Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reason for my hope

‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason or the hope that you have.’  1 Peter 3:15

Today is post # 10 in my 12 blogs of Christmas.  Before I get to that (the reason for my hope) let me share a few Christmas cards with you.  Frrst, another creation using Taylored Expressions Woodland Forest.

Then a card using Denami's sets.

And lastly (for my cards today) a sweet bird card using Stampin Up products.

 My post today is my 'God story.'   If you have been reading my 12 blogs of Christmas you should be able to see that I am a woman of faith.  I believe with all my heart that I am a beloved child of God, completely forgiven of my past, present and future sins and in a right relationship with God.  I hope you don’t read that and think I’m perfect.  That is so not true.  Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.   You may wonder if I’ve always felt this way?  Well, no I haven’t always felt this way.  It was only in my 35th year that I started exploring my faith and it was in my 35th year that I recognized my significant need for God and found forgiveness and joy through Jesus Christ.

I wrote ‘my testimony’ a few years ago.  Testimony is just a fancy way of saying the way I became a woman of faith.  If you haven’t heard my story, here it is below:

I grew up identifying myself as a Christian, but had no real understanding of God or Jesus.  I believed there was a God and recognized him in nature and loving people, but that was it.   I certainly had no idea of my sin.   I was insecure about myself, but I never thought of myself as a sinner.  When I was a young mother, I went to a shower.  Many of the women were catholic and they were discussing going to confession.  I asked in shocked disbelief – what could you women have to confess?  It was inconceivable to me that these sweet middle aged women sitting in the living room of my daycare providers home could have anything to confess. 
I have always been a ‘planner’ – that is the nice way of saying a controlling type A personality.   I had a plan for my life as a teenager and worked hard to control my circumstances to match my plan. I worked hard in school, got a degree and started my career.   I married and had two beautiful healthy children and by the time I turned 35, I had achieved most of the things on my ‘life to do list’.  But I was not content.  I did not consider my children, husband or possessions a blessing.  I treated them as a curse.  The house needed cleaning.  The kids did not always behave.  My husband did not anticipate my every need.  I was anxious and restless and ever so busy.  Can you say selfish and ungrateful?  You bet.

I decided to go find a church.   The second church I visited was First Congregational Church of Hopkinton.  One of the first sermons I heard was about freedom in Christ.  A husband and wife shared how they were able to break free from negative thought patterns.  They were selling the book so I bought it.  I met the wife and she started meeting with me for breakfast once a week to do a one-on-one bible study.  While reading the book and meeting with Traci – I realized and confessed that I was a sinner and needed Jesus.    At the time I didn’t really understand what I had done and didn’t really believe that I was now united in fellowship with God.  It seemed all too easy.  I continued to feel very unworthy and insecure.  Traci encouraged me to rearrange my priorities as a Christ follower.  I went to my boss and switched to a part time position.  I stopped striving for the career and instead prioritized my kids.  Slowly the changes I made had an impact and the stress level in our home reduced and life started to have balance and meaning.  Traci also encouraged me to join a bible study that met weekly.  I joined BSF and through the daily study (over 8 years) learned to know and trust my God.

My husband and I have seen some very tangible situations where God’s hand was on our life.  Knowing Christ and believing God’s word as documented in the bible have given me a life of contentment and peace.  I also have purpose as a bible study facilitator.  It is such a blessing to get to know the other women in the bible study and see their lives change as they believe and trust God’s plan for their lives and circumstances.   I can’t image the chaotic and discontent life I would be living now if I hadn’t given my life to Christ 12 years ago.  Praise God that He met me where I was at all those years ago.

How about you?  Is God nudging at your heart to become right by Him?  Will you pray that God will reveal himself to you and will you talk to someone about that desire to know and find forgiveness in Jesus?

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