Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~


Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Testimony

~ "Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..."  2 Timothy 4:2-5

I think I do my best thinking when I am outdoors watering my garden. The cool brisk Autumn air makes me feel euphoric and happy. My thoughts almost always flow to how wonderful it is to have faith in a being far greater than those things which I see in the natural realm of existence. I look to the sky and see the beautiful stars begin to glimmer, and I can't help but wonder how small and insignificant we must look from the lofty heights above and beyond. I am in awe of the great creative genius of my God, my Creator.

So many traverse through this planet without that faith, or worse yet, with faith in things which are not eternal and will cease to be. I mean, I do understand how we so easily can look at the ugliness which also exists alongside the beauty and think that it is all for naught, all random and chaotic. That when we die, that is the end, and no more. I think I would have been agnostic at best, had it not been for what I experienced on that late evening in May of 1980. What I am about to share is not at all about 'religion'. In fact, I am probably the least religious person. For some reason because I am a woman of faith, and cannot help but share the joy of the Gospel, people tend to judge me as being religious or puritanical. I am neither. I am however, a believer in Jesus Christ and his power to change people's lives.

As I lay in bed in my Grandmother's house, with my little two year old baby asleep by my side, I listened intently to a simple cassette tape my Sister and Brother in law had been asking me to play for quite some time. I had refused to for so long because I just did not want anything to do with religion. I felt that being Catholic in and of itself was enough. I had no real desire to listen to any 'alleluya'  preacher. But that evening I relented and decided to just hear the tape.

It was the testimony of a man who had once been a Catholic priest, a man who had a great desire to serve God, and felt it his duty to join the priesthood. While in the priesthood, he saw ugliness and immorality in many of the church leaders he was bound by oath to respect and obey. The homosexuality and pedophile behavior he saw made him doubt the existence of God, and so he left the Church and the priesthood. He was a miserable being, until God touched his life and he found a purpose that he had been called for.

In the tape, He spoke of the parable of the lost sheep, and how he surely had been one. As he spoke, his words resonated within me. I too was lost, not knowing my way. I had experienced great pain and deception in my young life. I was a single unwed Mother, and I knew that I had not done a very good job of managing my life up to that point. And so, this proud young woman who thought she knew everything, humbled her heart. I asked Jesus into my heart, to take complete rein of my life, and to reign in my heart from that moment forward. As I uttered the Sinner's prayer and asked God for forgiveness, I began to feel an indescribable feeling of utter joy such as I had never before felt. I literally felt as though a gushing river of joy was about to flow out of my heart and being! Then a strange thing began to happen. As I attempted to thank God for his mercy, I realized that there just no words to adequately express what I felt. All I could utter was 'Thank you Jesus' over and over again. I remember physically feeling as though a very great weight was lifted off my back. I felt light as a feather. Then, slowly, without understanding or knowing what was happening, I began to utter 'words' which consisted of syllables which I could not comprehend. But they did flow from my most inner being. My sense of rational thinking began to try to stop the flow, began to almost make me feel fearful and even somewhat embarrassed. What are you doing I asked myself. And as such the words stopped. But the feeling of joy and redemption stayed with me. When my Sister and her Husband arrived a few hours later, they immediately asked what had happened, and said that my face looked radiant. They saw the change in me, without my having spoken even one word!

As I related to them what had happened, they proceeded to explain what had happened from a Biblical perspective. I had experienced what is called being 'born again'- an experience which literally is mentioned in the Bible, but when you read it, you think of it in 'natural' terminology, as in coming forth out of a woman's womb again. But it is not that at all. It is the shedding of the old, and coming forth as a new creation, a new being. And that happens when you accept Jesus Christ into your heart. And it is the beginning of a beautiful journey and a close walk with him! He promises in Isaiah 1:19: ~Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.~ What a glorious promise to wipe the slate clean!

This doesn't mean that you will be perfect and free from the temptations and perils of this life. But you will always have him to cry out to and ask for help in becoming what he called you to be.

As to the experience I had and the words I uttered: it was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are mentioned in I Corinthians 12:4, 7-11 ~There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.... (7) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.~

In essence, it is a prayer language. Sometimes there are no words to describe what I feel in my heart, the longings of my Spirit, so I pray in tongues. I know God hears me and understands and knows. 

I share this because it is good news. In this ever growing hostile world, it is comforting to know that God's word is faithful and constant and true. I only wish I had not wasted so many years without him in my life.

And finally, I was given one final instruction by my Sister: read the Bible! It is a life manual. Through the word you will begin to see and understand and know who Jesus was and is and will be through the ages.
~In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5


John 15:11 ~These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.~ 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brief Update

And I'm back,  for a brief post. This cooler weather is so wonderful, it even makes me want to write again. I think I would be quite happy in what most would call dreary rainy weather, such as in areas of the Pacific Northwest. I feel more creative in that climate, I think. The heat here just drains me and depresses me. Too much of a good thing I guess. What depresses me most is the way the heat just eats up my garden. First, I lost so many plants to last Winter's freeze, then I about lost all the remaining specimens in this Summer's brutal heat wave. Thinking Hawaii would be a beautiful place to live. But God has me here for a reason. So I will endure.

My weight loss journey continues. Slow, almost stalled, but that's ok. I feel healthy and I feel so much better. And I think the thing that totally tickles my fancy- I can cross my legs! Oh what a glorious feeling to be able to do so. I realize that may not seem like a big deal when you've never had a problem being able to cross your legs, and when weight is not an issue, but believe me, this is right up there with winning the lotto for me. Of course, I've never won a lottery before, but I can imagine it's an awesome feeling if you do.

I can bend down and pull weeds, I can walk distances, I don't mind if we have to park far away from the stores or the mall when we're out and about. In fact, I actually very much welcome that, for it gives me the chance to walk more. It's not a big deal to walk to the park with my Grandchildren, and the list goes on.

Maybe I've written about this before, but I think it's ok to remind myself again of the things most people take for granted. And yes, I'm a happy camper.

Until next time, have a little faith.


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