We are sitting in our small groups. It starts again, that sweating of my palms, the twirling of my belly and the whisper in my spirit that my story is "too tainted". I utter the prayer "get thee behind me Satan" almost audibly, and I begin to give my testimony.
For those of you who don't know me, I have a "dirty" past. I was a troubled teen that made a lot of poor decisions. I struggled with drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and many other deeper rooted issues that are too tender for me to put out on the Internet, but let's just say I had fallen way down deep into despair. The kind of despair that feels hopeless, lonely, and like there is no return.
I struggled in this darkness for a long time trying to self-medicate and fill an emptiness that was never ending. If I could be even more real, I had already had my oldest daughter at this point and I was still so empty, I couldn't pour into her, because I didn't have it to give. I didn't know how to love.
I say all of the time that God gave me Jocelyn to save my life from myself. I am so thankful He filled in where I was short because for awhile, I was very much not a mother. But, I tell all of that to get to Charlotte Morgan who is now my mother-in-law, the one who shared Jesus with me. It started off with just little comments like "I don't know how people live their lives without Jesus" but the proof was in the "pudding" so to speak.
Charlotte and Gary Morgan were unlike any other people I had ever met. Don't get me wrong here, I had the absolute BEST grandparents in the world, and there is no comparison to the wonderful lessons I learned from my grandma (gma) and Grandpa (gpa), but this is apples and cucumbers (Yes I know the saying is apples and oranges, but they are both fruit I feel like we can in fact compare fruit to fruit). They are not to be compared and one is not better than the other. Anyways, I quickly started to notice there was something quite different about these two: they were kind, slow to anger, generous, gentle, loving, compassionate, forgiving, and quick to swoop Jocelyn and me in and count us as family. I wanted to know more about WHY they were different from anyone else I had ever met.
|I added these pictures just simply because they are my favorite pictures of both of them|
Then I met Jesus on Oct 24, 2010. HE began to peel back the layers of my heart like an onion, smelly layer by smelly layer. I didn't even realize I had so much pent up inside until Jesus started to deal with my heart. You see, I believe you don't realize the exact state of your heart sometimes until the blinders are removed.
I could write a book about all of the changes Christ made in my life, and for those of you who know me, you witnessed it unfold slowly before you. I feel like I was once a caterpillar who went through the process to become a butterfly. For those of you who don't know me, believe me when I tell you the transformation was miraculous. God has done some pretty amazing things in my life and He is not done with me yet.
Now, you may find yourself asking why is she telling me all of this? Well I have come to realize the enemy wants to steal the glory God gets from redemption. Whether your testimony is "I was raised a Christian and one day I decided to follow Christ for myself" or more like "I was on the 'hot mess express' and God pulled me off, planted my feet on secure ground and began to walk along side me to a new life full of amazing possibilities," the glory is His and His ALONE. We should be sharing it with joyful hearts because there's someone out there that needs to hear YOUR story because God gave them the ears to hear from YOU!
Now I am praying a bold prayer as my family is preparing for this mission trip to Africa; that I may be PROUD of my testimony. My story means there is hope for the lost, broken, and defeated. I have already seen how God has begun to fulfill His promises in my life. I enjoy Bible journaling and my entry for today seemed like a perfect fit for this blog. Let us remember God is not done with us Yet!
Can I just say that I would love to pray for you. If there is an issue you are struggling with, please let me know how I can pray for you. For anyone who may still be in that despair I spoke of, can I tell you there is a way out and He is waiting for you. All you have to do is receive the hand He is offering!