As I said in a recent post, I felt strongly prompted to share my story. I did a very short version on The Day I Finally Gave Up. Here’s the long version. I can’t believe that I’m sharing this with you all, just to be perfectly honest. It makes me feel very vulnerable because it’s a very personal thing to me. 🙂
I may be only sixteen, but God has worked so much in my life. I have seen his power and felt his love in a true and personal way and I want to share that story with you. I’m not sure how to describe it all, but I’ll do my best.
I’m sharing this, because I hope to shed some light into someone else’s life. I don’t have a really amazing or especially spectacular story like some, but it is still beautiful. Because every life that has been touched by the Master’s hand is beautiful.
I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of five. One of the things I can say about my fifth year up until I was about eight, is that I lied an awful lot. I was a natural sneak and did a lot of things behind other people’s backs. Especially my parents; and they both had a good pair eyes in the back of their heads. There’s still things they probably don’t know. By the time I had turned ten, I’m not sure I really was a Christian. In fact, I clearly remember one instance when my oldest brother and my mom were talking about something. My brother mentioned the word God, and my stomach gave a little flip. I felt guilty and it scared me.
I was extremely critical of other people and could find something that they were doing wrong and explain why it was so wrong.
My dear Grandma went to be with Jesus early in 2012. It was around that time, that Jesus began to work gently in my heart. The day of the funeral was clear and sunny. After the service was over, my cousin and I were walking across the churchyard and I looked up into the clear blue. I could imagine my grandma looking back down at me and smiling. It made me feel happy the whole way through knowing that my grandma was in heaven.
From my diary: July 16, 2012 “… Yesterday I was baptized – on the 15th!!”
I had been afraid for years about being baptized. I’m not sure why, except that I was sensitive about the subject of God, and I was quite shy. I thought that a lot of people would have to be there for my baptism. So it didn’t happen. Finally, one Sunday morning, my dad asked me if I would like to be baptized. For fear of what they would think if I said no, I said yes. So, believe it or not, I was baptized with only my family looking on, in our swimming pool! (The swimming pool idea came from a dear friend of mine who was baptized in theirs!). I still hadn’t fully committed my whole life to Jesus, but slowly he continued to draw me closer and show himself to me more and more. That seemed to be a slight turning point.
In the fall of 2013 (right about the time I turned 13), I had the following dream:
I lived in an apartment in a rather strange building that seemed to have a couple of businesses in it. I lived on the second floor, with stairs right outside the front door down to the main level. I came down those steps and there were people milling about. The main gist I got was that we should NOT go in the door under the stairs, which I assumed was a janitor’s closet
“What’s so bad about it?” I mumbled.
“Oh, don’t ever go in there!” a lady warned me.
I finally got enough courage and opened the door, peering in. Slam! The door swung shut behind me. Where was I? What was that awful smell, and oh, the darkness! How awful! Then I heard it. Screams and wailing coming from somewhere in that darkness. Looking down, I saw bones scattered on the grossly dirty concrete floor with hay/straw scattered around.
I thought I heard someone coming… Oh, no! It was a witch. He had a poker in hand. He just stood there smiling an evil smile at me through crooked, broken teeth. Then out of the darkness, three demons appeared.
I saw fire flaming up around the edges where the floor stopped on two sides of the room, and suddenly I realized the blackness with flames out there, was… HELL! Then, all in a sudden, the devil was rushing at me. Fire flamed from his eyes, his shaggy fur was matted and dirty. He had enormous horns like a musk ox’s. He was trying to catch me! His enormous hooves were almost to me.
“Jesus!” I screamed, unable to open the door to rescue myself.
And suddenly the door swept open and I stepped out side. The door closed once more and I felt relatively safe.
The dream continued, but I can’t share it for political reasons. In the very end of the dream, I met my four siblings that are in heaven (miscarriages). It was comforting to me that at the name of Jesus, the devil no longer had power over me and I was saved.
2014 rolled around, and pretty much all my journal writings consisted of was all about my latest crush. (Sounds like a thirteen year old, huh? 😉 ) That was a very hard year for me emotionally. And I mean hard! So quite understandably, I tried to pull comfort from thinking about my crush. I knew I should spend more time with Jesus, but boys always won out. They seemed a whole lot more interesting at the moment.
Let’s skip ahead to February 5, 2015. I wrote this in my devotional journal:
Recently, I have had a lot of fear at night. Last night, I was telling mom about it. After that, I went to bed, my throat was sore (I think I had a cold). But instead of allowing myself to fear, I began praying! Asking God to take care of me and help me not to fear. Soon after, I went to sleep. Which is amazing since recently, it’s been sometime around eleven!
This morning, I found a reference to this passage of Scripture: “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear… For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep they foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:24-26
That was a huge part in learning to trust Jesus. I struggled with fear at night a lot, just silly random fear that the devil placed there. After that experience, I always knew that God was right there to chase away the devil and his horrid schemes whenever I would call to Him. I still hate the dark and am often afraid of shadows and corners and such, but as soon as I trust Jesus to protect me, the fear pretty much leaves. But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here!
We used to get our water from a spring in the woods behind our house. I was the one who had to go fill up about nine buckets at a time, so the family could keep hydrated. Even though I was fourteen, I secretly worried that maybe there was a bear hiding in the underbrush or someone waiting to kidnap me or whatever all I was afraid of. After I learned to trust my fear to God, I suddenly realized what a truly beautiful place it was down there by the creek! I called it God’s Green Palace and I wasn’t scared of anything either. Through that, God was showing his love to me and that he cared.
The fall of that year was when I started to realize the beauty of choral and orchestral music. It had a big impact on my life. Through it, I began to realize the love of God. Jesus became very dear to me. In November, right after my fifteenth birthday, he gave me the tune to a poem. That was the first song I ever wrote and I haven’t stopped writing them since! It was also the week after my birthday, that I started learning to draw graphite portraits.
The next year (2016), was a year of highs and lows spiritually. In the summer and into the fall, I began having some health issues and battled exhaustion different times. I kept feeling like my relationship with God had come to a stand still. In reality, it was slowly getting better, but as I was more tuned to God, the more I longed for Him.
This year (2017) came. I longed for a really good relationship with God, but things just felt so stagnant. Being an entrepreneur at heart, I began planning what to do so that I could have my own part time job by next spring when I finish school. It would take brain energy and time, but I knew I could work things out. My brain is always going, but right then, it was in full gear. I just about crashed.
And I did finally crash, when I figured up my taxes. I didn’t even have that much in my bank account! Fortunately, I do have some cash saved back in hopes of buying a piano some day. But anyway, Good Friday evening, I had a splitting headache. I felt terrible. I was so desperate, I asked my mom to come to my room, and we had a really, really good talk. I was finally able to spill out all that I had been feeling for the past months. It was so good.
One of the things she encouraged me to do, was to make a mental list of all the things that were bothering me and dragging me down, and then just hand that list over to God.
So she hugged me good night and left me alone. I began writing everything down. Four pages later (I had no idea it would be that much!), I finished with: “All the other things I’m not remembering right now”. Holding out that notebook, I asked God to please take it and do what he wanted with it. It was at that moment that he gave me a vision.
I saw him take that notebook and pull the string of words out of it. He then wrapped them around his heart and took my hand. In his other hand, I saw a whole string of tickets (you know the kind you get at a fair to be able to do different things). I was a little girl holding onto the hand of my big Father. We were walking into a fair and he told me, “I’ve got the tickets.”
In other words, he was showing me, that he truly cares and will take care me. He’s got the “tickets” for what he has planned in my life. He has taken all the things that were stressing me out, and has placed them next to his own heart. He has made them his own problems! He will make happen what he thinks should happen in my life. And protect me from what would harm me.
In that moment, for one of the first times in my life, I felt the Love of God in a true and real way. There was the overwhelming presence of a peace that I had formerly longed for. By the next morning, it was still there.
That was one of the most beautiful weekends of my life. No, it was the most beautiful weekend in my life! On Easter Sunday, there was a beautiful sunrise. As the sun came up over the mountain behind our farm, I noticed that the bright light around the sun, was in the shape of a human! I even caught a picture of it to prove it. 🙂 I could imagine that it was Jesus, rising in glorious light, rising to save us! A little bit later, a tiny rainbow appeared over to the one side. I felt that it was a reminder of the promise of hope through salvation.
Later that day, most of my family went to visit some gardens in DC. (which is where my oldest bro took my bio pic. Thank you, Joel!) After visiting the gardens, my one brother and I headed for Lancaster, PA to hear an Easter program by Lyrica Sacra. They are a conservative Anabaptist choir and orchestra. We happened to be given a front row seat by the usher! I sat through that program in absolute awe of the beautiful music. That concert, and the message that was shared, made the meaning of Easter even more real to me. I could definitely feel the presence of God.
If possible, you should go hear their next program whenever it happens. I am sure you would be refreshed and inspired. It’s a place where it feels that differences disappear and we all become one big family united together to praise God. Friends, that’s beautiful.
It was at Easter that I finally truly learned to know God in a really personal way. He is the most precious thing in my life. No, life hasn’t been anywhere close to perfect since then, but I have found such joy and purpose in it as never before.
I will close with that. I am so excited about the book I’m working on – Journey to Love. In it I share so much more that I have learned about God and living in Him. I have learned much since Easter, and am sure I will continue to.
I would love to hear your story too! Please feel free to share below.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
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