My Faith Journey

     To begin, I really never expected to be blogging, much less sharing my testimony on a blog.  Several months before starting this blog in 2010, I began thinking about blogging, although not seriously.  But after one of our cats got taken away from our home and we found him 15 miles away several days later, I thought, "Now this is really an incredible story that I could share on a blog."  That's how this blog began.  If you'd like to read that story, here's the link:
     What made me decide to share my testimony?  Even before I started blogging, I was convinced if I ever did have a blog that it would be for one reason - for God's purposes and for His glory. goes!
     All of my growing up years, my parents were faithful to take me to church every time the doors were open.  I'm truly grateful to them for their faithfulness to do that.  What a blessing it is to look back and know my parents were doing all they could to raise me to know the Lord!  At around the age of 7, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit, walked down the aisle, got baptized a couple weeks later, and thought that my salvation was a done deal, taken care of, etc., etc.
     But there were a few missing links along the way.  Here's one of them - I never really understood that I am completely depraved, that my righteousness is like filthy rags, that my heart is sinfully wicked, that if I was going to spend life after death in Heaven, I was in desperate need of God's amazing grace.  Need I go on?  I had believed that I was basically a "good" person - that there was something in me that warranted God saving me.  In Isaiah 64:6a, we're told, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags."  Contrary to this verse, my wrong thinking caused me to believe that my salvation was secure.
     Here's another missing link - I had bought into the lie that since I believed that Jesus was God's son and that He died on the cross for my sins that I was saved.  I had the head knowledge of who Jesus was but not a new and changed heart.  I was not a new creation in Christ.  The Bible tells us in James 2:19 - "You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that - and shudder!"  If I had really studied God's Word and known what it said, I would have recognized that my salvation wasn't secure by just having the knowledge of who Jesus is, nor was it secure by just being baptized, nor was it secure because in my mind I believed that I was basically a "good" person.
     As I floated through life, I bought into more lies from the enemy.  Believing that I was a Christian, I thought that as long as I asked for forgiveness from the Lord that He would forgive me.  Did you get that?  I thought all it took for God to forgive me was to ask Him for forgiveness and He would do it.  Yet I wasn't remorseful for my sins.  I thought all I had to do was basically say the words "forgive me" in prayer, and I thought I'd be forgiven even if I wasn't repentant of my sins.  I'm not really sure how I ended up with these huge errors in thinking, but I did.
     In my early 30s, when my husband and I had 2 daughters, ages 1 and under, my life at home with these two precious babies was pretty hectic.  I thought reading the Bible would be a good thing for me to do.  Obviously, the Holy Spirit prompted me to do that.  In January 2000, I began reading the Bible daily.  About halfway through that year, I was reading in the New Testament and the verses I read were seriously conflicting with my thinking.  I began to realize that the god I had in my own mind was not the One True God of the Bible.  I had created in my mind my own idol and my god was one who fit my own personal selfish goals.  With my god, I could still have me as the center of the universe.  I could still believe I was basically a "good" person.  I could have my own way and ask for forgiveness later with no remorse and still be forgiven.  What bondage I was living in, not knowing the real truth that can only come from the Bible - God's Holy Word!
     I began to seriously question my salvation.  I didn't know the God of the Bible.  I hadn't truly comprehended the awesomeness of who God is and the incomprehensible sacrifice He made when His son, Jesus, was crucified on the cross for our sins.  I had  trampled on the name of Jesus.  Yet in the midst of these questions, how blessed I was!  The One True God had begun to open my eyes so that I could see the lies I had believed about Him and about myself.
     After having read over those verses again and again that conflicted with my thinking, I was in anguish for several days.  How could I reconcile the Biblical truth I now had my eyes opened to that was in complete opposition to my own thinking for all those years?  I had talked to my husband about it and realized I couldn't answer all these questions but maybe someone else could help me work through it.  I made an appointment with our pastor.  While talking to him, he asked me some questions.  He shared what he believed to be true regarding my experience - although the Holy Spirit had spoken to me many times during my life, I only had the head knowledge of who Jesus was.  I had never before surrendered my life to His Lordship.     
     That day was the most important turning point in my life.  I'm not perfect.  I still make wrong choices...every day.  I still have a sin nature.  I war daily against my own flesh.  But, I'm saved and forgiven!  I'm a new creation in Christ!  While I now want to glorify Him and not myself, I still have struggles.  I desire to do His will, not mine.  I want to walk in His ways, not my own.  I thirst for His Word and truths and wisdom, not mine or the world's.  Yet many days I feel like Paul in Romans 7:15 - "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
     For weeks, maybe even months, I experienced the immense blessing of true brokenness over the greatness of my sin.  Yet God's grace is even greater!  That is definitely amazing grace!

I Peter 3:15b - "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

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Artwork by John Bell copyright 1998-2007 used with permission