Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally......An Ending!

This story is not over. I realize that it has been FAR too long since I last wrote about my experience but it hasn't been because this is not important. This part of the story is just as important. Life has gotten in the way of me spending time blogging but I wanted to finish this story if anyone was ever led here & needed to hear someones personal story.

I was changed. My days became long & hard. I wept daily.....I will never forget. I remember driving down the road in the passenger's seat of my boyfriend's pickup, crying. Frustrated, I turned my face toward the window because I knew he would think I was insane if he saw me crying AGAIN. I couldn't get it together, though nothing had happened to cause the tears. I considered the past year & was certain that I had shed more tears in that time than I had in all the years of my life combined. I was not one to cry. But life was different.

I remember feeling stuck. I stayed with Brad 3 more years after the abortion. It wasn't because I loved him. I felt worthless. I felt like no one on earth could love me. I felt like a horrible person. I didn't feel deserving of the kind of person I really wanted to be with, so I stayed.

The summer after my freshman year of college I received a phone call from my parents asking me to come home. They had something they needed to tell me. It was not a pleasant conversation......gut-wrenching actually. I don't have a great memory but I remember every detail of that conversation.

They were splitting up.

I was all alone.

The loneliness was overwhelming, a dark cloud looming over me, & it was not because of my physical circumstances. I had already isolated myself from my boyfriend because I hated him for never feeling guilty about the abortion. After learning about my parents, I couldn't stand to be around my Dad (whose decision it was to separate) & moved out of their house & into my boyfriend's. I no longer had my family, my boyfriend had already isolated me from my friends & now I was living with someone whom I essentially hated.

~Let's pause right here for a moment. I need to tell you that I don't remember the time-line entirely. I journaled all the time back then. I wish I had kept my journals but I threw them all out when I got engaged to my husband. What a foolish thing to do. I have since lost track of what happened when & in what order. The main things I remember are when the abortion took place & when I came to Christ.~

We are a reading family. A few months after moving into my boyfriend's home, my Mom introduced me to a new series of books she was reading. Someone from her school suggested she read them & she really enjoyed them so she was passing them on to me. These books were from the "Left Behind" series by Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye. They were FASCINATING. I suppose I had never heard anything like this & for these things to possibly be true????? It is clear now as I look back that the Holy Spirit was moving in my heart.

I knew that if these things really were true that I didn't want any part of being here for them! I was determined to find out the truth & the only place I knew to do that was at church. I was living in Rhome, Texas at the time so I did some research & found a small Baptist church about 10 minutes from the house. I talked my boyfriend and his Mom into attending Aurora Baptist Church with me the very first Sunday.

Looking back I just laugh at how naive I was & how horrible I must have looked to all of the mature Christians who sat in the pews. Because we were visitors, we had people introducing themselves & asking us basic questions. I was not one bit ashamed or embarrassed to tell them that I was living in Rhome with my boyfriend! Ha....so clueless! But isn't it great that God loved me even though I was so lost?

I don't really remember how many weekends I attended before giving my life to Christ but I know it wasn't many. My boyfriend's Mom didn't go the following week & my boyfriend didn't join me the week after that. It was all me. The Lord chased this sister down! This was a traditional Baptist church & the Pastor would do an invitational at the end of every service. There were a couple of weekends that the Lord was really prompting my heart but I wasn't sure or was too embarrassed to go down front. He mentioned that there was more information about becoming a Christian at the back of the sanctuary. I secretly grabbed one of the pamphlets on my way out the door that weekend. It was in reading through that pamphlet that I gave my life to Christ. I do recall thinking that I needed to walk down front at church to actually receive Christ in my heart. I prayed the prayer by myself but I felt like it just couldn't be that "easy".....there had to be something else I had to do. (which is completely untrue)

The following weekend I walked down to the front during the invitational & shared that I had given my life to Christ. Several weeks later I was baptized. As I think back on that moment, I am saddened that I walked through all of that alone. I did not invite a soul to my baptism. I was convinced that my parents would think I was crazy & who else would I invite? I was baptized all alone. An event that should have been wrapped in celebration, just was. Oh, but my heart was wrapped in celebration & that was what really mattered!

It was from the moment that I gave my life to Christ that I was changed. That may seem cliche to some but boy did it ring true for me! It was nothing that I TRIED to change. It was simply that my heart had been transformed. Things like cussing, something that was second nature & not the least bit offensive prior to this time, all of the sudden had me cringing. I'm not even sure that I knew cussing was "wrong". The Spirit just came into my life & turned it upside down. The purity of Christ sat so heavily upon me that the things of this world were suddenly displayed in a new light!

My life began to feel like it had purpose & meaning......something I had not felt in a very long time.....maybe ever!

My life was consumed by learning & spending time in the Word. I wrestled with the relationship I was in & decided that God's desire was for me was to marry Brad since we had already come together & become one in God's eyes. Looking back I am certain that I came to this conclusion, not because I thought it was true but because I didn't think I deserved anything better. It wasn't long before God brought heavy conviction upon my heart about this relationship & I broke things off. I moved out of his house into a duplex by myself. It was a sad & yet crucial time for me. I was very lonely but God knew that the isolation was the best possible thing for me at that time. I spent hours upon hours pouring over the Bible & in prayer. This time gave me a foundation not in church membership or Christian friends or someone else's thoughts or ideas but in Christ himself! What a blessing! God truly amazes me at how he worked out my life to allow for this time. A time of transition from putting my worth in others to putting my worth in Christ.

As I was trying to untangle our lives I became well aware of my need to find a new church home. I really had no idea where to start. I visited several churches in the area but did not feel comfortable with any of them. Amazingly, God had orchestrated a Christian connection several years before this. Even though we had not worked together in several years, we stayed in touch a couple of times a year. It struck me to contact him & see if he could suggest a good church. He quickly invited me to his church & immediately threw me in the singles mix to get involved! I jumped right in & my walk with the Lord truly soared as I began to grow & build healthy relationships. The memories of my single days at Fellowship are still very vivid. It was such a wonderful time when life held very little responsibility & I could spend huge amounts of time chasing after the Lord with wild abandon. As much as I love my life right now I so miss the time I had to focus on my relationship with the Lord when I was single.

There have been up times & down times. There has been heartache, pain, joy & celebration. These things are not so different from my life before Christ. What has been different is that my life has held meaning through all of those times. When things were low, my hope never wavered! Knowing you have a God who is in charge of ALL things, with your best interest in mind, is a very comforting thought. God has transformed my heart & I will forever be changed.

As far as the abortion goes......I have been forgiven! It is such a sweet truth that I feel completely unworthy of! I got involved with a crisis pregnancy center early on in my walk with the Lord & they encouraged me to walk through a post abortion Bible study. It was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. I'm not sure I realized how paralyzed I had been from that tragic event in my life. Through the study, I was able to forgive Brad, & most of all, forgive myself. I know now that God wants to use me to further his kingdom by using the experience to help others. Talk about redemption! God is so good like that! Everything, everything, everything has a purpose!

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