In September of 1971, I made the most important decision of my entire life: that was the time that I met Jesus Christ in a most personal way. Up until that time I had led a very unruly life. I was rebellious and only cared about what I thought was "good for me". I did many things that I am not proud of, but I am not going to give details of my past--it is my today and future that I want to share.
At the age of 24, I found myself on the doorstep of my parents' home. I had a three-year old beside me, a nine-month old in my arms, a broken life behind me and an uncertain future before me. My parents took me into their home. I had no money, no car and no job. I was not very nice to be around. I was very bitter and hateful. I thought that "life" had dealt me a bad hand. And, I was going to make everyone pay for my misery.
My sister, a Christian, continually told me that I needed Jesus. Each time she did, I would get in her face and mock her by saying, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...who needs Him? I certainly don't need Him!"
One Sunday, I went to church just to get my sister off my back. I figured, if I go to church then she will leave me alone! So, I went into the church and sat down in about the middle (all the back seats were taken). I folded my arms and sat there.
I don't remember (I don't think I ever knew) exactly when it happened, but all I really remember is that the preacher said something to the effect of, "YOU can have a one-on-one, personal relationship with Jesus." Wow! I had never heard that before. He went on to say that it didn't matter what my life was like, Jesus loved me and He forgave me for all my sins: past, present and future! Before the altar call was completed, I was up and out of my seat and on my way to the altar.
It was the most awesome day of my life. I knelt down, a bitter, hateful young woman and as the Spirit of Jesus raised me to my feet, I was a child of Almighty God. I was truly transformed from someone who felt she had no hope and no future into a life with a purpose. God delivered me that very moment from a filthy mouth and lifestyle.
My children noticed the change in me immediately, and of course, my sister. With my parents, it took many years before they accepted my salvation and my changed heart. I had hurt them tremendously and I guess it just took a long time before I could regain their trust.
Since that time, there have been many valleys, but for every valley, God has provided a mountaintop. Each valley is less, and each mountaintop is higher, and as I grow in God's Grace, the valleys are further and further apart.
As a very young Christian, I had someone to ask me what verse of scripture God had given to me. "What? Am I supposed to have a verse?" I didn't know about God giving me a verse because in those "early days" I had not learned to be still before God and to listen. It wasn't long after that, I was in prayer and asked Jesus to "give me a verse" so I would have something to hang onto--a goal, if you would. I have never been one for just opening up my Bible and "poof", there, my message for the day, but that is exactly how it happened.
It is a familiar verse to many Christians and it has been The Rock that I come back to time and again: "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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV.
God does have a plan for my life. He does give me a future and a hope. When I call upon Him, He does listen to me. My personal prayer for my life is that with each new day, I will continue to seek Him with all my heart.
My heart's desire now is to serve Him. I want to be an encourager for others and to be able to share that there is always Hope found in the Grace of an Almighty and Loving God.
Living By Grace, because HE IS ABLE.......Marti