was praying… journal by my side… suddenly I find myself on my knees saying… “God how do I do this? What do you want me to do??”

Most of the time when I pray especially when I pray on my knees I lean over my bed and I have this cat that will come on the bed and stand in my face meowing while messing with my hair and stuff. This day as I prayed I heard the pages of my journal turning. I thought it was the cat at first but then I realized it sounded as if he was turning pages one page at a time like a person would turn them. Just as I was coming to the realization that this was not my cat and also that he was nowhere near me I heard the words “open your eyes!” I opened my eyes and right in front of me I see my journal laying open with one paragraph blaring out at me “Not only do you have to go through the door, sometimes you need to go up to it and put your hand on the knob. Don’t be afraid!” The crazy thing about this story is that my whole journal is written in pencil but that one paragraph written on March 10, was written in red ink! I have no idea why on March 10 I wrote one paragraph in red ink, but there it was blaring out at me. And That moment I knew the door to where God was leading me was there for me to go through but I hadn’t actually allowed myself to open the door because I had been afraid to open it!

Sunday…. Sunday I went to church. I’m sitting there and the band starts playing while they are collecting the offering. The words to the song started going through me.. words like, I was unworthy and Jesus you saved me… I really can’t remember the words very well but suddenly from my place in the back of the room I see the place I am in right now and I am in awe of God’s presence and how he has brought me to this place. Memories started pouring in… memories of me in the parking lot of that very church 5 years ago afraid to come in yet there now because Jesus had brought me here. As I sat there I realized I was a part of something way bigger than I could ever have imagined being part of and living a life so drastically different than it used to be.

Fast forward to the sermon. Our youth pastor was sharing his own story of God in his life and he was talking about surrendering. He started talking about how some of us had things that we needed to surrender to God. I felt myself trembling while he spoke and having tears but yet at the same time thinking I had nothing to surrender. At the end of the sermon he said that the alter was open for people to come up if they had something to surrender.  I heard God tell me to go up. I was like “go up for what? I have nothing to surrender” God said, “yes you do, your fear of what other people think of you.”

I was like, ”um God you must be mistaken, I don’t care what they think.”

He said, “yes you do, your trembling in fear…(I was) now go up there.

In my mind I was thinking, “oh God, I can’t go up there in front of all of those people…I’m too scared!”

The struggle went on for what seemed like forever but then the next thing I know I am blubbering at the altar.

I can’t explain how I felt after that but it sure felt good! Something inside of my seemed to break yesterday. Not broken in a bad way but broken somehow in a good sort of way. like a huge weight was lifted off of me.

Yesterday I surrendered my fear of what other people think of me to God.  I know today that as long as I carry the weight of that fear I can never ever accomplish anything He wants me to accomplish.

So today I am here fearless. No back reading, no changing words to make this post how I think you my readers and my friends may want to see me… Instead its just what it is… words I am writing for God. I am not quite sure why he wants me to share this stuff but because he wants me to do it I am going to do it. Also since today is Monday and on this blog on Monday it is Music Monday I am going to share a song that is playing while I write this that seems fitting to this post.

‘More of Me’ by Colton Dixon  I hope you enjoy it.

So today’s post was about giving away fear and surrendering to God’s will, who knows what it will be the next time, but I plan to keep writing here as long as God wants me to write.. no matter who is reading 😀

What do you need to surrender? Like me, maybe you can’t see it either. If you want to know just talk to God he’ll show ya.

Have a great week!

Terri Siebert

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

A God Inspired Decision

 

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Walkiris – Dominican Republic

It’s been over two weeks since I was given this Compassion Blogger assignment and I am not sure why but of all the Compassion blogging assignments I have received this one for some reason gave me writers block. I know that’s sounds silly because if you are a friend of mine you know that the children of Compassion are where my passion is and I usually cannot stop talking about those kids.

So why then would this assignment be so hard for me?

The assignment this month was to write about what it was that inspired me to sponsor a child. I do know the answer to this question and my answer to the question is – My decision to sponsor a child was God inspired.

I know that sounds like a simple answer and I guess I could have just left it at that and been finished with my writing assignment way before now but there was just so much more to say and I had a hard time putting it all into words. So tonight I decided to just start writing in the hopes that it puts into perspective all the things floating around in my head.

I will start with the first time I was asked to sponsor a child…It was 2010 and I was a brand new Christian. My friend David asked me to sponsor a child and I told him no.  I knew nothing about Compassion except for a few status’s that he had put on his Facebook page and what he had told me about his own sponsorship’s. I really did think I meant no at that time but gradually I found myself becoming very intrigued by Compassion’s website. What I did not know at that time was that God had used my friend to plant a seed for those children in my heart.  I soon began visiting Compassion’s website almost every evening and while I was there I found myself reading about poverty and looking at pictures of the children who were waiting for sponsors. On May 3, 2010 as I was looking at the pictures of the children a cute little face with a big giant smile jumped out of the page at me.  The more I looked at the little girl’s picture the more the pull to sponsor her became stronger.  Even though I still had reservations there was  no fighting it, I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to sponsor Walkiris from the Dominican Republic.

I didn’t know it at the time but that day 4 years ago was the beginning of something that has now become a very important part of my life!

Choosing to sponsor Walkiris was a God inspired decision for sure and the thing about something that is God inspired is it usually turns out in the end way bigger than you could have ever imagined it could.

Some God inspired things seem to me to be way out of my comfort zone and sponsoring a child may sound easy to some people but for me it was way…WAY out of my comfort zone!  First off I was going to be making a commitment to a monthly payment I wasn’t sure I would always have the funds for. Sponsoring a child also meant taking a chance on something I knew nothing about. I did not know a whole lot about Compassion and back then I had big time trust issues. From where I stand now looking back to that time in my life, for me to sponsor a child back then was pretty huge!

At that time in my life Jesus was also very new to me and I had only been a Christian for about 2 months. I did not feel equipped to be writing about him in a letter to a child and to me the letter writing seemed like a big responsibility because I didn’t have a clue what I would say to a child that I didn’t know and to top that off she was from another country so our cultures were different and she spoke Spanish (thank you for Compassion translators).  I will be honest with you when I sponsored Walkiris though I said yes to God I was not totally sure if I was really all in on the whole sponsorship thing.

Thankfully it did work out and I soon found out, letter writing was easy, it was fun, the funds always seemed to be there and I also eventually realized I was really ALL in.

Since the day I sponsored Walkiris several other things have been God inspired.

God inspired sponsoring Thierry… 

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Thierry – Haiti (Thierry has now graduated from Compassion’s program)

God inspired me to become an advocate for other children who are waiting for sponsors…

God inspired me to start this blog… 

God inspired letter writing with Sanbor…

Sanbor

Sanbor – Bangladash

God inspired a visit to Haiti to meet Thierry. (Read this story here)…

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Me and Thierry March 2013

While in Haiti meeting Theirry God inspired sponsoring Rose (Read her story here)…

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Rose – Haiti (in the mint green dress)

God inspired me to join Compassion bloggers and He inspires me to write about the kids at Compassion…

And just this past year God inspired sponsoring Ericka…

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Ericka – El Salvador

God has inspired writing letters full of words of encouragement and full of love…Tears of joy have sometimes flowed down my face when I read the letters from my children. I cry because I see the love in the pictures they draw for me…or the first time I saw Walkiris’s tiny blue finger print signature because she was to young to write. I loved watching as over time the finger print was replaced by her own crooked signature and then finally the joyful day that the letter arrived fully written by her in her very own handwriting.

I love how the letters from these kids give me a glimpse into their lives. The most profound thing I have learned through all of this is that I could fall in love with someone I have never met in person.  The love I feel for them is real and I feel like they are my own children.  I have also found out that these children love me as much as I love them.  Their letters to me are written with love and also full of encouragement for me.  Every single one of them has told me that they pray for me and my family. What I have received out of all this has been a totally unexpected gift.

What started out as me helping them I think somehow has also been them helping me?!?  

During the past 4 years God has taken this heart of mine and broken it into a million tiny pieces while at the same time he has been picking them up and putting them back together again, molding them into a heart that is full of trust, hope and love.  Those things all rolled together form a heart so full of  joy at times that it feels as if it may burst.  This whole ‘God inspired’ thing has blessed me beyond anything I could ever have imagined and I am thankful to be a part of something so life changing on all sides of the story.

When looking at Compassion’s website and seeing all those faces of children looking back it can be really hard to imagine that sponsoring just one child could make any difference at all, but I know now without a doubt that it really does make a difference. The truth is sponsoring a child not only makes a difference for that child’s life but also for his whole family and it can also change the sponsor’s life too.

Below is a video by Caitlin Jane.  She is a singer songwriter and also a Compassion sponsor. When she was visiting her sponsored child in The Dominican Republic she was inspired to write this song.

What is God inspiring you to do? If he is inspiring you to do something then go for it! I know you won’t regret your decision to do it if it’s God inspired.  If you would like to share what God is inspiring you to do please tell me about it in the comments below, I really would love to hear about it.

If you feel God is inspiring you to help make a difference in the life of a child consider leaving this blog post by way of clicking the link below which will take you to Compassion International’s website. While there you can view pictures of children who have been praying for someone to choose them and to be their sponsor. YOU can be that person…YOU can make a difference…YOU can change the world — one child at a time! http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day,

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Butterflies in the Darkness

butterly1Yesterday as I was leaving work I noticed a Monarch butterfly sitting on the ground. Just as I decided to take it’s picture it decided it was time to fly around for a while, so I followed it around the parking lot snapping its picture each time it landed. I just loved watching it flutter about. It would flutter fast and then float for awhile and then sit somewhere looking as if it was going to stay put.  But just as soon as I would think it was going to stay still it would flutter around some more. It seemed so peaceful and so free. As I watched it fly around I got to thinking about butterflies and how they are so beautiful and how God created something so small but yet it can be so hugely beautiful.

Not knowing a whole lot about Monarch butterflies I decided I wanted to know more about them so when I got home I looked them up them up to see If I could find out more about them.  In my search I found out some pretty interesting stuff…If you are not a nature geek like me then you may want to skip the next few paragraphs 🙂

Do you know that the Monarch butterfly only lives in its adult butterfly form for about 2- 6 weeks and that it’s whole entire life cycle is only 6-8 weeks long?  I did not know this.

In it’s life cycle it goes from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis, pupa, and then butterfly all in that very short amount of time.

The beginning stage in its life which is the egg lasts for about 4 days, and then the egg hatches into a caterpillar which lasts for about 2 weeks. The caterpillar then attaches itself to a milkweed plant where it sheds its skin and then the left over skin hardens into a cocoon (chrysalis) where it stays (pupa) for 10 days.  After the 10 days it emerges as the adult butterfly which only lasts for 2 to 6 weeks.
Another interesting thing about the Monarch butterfly is that there are 4 generations inside of their life cycle.
March/April – 1st generation Monarchs are born in Northern United States and Canada.
May/June – 2nd generation is born
July/August – 3rd generation is born
Then this is the cool part…
In September/October the 4th generation Monarch is born but this generation does not die as fast as the other generations do. This generation migrates about 3000 miles South to Mexico or Southern California where they live for about 6-8 months and then In February or March they fly the 3000 miles back to the United States and Northern Canada where they mate, lay their eggs, and then it starts all over again!
Another thing about the Monarch Butterfly is that since it spends 10 days in its cocoon that means this insect spends about 1/5 of its life in darkness!  Spending time in a tight squished up dark space seems pretty awful to me but later it dawned on me that while the caterpillar is in the darkest time of its life that is where it is actually turning it into something very beautiful, a butterfly.  This place is also where he is being prepared to do the job he was created do….pollinate plants.

Then I also realized that in a way aren’t we people kind of like butterflies? We all go through times in our lives that seem dark and we all are always changing and growing.

I recently went through a pretty hard time in my life.

During this time I had been dealing with depression which was due to loss of mobility and pain due to surgery and arthritis in my knees and I also have had eye issues going on again. Though I had a lot of really good things going on in my life during that time I still had a lot of really hard days.

Like the caterpillar in its dark cocoon, I cocooned myself into my own dark place by trying my best to keep my pain and depression hidden from everyone.  I am not sure what it is about being a Christian and being sad but for some reason though I know I don’t have to be all happy all the time I still did not want to come across as a downer to those around me.  The few times I did dump it on someone I felt guilty like I may be dragging them down too because a lot of the closest people to me are going through a lot of their own struggles and the last thing they needed was to be burdened with mine.  So I tried my best to look to the joyful things in my life and most of the time I did find them.

Thinking about the butterfly made me realize something… while I was in that dark place of my life I too had been growing and changing… just like the butterfly I have been turning into something better and more beautiful and God has been preparing me for the job he created me to do by teaching me how to rely on him more and actually making my faith stronger.

During my dark time I spent a whole lot of time struggling with thoughts of things like “what is wrong with me that I can not get over this? I felt like everyone could see through me but really nobody ever acted like they did so most likely they did not. I also work at a church and I also have what I feel like is a good relationship with the Lord so that left me feeling like somehow maybe I should be able to get over this easier.  But when I didn’t I began to feel like maybe I deserved what was happening to me or maybe my faith was not strong enough. I felt close to God during all of this but at the same time I had days that I would wonder if he was really there and then he would always show me that he was.

I am sure my life seemed to look as if it was going good to everyone around me because I said it was good. I would have days that I felt joyful and thankful but then also I had days I could barely drag myself out of bed, it was a very confusing time.

I remember a time when old me would have thrown in the towel and went back to my old way of living and maybe had a drink or two… or three… or four to drown my sorrows away.  Thankfully God has changed that part of me and I never had the desire to do that.  I did know somehow that this is the life God wants me to live and that I just had to hang in there, keep on praying and wait on him to show me what was going on.

So every day I kept on going, I had prayer time almost every day.  There were some days that I felt like God did not show up but on most days when I had my prayer time he met me wherever I was at at that moment.  He always came through if I would let him.

Another thing I noticed during this time was that it always seemed like on my worst days God would always put someone in front of me who needed encouragement or love.  During those times is when I began to realize that each time I helped someone else for some reason I felt at peace. Gradually over time I began turning my focus off of me and trying to pour as much love as I could into other people and oddly the more that happened the more I began to realize that was exactly what God wanted me to do. I began to understand more and more that it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and stay stuck in it down hiding in the darkness. But when we chose to climb up, even if it’s just a few small steps to help someone else we begin to see the light glowing at top. The more I saw that light the more I saw God’s plan.

Gradually over the past 10 months I have finally admitted to myself that God had been calling me into things that seem pretty scary to me. I had known a lot of this for well over a year but I chose to ignore it because truthfully I did not feel worthy or equipped for what he is asking me to do and I was scared.

Even though I thought I had been living my life for God I still had things I needed to surrender to him.

One of those things being who I depended on.

What I realize now is that when you have nobody but God you begin to depend on nobody except God.

When you are down like I was with my legs and can not run around shopping and doing busy work you have more time to read the Bible and talk to God. I spent a whole lot of this time down just learning how to be still. I tend to be the type of person who needs to fill empty space. If I am with someone and they don’t talk I will fill the silence with chatter, if I am at home alone I will do chores to stay busy. I never just sit and watch television; actually I don’t like television very much and if I do watch it I usually have to do something else at the same time. To just lie around and do nothing is really very hard for me.

Over the past 10 months after work most days I spent in the evening time lying around with my legs propped up and iced and during this time God was working on me.  During this time He has shown me what he wants me to do with my life, where I don’t belong and where I do belong. What is not important and what is important.  He has shown me that he has had me right where he wants me all along and that I needed to learn to trust him more and also trust that he has the power to equip me for anything he asks me to do.
Like a caterpillar that goes into a dark place to metamorphosis I think that is what I did. A caterpillar stays in its dark place while God works on it and prepares it to do the job it was created to do. While in the dark place it begins to change growing beautiful wings so that it can fly. Once the caterpillar turns into a butterfly it goes around pollinating plants so that they can grow seeds. They are very important in keeping the flow of seeds going; this is God’s plan for them.

And Like a butterfly God also has a plan for each one of us and sometimes I think we may have to be in the dark to be able to see his light. When a person comes out of the dark they are transformed into the beauty that God created them to be, so they can start flying from person to person, spreading Jesus just like the butterfly spreads pollen.

Since climbing out of my cocoon I have been feeling this sense of wanting to be even closer to God. I feel more aware of him in every second of my day now. I feel his presence and want to talk with him as much as possible. I know his plan for me involves Speaking in public, though I suffer from social anxiety and I can not memorize or remember a speech to save my life. I know this is where he wants me to be, without a doubt.

It seems as if everywhere I turn lately I am hearing a sermon about God using weak people to do his work. Even the Bible study class I am in right now is about that.  Though I don’t know the full plan yet I do feel very sure that I am where I am supposed to be right now.  I feel a closeness so different from what I have ever felt before.  I feel his love and I feel confident that his plan will unfold even more each day as I spend time with him and I finally feel at peace.

Note: I wrote what is written above about 3 weeks ago
About a week after I started writing it I was finally able to get an injection of Monovisc in my knee that is supposed to put gel in my knee where the cartilage is missing. Now Here I am 2 weeks after I had the shot and I am moving around a whole lot better and my constant knee pain is finally gone when I am not standing on them.  I am walking better and hopefully soon I will be walking without pain too.   I find it very interesting that when I finally started healing emotionally shortly after I began healing physically. I wonder…had my legs healed first if I would have realized that the time in the darkness was what was needed for me to be able to grow? Would I know that I can be joyful even in a dark place?  Would I know that even if my knees don’t heal I am still capable of doing anything God asks?  Looking back now though hard I am pretty sure this whole ordeal has been good for me.

With Jesus in your life anything can happen. Just like he turns the caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly He can also turn a messed up messy me into his own beautiful creation and he can also do that for you too!

With Jesus we get our wings, with him we learn to spread our wings and with him we also learn how to fly.

Thank you for reading today, and have a wonderful day,

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P.S.  I would also like to thank Abby over at Abby’s Faith Walk for her encouraging post about depression.  I had been working on this post and many times wrote other posts about my struggles but never had the courage to post them.  When I saw her post last night I decided to go ahead and finish this up and post it.

After I wrote this post another blogger friend posted a very insightful and beautiful analogy using the butterfly that I thought you may like.  Click here to enjoy ->  A Whole New Creation by Karina at Karina’s Thought.

 

I Surrender

* A Note before the story…When I started this blog last year I started it because I felt like God wanted me to start it, I had no plan and honestly did not understand why God would ask me to do it because I am not a writer and I am pretty shy person.  I have never really been the type of person who shares my personal feelings.  Though its almost been a year since I started blogging each time I start to hit the send button I feel butterflies in my stomach but then I feel the whisper of The Holy Spirit telling me to do it, so I do. 

Sometimes I go a long time without writing because I wait on Him and though I have blogged a few assignments for Compassion and I am second I still only post here what I feel God wants me to write.   Last fall I wrote a story that I felt prompted by God to share but I did not share the story here because my human pride would not let me, The thing is most of my close friends and family do not even know this about me and many would probably say its not a true story because I hid it so well.  Instead of putting the story here where I know God wanted it to be in the first place, I started a different blog and posted the story there and then about 2 days later took down the blog.

It has been several months since I posted that blog and more than a year since I wrote it and I have not a clue why, but God is still bothering me to post the story here so I am doing it today.   Something I am learning the more I continue on this journey is that though I have free will to do what I want when I do not stay in his will I can not seem to have peace.   Below is the story I posted on my other blog Sept 12, 2012. 

I Surrender

I never fully surrendered the alcohol. I don’t know why because I really know I don’t need it. It does not fit in with the plan God has for me. I can’t keep going on day after day with the thought in my head that one day I will be able to drink again.

Last night I made myself a rum and coke.  It made me sick, and it did not make me feel like I thought I would feel. It made me feel so awful, not only did it make me feel physically sick but I felt spiritually sick too.  The truth is last night I realized for the first time ever that I had not ever wanted to be released from its grip.

Looking back over the past year I asked myself, “why do I ever want to go back there to that place”?   It was a terrible place.  It was full of nothing but loneliness and pain.

I realized last night I can not keep taking God for granted after what He has done for me.  I can’t waste another second of my life anymore with such nonsense.  I can not keep putting my trust in a bottle of lies.

I am not sure why I thought I may need that stepping stone again one day, because I know today I don’t need it.   Its a stone on top of  quick sand.  The more I drink the farther I sink down to the bottom of a pit of despair.  I know the only way to survive is I have to be strong in Him. It has to start with me giving it up, using only God as my crutch turning to Him and only Him, not that poison I drink.

I am not the type of friend who breaks promises so I am not sure why I keep breaking promises to the best friend I have ever had. God would never break his promises to me. He always has mercy on me, he always has grace and Always keeps his promises. He can be my victory if I stay in his army because He is my rock and my firm foundation.   He’s all I have that will remain in the end. I know I have to let that awful part of me die so the good part can live. When I live the old life I am dead when I live His life I am alive. I am not if sure I will ever get over this struggle while I am on this earth but I know I have to try.

“Please God give me the strength help me put it away. I feel like I have a war going on in my mind. I know I have the best weapon in that war. I know I have the best armor for the fight, I just have to remember to use it.  I have to walk only with you holding my hand, not a bottle in my hand. Today I admit I am an alcoholic.  I have to stand sober so I can stand strong. You God are my victory, Please help me,  I need and want to win this fight”  Amen

** Note  of  Joy**  I wrote this in my journal over a year ago.  Life can sometimes be tough and I know that if not for God I would not be where I am today still not drinking and truly living for the first time in a very long time.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.

My Advocate

I just started taking a new Bible study class 3 weeks ago.  Tonight’s class got the gears turning inside my head so much I decided to write about it.

The verses we studied in tonight’s class were John 14:15-24

This is the NIV version

John 14:15-24 

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

We talked about how in this scripture Jesus was telling His disciples that though He was leaving them, He was going to ask the Father give them another advocate, that advocate being the Holy Spirit.

A question that we pondered for quite some time was…

  • Once we accept Jesus as our savior is the Holy Spirit with us forever?  If we later would fall away from Jesus and say we do not believe in Him or do not love Him is the Holy Spirit still with us??

The people in the class seem to me to be a group of well seasoned Christians and since I am a new person to the class I struggle a bit with speaking up, I guess its the fear that I may be wrong?  Though I am sure that in this class it would not matter if I was right or wrong because they all seem very nice and seem to respect each others opinions very well.  I almost spoke up a few times but found myself keeping quiet. I still am not sure if we ever came to a conclusion or not but this is just what I think so what I am writing is what I most likely would have said had I the courage to open my mouth.

First thing I notice is that Jesus says the word ‘if’,  I think the scripture could be taken in the way that says if we keep his commands and love him only then will the Holy Spirit be with us forever…BUT  what if we don’t keep his commands and love him? Will the Holy Spirit then leave us?

I personally think that the part that says ‘He will give you another advocate to Help you and be with you forever’   means forever no matter what and this is why I think that.  I think that the key words here are  ‘help you’ .  Remember I am a person who has not always walked with Jesus.

A long time ago I tried to do the “church thing” though I never really understood it.  I even felt moved to be saved, I went forward during a church service a long time ago and I accepted Jesus as my savior.  I even got Baptized but unfortunately I did not really understand what it all meant and I eventually fell away from church and God.  I then spent a lot of years being angry and saying I did not believe in God.

  • Did I not receive the Holy Spirit when I went forward?  I did not know what the Holy Spirit was at that time, but something nudged me to go forward, I am thinking that was the Holy Spirit.
  •  Did I believe in Jesus at the time?  Yes I did believe in Jesus.
  •  Do I think that after I fell away from God the Holy Spirit left me?   No I don’t.  Just like the scripture says Jesus sent another advocate to help me and be with me forever.  So I think that even though I fell away and said I did not believe in God, the Holy Spirit stayed with me.  He stayed right here with me as my advocate, waiting for just the right moment to show me that God was real and help me find my way, that was the night I saw my father in law go to heaven… (click to read that story here)

Then the Holy Spirit began to nudge me to act on that newly found knowledge that God was real.

He then nudged me to pick up and read a daily devotional book that gradually led me look up stuff in the Bible which in turn caused a lot of Bible reading.

Then gradually he nudged me that it was time to find a church. I would go to churches but then I would chicken out from going in the buildings.  I remember sitting in the parking lot of the church I now belong to, trying to get the courage to go in and hearing this voice in my head telling me I was not alone to go on in.  That was the Holy Spirit again being my advocate.  When I felt so paralyzed with fear that I could not move He helped me get out of my car and walk in the building.

One Sunday about a month after attending the church I belong to now the pastor’s sermon was on the Holy Spirit.  He also did a baptism that day and then afterwards offered that anyone who wanted to could come up and dip their fingers in the water to remember their own baptisms.  I can’t remember the pastors exact words or even much of the sermon but I do remember feeling so emotional as I was realizing what I had missed at my first Baptism and then I felt the nudging and the word “Go”.   I stood up, went to the front and dipped my fingers in the water.  As I put the water on my face a feeling of peace came washing over me and I knew I was finally back where I belonged in my Saviors Arms.

Do I think the Holy Spirit stays with us forever?  Yes I do.   The Holy spirit is my advocate,  he stood up for me when I could not stand up for myself, He came to my rescue to nudge me back into the right direction.  God loved me even when I was denying Him.  He sent me Jesus.  Jesus died for my sins and He sent me an advocate in the Holy Spirit, the advocate who is with me forever because Jesus sent him.  I finally after all these years do know who I am when I am in Christ.

If you would like to have Jesus help guide your life you can get more information by clicking the link below.

Thanks for reading and God bless you 🙂

Jesus First

This morning I was browsing my facebook page and found these two videos in the feed they were so good I wanted to share them.

With Jesus first there is always hope.

Whispering Danny

Shane Kampe

These videos are from the website I am Second, If you would like to watch more inspirational videos from I am Second click this link —> www.iamsecond.com