Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Second Birthday Story

My testimony is titled Purity and Pride.  My Jesus story is a box containing those two things with a bow that wraps all around it with a tag that says…BUT FOR GRACE.

Phase 1: Purity Good.  Pride Bad.
My parents raised me in a home and in a church that was always covered by grace.  It’s was their heart’s desire that I would seek all things pure and I truly did.  I am told I was a naughty toddler but there is no tangible proof so that is technically hearsay.  I gave my heart to the Lord when I was about five but I don’t remember that.  That has never bothered me and I know I really was a Christian as a child.  It all became real when I turned 14.  I remember one day just knowing I wanted to give my heart to the Lord again.  I got down on my knees and rededicated my life to Jesus.  It then became my personal walk with Jesus.  It went from just obeying my parents and being a good girl to opening the Bible on my own and praying and walking with my Father.  The next 8 years were filled with a growing, serving, vital, beautiful walk with my Jesus.  I taught Sunday School, lead the girls Bible study, sang on the worship team, went on every missions trip the church had, spent four months living in Peru as a missionary.

People…I was a big deal.  I was pure…and PRIDEFUL. 

(Please, please, please understand that I am so thankful for how my youth was spent.  I hope that all those things happen for my daughter.  I hope that all of your children have a youth spent serving Jesus and living pure lives.  Bad choices leave scars.  I have so few scars that remain from a ruined youth.  I am so so thankful.)

Phase 2: Grace Makes Everyone Pure
And then a 20-year-old Navy sailor walked through the doors of Calvary Chapel Hanford.  He had scars.  His youth had all the things that my youth did not.  I had served the body of Christ is all the ways that he had not.  I had behaved and he had not. 

Grace…Jesus giving me what I don’t deserve.  Forgiveness and love when I don’t deserve either.

But for grace….I looked at that sailor and I just knew I was going to marry him.  I knew God sent me a man that would epitomize His grace.  I stood next to that man and knew that in God’s eyes we were both completely pure and completely saved and completely going to Heaven despite any bad choice or good choice we made on Earth.  It didn’t matter that we had such a different list of “Christian achievements.” 
God saved him and God saved me and we wanted to serve the Lord together.  I married him a year and a half later.  Our four children came lickitysplit.  Which is when it happened.

Phase 3:Pride Gets Ugly
I never knew parenting would make me want to sin so much.  I didn’t know toddlers could make you so angry.  I didn’t know that learning to sacrifice my whole heart for my husband was going to break me down into a puddle of tears so often.  No member of my family was trying to drive me crazy but they WERE.  My youth spent on the Christian mountain top singing to sheep (follow the King David metaphor) was now spent running from my King Saul lest I die.  My King Saul was my pride.  Why were all these little human beings needing me all the time for every little thing when I could be out there serving like back in the day?  Didn’t they know who I was?  Look at how I spent my youth.  I had “Christian Achievements”…didn’t they know I could bring down the house with my holiness?  Why were they bringing down my house with their constant mommy needs?

I spent about three years feeling sorry for myself.  I had super godly skills that were not being used.  I'm being brutally honest about the ugliness of my heart right now.  I really was in a rough place.  I really was stuck in my ugly pride.

Phase 4: Daily Purifying From Pride
One day I was reading Galatians 6…

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (verse 9)

Then I read Micah 6…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (verse 8)

So Heavenly Father, You’re saying that I NEVER once did all of that pure stuff on my own?  You’re saying that my pure youth with all that dog gone glory was all YOU and none of me?  You’re saying that my pride is getting in the way of You daily purifying me?  You’re saying that all you really want is for me to…

Quit growing weary of doing good, be just, love mercy, walk humbly with YOU?

Phase 5: What I’m learning every day
I thought for the longest time that I was getting all my spiritual growth from serving in my church.  When all of that stopped I felt like my spiritual growth stopped.  NOT TRUE.  He was still working in my life.  He was still there.  He still wanted to use me.  It was just going to be in a different way for the rest of my life.  I found contentment in His new way of purifying me. 

Are you in your “singing to sheep phase?”  Praise God.  Stay pure.  Serve Jesus.

Are you covered in scars?  Jesus invented grace on the cross.  Ask Him into your life and He will make you as white as snow.  PURE and PERFECT.

Are you full of pride?  Realize that the only good in you is Jesus and all the bad in you comes from you, for crying out loud!

Do you feel like you’re not growing spiritually because you’re taking care of crazy hooligans all day that drive you crazy  and if only you could break free and show the world your crazy awesome Churchy skills, you would grow like nobody’s business?  No?  That’s just me?  Okay. 

But for grace…where would I be without you Jesus. 

God is so good.  Wiping away tears right now…

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