I write this post with a full heart. I have so many things to be thankful for, and for the first time in a long time, I feel fulfilled. Today I want to give testament to what God has done in my life. I want to tell you the story of how God redeemed my relationship with Him.
I am one of those people that like to do things for God. It seems I have always been involved in ministry. My parents set a wonderful example of serving in the church, and all of us kids have followed in their footsteps. After I graduated from high school I went and served the Lord as a missionary in Panama for a year and a half and I loved every minute of it. Serving God and helping people brings joy to my life.
However, I seem to have a tendency to fall into two very dangerous traps. The first one is my incorrect view, one that God is still fixing, that God loved me for what I did. The second is that I spent so much time serving others that I didn’t take time for myself. I knew something was wrong, but I fell into a cycle. I was either emptying myself to please God so he would love me. Or, because I didn’t take time to spend with God, I would crash and burn and feel incredibly guilty for my failure to do what I thought was good and right and what God wanted. This cycle couldn’t support itself and I fell apart inside. This was last year right around the time before I got married.
I don’t know if I could explain this to anybody, or even figure it out myself, but looking back I can see clearly what went wrong. I was working two jobs, and serving as a leader in a ministry at my church. I was unhappy, overworked, stressed, and yet I felt that that is how serving God is supposed to feel like. I didn’t spend time with God, or ask Him what He wanted me to do. I just thought that doing my job as a Christian means giving until I have nothing left. I wanted God to see my sacrifice and love me. Empty and desperate I quit the ministry I was serving in at the church.
A month later, in November last year, I got married and moved to Fayetteville. Suddenly I had all the time in the world. But that made things worse because now I felt worthless. I wasn’t doing anything for God, and I wasn’t doing anything for anyone else. I did the best I could to serve my husband, and yet I kept thinking that it wasn’t enough. That I didn’t deserve anything good because I didn’t earn it.
I started volunteering and I got a part time job to try and fill my time, but I didn’t enjoy either. Then I got sick in February and for 2 1/2 months I dealt with severe stomach pains, diarrhea, and fatigue. The simplest things suddenly seemed impossible. Now, I felt that I wasn’t even doing a good job of serving my husband and I felt broken, unloved, and unworthy.
Thankfully the story doesn’t stop there. I don’t have time to write everything that has happened since that time. But the major points are that the Lord healed me physically. He allowed Chris and I to have a wonderful summer together that strengthened our relationship. He provided a job for Chris just in time for school to start. He also provided a beautiful house for us to live in.
We have lived here for a month and a half and I have not gotten a job or found a ministry to serve in yet. The miracle is that now I feel good about it. I know those things will come in time, and I will be thankful and ready when they do. But for now I am enjoying being at home. God has been speaking to me lately about putting Him first and learning to accept His free gift of love. I don’t have to work for it anymore. God has set me free from the bondage of performance, and for right now what the Lord asks of me is to spend time with Him every day. I am also blessed with time to pour into myself doing what I love. Like reading lots of books, learning yoga, making homemade chicken stock and applesauce, repainting the house, etc… Each day as I learn more about living simply and doing things the way God intended, it seems that my life makes more sense.
I believe He is filling me up in preparation for something amazing that is coming, and I want to be ready. For the first time in a long time I feel spiritually full. I don’t feel giving of myself is a duty anymore, but a joy that comes out of the overflow of my heart. I used to feel that when I served it was like people were taking something away from me that I had to protect. Now I feel it is something I want to give freely. I know the journey is not over, and I have many things yet to learn. But it is good to look back and see how far God has brought me. It gives me courage, faith, and hope to be able to overcome what comes next.
Thank you for listening to my story. My plan was to write this post about applesauce. But, maybe there is someone that needs to hear about my miracle of redemption. For me, healing began when I started to accept God’s free gift of love. It just goes to show that everything always comes back to LOVE.