This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
“A new life,” that was a concept, an impossible dream, rather than reality. Now, no longer a dream, it is very much a realistic God-given truth!
The old life:
In the beginning my life was a mess. The few happy memories I have are remembered mostly from pictures. My mom and dad loved each other very much until the alcohol. My dad was stressed over life and found solace in the local tavern. As time went on the alcohol became more a part of my dad’s life than we did. And because my father was blinded by the addiction and my mother could take no more, they finally divorced when I was about 10 years old.
From there I would like to say I at least had a relationship with my dad but unfortunately that did not happen. Even now at 33 years old, I can count on one hand, the number of times I saw my dad since the divorce. My mom grew up in the standard 50’s home with mom and dad. Dad a decorated army officer and mom the homemaker, she had a hard time adjusting to the change but she did her best and I know that.
After the divorce my life changed and I started becoming very introverted. I gained a lot of weight and that didn’t help matters. School became a prison for me, because of my weight and shyness I was a prime target for bullies and general talk. If I wasn’t completely ignored, I was picked on or put down. It got to the point I was afraid to cough for fear of being noticed and made fun of. The crazy thing was, because I was like that it gave them all the more reason to have their fun at my expense.
The shyness that started at a young age progressed into a state of constant depression and anger. That depression led to thoughts of suicide and those suicidal thoughts gathered strength through the years. There was one time I stood in the kitchen and threatened my life, in front of my mom, with a knife. She snickered at me and at that moment I wanted to thrust that knife thru just to prove her wrong. I was angry because I lacked the courage, but now I am sure God had stopped me, even though I did not know him.
School life didn’t get much better and my grades suffered. I went from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. The time came for high school but you know by now that I was not overjoyed. I transferred to 4 different high schools and eventually got my GED in my junior year, after having already been held back.
The day I decided to officially give my life to Jesus was October 12, 1996. I asked a teacher in my 4th school, which was one run by a church, and she prayed with me and my friend. That day was the most wonderful day, but the one thing I remember is telling my mom on a camping trip and getting the “oh that’s just great dear” response. My joy faded and from there the story goes on.
My life with the Lord was full of ups and downs. God blessed me and took care of me despite my lacking. This may come as a shock to some of my friends if they read this but even after that day at school, I was not living my life for God. I was living a generic Christian existence for a long time. Because of my previous life experiences I wanted so bad to be noticed, taken care of, and praised. So I followed…blindly followed anything and everything. I helped every time I could. Some called it a servant’s heart but I knew the truth. I just didn’t want to be rejected.
I kept living this way until one night, I made a choice.
The New Life:
During my high school days when I accepted Jesus as my savior, that started the ball rolling, so to speak. That was the day I gave the Lord my heart.
Now I will tell you about that one night. That night was one of the most significant nights of my life.
I was in my apartment alone and I do not remember was prompted it but I started doubting everything about Jesus. Was this all really real? I can’t see him. Things that I’ve prayed for never came to pass… I think because I was following people instead of the living Word I never had a solid foundation on which to build my faith. Therefore, it was crumbling. So I began to ask myself…what is faith? Trust? Belief? I opened the bible to the only definition of faith that I knew. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1. So I recited that verse over and over and over until it struck me!
Substance (tangible, real) of things hoped (will happen) for, the evidence (proof) of things not seen.
Now faith is the tangible and real of things that will happen, the proof of things not seen!
Faith is something real; it’s the proof of the things not seen. So that night I made up my mind and told myself. You believe because you choose to believe. Because you can’t see it or touch it, that belief is that much harder to give. That was the night I gave the Lord my mind.
Fast forward to the present and you find a Christina that I never knew was possible. One full of faith and confidence not in me, but in the Lord Jesus Christ who has held me, taught me, counseled me, and loved me through the happiest and saddest times in my life.
One of those times was being reunited with my dad. After 20 years I finally spoke to my dad via telephone. He was lying in a hospital bed dying of cancer. He only had a few days to live and was very weak. His friend of 20 years was with him and he held the phone to my dad’s ear. I told him that I love him and my dad mumbled back something that sounded like he loves me too. This friend took the phone and kept repeating that I love my dad and he said that my dad made suggestions that he understood. We made arrangements that day to travel to another state hoping to get there before he passed. As we where leaving I suddenly had this thought and prayed. Lord, I would rather my dad not be in pain one more minute than him wait for me to get there. At 2:30 that day, about 3 hours after that prayer, we got a phone call that he passed. I was not surprised because I knew the Lord had taken him. I had prayed 10 years ago for the salvation of my father and during his final months, a young girl that grew up by his side, led him to the Lord and he accepted. There was forgiveness to be given towards my dad, and acceptance of the family he shared his life with. But the Lord helped me thru and I can say, with no doubt, I have forgiven my father and I can’t wait to see him again.
Through all these experiences God has strengthen my trust in him. I am now facing some of the most strenuous situations I have ever faced. I would still get depressed from time to time but God was there the whole time teaching and strengthening me. Until recently I made another decision, to trust the Lord in ALL things! That was the day I gave the Lord my life. Now, I see that getting depressed over things I can’t change makes no sense and has no justification. Compete trust, complete reliance, complete joy when it doesn’t seem possible. I can do all things through Christ who give me strength. Philippians 4:13. This verse has never been more real to me than it is today.
I have learned that the circumstances in life do not and should not ever dictate your faith, your determination, or your longing for God. The Word is alive and I know that now. Jesus is someone who deserves respect, our dedication, and our love. There is no one who will love you more that Jesus Christ!
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.