Friday, February 1, 2013

Loved & Redeemed

The story of my life's redemption was written before the foundation of the world.  My Redeemer chose this time and place for my life to be part of His story. 

Growing up the daughter of a minister I was, naturally, in church and around Christians all the time.  Oh how I loved going to work with my Daddy.  I knew the nooks and crannies of various church buildings.  I heard the Bible preached every week.  At the age of 7 I went forward with several other kids during children's church to be "saved".  Now, what I do know is that the Lord called on me at the age of 13 and I answered His call and I called on Him as my Savior.  My excitement for Jesus and mission work was palpable.  I can recall His Spirit speaking to me so often.  And then, slowly, I turned away.  Life happened.  Deep wounds.  Doubt.  Confusion.  Anger.  I was not prepared for anything difficult.  My foundation was Christ but everything I placed on top of that foundation was shifting sand.

Hurt and pouting, I did what I wanted to with my life from 18 to my mid twenties.  Please understand this.  I knowingly and willingly sinned, all the while knowing I was grieving the Holy Spirit who had sealed me until the day of redemption.  I am the chief of sinners.  I don't have a testimony of what God delivered me out of before I knew Him.  I am the testimony of what God can redeem when His child becomes the prodigal.  I have cheapened the cost of His love for me.  If you have ever experienced the Lord watching and waiting and then running to you when you return from a sinful journey then you know how faithful He is.

At the age of 22, living in Kentucky, I met Bruce.  He was a good man.  He loved me.  I loved him.  He wanted to marry me.  I wanted to marry him.  We met in June, started dating in July, engaged in November and married the 1st of February!!  Wow!  Bought a house in April and during the move discovered we were expecting our first child.  Isabelle made her entrance into this world in December.  16 months later, we welcomed our second daughter, Charlotte into our home.  When we married, Bruce was not a Christian.  Good man?  Yes.  Christian?  No.  Was I knowingly unequally yoked?  Yes.  Did God have a plan for redeeming my life and the life of the man I love?  Oh, yes!

Because God blessed us with children very early in our marriage, I started thinking...I know that this faith that I have, this faith that is weak, but real, is something I want to pass down to my children.  I was just hoping Bruce would be on board.  I began desiring to be around Christians again (see, when you're not walking with the Lord you usually don't want to hang out with those that are) and Bruce was interested in going to church.  My stubborn and wounded heart began to seek the Lord.  My Jesus.  My sweet Jesus called on Bruce's heart while Charlotte was in my womb.  Bruce accepted and was baptized when Charlotte was 3 weeks old.  Talk about a time of rejoicing.  Bruce began reading God's word.   His appetite for God's word grew and Bruce had a childlike wonder and faith at the things he was reading.  Bruce's fresh hunger for God brought to life all those Sunday school and children's sermons I had heard as a child.  I was looking at God's word through new eyes and with a renewed heart.  Wow, God is awesome!  What I messed up, He redeemed.

Slowly, forgiveness came and my faith grew even while being tested.  Oh, God, why did I ever turn away from You?  How foolish of me.  How faithful of You!

Not only did God rejoice over me returning to Him, He didn't stop there.  He blessed me.  He blessed my husband.  You should know that I could be on my face before the Lord every day thanking and praising Him for the marriage He has blessed Bruce and I with.  God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ's love for the church.  This picture is beautifully painted, flaws and all, in my life.  My husband loves me no matter what I have done.  He has a servant's heart.  He has willingly sacrificed for his family and continues to do so.  I remember a time when I asked Bruce to forgive me for something I had said and Bruce looked at me and said, "I already have.  I forgave you before you said it."   He meant it.  He just loves me.  I love him.  What I adore most is Christ in and through him.  Bruce will tell you that if any good comes from him, it's got to be God. I'm thankful that I get to, undeservingly, experience that love every day.  I'm also thankful that I get to see my husband grow in the Lord and display Christ to his family, friends and community.

I am loved and redeemed.  Thank you, Jesus!

Happy 10th anniversary Bruce!  I'm glad God brought us together.  I love you!

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