“Your grace still amazes me. Your mercy overwhelms me. Even when I choose sin, knowing full well what I am doing and taking advantage of Your promised grace, You love me.”
Ten years ago, on May 16, 2006, I became a child of God. And that was the best decision I ever made.
If you know anything about me, you know that I did not experience some existential, supernatural outward transformation on the day of my salvation. I was still the young, home-schooled daughter of a stay-at-home mom and a hardworking dad, living in a Christian home and going to church every time the doors were open. But inside? Now that’s where it all began to change…
In all honesty, I was less than thrilled about my own testimony for a while. I was not saved out of a lifestyle of drugs, sex, and alcohol. I was not a bad kid, a rebel or reformer. I played by the rules, did my thing, and stayed out of trouble. I was smart and fun, loved learning, and loved people. Although I never questioned my need for salvation, I definitely questioned the significance of it. How could my story be important when somebody else has something so much better? But in these ten years, I’ve learned something pretty special about the grace of God, and it’s this: Grace is not a respecter of persons.
“Father, forgive me. How could I cheapen Your design? How could I distort Your perfection? The cry of Psalm 51 echoes in my heart as I implore You to create a clean heart in me.”
The blood of Jesus Christ covers the prisoners and the prostitutes, the thieves and the liars, the rapists and the murderers. But it also covers the saintly hypocrites, the pastors who doubt the message they share, the moms who can’t find meaning in the mundane, the 9 year old girl who has been riding on the coattails of her family’s faith.
Yes, Jesus loves me. Even me.
“Oh God of my salvation, my heart is ashamed and yet I crave Your presence. Because I feel safe when You are here. Even when the blood is on my hands, You declare me ‘not guilty’, for the blood is on Your hands. Even when I am caught in the act, You take the blame.
So does it end there? I say the prayer and magically all is well and life goes on? Well, that’s a lie I believed for a while. You see, because I figured nothing much needed to change outwardly (after all, I was the good Christian girl), I didn’t recognize that something still needed to change in me. I had to get my heart in sync with the heart of Christ. But I guess I missed that memo. Because my relationship with Jesus was spotty at best. A few weeks of faithful morning devotions, weekly prayer time maybe, listening to more Christian music. Who am I kidding?
A few years go by. I’m growing a bit, because the Word of God does not return void. But I was still missing something. And so I sought it. I sought the source of joy and contentment. I sought to fill the void in my life. But boy, did I come up empty.
Sin is a funny thing. It convinces you you’re okay when you’re really not. It deceives you into believing that it is so much better than anything else. And I believed that lie, became caught up in sin, and was enslaved to my own flesh. I thought I was done for. Am I even a Christian? But then I learned something else about the grace of God: Grace is in endless, daily, sufficient supply.
I missed the part about salvation I desperately needed. And that’s sanctification. I needed a relationship, not a religion. I needed a Savior, not a solution. I needed a daily walk with God, not a weekly attendance sheet. And once I realized that, once I humbled myself, God began a work in me. A journey. And that journey is lifelong and lovely.
“Oh Father, I would trade ten thousand years on Earth for just one moment with You. My fleshly desires and sin nature keep me from longing for You only. So Lord, I pray that You would change my desires. Chisel away. Take all that is not of You. I praise You, Jesus, for the cross that saved me forever and secures my daily grace.”
It has been a roller coaster ride. I’ve taken two steps forward and five steps back more times than I can count. I’ve had to learn the same lesson over and over and over again, only to fail over and over and over again. I’ve been blinded by my own perversion and pride. But by the grace of God, I am what I am.
Shattered. Yet still significant. And wholly surrendered.
Ten years ago, Jesus saved me. I could end there and it would still be the most beautiful declaration of unconditional love and amazing grace. But my story doesn’t end there. His story doesn’t end there. And neither does yours.
What have I learned in ten years? Whether you’ve walked with Jesus for a day or a century, I can almost guarantee you we will all have a similar answer to that question: If Christ is all I have, I have all I need.
“You are faithful and good. There have been many moments of weakness, many moments of doubt. And through it all, You are so faithful and good. You alone are worthy of praise and glory. This change in me is by Your power and authority. Keep making me, God.”