God’s Grace

Testimonies are a powerful part of us.  Your testimony is your witness to the world around you of what God has done for us.  It is the living proof of God’s grace and mercy in our lives.  I share my testimony here not to bring glory to myself or to grieve my family in any way.  It is to show you how God is good and merciful.  The Bible says, that if we confess Jesus before men he, in turn, will confess us before God. That is so powerful.  He’s gonna tell God he knows me!  I should share that wonderful grace that God has given me so that others might too be encouraged to come to the same saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 10:32-33)

I have been writing these farmgirl nothing style blogs for a couple of years now.  They are nothings really, unless somehow you can identify with my nothing experience.  Then somehow my nothings become your somethings.  I am not quite sure where this one is going.  I suppose we’ll have an idea when we get there; nor am I sure what to call it.  I am going with God’s Grace right now because that’s all we really have, isn’t it?  There are many things in my life I haven’t shared with the world.  If you know my family and by family I mean to say the genealogical bunch of blood relatives related to me.  Then perhaps you already suspect how this might go.  I married and moved away and that resulted in being shunned.  No, I’m not Amish.  That’s not so bad really, not even my own children know of or fully understand my home life years.  It’s not just something I want to talk about over coffee.  I have gone too far my parents would say.  Being good was in youth was a parental score for them.  Being a grown adult bible thumper and holier than thou has me too extreme and intolerable for their liking. That’s not acceptable for them- it’s more like judgment.

I know my kids feel as though they have it all bad all the time- like most kids.  In their mind they are mistreated for their chores and responsibilities.  There is worse in this world and strait up evil in many cases.  I have known ones that had life way worse than me.  I write this not to glorify the bad, to look for sympathy or compare notes on crappy parents of the year.  I would rather you take from this God’s grace.  How He in His omnipresent manner is a guiding force for each of our lives weaving this way and that making us who we are using the negative for His gain.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”     (Jeremiah 29:11)

My parents divorced when I was barely two.  My dad had gone to prison for drug possession.  Mom, a teen single parent, was not at all happy with life as it was and left him in search of greener pastures. Of course I don’t remember any of those years. Our home was what it was.  All I ever knew.  The saying children are meant to be seen and not heard was practiced in our home.  I remember being afraid to talk, wanting to, and yet the words didn’t work out.  This made school very difficult.  We lived in a low income area of our city.  A place where I was a minority and reminded of that fact each time I rode the school bus.  I hated the school bus, school, and home.  I wanted to disappear.  My goal all through school was to not be noticed.

There were many nights of yelling, screaming, fighting, crying, and broken dishes. What was there to fight over?  Every night drinking parents mad at the other then throwing knifes, cursing, and hiding under the covers.  I did have imaginary friends.  Dovey and friend were their names.  They would stand beside me holding my hand or hide with me under the covers. It was a great family joke but I see now it was God’s providence.  There was a lot of emotional abuse.  If words were knives the scares would be embarrassing.  It was the only life I knew.

Somewhere along the third grade a preacher and a man came to visit our home.  They wanted us to go with them somewhere.  I didn’t understand but was instantly excited.  celina89We never had company, never got to visit and listen to adults talk.  I later understood that a co-worker from my step father’s job had been witnessing to him.  My step father held his ground solid as a rock.  He’s not making any commitment that would cause him to change his coveted lifestyle.  The friend asked,” If you won’t commit, can I take your children to church?”  Honestly, I don’t think that my parents approved the spiritual advancements of our hearts.  Rather it was free babysitting that they would benefit from.  In this case – the simple “Yes” would change my life forever.

Faithful this new friend was to pick me and little sister up in their family car every Sunday and Wednesday for services.  I didn’t understand a thing for a long time.  I had no clue why we were standing, sitting, bowing our heads, who they were talking to, or any of the traditions made sense.  There was something there I liked though.  My heart felt a little bit lighter like maybe a band aid was being applied.  Slowly I felt the outer shell getting softer and I began to understand some things.

There was so much to soak up.  This family was like no other.  It bewildered me that the kids could freely talk to their parents.  They didn’t get near the spankins I got.  Yet sometimes I wasn’t even sure why I got them.  I was becoming a better person already just knowing these new people and their odd children.  I say odd not because of looks, they had something I didn’t have and couldn’t quite figure it out.

We became the best of friend’s wonderful friends to this day.  I called each Saturday for a ride to church and they always came.  Weeks passed into months along about three years later it was revival time. I was so excited.  We were going to have five services that week not counting sunday.  Yeah, so much church! Bro. Terry Gibson was the guest speaker for the week.  It was turning out to not be near as much fun as I would have planned.  It was more than a little uncomfortable. OK I had a very antsy feeling.

I’ll never forget it.  One night he had these blocks.  Each block represented a different color and meaning.  I don’t even remember specifically those details now.  I just remember the one that fit my heart.  He said, in a minute we are all going to file down one row at a time and without speaking pick up a block to show the condition of your heart to everyone.  Oh no, I can’t do that.  First off I can’t lie that wouldn’t be right.  I can’t pick up the black block because they will all know.  If they all know the real me I could never come back. That would be too embarrassing.  They wouldn’t want me here if they knew that I was full of sin.  If I time it just right, I could go to the bathroom and totally miss that part all together.  Nope, he might single me out- oh what to do, what to do?

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It was at that moment I knew I was a sinner.  I’d messed up really bad.  No amount of spankings, sitting in my room, or I’m sorry was gonna fix this one up.  My dear friends grandmother was there sitting beside me that night.  My friend had been moved to sit by her dad.  Maybe we’d been to distracting- you know how kids are- especially when under conviction.  The grandmother looked at me and said, “Go.”  And it felt like something super natural pushed me out into that isle.  Once I was out in the isle and my clench grip had been loosened from the pew I felt somehow free already. I was on the paradox of something that would change my life.

I walked to the front and found my pastor waiting with a smile.  Using his worn Bible he walked me through the plan of salvation.  I cried more tears that night than in my whole pile of spankings.  It felt good- a good cleansing cry. He prayed with me and for me.  I was spiritually scrubbed up; light on my feet, like something we hadn’t seen was lifted off of my back.  I didn’t know I had so much burden piled up at 11 years old.

God forgave me, lil ole shy me.  All it took was for me to surrender my will and accept God’s free gift of Jesus and that’s it.  Life at home never changed but did get easier to bear.  I do pray for each family member and younger siblings to have this amazing victory in their lives.  I hope that the Lord will not close that door of opportunity.

I was not born into a Christian family.  The Lord knew me and didn’t give up on me.  He opened doors of opportunity for our family.  They choose not to enter.  I was allowed to go and had nothing to loose.  What could the Lord offer that could be worse than the life I already knew?  I had so many new opportunities to teach children, sing, go on trips, camps, retreats, meet missionaries, see friends accept Jesus and meet the Love of my Life.  He would enter the scene but a few years later.  It was all right there where I got saved at that little church 28 years ago this month.

I appreciate Bro. Gunnels for challenging me spiritually to go back to where it all began so I can see where the Lord has brought me with his grace.  I am so thankful that Bro. Terry Gibson obeyed the Lord and preached the word of God.  I am ever so grateful for Bro. Jr. for being a faithful witness when it’s so difficult to speak to your neighbor.  I am also grateful to his family for his family for accepting me as their own.  They showed me what a real family could be.

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You may read this whole testimony and say to yourself I know this person she is nothing special.  And you’d be right.  I’m not.  I mess up all the time.  I say things I shouldn’t and don’t speak when I should.  I am a living breathing witness of God’s grace in my life. I am forgiven.  One day, I will see my Savior and will weep at his feet in thanks for his love and sacrifice for me.  I would not be the person I am today without his grace and forgiveness.

If you want to read more about how to accept Jesus for yourself — check it out HERE!

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  (John 14:6)

~Living Blessed,

Lena

 

 

*revised 2013 post from Farmgirls @ Heart

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: CraigTaylor74 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/49333396@N06/34532441815″>stack of colorful wooden building blocks</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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