Sunday, January 15, 2006

13 Years Ago Today

It's hard to believe that 13 years ago today I made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior! Time has flown by so fast! I was in my Grade 12 year at school and it was a couple months before my birthday...I like to tell people that it was my early birthday and graduation present to myself.

It was kind of funny how things happened! I grew up Presbyterian and was taught about God, prayed, learned to have great faith in God in all circumstances, learned that as a follower of Christ, the greatest thing you can do is to serve him in all aspects of your life, including the church...I attribute my parent's teaching to why I have learned to have such faith in God, no matter what circumstances arise. They gave me an awesome spiritual foundation and I love them so much for that! My parents were heavily involved in our church...my dad was the head of the board and often took the services when our minister was away...I often attribute that to the fact of why I always have an inkly to start taking classes to get a pastoral degree (more realistic will be to take a two year program in Reglious Studies), as I would sit with him at the kitchen table as he prepared his sermons. I usually ended up leading our youth services on those Sundays when we took the service and helped introduce my little Presbyterian church and our youth choir to Petra and Michael W. Smith. I was also known as the kid who refused to be confirmed into the church 3 times...let me tell you, that doesn't go over well when your dad is involved in the church the way mine was! The first two times were because I didn't feel ready, because of my age and then because of where I was in life. The last time, as everyone said, she'd become "born-again"...I knew I was leaving home for college and would be attending a different church, so I did not feel a need to go through the motions of tradition.

It's really interesting how things play out sometimes...I went through a really hard stage of rebellion in my teens...I really dragged my parents through the wringer! They were amazing parents...parented me the best they could...our story is living proof that your child may stray from the path, but if you stick by them no matter what, they very well might find their way back. Through everything they told me that they loved me and would always love me, no matter what played out in my life! I was a honor roll and music student (loved choir and concert & jazz band), taking advanced classes and hanging out with one of the worst crowds in the school. Somehow I managed to get myself into a really abusive relationship, began smoking (only at school and friend's houses), had thoughts of suicide cross my mind on more than one occasion, attempted to run away from home twice and had one of the worst attitudes you could have...I look back and don't even recognize that girl, can't explain why I made the choices I did, but truly believe that it happen for a reason! I have a huge heart and understanding nature for teen runaways, for girls and women who are, or have been, in abusive relationships, for those kids who come from a good home, but end up looking like they've thrown it all away and no one understands why or how they could do that (I totally understand why and how they could do that!) and for all those people who have a past, but end up laying it all down at Christ's feet, and no matter how hard it is, they eventually realize that he accepts you no matter where you've been or what you've done!

My youth pastor led the devotion which stirred my heart and brought me to the realization that I needed to asked forgiveness and accept Christ personally! He introduced me to the world of worship singing, youth leading and children's ministries, the world of church office administration, became one of my many examples of how to balance a spouse, family and church ministry properly and...he's the pastor who married us! He told me this very important statement shortly after I had committed my life to Christ...I was struggling to truly accept God's grace...these words impacted me and stay with me always...he told me that you can choose to be a victim to your past, or you can choose to find a positive aspect out of your past! For me, that meant not being ashamed of the road I'd went down, counseling girls from abusive relationships as a young youth leader, to always have an understanding heart towards people and to never judge anyone's choices in life!

A year and a half before I made my commitment to Christ, everything fell to pieces. As I was picking the pieces of my life up and starting over, I remember praying to God and telling him I was sorry that I'd hurt him and my family. I asked him to help me turn my life around...I told him that if he would reveal a different road for me to take, I would do a 360, turn, take that road and never look back! I truly believe that on January 15, 1993, he revealed that road to me and I took it, followed and am continuing to follow it and will NEVER look back!


1 Timothy 1:13-16 (New International Reader's Version)
I used to speak evil things against Jesus. I tried to hurt his followers. I really pushed them around. But God showed me mercy anyway. I did those things without knowing any better. I wasn't a believer. Our Lord poured out more and more of his grace on me. Along with it came faith and love from Christ Jesus. Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst sinner of all. But for that very reason, God showed me mercy. And I am the worst of sinners. He showed me mercy so that Christ Jesus could show that he is very patient. I was an example for those who would come to believe in him. Then they would receive eternal life.

6 comments:

curious servant said...

I love these posts.

There is so much to discuss here, God's love, out creation of our own problems, His steadiness...

I also loved your tribute to your husband.

Cinder said...

Thanks for your encouraging comments...you never know when you're writing, if you're actually going to write something worth discussing or not!

My husband is an amazing man and he deserved the tribute...2005 was a very interesting year for us and the comfort of having God and my husband by my side, made things bearable and allowed me to know that it was only a season of life!

Pia said...

cinder, thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.

God is merciful and He is faithful. He showed this to you and me many times in our lives.

i hope you don't mind me adding you to my links. i certainly would love to come and visit you again here. God bless!

Cinder said...

i would love to be a link on your blog...i will be coming by to visit you again! God bless!

Kc said...

What a beautiful testimony. I know God can take what we have and use it to His glory if only we are willing to give it. I was 22 when I was converted and the years prior are such a shame to me. Even in these later years I can only confess that I'm a fool and still God is so very good to me.

Cinder said...

It's so amazing how God takes what we have...past and present...and uses it to His glory when we allow him to have it! I try my best to live for Him each and everyday...the truth being that I'm human and still have mountains to learn about being a child of God...that's okay...it's a continual growing and learning experience...I love it! He's so good to me...even when I stumble yet again, he's right there beside me, to help me up and continue down the path of life together...there's no other place I'd rather be!