Friday, June 14, 2013

All Things New: My Testimony

God has been doing an awesome work in my life these past few months. Homeschooling my children has played a vital role in this miracle and I wanted to share it. It's a little lengthy so bear with me. 

I grew up in church. I learned all the Bible stores, songs, & memory verses. However, God was not real in my home as a child, and therefore He was not real in my life. I completely missed the point. I got to such a prideful place that I truly did not see my own sin. For 35 years, I tried to earn salvation by following the list of "do's" and "don'ts", the "church rules".  I just went through the motions, never abandoning myself, surrendering to God. For 35 years I struggled with pride, wore a mask and "faked it". My outward person looked real good, but I was dying on the inside.  It took living with my in-laws and trying to homeschool 2 young children for me to see who I really was. My true sinful-self was being reflected in my children. Upon seeing this, I began to try to overcome.... in my own strength. I was still depending on myself to make changes that only God Almighty could make and I was still making it about the list of rules, rather than a relationship with God. I struggled and fought this way for 2 years. Fear and anxiety began to grip me severely. I began to feel my soul dying and crying out for help. Night after night I would weep over the condition of my heart, cold and stony. I wept over my sins and still struggling to overcome in my own strength. Still hanging on to my own understanding, I felt that I didn't deserve to ask God to help me. After all, I wasn't even following the rules anymore. I continued to just wear the mask and wallowing in self-pity. February 15, 2013, I  reached my lowest point and reached out to a few people. My precious friend from KC, Wendi, and my Pastor, Mark began to intercede for me and ministered to me. It was that night that my eyes were opening to God's love for me. God loves me indeed! About 10 days later came the realization that I needed God Almighty to give me a heart transplant. I needed the stony cold heart taken out and a new heart of flesh to be given as mentioned in Ezekiel 36:25-27:

"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances."

For 3 months I could pray only this scripture and praises to God. Nothing more. Nothing less. Then on a Friday night in May (wish I remembered the exact date here), a few people of our congregation came together for prayer. Words cannot express the beauty of the Holy Spirit freely working in that prayer meeting! Dorothy came in a little later and the ladies were led to pray for her. She asked us to pray for Tim, for his heart. She explained how has had so much hurt and his heart was hard and cold. (no kidding!)  We prayed. She was sitting in a chair. I knelt down with one of my hands on her leg and I began to pray Ezekiel 36:25-27 for Tim. I understood his burden and my heart broke for him. I wept for him. I didn't know it that night, but as I prayed for someone else, something clicked in my heart. My breakthrough came. A couple of weeks later, I desperately surrendered my life, my will, my desires to God and asked Him to not let this be any more lip service. I was desperate to get rid of myself and to receive more of Him, of His Spirit. I surrendered and surrendered several times that week. Our Pastor was holding a water baptism service on June 9, 2013. I decided that I would make this proclamation of surrendering to God known. I would publicly proclaim that I am turning my back on sin and anything the world has to offer. I publicly proclaimed that I was done living life on my own strength. I publicly proclaimed that I am new and I have crucified my flesh, abandoned myself to be God's servant, no matter what happens. Before I stepped into that water, I knelt on the stairs and asked God to make this the beginning of my new life IN HIM.  

2 Corinthians 5:16-17
         "Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

I am made new. I am redeemed! 

The words of the song “What Do I Know of Holy” can really sum it all up for me:

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven, But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small, I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury? Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?