Thoughts

So, it’s been a few weeks since I last posted here.  Life has been busy – but then again, when isn’t it these days?  With 1 teenager and another pre-teen, life is a list of appointments and social get-togethers…or so it seems.  I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on my life and on how I want to move forward and grow. Part of this has been because of the study we are doing in our Bible Fellowship class.  We are doing a study called “Do You Think I’m Beautiful?” by Angela Thomas.  There is a lot of introspection involved, as well as a lot of looking back to the past and getting into sometimes very painful memories.  And partly this time of reflection has just been because I was already doing that.

One of the things that I came to realize, is that I do not know who I am anymore.  I never noticed that so much of what I liked or wanted or did was based upon what someone else expected of me or wanted from me.  Not that this is all bad because we are told to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).  But I don’t believe that submission means that we lose ourselves in the process.  God never told us not to think for ourselves and to know for ourselves – in fact quite the opposite.  So a lot of my reflection lately has centered on who I am and what I am hoping to get out of life – but mostly, what I have to give this life.

I have found that I have never been more joyful than when I was giving willingly of myself – whether it be money, possessions or time.  Yet, in recent years, I have found myself fearful of giving willingly.  Yes – I know I know….God promises to take care of us….and I do believe that.  It’s not the belief I have a problem with – it’s the putting into action.  I never used to have a problem with this, and I have seen improvement in the past year.  But I have a long way to go to get where I want to be.  So, that is one thing I know I want from life (or to give life) – I want to become a more generous giver.  I don’t know what that’s going to look like yet, but I am excited to see the possibilities – in fact, I have a few that I am working on: ESL Classes – I may be helping with these soon (already asked for more info), ReNew – my Bible Fellowship class (already made the first step to ask for a meeting to talk about it), and perhaps Choir – this one is iffy – I love choir but not sure whether I’m meant to do this right now or not….but the option is open. 🙂

But other than the above, I’m not sure where exactly God is leading me.  And I do know He is leading me…I have spent more time in the past 3 months (specifically) trying to pay more attention to what God wants from me, than I have in the entire time since I accepted Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 8.  Of course, some of this stems from the goals that I had at the beginning of the year – some of which I have been doing well with, and others that I haven’t been doing so well with.  But the three goals that I have that I have worked hard to ensure that followed through on are: 1) Read through the entire Bible this year and 2) Get involved in my church – specifically the Single Mom’s ministry (ReNew) and last but definitely not least 3) Work on a closer walk with God.  So far, I have managed to stay on track with my Bible reading – with only once or twice having to catch up the next day.  As I already stated, I am looking into several ideas for getting involved in church.  And as I also stated, I have really been reflecting on what God wants for me.

It would seem like I should have this down pat.  I mean in high school, Christianity seems so EASY…it wasn’t hard to maintain my integrity and keep myself pure and my language clean.  Something happened when I went out into the “real world” though.  I got distracted – I moved away.  My faith wasn’t personal.  It was ritual.  Yes, I did accept Christ as my Lord and Savior at 8 years old – I have rarely doubted my salvation – and never felt like I had “lost” my salvation.  But, like I said, my faith was not personal.  I had my parents who made me go to church, take part in youth group, and all that.  And I lived in a small town, so if I had messed up – EVERYONE would know lol – so there was incentive to not screw up.

When I left home, that incentive disappeared.  I was far away from anyone and everyone I knew – so I didn’t figure it would matter what I did.  Boy – I didn’t know how wrong I was.  Oh – did I forget to mention I was 17 and though I knew everything?? LOL  Typical!!  I let so many things distract and pull me away from God…and yet through all of that, I knew He was with me.  I knew I wasn’t hiding from Him.  Somehow I think I convinced myself that nobody – even God – could possibly love someone like me.  The sad part was – I knew I was wrong – but I didn’t want to admit it.  I regret many things that I did and many choices I made.  But I don’t regret what I learned.

1) I learned that no matter how unlovable I am – God loves me – just as I am.  He is saddened when I do wrong, but He doesn’t stop loving me because of it.  He is the ULTIMATE parent.  Just like I don’t stop loving my children when they disobey me or misbehave, God doesn’t stop loving me  just because I mess up.  He is saddened, and sometimes He has to discipline me, but everything He allows me to go through, He allows because of His deep love for me. (Hebrews 12:4-11)

2) God is forgiving.  Ok – that seems like that should be a given – but I think many of us have a problem with believing this.  Yes, we KNOW it, but we don’t BELIEVE it.   Knowing is head-knowledge.  Believing is heart-knowledge.  No matter how awful the things are that I have done, God forgives me – He forgave me.  In fact, the forgiveness is already done!!  God provided for that when He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins.  Yes, I need to confess when I’ve done wrong, but that’s not for HIS sake, it is for MINE.  See, without confession, how can I truly repent?  Without confession, I am lying to myself – telling myself it doesn’t matter because He has already forgiven me.  But that doesn’t bring about real change – that brings the guilt of knowing I am hiding something (which isn’t really hidden from Him anyway!!).  (1 John 1:8-10)

3) God has a plan for me.  And it’s a good plan.  It’s a plan that is for my good and to bring about His glory.  (Jeremiah 29:11)  In order to know that plan, I need to spend time in His Word and praying to Him and asking Him to make it clear to me.

And the good news is – that these don’t just apply to me – they apply to everyone.  What other belief system offers salvation as a free gift?  And yes, it IS free – God doesn’t expect you to change to accept His gift.  The gift of Salvation is free (Ephesians 2:8-9).  You don’t have to meet a minimum standard.  I don’t know about anyone else – but that’s a relief to me.  God’s gift is free to all – and He wants all to accept Him (2 Peter 3:9).

I would be remiss in writing this if I didn’t include how to accept Christ here, so here goes:

1) Realize you are a sinner and deserving of death (Romans 3:23 & Romans 6:23)

2) Christ died for your sins (in your place) (Romans 5:8)

3) Admit that you are a sinner and confess that Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9 and Romans 10:13)

4) Salvation brings eternal life – nothing can separate us from God once we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior (Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:38-39)

There is no “special prayer” you have to pray to ask Christ to be your Savior – all you have to do is confess you are a sinner and ask God to make you clean and to become the Lord of your life.

If you are interested in more about Salvation the following web address has a more detailed version of what I just wrote: http://www.idlewild.org/plan-of-salvation.html.

Until Next Time

~~Gabby

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