I have made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions. I have walked away from church and distanced myself from God more than once. At 15, I decided to be a rebel. This went on for a little over a year and then I got caught. After about 6 months of only leaving the house for church and school, I was back on track. I was back in church, serving at TNT again and had managed to keep a few of my friends in the process. Of course the enemy couldn't let that last. A situation happened that left me feeling unworthy and unwanted. Instead of pressing in, I pulled back and allowed the devil to convince me that I wasn't good enough any more. I was damaged goods.
At this point, I decided to run my own life. If I was going to get hurt anyways, I might as well be doing it my way. I moved in with a non-believer boyfriend and spent the next 4 years in an unhealthy relationship. By the end I was miserable and knew I had to get out. I started going to church again on Sundays and just started praying for the right words and the right time. One day, my dad called and said I was on his heart and the Lord told him to call. I knew immediately, and told him everything that had been going on. About 2 minutes after that call, a friend from school called and said "the Lord told me to call you". I told her what had just happened and we prayed. The next call was to my boyfriend and I told him I would have his stuff packed and waiting for him that night. I haven't looked back and 5 years later, I am happily married to an awesome man who loves Jesus.
Sometimes when I think about my past, it's hard for me to comprehend how much God loves me. Why, after everything I've done? Beth's words last Thursday really opened my eyes. The things of my past were allowed to happen so that He could redeem me from them. It is only by His grace that I'm even here to have a testimony. Pastor Ray said on Wednesday that the Lord is wildly, recklessly and incautiously in love with us, and that we have been perfected forever, not just until the next time we sin. I was already perfected, even in the midst of my imperfect past, and finally after 10 years, I am claiming it.
The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14 NLT
P.S. While I was typing this, Take You Back by Jeremy Camp started playing on iTunes. It's the little things!!