My name is Susan.
God has been pressing my heart to tell my story for some time now, but like so many others I have struggled to accept that my story matters. Today I’m being brave. Even though I may never know who God is trying to reach through my story, I still need to tell it. I know my story matters to someone because it has made an eternal difference to me and my family. So here goes…. deep breath, smile….
I grew up in The Church. I was saved and baptized in water at the age of 8, and continued to grow deeply in my relationship with Christ. By the age of 12, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and was passionately living for God. I had no qualms about sharing my love for Christ with everyone. I studied the Bible daily, and knew it like the back of my hand.
When I was 14, my family moved to a small town and failed to find a new church home. My parents began struggling with past addictions, and my life started crumbling around me. Instead of resting in my identity in Christ in the midst of the struggle, I allowed myself to follow my parents’ lead. As a result, my life spiraled out of control. Over the next ten years, I lived for myself. In my heart, I knew where I belonged in Christ, but I kept Him at a distance. I convinced myself that if I didn’t claim to have a relationship with Jesus, my sins would not count against me. I was unfaithful to Him, but He never gave up on me.
It was years later, after marriage and after becoming a mother that I started to hear God calling to me again. Not that He hadn’t been speaking all along, but I was finally willing to listen. I wanted my children to be raised knowing and loving God, but we continued to ignore His calls to us. My husband and I talked about finding a church family often but Sunday mornings continued to pass us by and we always found an excuse to avoid The Church. Years of excuses passed, and our life as a family continued to suffer.
In May 2010, my mother passed away in an accident, and I felt that I had lost my best friend. She was the one I turned to for everything, not my husband, and certainly not God. I struggled through a very dark and lonely time. I lost friends, I lost myself, and I lost hope.
In August of 2011, we ran out of excuses. Our daughter had attended Vacation Bible School with a friend and was constantly asking when we were going to go to church again; God was now calling us back through the voice of our daughter. He never gives up on His Bride. We woke up one Sunday morning and found ourselves walking into James River Assembly’s West campus in Springfield, Missouri. We were overwhelmed in foreign territory, but God was with us.
We went back the next Sunday and then the next Sunday, and then one Sunday morning my husband responded to the invitation to follow Jesus and I acted so excited for him, but inside, I was struggling. I was holding tight to my past and the pride I had for my relationship with God as a teen. I remembered how much I loved serving God back then and I was so lost as to why I couldn’t just click my heels and be back in that same place spiritually. I knew who I was in Christ, but I was unwilling to admit my years of unfaithfulness to Him. It took me nearly 9 months to finally repent. I was exhausted in trying to prove my worth and overcome my wrongs on my own. I needed Christ to restore me Himself. I needed Him to forgive my past and I finally admitted it in May of 2012.
Since finally responding to Him, our life as a family has been completely transformed. With every new step of faith, we see God working in our lives. He has restored our marriage, our family, our finances-every aspect of our lives has been changed for the better. Not a day passes that I am not amazed at the works He has done and is doing in our lives. Jesus’ love is greater for me than I could ever imagine. In the midst of my unfaithfulness He remained faithful to His covenant with me as His Bride and never stopped calling me back to Himself. The amazing grace of Jesus is powerful in that He never allows us to forget we are His Bride. His love never fails.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”