It was all so surreal, going to that Christian church every Sunday. Yet I was open to it, and so were most of my kids. My husband was praying for God to reveal Himself to him, and so was my 12-year-old son. And God was answering them. I was kind of stumped myself, because I didn’t know how to pray. I mean, it made sense that we were supposed to communicate with God, but how exactly did the whole prayer thing work? Do I pray out loud or in my head? Do I just talk to Him, or is there some sort of formula? So I tried praying for a sign, that if God was real that He would reveal Himself to me. I never did get a sign that way my husband and son did. I think deep down I knew better to ask God for a sign that He was real. He had been revealing Himself to me for years, I just was ignoring the fact it was Him.
So my prayer life began. I decided to just talk to Him. Out loud. It was the most comfortable way for me. It made me feel closer, and helped me to realize I was actually talking to someone, not just some idea in my head. I still did not understand really understand who Jesus was. I was only beginning to understand how very important He really was. I finally got my hands on a Message Bible and began to read Matthew, the fist book of the New Testament. It was then I began to see a picture of who Jesus was. I was amazed. Enthralled. I was falling head over heels in love.
I had no idea all of these years what i was missing out on by not knowing Jesus. I had been using His name as a swear word. It was meaningless to me. I had mocked Him and tore down everything I had heard about Him. And all that time He was just waiting, patiently for me. Holding out His hand to me, loving me and never condemning me.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
I felt so awful. Easter was soon approaching as I began to learn of Jesus. As I realized what He had gone through for me. Me. I am nothing, He is God. He was tortured, whipped, beaten and murdered and all for little, insignificant me. I did not deserve His grace or mercy, not one bit. I had lived my life in rebellion to God, hating him, doing drugs and so many other bad things. How could He ever love me. I am not good enough.
The Bible mini series came on the History channel. I watched as Jesus was beaten and murdered, in bold color, right before my eyes. It was so painful to watch. It hurt me so deeply, my heart ached so badly to see Him bleeding; dying. I became depressed. It was all too much to bear. Why? I just could not understand any of it. All I knew is that I loved Him. So much. And I did not want Him to hurt, to suffer, to go through all that for the sins of the world. I understood it was supposed to happen, it was a part of God’s plan, but it made no sense to me at all.
And it wasn’t just why did he have to suffer, but why did I have to live my whole life up until now without Him? If I had Jesus in my life before, maybe I would not have gone through so much pain, depression, drug use, misery. I would have had Him to go to when things were hard. Because where there is Jesus there is hope. Before I had no hope. Never. Now my life was beginning to be filled with hope in a new and beautiful way.
In the depths of my heart I heard Him speak to me. To tell me that He knew how hard my life had been, that He had been there all along. That He had never wanted me to suffer, but that it was OK, because He was going to use it some day to help others. And I smiled, because I believed Him. He loves me. And that is why He was willing to suffer for me. And that is why I was able to move forward, away from my past, and into my future. A future filled with healing, and love, and light.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39