Grace Changes Everything.
That’s the name of the sermon series taking place in my church right now.
As I’ve sat, listened, prayed, and searched, I came to realize something… grace changes everything, and it’s changed me.
When I was 17 years old, I came to know the Lord.
I started attending church. I read my Bible. I was baptized.
However, teen rebellion rolled into spiritual rebellion, and I turned away from God.
I was confused.
I wondered if my eagerness to seek God was because I believed, or because I wanted acceptance and approval from my newly converted Christian parents.
I couldn’t come to terms with my thoughts and feelings, so I walked away from my faith and my heavenly father.
I was not spiritually void. I went through phases of reading the Bible. I periodically prayed. I found, though, that as I opened myself up, my brain would wrestle with worldly things.
I struggled with everything having to do with Christianity. I was full of frustrations with God. I didn’t want to believe in hell, or eternal damnation, or a God who allowed these things to be. I was terrified of my mortality. I feared that my desire to believe in Christ was simply because I was afraid of death and what comes afterward.
The words in the Bible confused me. I couldn’t align my mind and principles with what it was saying. So I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t believe in all of it… then I couldn’t believe in Christ, and I was not entitled to salvation.
My questions and confusion kept me away from God for almost 20 years.
I gave birth to my second daughter 4 1/2 years ago. The experience was traumatizing. As I feared for her life, and mine, I called out to God. I begged Him for help, and I prayed for our health.
I believe that this singular moment opened the door and rekindled my spiritual journey.
Grace changes everything.
A few days after my daughter was born, I picked up the Bible that I had abandoned years before.
The first thing I read was about Jacob wrestling with a man beside the ford of Jabbok. I related to Jacob insisting on the Lord blessing him.
As I read the words, I identified with everything. I was struggling because I believed that maybe God didn’t want me back. I wondered if perhaps I was eternally damned because I had my chance and turned away from Him. After seeking some counsel from my dad, I decided to continue the wrestling match with God, and I started going to church.
Then something beautiful happened. The more I heard the message, I fell deeper in love with my heavenly Father.
I’ve never had an “A-HA” moment of realizing that I’m saved.
I’ve never had waves of goosebumps or a complete sense of peace.
I’ve never had a vision of God.
My spiritual testimony involves a gradual realization that living life with, and for, the Lord is my purpose.
At times, I’m terribly insecure in my faith. I wonder if my fumbling towards God even matters. I sometimes wish I had the big “A-HA” or a miraculous transformation because then I would know – without any doubt, that I matter to Him.
Yet, I’m repeatedly reminded that… grace changes everything.
As I wade and stumble through this relatively newfound faith, He reveals himself:
He shows up when I’m not sure what to do.
He lets me know He’s here for me, and He does it in the most amazing ways!
He even sends me messages to remind me that I’m loved.
He has even spoken to me – clearly!
I’ve never shared my full testimony here on The Deliberate Mom. I wondered if my story was ridiculous or even insulting. I wondered if my salvation matters as much as the story of a missionary sacrificing their life overseas, or the individual who spends their time volunteering to help the needy or the person who has turned from a life of addiction to a life of amazing redemption.
Grace changes everything.
For so long I thought my story was insignificant.
You see, my story involves a shift in perspective. The God I thought I knew was a God of judgment and condemnation but the God I know now is a God of love, forgiveness, and grace.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3: 16-17 ESV
Every soul, every person, everyone matters. Our Father loves us. He loves me. He loves you. He’s calling us, and it’s our choice if we respond to His call.
When we answer, we know with certainty that… grace changes everything.