• This is for You...

A Testimony of Grace

All sinners have a past - a story they aren't proud of. All their habits and sins have a beginning. All addictions, compulsive and impulsive behaviors, all thoughts and feelings we dare not say out loud have a day one.

Before I was saved by God's amazing grace, before I - once and for all received Jesus' sacrifice and claimed it for me, I was full of sinful habits, addictions and ungodly thoughts. I'm not saying that I no longer battle my flesh. As we know, we must walk in the spirit and allow our minds to be renewed daily for us to continue walking righteously. Even though we are not perfect, we are called to be perfect because our Father is perfect. Even though we have to repent daily, we must not practice sin. With that said, my sinful habits had very early beginnings. As early as elementary-school age. These sins became an every day thing for me and my innocence was turned into perversion. I will never know how these became part of me, but as I grew older, more sins became normality for me. The door of my heart was left wide open for the enemy to come in and out of my heart and rearrange it as he saw fit. No matter how much I'd attend church and listened to and read the Word, my life never changed because I didn't understand I needed freedom. I remember the first time I committed another sin that soon became a habit and the next time I committed another sin and it was turned into another habit and another and another and another.

I remember thinking that physical and verbal abuse were the right way to defend myself. I also decided crying wasn't what a strong person did. Hate (in my skewed perception) was the right answer. The less I cried, the more angry I got, and the more anger the more hate and soon there was no respect from my part to anyone I didn't feel deserved respect. I lied, and stole and smoked and drank and partied and hated. Hated as much as I could because I thought it made me stronger. WHAT A MESSED UP MIND huh? But again, everything has a why and a day one. Thing is, some of the things that hurt me the deepest happened when I was too young to know how any of it began.

What I CAN tell you is that, God was always there. Every time I messed up, every time I could have died, I could have killed, I could have disappeared, been arrested, charged and put in prison. God would change the situation. Did I notice at the time? Not at all! I thought I was very, very lucky and I was favored by the "powers that be." But reality is that God had a plan and purpose with me. He continued calling me throughout the years until I finally listened. Even then, I didn't have sound guidance as a baby Christian to know how to crawl, walk and run. Given that, I made some unbiblical choices (but in my head they were biblical) that hurt some people, including myself. And so instead of being steady in Christ, I stumbled many, many, many, many times!

BUT GOD! God's grace, mercy, faithfulness, love! Oh how He Loves!!! I wanted to serve Him for real. I wanted to be His forever! I wanted to live in His purpose, NOT MINE! Oh how hungry and thirsty was I for my savior. He showed me who I was; revealed to me what I was dealing with and showed me how to be delivered and walk righteously. So many things worked together for my good! Including my studies in Psychology and Counseling (going to a Christian University helped tremendously - my personal journey). Even things I'd otherwise say weren't great - those worked in my favor! Glory to God.

God forgave me, I forgave myself, I forgave others. I accepted God's love for me, I love myself and love others. I am still learning about my Savior... still getting to know Him. But this is a forever relationship and I don't want anyone or anything to get in the way. I've learned it's all based on love, communication, grace and faithfulness, between Him and I.

As a mom, my desire is to be a loving, respectful, responsible, virtuous and godly mom. I want to lead my daughter by example. She is a miracle, thus, it is my responsibility to lead her unto the right path for His glory. As a sister in Christ, member of my congregation, writer, blogger, business owner and anything else God places in my hands, I want to do it all as unto Him and for His glory. I pray with all my heart that whoever can relate to this, finds encouragement in this testimony. No matter how disgusted we are with our past or present, God sent Jesus exactly for us. For those "too far gone," those who have "skeletons in their closet," those whose bodies are tired of being used, those who wish they'd see deliverance from stealing or cheating or pornography. Those in pain, shame and guilt. Men, women, children, teens, elderly, whoever you are! I know how you feel because I was there. Your present can become your past and you can be made into a brand new person. God can transfer you from the kingdom of darkness into His Son's Kingdom. You will be born again and transformed! You are loved! And to those who want to serve Him wholeheartedly but are still stumbling, have faith and be courageous! He delivers! He delivered me! You are made righteous in Him.

Verses For Us To Keep In Our Hearts:

"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matt. 5:48 NLT

"Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God." 1 John 3:9 NLT

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Rom. 8:28 NLT

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NLT

"For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins." Col. 1:13-14 NLT

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Cor. 5:17 NLT

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Rom. 12:2 NIV

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8:31-39 NLT

*** The book of Romans is such a wonderful book to study and strengthen your faith and relationship with God.***

This is For You!

With Love,

Your sister Jay

Listen and Praise God with these songs below:

Tauren Wells - Until Grace

Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

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I'm going to start by saying, I know what it is to live without forgiveness... There was a time in my life when there was NO forgiveness for myself or others. I lived a pretty cynical life for a while