(Remember, it doesn't have to be a romantic one...
just a time when your heart felt real love.)
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.
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
I Peter 2:11
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.
those who are being made holy.
of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.