I grew up in the church; my parents took us to church, and they worked with the youth group. I recently found my baptism record: I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 and was subsequently baptized. I continued in my faith and was a very active participant in our church youth group. Yes, I was a teenager in those years and I was far from perfect. As I mentioned in a post last week, one of the first times the Lord saved me from physical death was in my senior year of high school in 1979 (see Believe And See The Glory Of God).
Just so you don’t think I was called and easily lived in the Lord for all my life, I will tell you the truth. I accepted Christ just four years after I was sexually molested (at 5) by an adult next door neighbor. But I never felt worthy, in fact I felt shame. When I went off to college, I did not stay in the Lord–I fully embraced the ways of the world. There were times in the intervening years when I would go back to church for a while, but I was a Christian who chose to be enslaved to sin; I was a prodigal daughter. I allowed the enemy to use my shame against me, and subsequently did many other things that would make me feel even more shame.
I was a lost sheep gone astray, and the Lord pursued me. “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” (Matt 18:12) It is amazing how the Lord uses others to bring us back to the fold. I went to visit a friend in the hospital in February 2015 to comfort her. She had been battling cancer since 2002 and had just discovered the cancer had come back again and had metastasized to her brain and other places. My friend and I became friends through politics. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but we loved and respected each other immensely. To this day, I truly believe that when we met it was a divine appointment. Anyway, that evening instead of me ministering to her, she pulled out her Bible and we dived into the Word. That night was transformational for me. God had brought me back into the fold, and I was on fire for Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be a lovely story to say that as of that night I was fully back on track? It would, but it isn’t the truth. However, the Lord began to take me on a journey to where I am today. I am co-leading with a dear friend a ladies Bible study (however, let me clear, it is the Lord that leads us); I volunteer to “teach” 2nd through 4th grade children at church (and that was all God’s idea–it wasn’t anything that I was seeking or wanting, but I am walking in the steps He directs in faith–I don’t have a clue why He chose me of all people for that assignment, but I trust He knows what He is doing); and I am coming here in faith writing this blog.
Sideline note about writing the blog: 2-1/2 years ago He laid upon my heart to write this blog. Writing is one of the gifts He gave me. Except for a few times in that 2-1/2 years, I haven’t been obedient and faithful; I gave a half-hearted “obedience” to posting something almost every day for the last several years. It wasn’t until 2018 that God strongly told me to stop writing a few sentences or a paragraph of my own, and then cutting and pasting someone else’s writing (always giving credit where it was due). So this year, I have come to this computer, opened it, and sat down to write. What I have found is that although He is using the way in which I write, He shows me what He wants me to say. I daily think I know what I will write, but I allow the Lord to take the post to say what He wants me to say. And truly, most days I end up sharing something completely different than I intended, like today for instance.
What has happened (particularly in the last year) is that God is using my pain and my weaknesses for His glory. I’m not a great speaker, I don’t pray “well” publicly as I lose my train of thought and can’t come up with the right words, but I am serving Him in the ways He has called me. This morning He reminded me that He was able to use my friend with “chemo brain”, fears, and not always with the ability to speak eloquently to bring me back to the fold. He actually used her weakness for His glory. And He reminded me that He seeks out those who are weak so that the world understands that He is to be glorified, not the weak humans He uses. “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 Cor. 12:9) To God be the glory!