Friday, April 25, 2008

My Grace Story

Last night, I was digging around in Joel's archived blogs and found my grace story posted there. Joel had previously asked others to submit their stories about how they had come to know the grace of God. Since, I didn't have my own blog at that time and had just recently met all of you bloggers, I decided to submit my story. I'd forgotten all about it but, when I found it, I decided to re-post it here since it is my story so I suppose it should be on my blog.

I hope reading this will help you to know me better. I've posted it the way I sent it to Joel even though I know that Father's grace has changed me since then. I could add to the story but I decided not to change it since that's the reason for this blog . . . to share the new things that Father has been teaching me and how that new understanding is presently changing my life. So, in essence, there really is no end to my story and all I can really share is different parts of it.

I hope my story is an encouragement to others who may be struggling to make some sense out of this life in Christ. Please understand that it's never too late and that Father doesn't give up on us. His desire is that we receive his love and he'll give us whatever time it takes. So, here is my story.

As a child, I was raised Roman Catholic even though we didn’t go to mass nor did we follow the Catholic traditions. When I was in high school, a friend invited me to her Baptist youth group. Looking for a place to belong, I became active in the church and in the youth group. One day, the pastor’s wife asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus. Wanting to please her, I prayed the sinner’s prayer with her.

Even though I continued being deeply involved in their activities, I really didn’t understand what salvation was all about. Consequently, when I went off to college and I didn’t have the support of a local group of believers, I drifted away. While in college, I met my husband and married.

Although he had been raised as a believer, neither one of us was a follower of Christ. Several years later, we moved to my husband’s hometown in South Carolina. His parents were very active in a local fellowship and, seeing this, I began to yearn for a relationship with Jesus like I had once had. I became involved with a local group of believers but my husband did not attend the meetings with me. I continued to attend and took my two children with me. Since, I didn’t understand grace, I raised them deeply in religion. After a number of years, my husband began attending with us.

In time, I began seeking a deeper walk with the Lord and, in 1997, while in a bookstore, I was very strongly impressed to buy Charles Stanley’s book “The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life.” That’s when my adventure into this life of grace began. That book led me to other books about grace. I eagerly read them but, for some reason, it didn’t connect. Then, in 1998, Father led me to an Assembly of God church. It was there through the pastor’s teachings that I began to question a lot of what I’d been taught. This pastor is the one Father worked through to teach me how to think outside of the religious box.

Unfortunately, he was very insecure and very controlling and later became very abusive. I finally had to leave the group and wandered several months feeling like a little lost sheep. I finally ended up back with the previous group of believers but this time it was different. Although I tried fitting back in, I couldn’t because I could no longer accept a lot of what I had previously believed.

Father later used a women’s conference I attended to get me to continue searching. I started searching the internet and discovered that there were others who were also questioning what they had been taught. I made some online connections with believers who encouraged my search.

Several months ago, one of my friends sent me an article by Steve McVey. I enjoyed it so much that I did a google search and found his website. I bought some of his books and began to devour his teachings. It was what I had been searching for all of these years. Following a link on Steve’s website, I found Grace Roots and other blogs and websites that taught the truth about grace.

As a result, I have grown more in these last few months than I have in all of the 30+ years that I’ve been a believer. It’s finally making sense and I’m now learning how to live the grace walk on a more consistent basis. I find it amazing that what made no sense to me 10 years ago when Father first started teaching me about grace is now making perfect sense. I’m so thankful that he didn’t give up on me but took me on a different path that ultimately has led to where I am today.

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