This has been quite the difficult post to write. The organization, the building of the background knowledge, the overall composure -it is just not coming together. In my mind I think this should not be so hard. But then it does not take long for me to remember just how much there is to tell. There is no way I could limit my life’s testimony to a 700 word blog post. There is too much to be said, too much to understand about the person I was to the person I am now – there is too much to share that truly reveals just how good and merciful my God is.
But to say nothing at all would be a dishonor to the One who loved me and restored my heart…my life.
Last month, I shared with a group of ladies as we gathered at an IF:Table of this thing I felt I was waiting to be revealed to me. I couldn’t explain it and I told them that I was trying really hard to be patient and just trust in the waiting of this reveal. I couldn’t have even come close to telling you what it was…but I knew the Spirit of God was moving in my heart. All I knew at the time, was that He was asking for me to be patient and willing. So, I prayed for a patient heart and a willing spirit.
Then things started to happen.
Last year, I was doing a little studying into the book of 1 Peter and I highlighted this verse “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” (1 Peter 1:2 NLT) I wrote down in my Bible, under the highlighted section – There is no true obedience without these. I remember thinking about this kind of obedience. I didn’t really understand. Last April, I began to pray to have that kind of obedience. I began to read and study about people who stepped out in great faith and displayed acts of obedience. I prayed for my own heart to be receptive to the Spirit’s moving and that I could live out a type of obedience that was true; The blood of Christ is what justifies and the Spirit is who sanctifies and through them comes a type of obedience that could never be attained on our own. I began this journey last April. I find myself, again, studying the book of 1 Peter. This time it is a much more in depth and more comprehensive study as it a study that has been well pieced by Jen Wilkin.
Where does this bring me today, right now?
True obedience, the one that I had been trying to understand and the one I had asked God to know of more, it was starting to be revealed to me. He was drawing me deeper. He was giving me an opportunity to lean into His sovereignty and trust. So naturally, he began in the two areas of my life where I want to have the most control…where I struggle the most to surrender wholly to Him. Financially is the first place He has asked me to trust and obey. If you want to read more about that area you can click on this link: The Wilderness and Daily Manna. The second area, has been for me to be more vulnerable and through this vulnerability, be the reflection of His goodness and grace. I feel like the question He continually asks is: Who is being glorified by your actions or in your words? Are you seeking to protect yourself or are you seeking to rest in My grace?
Now, do not get me wrong. I do not believe He is asking me to disclose some juicy and gossip laden account of my life, the choices I have made and the places I have been – no, that is not it at all. He is asking of me to be the person who can shine His glory. You see, EVERY believer who has been saved by grace and walks in His path has a testimony. For we ALL were lost. We ALL were broken. We ALL needed His redemption, His rescue. It is through our testimony – our telling of what He has done in our lives – that shines the light of the gospel. He made it very clear to me that my need to be vulnerable was to be done in a way that magnified Him. I was not to enter into a place of vulnerability that would distract from Him. My testimony and my call to share it with others is to always be prayerfully considered; It is not to be one which highlights the sin, but, rather, a testimony which illuminates His mercy, His love and His grace.
Last week at church, I was presented with a moment to be obedient to this type of vulnerability – I decided to be baptized. It was a moment to tell my church family — to tell everyone — that yes, in my life I had made decisions that were not God honoring and I had made decisions that did not honor my covenant with Him. You see, I put my faith in Jesus when I was a little girl and I was baptized to reflect that decision. But, because I struggled with the notion that my gift of salvation and the way to righteousness was mine to maintain, I eventually lost that battle and I chose sin and fleshly desires over Jesus. However, in this moment, I also get to celebrate and proclaim the love of my Father in heaven, the One who does not break covenant. This was an opportunity to display that my God is One who pursues, redeems, and restores.
…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. – Colossians 2:12 ESV)
Praise God, for a love that is undeserved.
I am so thankful for the prayers of many people who loved me and cared about my soul’s eternity, their prayers did not fall on deaf ears. I am thankful that my youngest brother was a willing instrument, as he is who God used to draw me back to Him. My brother constantly called me and engaged me in conversations that were based on the status of my relationship with God and of things that are eternal. After awhile of having these thought-provoking conversations and having someone breathe truth into my life, I turned my faith in Jesus into a decision to give Him all of my life. This was a decision to fully turn towards Him and to fully walk in His truth, His love, and His grace; a decision to rest in the knowledge that righteousness is obtained through Him alone.
The last 5 years of my life have been nothing short of amazing. God took my brokenness and shame and restored me – He renewed my life and my purpose for His glory. Every day, He continues to draw me deeper. What a privilege it is to glorify God and proclaim to everyone today, through my baptism, that I am new in Christ Jesus. Though it is outside of my comfort zone, I delight how He is moving in me and helping me to walk in a newness of life through obedience to Him – not just write about obedience to Him.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. -Romans 6:4 (ESV)