Before March of 2008, I thought I was alive.
I was 25, engaged to my best friend, and looking forward to our life together with excitement. I had friends, family, and a job I loved. I had a home, I travelled, I had the means with which to live the life I sought after.
I thought I was alive. Until I learned how to live.
Freedom came to me when, as a visitor to my friends’ church, the pastor asked, “If God were sitting with you right now, what would be the first thing you would say to him?”
Though I counted myself a “good” person, my answer was “I’m sorry. I am so so sorry.”
I was shocked to my core.
Sorry about what?
I challenged Satan challenged.
As I searched my heart for the answer, it became clear. I was indeed so very sorry.
For thinking it was me who had it all under control. For wanting control in the first place. For my mouth. Gossip. Disrespect. For my selfish life. For judgement. For knowing that I felt a stirring for God deep in my heart and doing nothing about it for four years. For living in sin. For being less than I knew I could be.
For all of it.
I was overcome by the feeling of all I’d done wrong. I sat there, staring straight ahead at this man I didn’t know, asking this question I didn’t like the answer to, and I sobbed.
How could I ever make a life that was worthy of God?
He is far too grand. He is far too good.
How could he love a wretch like me?
But the next words out of the preacher’s mouth were not about condemnation. They were not saying I needed to wallow in this mess I’d made, but his direction was clear.
I had to ask for forgiveness. With my whole heart. Truly wanting to have my slate wiped clean.
So I prayed.
Now, when people share their experiences of when they first come to know the Lord, it can feel a little weird to those reading it (Satan’s move). So, when you hear what happened next, know that this is not made up. This not something I’ve put into writing for some sort of personal gain. It’s the honest and complete truth.
I felt myself being forgiven.
Washed as white as snow. A clean heart created in me by the One who gave His life, so I could be there in that room being saved and found. To have grace pour down on me.
I can’t really explain that feeling.
It was somewhat like how I felt when I got married seven months later, but not quite. It was a little like how I felt when the nurse handed my babies to me, but not exactly.
Going forward, I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it exactly, but I did know two things:
- I was changed.
- I was alive.
Since then, I have learned that Christianity isn’t for the weak or the proud, nor is it easy by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s a different story for a different time.
This story is of God’s grace. His mercy that fell on me and wrapped up this sinner and held me close as my Father telling me everything was going to be alright.
Because even though life has handed us some serious curve balls since that day, boy am I glad I haven’t walked through it alone.
Going through this life with Jesus inside me and beside me is the only thing that got me through some of life’s hardest moments.
What I thought was living almost 10 years ago was nothing like the alive I am today. The alive I’ve been given. The alive I’ll inherit one day.
Praise God for His grace and mercy. I didn’t deserve it, but You gave it anyway. You gave it all so I could live.
And live I will.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Eek. 36:26)