Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Alive.

What a sweet day for me. It's just fun to remember that this was the day that I made a decision to follow Christ. The other post, that I deleted, lacked scripture. I would like to take you through my story with scripture. I hope that it blesses you.

"There is a way that seeems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief." Proverbs 14:12-13
This would be high school. I had a great time! My social life was fun, I had a job with great hours, but the only problem came when the lights were out and the day was done. My heart did, indeed, ache for more. I knew there had to be more to life, but couldn't put my finger on it. I worked with a guy who exemplified Christ in a truly biblical manner. Watching his life, listening to his convictions, it only made the void feel bigger.

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' " Jeremiah 29:11Graduation came and went and I didn't have a "college plan." Most of my friends went away to school. There were a few of us who stayed in town and on the weekends we'd visit those who went away and I wanted my own dorm room, too! I didn't know where to go, so I consulted the pile of college brochures that I had collected and decided that I liked the campus of Georgia College the best. I had heard that it had an excellent School of Education (it does) and had heard that there were also a few ministries on campus. I wanted to get a little taste of "religion." So, winter quarter I moved in with DeAnna and Ursula. DeAnna would soon become one of my dearest friends and a woman with whom I would run the race with.

"My people have committed two sins; They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." Jeremiah 2:13

This is what I found out the first few weeks of school. I was so desperately lonely I could barely stand it. I hadn't needed to make new friends in years and now here I was pretty much starting over. I did have one friend from high school who was on my hall (hey Jaime!)but she was not there for the first few days. I was pretty anxious to get on campus and needed to be there for all of the orientation stuff. When I did finally begin meeting people, they all said the same thing. I began discovering why I had a void. I was created to be in a perfect union with God, but because of the fall of man I was separated from God...and my heart longed for Him. We were all created with a longing for Him, and yet we try to fill it with things of this world that we think will satisfy. It's like filling up a jug of water with holes in the just will not last. I had calloused hands from all my digging, and I was getting thirsty for some living water.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
The problem. I was working hard to get to God. I was a pretty decent girl, but I was just plain not able. Through conversations with many believers on campus I came to the understanding that without Christ I was not only doomed, but I would remain, forever, unsatisfied. I recognized that Christ was a gift to me. It was God's plan to reconcile Himself to me (I'm being selfish, it was a gift of reconciliation to all of us). Because of my fallen state (Romans 3:23) I could not live in harmony with God. We were enemies. There was a cost to my salvation. God's word tells us that without the shedding of blood that can be no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 Christ bore my sins, in His body on the tree, so that I might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds I was healed! 1 Peter 2:24 This was incredible news for me. My wounded heart, my anxious mind, my desire to know God...Christ made that possible on the cross. That was explained to me over and over again and pretty soon my heart could barely stand the separation any longer.

"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4-5
It was a cold Thursday and I was a bit out of commission. I was snuggled up in my room when some girls down the hall stopped by. Thankfully the conversation ended on Him, which I was thankful because I LOVED hearing how He had transformed lives. I had counted the cost. I had pondered whether it was worth it, whether it was real. I came to the conclusion that it had to be true. I remember spending that entire week contemplating. I was pretty sure that some things would change in my life. I was pretty sure that my decision would effect everyone and everything... and it did.

That day a line was sort of drawn in the sand. One of the women very gently asked me what could be keeping me from choosing Christ. I only had one answer..."nothing." I prayed right there in room 603 of Bell Hall and that one prayer has probably been one of the least spiritual, and most productive prayers I have ever prayed! Admitting my fallen state, asking for forgiveness and surrenduring all that was dear to very life...all made possible by Christ's work on the cross. I was ecstatic!

I remember laying in bed that night, in my bottom bunk and saying to Dee, "I am just so excited, I want the whole world to know!"

I haven't made it to the entire world, yet, but I did make it to Africa where I met my husband and married him one year later.

"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation;the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
This was the first verse I ever committed to memory and I have had to cling to it by my fingernails somedays when I believe that I'm just the same old gal. There is nothing like the transforming power of God Himself to change a life and turn it upside down. There were definitely some changes. Some were easier to make then others, but they were made. I took advantage of every opportunity to grow in my relationship with Him. I also learned that it wasn't religion that I wanted at all, but rather a relationship.

So, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it...or rather, it's stickin' to me.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39


Just His Best said...

thank you for sharing that. may every year add to the testimony of His goodness and grace. what a journey it is!!

beth said...

wow ali, just went through a couple of your blogs and finished with this one. Amazing! 61 blogs in '08, 6 in '09 with a promise for a whole 'nother subject! The Power of the Lord has truly been revealed in you. It was just the cup of cold water I have been needing for I am a weary traveller indeed. Thank You, Beth

Pelos said...

Your post truly was a cup of cold water to my weary spirit. It reminds me of my own salvation and the relationship that has been growing ever since. I celebrate the day of your salvation with you and all the days since, that God has used to nurture His relationship with you. What a blessing it is to be a child of God!

Heli gunner Tom said...

I love your blog! but the print could be just a tad larger for old, disabled Vietnam Veterans.. lol.
I also write a Christian based Journal designed to draw people to the Lord, the bible and encouragement.
Keep up the good work.
God bless you and your family.

Warm Regards,
Tom S

Sheryl said...

I tried to post on your homeschool website but had trouble. I look forward to watching your school grow and learning from you. I also like the name. Our name is more of a joke based off our last name. I probably should come up with an Official name. Another day. Today is going to be warm in GA so we are going to soak it up.

The Severances said...

Tears in my eyes! So amazing. I love it. Stories of redemption never get old :-)

Oh and by the way, I can not WAIT to read your homeschool blog! AND I can not wait to get to drink a cold cup of water TOGETHER, like in the SAME ROOM!!! How cool!