Called By A New NameThursday, November 08, 2012
Simply put, I am a daughter of the King, accepted, forgiven, renewed and made whole through the cleansing of His redemptive love. God’s mercy and grace have saved me from a life of brokenness and I rejoice today in a life filled with His abundant love!
Last week, as I sat enjoying the comfortable camaraderie of my friend and sister in Christ, Tamara Buchan, I marveled at how God pulls everything together so beautifully. When He wants something shared, he will inspire us to tell our stories, for it is in our testimonies that God’s glory is revealed. I have felt for a while now that God had placed a message on my heart that needed to be shared.
Now, with Tamara’s encouragement and that of my husband, I have begun a series on my blog about marriage. But in order to share what I have learned and how far I have come, I need to start at the beginning.
I have always had an awareness of God. From my earliest days, I remember knowing that there was something beyond myself – a Creator that set the world into motion. But, for years, that is all I knew. I didn’t understand the gift of salvation nor how much God truly loves us. I grew up going to church and hearing the lessons taught in Sunday school, but my understanding didn’t go beyond the stories of ancient times that seemed far removed from my life in the suburban U.S. My faith was shallow and immature, like a seed planted just below the surface. But still, it was there, waiting in dormancy for the season of my life to change.
Time passed, and as a young mother in my early 30’s, I gave my life to Christ after hearing for the first time that God created us to be in relationship with Him. It was as if in that moment a light switched on and God became completely real and tangible to me. From that time on, as I opened my heart to Him, the tiny seedling of my faith grew and nourished by His love, its roots entered the fertile soil of my life. But still, I had much to learn about myself and the God of Love. Life is not always easy. Storms will come. Mistakes are made. But our God is always faithful!
When challenges came into my life, I made a nearly fatal mistake. I didn’t turn to the only One who could strengthen, comfort and guide me. Instead, I allowed the seductive lure of this world to draw me into the wilderness where I made a sinful choice that nearly destroyed my life and marriage.
How could that happen to me? I was a Christian and felt I was above the fall. But sin is an insidious enemy. My journey into the valley wasn’t an overnight descent, but a slow decline that began the moment I took my eyes off my Father. I lost sight of Him, but God, in His faithfulness, never lost sight of me. And as it is written in scripture, all things will come to light. My sin was exposed, all was revealed, and I lost everything I had ever held dear — My husband, my family, my home, my dignity and more.
My seemingly perfect life had become twisted into a gnarled root of sorrow and pain. So deep was my despair that to get out of bed in the morning was sometimes all I could do. The rest of my day I would move in a fog as I was buffeted through a series of painful thoughts, self-condemnation and the realization of how lost and alone I had become. Something drew me to my Bible for the first time in months and as I held it, the pages fell open to a verse I never remembered reading before:
Could this be true? Was God still there, even for someone as sinful as I? Was there still hope for my life? In anguish I would fall on the floor in my tiny one bedroom apartment and with my face in the carpet cry out to God to take away my pain…but it stayed. I would pour out my heart to Him night after night after night. I asked Him to make things the way they had been. I prayed for my life to return to the calm and peaceful time when I, in my mind, had it all together. But, my prayers for time to be turned back were met with what I perceived as silence. My cries echoed with a resonating stillness in the empty room as I broke. But somewhere between one “unanswered prayer” and another, He met me. In the middle of my ugliness and self-pity, He sat down beside me.
To put it plainly and simply, God saved my life. He pulled me out of the pit in which I had fallen and healed me. When I placed all my sins and grief at His feet and surrendered my life to Him, He placed His healing hand upon me. Though He allowed consequences into my life that tore at my heart, it was through those consequences I learned just how deep His love for me is.
“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.” (Psalm 36:5-6)
My Savior brought me through the fire and made me new. And just like the seed which only opens through the flame, my heart fully opened to God through His refining fire. When I surrendered my will to God and allowed Him to take complete control, my life was transformed and my true identity was born. My God is great! He restored my marriage and mended my family torn apart by the agonizing folly of my sin and I am forever grateful. Yes, I have seen miracles, for I have come to know the incredible saving grace of God. I have learned that no matter how far we fall, we are never beyond His reach. God can and will redeem us when we turn our lives completely over to Him. God does the impossible! No marriage…no life is beyond hope. None is beyond repair, for with God, all things are possible! He is in the business of healing broken hearts and lives. I am now called by a new name. No longer am I broken. I am Redeemed.
In His Grip, Joan
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