Writing this post is one of the hardest things I’ve done. No one wants to admit their failures or have their deepest darkest moments brought to light for everyone to scrutinize. In this age of Facebook we all strive to appear perfect. But the truth is… none of us are perfect. We all fail to live up to the standards set by our peers, ourselves and more importantly God.
The most amazing thing about God is, if we are in Christ, then there is no condemnation. No matter what we have done, Jesus has saved us. And even more amazingly, God not only forgives our sins, He forgets them. He will never use them against us or bring them up again. They are forgotten.
I, even I, am He who blots out your
transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.
So, with my weaknesses admitted, I begin my story.
I was raised in a Christian home. My parents taught the Bible in our house and we attended church regularly. They gave me a firm foundation in the faith and I am very grateful for that gift. I grew up in the same church that my dad grew up in and I considered it my second home. It was in that church that I was saved. I remember asking my mom what it meant to be saved and since she was a new Christian at the time, she took my brother and me to see our pastor. In his office, I knelt down by a chair and he led me in a prayer to accept Jesus as my Savior. It was also in this church that God called me to be a missionary. I have so many wonderful memories of growing up there. It was a great place filled with wonderful people who invested in my life by teaching me to love the Lord.
During my teenage years, the leadership of the church changed and little by little the dynamic of the church changed too. I became disillusioned with the church as a whole. My call to serve God as a missionary became a distant memory. I decided to leave the church and my family made the decision to support me. It was a hard decision but we made it together. We joined another local church and although it was a great church, I felt that there was something missing. I didn’t feel that closeness with God that I had before. I decided that I didn’t need church anymore and I could love God on my own. That one decision changed the course of my life in a very negative way. They say hindsight is 20/20 but I wish I could take back that decision to leave the church. One bad decision lead to another, then another, and then another. It took me to a very dark place where I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
I moved from Oklahoma to California for school. I wasn’t attending church at the time and I was not living my life in a way that was pleasing to God. It was during this time that I meet my ex-boyfriend. It started out okay but turned bad quick. I moved in with him, yet another terrible decision that changed my life forever. Having premarital sex is a decision I will always regret. The relationship between my ex and I became toxic when he became verbally abusive to me. His ex-wife made many threats toward me and his teenage daughter was always acting out. I felt trapped and boxed in. The walls were closing in on me but my pride wouldn’t let me give up. I thought if I stayed I could change things, but they only got worse. I was scared and on edge all of the time. I didn’t know what would happen to me from day to day.
It took a lot of bad things happening to me for my defiance to subside. God had to bring me to my knees before I could see a way out of the horrible life I had created for myself. I hadn’t talked to God in a very long time. The relationship that was once so close between us was nonexistent on my end. But God didn’t give up on me, He was always there waiting for me to come to my senses. During a trip home to visit my parents God spoke to me. I was just walking down the hall of my parent’s house when I heard a loud voice say to me, “You don’t know how long your mom has to live and you’re needed here.” That statement from God hit me like a ton of bricks. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with my mom but I suddenly knew deep in my heart that I had to get out of the life I was living. It wasn’t easy but I moved back in with my parents. It was supposed to be temporary but soon after the move we found out that my mom had liver cancer. The temporary living situation turned permanent so that I could care for my mom full time. This may seem like a mean thing for God to do but it was the only thing that would bring me to my rock bottom. When I reached that bottom, God was there to pull me out of the pit. My mom had her own thoughts about why God would allow her to have cancer and I will save that story for another time. But I know that it was God’s way of bringing me back to where I needed to be, safe in His arms.
I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ and it was a life changing decision. This time in a very positive way. God forgave me immediately but it has taken me years to forgive myself. God has restored what was lost during those dark years. He has reminded me of His great love and grace. And He has reminded me of His call on my life so many years ago. When all seemed lost He made a way.
Even though it hurts me to think about my past mistakes, I know that I am loved by God. He has forgiven me and He has forgotten my sins. The terrible life I once had is no more, and I am now a fully restored daughter of God. In His perfect timing, He reached out His hand to me. My recommitment to Jesus Christ had a profound effect on me. It’s something that I take very seriously. I have dedicated my life to living God’s will for me, whatever that may be. Jesus died to save me, so I now live for Him.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
My purpose in sharing my story is not to talk about myself, but rather to show you the love and forgiveness of our Heavenly Father. The blood of our Savior, Jesus, covers all of our sins. If you have accepted Him as your Savior then the past is the past. You can move forward with confidence knowing that you are forgiven and your sins have been forgotten.
Whatever your past holds there is nothing you have done that God won’t forgive. All you need is Jesus and He is waiting for you with open arms! Come to Him and He will give you rest. If you would like to know more about how to accept Jesus as your Savior, I encourage you to read the section “Accepting Jesus”.
This is my prayer for you today…
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
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Connie Rowland is the creator of Master's Hand Collection, A series of Christian digital artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Join "In the Studio" for your Free Printable Artwork.
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