“I’m struggling with depression.” I was thinking about that statement after I had the thought of how it comes and goes; I’m unfortunately currently in the ‘it comes’ phase. I was thinking, should I really word it that way, “I’m struggling with depression.” Yes, it is a struggle, but in that struggle there has been a lot of resilience, endurance, strength, and victory.
I often feel shame when I have the thought of struggling with depression because I want to overcome it and get upset with myself that it is back again, but then I am reminded by God’s grace that one, it is not within my control and nothing to be ashamed of, and two, I am not in a place of defeat; I am in a place of victory at the fact that I continue to endure each time I face it.
Let me look at it differently. I don’t just “struggle with depression,” but also, “I endure depression.” “I am resilient over depression.” “I have strength over depression.” It’s not just struggle; it’s also a whole lot of victory.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a place in your struggle where you’ve felt you’re better and then out of nowhere something hits and you’re emotionally spiraling?
That’s how the past three weeks were for me. It’s been several months of doing really well and then out of nowhere came a trigger and I was completely unprepared for how reactive I would be. Once it hit, I was filled with anxiety and I was super sensitive which ultimately led me to be vulnerable to another triggering event, so two triggering events in a three week period after several months of stability. It was extremely tough and emotionally painful and a reminder that this is an ongoing battle.
Today is the first day I feel like the panic of all that has decreased and my emotions have stabilized. Yesterday I went through the emotions of feeling defeated and hopeless in my fight. When I get triggered and emotionally spiral, I generally go through a period of shame where I feel defeated that I let myself get so emotional and where I feel I’m defective for having been so reactive.
I had to come to a place of realizing I still have work to be done, and also I’ve had to stop blaming myself as this isn’t a choice to have a trigger and react. The self-defeating emotions that follow being triggered are completely out of my control.
Sometimes we just have to give ourselves grace. Hitting a bump in the road on this journey doesn’t mean we’ve lost the fight or been defeated; it just means God has more work to do in us. This recent struggle has also reminded me that I need to be intentional in prayer each day, to put on the full armor of God and go into the day prepared for whatever I may face.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
I know what it’s like to wrestle the darkness. These are some scriptures that have helped me hold on to hope in my darkest moments. I pray you find comfort in them too. The more truth we have to lean on when the enemy’s lies get the loudest, the better, so if you have any that have carried you through a dark moment, please share in the comments. 💛
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:17)
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up , And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30: 1-5)
I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles. Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?
This week my church organized an event that consisted of corporate fasting and prayer for the week and three nights of what they referred to as revival services. Each night was ended with people seeking physical healing coming forward and other attendees, regular everyday believers, laying hands on them and praying for miracles.
I began the week (Sunday) in a small group meeting being asked the question, “What are you believing God for?” Surprisingly I didn’t have a clue what I’d be seeking Him for personally, so that’s what I prayed for on Monday, “God, what should I believe You for?” By the second morning (Tuesday) I had an answer settled on my heart, some specific prayers for God’s guidance as a mom and for my son and prayers for overcoming struggles with depression, for healing.
The first two nights of services (Tuesday and Wednesday) had amazing worship and powerful messages, with the prayer time focused specifically on physical healing, addictions, and prodigals. Honestly though, I felt a bit personally discouraged that they were only asking people to come up who needed, very specifically, “physical healing” as I felt ready to receive emotional healing and thought maybe this would be the time. I felt a disappointment because with everything the pastors said, they were very specific about “physical” healing, addictions, and prodigals. At one moment one of the pastors even started to say the word, “depr…” but it’s like he caught himself and didn’t want to go there so backed up and changed his words. I was teary eyed the end of night two (Wednesday) as I left because I knew how much I wanted to be healed and I knew there were others in that room feeling what I felt. I felt upset, thinking, “God can heal thistoo!”
So, the fourth day, Thursday morning, I went into the day feeling an expectancy, an excitement of what the last night of this prayer event would bring. I’d been seeking God during the noon hour each day and during this time of seeking God on Thursday, I clearly heard from Him, “I’m going to heal you of your infirmity and I’m going to use you to minister to others from a place of understanding, with My heart for them and with My love for them.” This was an amazing moment, as it’s the first time in a long while God so specifically and clearly spoke to me, and it grew faith and more hope within me.
The third night of service was amazing, as the other two nights had been, but once again they focused on the same three areas (physical healing, addictions, prodigals), but in this night I did not feel the same feelings of exclusion and disappointment I had the other two nights. I believed what God had spoken directly to me in my personal prayer time and I felt it within me; my healing is coming! If it turns out to not be yet, well, I’m confident it is coming because I know what God spoke to my heart! Not only that, I have seen His faithfulness in my healing process. It’s been three years of walking through different processes in my healing, so it’s been a work, not an instant thing but I believe that is how emotional healing takes place; it’s a process, because there’s a lot of factors that have contributed to the need for this type of healing, so my experience has been that God has addressed one thing at a time.
Leaving out of those three nights, I praise God for the physical healings that took place in so many and I praise Him for the answered prayers that will come out of all those prayers for addiction struggles and for prodigals. We saw God show up tangibly with the physical healings and I believe God is going to show up powerfully healing people of addictions and with salvation for prodigals. I also believe God is going to answer prayers that were not specifically prayed for from the pulpit.
The words God spoke to me I believe were not just for me, but for anyone who is discouraged in their fight with whatever struggle they may be dealing with. I believe that if we have a little bit of hope and a little bit of faith, He will meet us right where we are at and He is ready and willing to perform the miracle we so desperately need! We have to be willing to ask and believe that there is a possibility He will answer our prayer and we have to be willing to let Him guide our healing process.
Today during the prayer time following regular church, a mom brought a child up for prayer who had been hospitalized a while back and is going for a followup this week. God so vividly brought back to me the reminder of what He did in my own son, what I now realize is a miracle. My son was hospitalized several days as an infant and then struggled until he was four with recurring pneumonia and lots of scary moments. Ladies at church prayed in faith for him and those issues literally stopped and never returned. It was a miracle I never truly acknowledged as a miracle! As I saw this mom bringing her son for prayer it reminded me that I have experienced the miraculous with my own son and yet I have sometimes doubted the possibility of the miraculous. Even writing this I am reminded of when my son was born the doctor held up his umbilical cord and said the words, “a true knot” and then someone in the room said, “are you saying he’s a miracle” and the doctor answered, “yes.” I wasn’t even a Christian when my son was born, but it’s just a reminder of the plans God has always had for my son and for me. A miracle before he was even born and a miracle when he was four and struggling with respiratory issues. My son is a miracle on so many levels! God used my son to lead me to Him. God giving me my son when he did is all a part of my testimony and a part of what led me to know Jesus.
One thing we have to realize is that a miracle doesn’t always have to happen in an instant; it can take a little time but that doesn’t discount the fact that it’s a miracle. We live in a society of instant communication, instant delivery, instant this or instant that. Yes, in the Bible you will see that Jesus often performed miracles in an instant, so that is always a possibility, but in the Bible we also have to think about the miracles that took a little more time. Abraham had to wait 25 years after the promise to conceive a child after God promised him he’d be “a father of many nations.” Taking that long does not discount the fact that it is a miracle, because how many 100 year old women do you know who conceived a child!? Think about Joseph’s 13 year miracle in the works after being sold into slavery. Many miracles take time as God works out all the details in the in-between.
So, this all has me thinking, I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles. Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?
I believe in miracles! I had experienced miracles but I never acknowledged them. It couldn’t be just other people’s testimonies that got me truly believing, it was God bringing to my remembrance and leading me to reflect on what He has already done in my own life, His faithfulness. He brought it all to remembrance, so many miracles He has worked in my life!
God is a miracle working God, for me, for my son, and also for you! What are You believing Him for?
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
To me, the new year brings new hope. While it comes every year, and realistically January 1 is indeed ‘just another day,’ there is just something about the new year. In the new year, it’s always good to set aside some time to reflect on where you’re at, where you’re headed, and where you desire to go.
I have been plagued by depression for the past three years and, while I thought it would be a quickly passing season, I realize it is an ongoing battle, a part of my story. I make the often-difficult daily choice to keep having hope. It’s been ups and downs, reaching places of defeat and discouragement, but with that there has also been lots of healing and breakthrough. I didn’t realize my need for healing until I reached a place of absolute despair. Before the months of COVID isolation in 2020, my life had been on autopilot, and I didn’t realize how many aspects of my life were operating in a superficial way, and just waiting to fall apart, until I was forced into isolation for eight months. I know I am not alone in that experience.
Going into 2023, I have an awareness that God is still at work in my healing process. I am so glad He is faithful and never gives up on me! I still have my days where depression fogs my outlook and I question having purpose in this life, but I fight off those days by recalling God’s faithfulness and trusting that if I am here, there is purpose in it, both for this life and in preparation for eternity with Him. I choose to continue having hope and to keep trusting God’s way and God’s timing.
I have started to see the blessing of the place I reached, and the place I reached was far from anywhere anyone would desire to reach. It was not a blessing in the moment, quite the opposite, but looking back, I feel blessed that as a result of reaching that rock-bottom place, I have an opportunity to live and experience this life with purpose. While I’m not in the place I want to be yet, I am not where I was and I have a hope I didn’t have before. I feel blessed that I have an opportunity to live my life with intention and to not let it get back on that superficial go with the flow track. I don’t ever want my life to look like that again. I trust that God has a plan and a purpose in everything and I hold on to the hope that everything I have struggled through these past three years is part of my healing process and that the end result will be so worth it!
If you are currently in a place of discouragement, I want to encourage you in this new year; what you are feeling right now will not be wasted and a breakthrough is coming. You have to continue to bewilling to keep moving forward and bewilling to do whatever hard work you have to put in. Keep at it! Whatever honest conversations you need to have, whatever appointments you need to make, be bold and be brave. I know how hard it is and I encourage you; keep pressing on!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
Well, this is definitely a different time for all of us. This day ends and I know I’m not the only one thinking, “this has been surreal.” Having to hunt down usually basic groceries such as toilet paper, rice, canned goods etc., as it was announced schools will be closed for at least a month, gatherings of 250 people or more not allowed, and other closings. There’s such uncertainty about where this is headed and the affect it could have.
I have strong faith. Two years ago I faced a lot of trials in a small period of time and one thing that season did in me was give me a lesson in God’s faithfulness and in trusting Him beyond what we see in the natural. “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)
We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
In any given moment there is so much we can see or perceive in the natural, but there is also so much we cannot see. As children of God, we have to trust His ways. As He says in His Word, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) His Word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him,and He will make your paths straight.” We will not always have understanding, but we can always trust.
We know God numbers our days and that we have an eternity to look forward to with Him, we know that He is in control and that His Word is truth. We know, as His Word says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Yes, we know these things and we have to stand firm on these truths. God is faithful! We can trust Him!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
I could never have enough of it; I can’t live without it. God’s grace sustains me. As I prayerfully considered what God would have me share in this new year, He led me to share a few, “2020, A year of…” words of encouragement. This one, “grace,” is the one that resonates with me the most right now. I’m at a place in my journey where it is only by His grace that I press forward. For those like me who day by day lean on His grace, I encourage you, we are at a good place. Relying completely on God and the strength and grace He provides is the best posture we could be in. As we keep seeking His grace, we will keep finding His grace. We must keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He fulfills, He heals, He makes whole.
Lord, Thank You for Your unfailing love and for Your never ending mercy and grace. For all those who need Your grace in this new year, I pray that you would pour it out in abundance. Thank You that You never leave us; You never forsake us. With You by our side we will never fall. You uphold us and strengthen us. God, You have shown us so much grace! Thank You, Lord! May we experience more and more of Your grace as we press forward, keeping our hope and trust always in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I have pondered some big questions lately. What is my place in this world? How can I help the hurting? What does God have for me to accomplish? I am different than the average; how can I really be used?
As I have pondered all this, There is one solid conclusion I have come to. Jesus. Jesus is the only answer. He defines my place in this world, He is the only answer for the hurting, God has much for me to accomplish because of my faith in Jesus and He has led me to embrace my differences and realize that my differences equate to Him being able to use me in a different way. God wired me the way I am and He has purpose in the way He designed me.
I dont know exactly what all He will call me to do, but He has been lovingly revealing to me over the past few years that I am someone He can and will use to accomplish His purposes. He once told me, “what you see as your weaknesses, I see as your strengths.” He has been growing my faith tremendously over these past few years as I have stepped out in faith and obedience and as I have realized my complete dependence on Him. I’m not afraid because I know He is with me. I have complete trust in Him and He gives me strength. When I face worries and uncertainty, I know that because I am submitted to and trusting Him everything is working out for good. I walk by faith and not by sight.
When I was just starting my faith journey, a little over five years ago, He gave me a vision of how my journey would look and He gave me a ‘life scripture’:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I saw a vision of an incomplete brick path in the process of being laid. It looked rather rough as if it had been there waiting to be worked on a while. At the time I received the vision, I was having worry over stepping outside of His will – of missing it or taking a wrong step. He told me that I do not have to fear taking a misstep because, while a step off the path would cause delay, as I focused on Him and trusted Him He would rework the path so my feet would be on it once again. He showed me my feet on the incomplete path and I saw my foot take a step and as I took the step He laid a brick below it before my foot hit the ground. As I took the step, the path no longer looked old and abandoned! He was completely directing and establishing my path as I took a step.
I have been seeing this vision take place in my life. He speaks something to me and as I take a step in faith and obedience, He truly directs my path. I see good come out of these steps of obedience. I see His strength overcoming my weaknesses in these steps of obedience. I see His purposes being accomplished in these steps of obedience.
I just recognized this right now, seeing that unfinished path that hadn’t been worked on in a while was an invitation. It was an invitation for me to be a willing servant, for me to be obedient in lifting my foot to take any step He calls me to take. Over these past few years, I’ve had to overcome some worry and I’ve had to allow Him to do some much needed growth in me, and now I’m at that place where nothing holds me back. I am willing to step as He leads.
May His good, pleasing and perfect will always be done in me and through me. For His glory!
It’s that time of year again where everyone is asked the question, “what are you thankful for?” Hopefully whenever you ponder that question, you have a hard time answering – not for lack of things to be thankful for, but because there’s an immeasurable amount to be thankful for! I couldn’t answer that question in simplicity; I’d have to write a book and it would be incomplete. I hope that you feel the same way! We are so blessed!
So instead of asking, “what are you thankful for,” here’s my question: “When you think of this past year and all you have to be thankful for, what is one thing this year that has really stood out among the immeasurable list of what you have to be thankful for?”
Here’s my answer:
Last year was a year of many trials, but also a year of growth. In a span of four months, my sister was in the hospital for over a month with life threatening injuries, the home I lived in had a house fire, I moved in to my own place with my son for the first time in his life, my grandma had a stroke that left her in an alzheimers state, my grandpa died after a long battle with cancer, I was in a hit and run car accident (the guy later turned himself in) that totaled my car and left me in a very long and frustrating process, the car I replaced it with broke down, my super sweet and loved boss passed away after a short battle with cancer. It was a lot of trials, but also a lot of growth and a lot of blessing in response to the trials.
I share this because it was the beginning process of what I am most thankful for this year. Last year when I was facing trial after trial God placed the word “preparation” on my heart. This gave me hope in the midst of what I was facing. I really was able to keep my eyes on Jesus through it all. At the beginning of this year God placed the word “growth” on my heart, and that is what I have experienced this year. What stands out to me this year in particular to be most thankful for is that God has been growing me in my relationship with Him and He has been growing me as a whole, helping me to discover who I am in Him and to find complete fulfillment in Him. As I have given over control to Him over these past two years, submitting to and trusting Him, He has truly directed my every path, led me in the way I should go, and established my plans — just as His Word promises to do (see Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 16:3). It is this growth, in dependence on Him, in faith and trust in Him, in fulfillment in Him, in completeness in Him, that I am most thankful for this year.
Someone shared this fabulous idea and my son and I started a “Grateful Jar” at the end of summer. We write down one thing we are grateful for in the morning before we start our day and drop it in the jar. It has been wonderful to reflect on all God has done and continues to do for us!
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” (1 Peter 3:15)
Last week I was asked the question, “why do you believe” for the first time since I was saved in 2014 so, as a result, I wanted to take a few minutes to share my story of God’s great grace in my life and why I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I can look back the past several years and see all these dots connected which led me straight to Jesus.
Eight years ago I was at a point in my life where I felt numb, I felt sick, I had no desire to live. I was hopeless and had no vision of a future for myself. I can with quite certainty say there’s a large possibility I wouldn’t be here today had God, full of love, grace and mercy, not intervened when He did. I had reached a point of being sickened with where I was at. I felt stuck and I no longer wanted to be doing what I had been doing. I wanted it to all end. I felt completely hopeless.
When I found out I was pregnant I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. I hadn’t been able to break free for myself, but I could do it for my child. Getting pregnant was the first dot in the story of God leading me to Him. I moved to a new state and this was another dot. I got a job in this new state when my child was 11 months old. Another dot. This job was a pretty miserable work environment, but I learned a lot of job skills I did not previously possess. At this miserable job, someone persistently invited me to attend church for over a year. After a series of events and my child having illness I decided to try the church. Another big dot.
At this church I was taught about Jesus – that He came to this world and died a terrible death by being crucified on a cross, dying in place of me, and that He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God. I learned that by believing in Him I could be saved. I learned that if I was repentant, by His great grace, He would forgive any sin I’d committed and release me from it.
“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.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)
“ ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
So at this church, after three weeks of pondering within myself as to if God would really forgive every sin, I repented and I surrendered my heart to Jesus and I believed in Him as my Lord and Savior. Kaboom, majorly huge dot – the biggest one in my story!
God didn’t stop there though. Even after being saved I have seen dot after dot leading me to where I am today. That miserable job? No more. There was a dot that led me to a great job in a wonderful work environment that I wouldn’t be able to have had I not learned the job skills at the miserable job and accepted the invite to church at the miserable job. Shortly after becoming a Christian, my life scripture became Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.” I have learned that in every situation I have faced this scripture holds true. I am at a point now in my faith where I have seen the way God directs me and I have seen His faithfulness time and time again in my own life and in the lives of people God has placed around me. His Word has proven true. As I said, I have seen dot after dot connecting and these dots represent a caring God who is real and who loves me, who didn’t just create me and leave me wandering aimlessly, but who leads me and heals me and strengthens me and upholds me, who gives me joy and peace and life.
“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall,for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37: 23-24)
I have this thought, “how couldn’t I believe?” The belief I have in Jesus is more real than things I see with my own eyes in this world. So often when I see things in this world I see a facade. I see falseness all around me – people trying to appear as something they’re not or seeking in places that will never fulfill, finding security in things that cannot stand (and I used to fit in this description before knowing Jesus). What I have with Jesus is a love I never thought was possible for me, but now I know it is. It is real and true, not based on anything I have done or have not done — unconditional love. I don’t just know of Jesus, I truly know Him. Knowing Him, I believe in Him. I am in love with Him. Jesus is my Savior and my Lord. He truly is the reason I live.