Saturday, March 01, 2008

My God's Story

On 30th March 2008 I got baptised. Since then I have been on the most incredible journey; learning a lot about myself and the world we live in and discovering God's plan for how myself and this world are to interact.

This last year I have learnt to accept God's love for me and I am astounded at the greatness and depth of his love; that he could love me despite all my shortcomings. I saw a quote the other day which said: "We learn to love not by being taught to love but by being loved." God called all of us to a life of love- loving him and loving others but for me this calling goes beyond character and into my entire life and career plan as I am stepping into the calling from God to be a social worker. Accepting God's love for me was a stepping stone I needed to reach before I could begin to embark upon fulfilling my calling and now I am firmly on this step, I have begun to explore the realities of working towards social work; starting with the simple act of loving others all the way to the job God has provided for me, giving me perfect work experience.

Being rooted deeply in God's love for me, I have faced many of my insecurities; things which at times left me thinking I would never even live to become a social worker. I feel I have been healed of a lot of the hurt I have experienced; both by my own doing and the things life has just thrown at me and God has been gracious enough to provide changes of my heart, apologies from people where needed and rebuilding of trust all with perfect timings.

When I got baptised, my verse of focus (which was actually spoken prophetically over me by someone who knew nothing of my circumstances) was Song of Songs 2:10-13 “My lover spoke and said to me, "Get up, my darling; let's go away, my beautiful one. Look, the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Blossoms appear through all the land. The time has come to sing; the cooing of doves is heard in our land. There are young figs on the fig trees, and the blossoms on the vines smell sweet. Get up, my darling; let's go away, my beautiful one."”
This got me thinking a while back, about the white witch's spell upon Narnia which forced it to be always winter, resulting in the Narnians living under the oppression and injustice of the witch's reign. Then, when Aslan comes on the move again, he takes back his rightful reign; the snow melts and the witch loses power, including the ability to use her snow sleigh to chase the Pevensies as there is no longer snow but grass. Things start to grow again where it had once been too cold and the animals are free to roam once more.
I had felt like I had been stuck in winter for so, so long, then once I surrendered to God at my baptism, it was literally like the snow melted and as I moved away from the past, it could no longer catch up with me; just like the witch, my troubles had been stopped in their tracks. God was put back in his rightful place as number one in my life and his power in me was stronger than the things that had had a hold of me. And over the year, things have begun to grow in my life and I am seeing fruit which I had previously never imagined could come from my life.

Of course, it wasn't all as simple as that, and I've had slip ups, fights with myself and my sorry attempts at fighting God. But the fact it's been a process has been integral to ensuring the roots of my recovery have run deep enough to always be sourced in my Saviour and Redeemer.
It makes me so excited that God lavishes his love and grace on all the needy, which is in reality, all of us. In my life I want to always lead people to God as the source of their healing and I want to use my experience to help others. I know God can bring healing to even the most broken of hearts- one of the great comforts for me is that God has brought so many people out of the darkness... David in the bible speaks words which could come from the mouth of millions, myself included: "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me." (2 Samuel 22:17-18)

One of my favourite pieces of imagery from the bible is in Isaiah 40 verses 3-5
"In the desert prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it."

I recently discovered a song by Stacie Orrico which I wish I had heard at those times I doubted God would ever rescue me (although of course, he was waiting patiently for me to relinquish control and be rescued).

"Strong Enough"

As I rest against this cold, hard wall
Will you pass me by?
Will you criticize me as I sit and cry?
I had fought so hard and thought that all my battles had been won
Only to find the war has just begun

Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out, and start again
Is He not brave enough?
To take one chance on me
Please can I have one chance to start again?

Will my weakness for an hour make me suffer for a lifetime?
Is there anyway to be made whole again?
If I'm healed,renewed, and find forgiveness find the strength I've never had
Will my scars forever ruin all God's plan?

Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out, and start again
Is He not brave enough?
To take one chance on me
Please can I have one chance to start again?

He took my life into his hands and it turned it all around
In my most desperate circumstance
It's there I've finally found

That You are strong enough
That You are pure enough
To break me, pour me out and start again
That You are brave enough
To take one chance on me
Oh Thank You for my chance to start again
I think the line of this song which resonates with me on such a deep level is the line which says:
If I'm healed,renewed, and find forgiveness, find the strength I've never had, Will my scars forever ruin all God's plan?
I have found myself so often feeling like I have messed up the life God has given me, that I've destroyed the possibility of good ever flourishing and that God will have to give up on me because I screwed it all up. But it is so true that God is strong, pure and brave enough, not to mention loving and gracious enough to heal me, renew me, forgive me and fill me with his strength, in order that I can still fulfil his purpose for my life. It is pure ridicule, ignorance and blindness of God's perfect character to suggest our mistakes will stop God from working in us, using us and fulfilling his purpose, so long as we are trusting in him.
With that in mind, we need to take seriously our responsibilty to 'set our minds on things above, not on earthly things' (Colossians 3:2) and to "stand firm... and not let ourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). To me, this reads as living a Christian life; praying, reading the bible, going to church, repenting, trusting in God for everything and constantly reflect on and respond to God's great and thoroughly successful rescue mission.
My baptism was my recognition that I am a broken person, as we all are in our own individual and unique ways and we all need to be saved, loved and renewed. When my perfect saviour, Jesus, died on the cross, he died for all the hurt and pain I've been through and all the wrong things I've done, not to mention all the wrong things that have ever been done in this world. By coming back to life, he showed that He reigns over all and He can defeat all the darkness which has infiltrated the world God once made to be perfect. I am going to live the rest of my life believing that I am forgiven, loved and free by the one who created me.
September 2009

1 comment:

lauren joy said...

this spoke to me so much, amazing amazing amazing!
song of songs and isaiah are my favourite books of the bible, and i can totally relate to what you've said about learning to accept God's love etc. i love that you're going to be a social worker, that's also what i feel God calling me into. reading your testimony has inspired me SO much, thank you for putting it on your blog. i feel like i've got so much out of it, and i'll definately come back and read it again.
bless you!