Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The rest of my story (the end!) begins now

Assignment: Share a love story from your life.
(Remember, it doesn't have to be a romantic one...
just a time when your heart felt real love.)

There are two extremes for those of us who trust Christ as our savior. One - trying much too hard to earn/deserve the free gift of His amazing/saving grace. Two - taking His amazing grace for granted - as a license to sin bc you know that all your sins - past, present, future - have been forgiven.

I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was about 8 yrs old. Don't remember a time when I didn't trust Him - but I do remember hearing lots of other people's testimonies in which there was such a vivid before & after moment when they accepted Christ & when so much changed - how they lived, talked, acted, spent their time, etc. This caused me to wonder if I really believed that what I really believed was really real .... or was it just something I believed bc it was what I'd been taught. I thought having a life changing before & after moment to refer to would be so reassuring. I should note that at this time I tended to lean toward the extreme of taking His amazing grace for granted.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
I Peter 2:11

Then ... about 6 yrs ago ... my mom & my little brother died. Both were "far from normal". My mom had numerous physical & mental health issues & my little brother had Downs Syndrome. I, on the other hand, was SO normal (selfish/proud) that often I was embarrassed of them &/or frustrated with them - especially my mom. No doubt I loved them but I never really realized how much I loved them until I lost them both within about 6 wks of each other. Only then, in the months that followed, did I understand (yep - I'm a slooow learner) what God used them to teach me. In a nutshell ... I needed to be different - far from normal too! It was then that my strong will turned into a desperate & determined attempt (passion) to know God & somehow - thru' it all, my passion turned into compassion in such a way that I can claim but is hard to explain. I'm still far from perfect - except in the sense that He has made me perfect forever - but praise God I'm also far from normal & hopefully getting farther away all the time - bc God placed some very special people in my life who were far from normal too - & He's used few to teach me as much as they did.

There's much more to my story - some of it I've shared in bite size pieces on this blog. The circumstances surrounding my brother's death added a whole other twist to it. And after "all of that" (I'll likely share it here sometime. It's just so hard still.) I nearly lost my mind. Literally. Here I went to the opposite extreme - & tried so hard to make up for taking advantage of His amazing grace & to be deserving it - but never succeeded. I wrestled with God in much the same way that Jacob did & eventually, I was wounded/humbled(!) in much the same way Jacob was too. Like him, I will never be the same. This was my before & after "moment" - which in reality lasted for months in which God went to great lengths to respond to the cry of my heart for Him to make Himself real to me & to convince me that He would never leave me. It's hard to wrap words around but I'll likely spend the rest of my life attempting to.

Ironically (& I use that word loosely) about this time - & after reading one of the books in the series that inspired this blog - I was inspired to look up the meaning of my name. My mom had always told me she named me Joyce because of the joy she experienced when I was born. So - you can imagine how stunned I was to learn here that my name really means Experienced in Battle & to learn of it only when it finally fit like a glove.

I was challenged here recently to summarize my story into SIX (yep - 6!) words - as if summarizing my whole life story into one very short all encompassing tweet! I gave it some tho't & soon realized it wasn't so hard....

Made perfect forever. Being made holy.

.... because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy
Hebrews 10:14

The first part is done. Final. Written with The blood of Christ (permanent ink). The last part - aka the rest of my story - which, by the way, begins now - is likely (based on my history) to be a difficult process at times - one in which The Author will need to edit a lot in order to make it good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

So - stay tuned for further details of the rest of my story - which, as far as I'm concerned, has already proven to be an extremely remarkable MyStory of HIStory.


Randi Sue said...

I feel honored to read your story. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

Wow. I love it when people open up their hearts. Scary for them, blessings to us (the readers!). Thanks for letting us in. One of my favorites you wrote: " thru' it all, my passion turned into compassion in such a way that I can claim but is hard to explain." And the last scripture, working all for our good, is one HE showed me when I first came back to HIM. Love it.

Me said...

Amazing how God can take situations that seem so difficult to us and use them to correct our paths for His future work. Although this was painful (that is obvious by your writing), it is clear that you were changed, Praise be to God. May you never stop changing

Yiota said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I think you're very brave for that. I'm tired, ready to turn in but I really wanted to read this and it was worth it!
Take care!

Scattering Lupines said...

Wow. That was a HUGE story. I love the tie to the Jacob story.

The words of Paul came to mind as I was reading it: "I die daily."

That was a very powerful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing!