I grew up in the church, some of my earliest memories are of going to church with my birth grandmother. We left my birth home at the age of 8 so I was probably 3 – 7 years old. I remember the church people always trying to get my birth mother to attend and to be saved. God was with us even in those early childhood moments of hurt and abuse. He wrapped my mind, my spirit and my soul up in his LOVE and protection so that I could use the experience of my story to help others walk out of their darkness.
In my foster families care we attended a beautiful small country Methodist church were, the men sat on one side and the women and children on the other. We had old-fashioned revivals every year, we had potlucks after church and on special occasions, we had Sunday School every week where we learned about Jesus. Our piano player was Mrs. Gentry and when she wasn’t there we sang from the Hymnal a cappella. My all-time favorite song is and will always be” I’ll Fly Away”, and I hope that when I leave this earth to go home that it will be the song that will lift me on angel wings to my eternal home. We did not have central heat or air, we were hot in the summer and cold in the winter, we had an outhouse as our bathroom. I loved revival week and I loved going to church on Sunday with my Foster Mom and Dad. I loved being in his presence and felt it strongly in that small beautiful place.
Once we were adopted we attended a Lutheran Church and then for 20 plus years my family attended a Catholic Church where I was leader of different groups and helped every year with vacation bible school.
I grew up believing in Jesus. However, somewhere along the way my belief in him got watered down, somewhere along the way after years of what I thought was unanswered prayers I eventually divorced and started my journey to healing. I couldn’t feel anything and I know that I had no belief system at that point, it along with me had disappeared under the weight of emotional trauma, anger and hatred. My church, I said was the trail, running, or anything and anywhere where Religion was not.
So, I packed my bags and traveled down the road to Buddha, trying to find peace and some understanding of why, trying to heal the toxic, cancer ridden life I had led for so long. Even today, I learned just how much I could not SAVE my children from the emotional harm that comes from anger and hatred. So, as I see the story from down the road, I see the hand of God in each step. Yes, it was beyond toxic. Yes, I was programmed at an early age to think and accept that abuse as long as it wasn’t physical is ok even acceptable.
It didn’t happen every day so somehow I talked myself into believing it was just a phase, it will get better, he’s just stressed the excuses go on and on. We were providing for our kids, they had access to whatever they wanted to do, we did dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, we had very nice homes, and cars, and we were doing so well from the outside. The problem comes when the image doesn’t fit the reality. We had lost friendships over the reality and we had lost ourselves somewhere in that false world. We had the image of a successful family except for the cycle of abuse for me and my children. I prayed for years for God to stop the hurt and it would stop for a short period of time and we could all breathe again; we could be somewhat happy for a minute.
Somewhere along the way, about 10 years ago it just completely stopped getting better. Maybe it was the stress of a job or maybe it was because I stopped praying. Maybe it was because I had built the wall so strong and so high and I wasn’t letting anything in not even Jesus. My spirit was dying in the darkness, I could see no light and as I begged for the pain to end he showed me mercy and brought an end to my time in the desolate desert.
Surprisingly enough, as I carried my worn out soul and all my baggage down the road and knocked on Buddha’s door that is where I found my way back to God and a week ago in my home in Tennessee I found my way back to Jesus. I am in awe of how much this year has brought me. Jesus wanted me back for His purpose, Lord knows I cannot fathom why. This spiritual journey happened all by his hand through an invitation on Christmas Day and that is all it took to throw open the door of Forgiveness, Grace, Mercy, Peace and Joy!
For all the baggage I have dropped, lost and thrown down God has replaced with more depth and joy that I could ever imagine. He has healed a heart so completely that I am able to have pure love for another soul. I can see the beauty in the souls and world around me, I can see beyond the outer shell into the heart of a person. He has given me peace like I have never known, He has given me mercy through forgiveness, He has opened my ears so that I can hear Him, He is opening my eyes so that I can see Him, He has healed my soul so thoroughly that I don’t even recognize the person in the mirror. I feel his presence so strongly and so purely that I know without a doubt that I never want to be separated from Him ever again not even for a second.
I believe in this incredible supernatural, spiritual world so much so that I just want to walk in it every second of forever. I have been told to “walk on the water” for months now. I have cried tears of joy, sorrow and fear while He has told me what He wants me to do. I have been holding on for the sign that it’s time to step out of the boat towards him. If I were to die tomorrow, tonight, in the next few seconds, I can say with all of myself that I am ready. I believe in you God, I believe in you Jesus, I believe in you the Holy Spirit. I know that Jesus is my Savior it is only through Him that I can even be blessed in this life and eternally.
So, during my run the other morning, I had two things of significance happen. I spiritually saw Jesus’ footsteps running in front of my own and I felt Him say to me that I go in front of you to clear the way. He is my and your way maker, to fully understand and see Him making the way, we have to be open for the signs, our ears have to be open to hear, and our spirit has to be open to receive and understand what He is saying to us. As I was running I did not realize that the path was flooded from all the rain we’ve had. The entire path was covered in the water from the creek and I could not see how deep it was. (I cannot swim and drowning is a real thought in my head when it comes to water of any kind) So I decided to cut across the baseball field. The entire field was soaking wet and water was puddling on the field. I know, don’t ask me why I didn’t turn around, but all I can say is the path looked clearer across the field, and in the spiritual world I know that this was Jesus showing me that I could and would literally “walk on the water” for Him. My eyes were on His footsteps and He was guiding my way!
As a young child I saw Jesus at the foot of my bed, He said to me: Come to me, Marie. and as I put my foot down on the floor to go to him, the king size bed that Angela and I were in came crashing down. I vividly remember that night and I vividly remember that around that time I had said I will not believe in Him unless I can see Him. I know He blessed a young girl and I know He has blessed the woman she has become. My soul beats for you Jesus, my heart sings for you, and this body, this mind, this spirit is yours! I know my path, I know you are working to make the way and each day I am grateful for every ounce of mercy, grace and forgiveness you have shown me. I don’t deserve an ounce of it. I don’t deserve to feel you, see you, or have this love for you, in my darkness I turned away and in my darkness I said I don’t believe. I let go of you but THANK YOU Jesus that you never let go of me. Why? I will know the fullness of that answer some day!
Today, the cross I wear bears new meaning and today I worship every ounce of who you are, what you did for all of us, you are the ultimate sacrifice. You alone are worthy of my praise! Today, as on June 4, 2017, I surrender my life to you, it is no longer my own. I surrender my heart, my mind, my soul, my spirit, my body, my hands, my feet, my eyes, my ears, my mouth! I surrender all of me to you Jesus!
Lead the way, I will follow! I will “walk on the water”, I will climb the mountain, I will go through the desert, I will run to you always! I will seek you every second of every day! I will praise you, I will worship you, I will speak and write every word for you! I am yours Lord!
So, Today I ask you? What is your path, what is your personal journey? What are you holding onto? Like me did you decide at some point that it was no longer in your best interest to follow a God who seemingly turned his back on you? Did your belief in Christ get watered down by RELIGION? Did you or have you found yourself locked in the darkness with no way out?
Give me your hand, give me your heart Jesus says: I will pick you up and carry you! I am here always! I have never left you, I will not forsake you ever. Can you hold onto that truth? He (Christ, Jesus, Our King) is the way, He is the truth, He is the Light, He is the Path, He is the ultimate Journey! Cry out to Him in your darkness, in your desert; He’ll come charging in to grab you! He alone has the power to pluck you right out of any pit of darkness and LET ME SAY THIS: HE WILL! He did for me and I am not worthy at all, He’ll do it for you!
Day 78 to Transformation!
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.