God’s Work of Grace in my Life

“This wonderful lady is someone who I have looked up to constantly for her graciousness and kindness. She is by far the most gentle and meek person I have met in my life and I hope to be like her some day. I hope you find encouragement and strength through reading her testimony.”

Redeemed By the King

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I grew up as an only child in a loving home in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I attended a Presbyterian church as a child and even sang in the children’s choir there.  It was my Dad’s church, but we rarely attended as a family.  I was baptized as a baby and I remember being confirmed there.  I heard lots of Bible stories at the various activities I attended, but I don’t ever remember hearing a clear presentation of the Gospel until I was in high school.

My best friend attended a Baptist church where her dad was a pastor.  I was always included in the youth group activities and we had a lot of fun together after Sunday evening church and going on trips.  My friend and I also went to Campus Life events at our school which we enjoyed very much.  I know I heard the Gospel many times during those years but I was not ready to receive Christ at that time.  Though I conformed on the outside my heart was very rebellious.  I lived to have a good time and was determined to have my own way in my life.

Something very interesting happened to me during those teenage years that would later come to have an impact upon my life.  At the suggestion of her church, my friend and I attended a film that was being shown at a Community Church.  I can’t remember which film it was that we saw, but I do remember the pastor,  standing up after it was over and sharing the Gospel.  He made an impression on me as one who knew the Bible and the way of salvation.  But again I was not ready to believe.

I graduated from high school and moved on first to the work world and then to college. I continued to look for that one thing that would make me happy and content, but I never seemed to be able to find it or hold on to it.  I met a man who I believed would fulfill that dream for my life and I followed him to a small town in Nebraska where he opened his own business.

I found a job shortly after arriving in Holdrege, Nebraska, and the Lord placed a lovely Christian woman in my life as a co-worker.  She was a consistent witness to me with her words and her life and included me in many family gatherings as one of her own.  She invited me to attend a ladies Bible study with her and I truly wanted to know more about God and His word so I went.  I was taking in the knowledge of the Lord but I still held tight to my sin.  I wasn’t ready to give it up.

At the same time, I was learning so much about the Lord, I was preparing for marriage and joining the Catholic church.  My fiancé’s family would have it no other way.  I was willing to do anything to marry this man because I thought I loved him very much.  I knew what the priest was telling me was wrong and I was very uncomfortable going to mass, but I truly believed it was the right thing to do.  We married, but within a year things began to fall apart.  Christian friends were always there to encourage me, and as I heard and saw their testimonies I began to be convicted and ashamed of my own life.  My marriage failed and I moved back to Lincoln. I continued, however, to hold on to my sinful way of life.

I moved on the best way I knew how.  I was still searching for something, seeking self-satisfaction and never finding it.  Since I had been attending a Bible study before I moved, I wanted to continue to learn about God’s word.  I remembered visiting Indian Hills as a teenager and the pastor so faithfully proclaiming the truth of the Bible.

I decided to attend one Sunday morning and that was the beginning of my relationship with that body of believers.  I’m so thankful the Lord led me there and used that seed He had planted years earlier.

Though I sat under such wonderful teaching I continued to live my life MY way, not God’s.  I refused to see myself as a sinner in need of God’s grace and mercy and to humbly bow before Him.  I had a stubborn heart and was committed to my own desires, not God’s.  I knew the facts of the Gospel but never understood how it applied to me.  I was spiritually blind, but God, in His grace, didn’t let me go.  He wanted me to know and understand His truth, but I was one who sat in the auditorium listening to the teaching each Sunday morning but never willing to fully surrender my life to the Lord.

I didn’t really like being single and wanted to find someone who I could spend the rest of my life with.  I met a man at the store where I was working who was everything I could have wanted in a husband.  We worked together quite often and became good friends.  We began dating and within 6 months we were married.  I was happy to finally have what I thought would make my life complete.  We continued to work together and I kept coming to church each Sunday without him.  The Lord graciously provided this teaching from His word to convict me of my sin and I finally began to see how my sinful lifestyle was separating me from God.

I especially enjoyed the music ministry at church and looked forward to the concerts at both Christmas and Easter each year.  In 1991, I planned to attend the Easter concert but felt differently about going.  I knew there would be a clear presentation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and I wasn’t sure I could sit and endure it one more time.  The guilt was killing me!  I know now the Lord was convicting me of my hopeless lost condition and was preparing me to take the most important step I had ever taken.  In Romans 3:10-12 I had learned:

“There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is   none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”

I knew the weight of my sin was more than I could bear.  God said in Romans 3:23:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And I knew that “all” included me.  I was truly miserable under the burden of my sinful, selfish life and I feared I deserved God’s punishment.  In Romans 6:23 I read:

“For the wages of sin is death.”

And I knew I was guilty. As I sat and listened to this truth so clearly proclaimed again in the songs and message I finally understood my true condition before God.  I was a sinner and there was nothing I could do to please Him by myself.  In His mercy He removed the blinders from my eyes to show me who I really was, and He was offering me the forgiveness and cleansing I needed through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross.  In Romans 5:6 God says:

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

I knew for the first time that ungodly one was ME.  Romans 5 goes on in verse 8:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I knew I had to turn from my sin and trust in Him as Savior and Lord of my life.  He paid my death penalty and I placed my faith and trust in Him for the forgiveness I so desperately needed.  God promises in Romans 10:9:

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

I believed and I felt the weight lifted from my shoulders just as Jesus promises in

Matthew 11:28-30 where He says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls.”

I had found the peace that God promises to those who trust in His provision for their sinful condition.  It was Jesus, and Him alone, who made the way for us.  In Acts 4:12

God assures us: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

I am so thankful for God’s great patience with me in bringing me to the end of myself and giving me a new life in Christ. Just as He promised in His word God began the transformation process in me.  Slowly He worked in my heart to take away the desires for the things of my old life and replaced them with His new ones.  Paul says in Philippians 1:6:

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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I began to have a real passion for His word and wanted to study and absorb all I could.  I also had a growing love for Him and wanted to obey what He commanded in order to be pleasing to Him.  One of the areas I was convicted in was my relationship with my husband.  As I studied I learned God’s plan for marriage and the role of the wife and the need for her to submit to the authority of her husband as the head of the family.  I knew that it didn’t matter that he was not saved, I was responsible before God to submit to my husband.  I trusted God when He said in 1 Peter 3:1-2:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

Though he was not open to hearing the Gospel at that time I was determined to live it out before him. During this time I was attending a ladies evening Bible study at church.  Each week we would share prayer requests and I would add my husband to the list.  I felt such a burden for his salvation, and I know those ladies faithfully prayed for him.  He had been coming to the Christmas and Easter concerts along with the annual Thanksgiving banquets we used to have, and he had heard to the message of salvation many times but did not seem interested in God’s plan.  But then God began to work in his heart.

Shortly after Christmas in 1995, he began to come to church with me more and more regularly.  He truly wanted to know what the Bible said and listened each week to the pastor’s messages and clear Gospel presentations.  Amazingly enough, the Lord placed a believer in his workplace at that time.  I continued to pray for his salvation and watched in awe as the Lord worked on his heart, drawing him to Himself.

One evening as we were taking a walk, he shared with me how he had hit rock bottom in his life.  While he was driving home from his job in Omaha, he decided he needed to surrender his life to the Lord.  He finally understood that he was a sinner and trusted in Christ for the forgiveness he needed.  I was speechless!  God is SO faithful and He answered my prayer for my husband.  I could never begin to thank Him and praise Him enough for the mercy and grace He has shown me in blessing me with a believing husband.

Since that day we have grown together in the Lord in so many ways.  We love to spend our vacations outdoors observing the wonder of God’s creation.  As a new believer, I remember looking with refreshed eyes and really appreciate the detail that was a part of everything He had made.  Though we enjoy traveling to landscapes different than our own, God’s creation is all around us every day and I never tire of spending time in the beauty of all He created for us to enjoy.

God continues His work in me and I am grateful to be part of a body of believers who love the Lord and are committed to the truth of His word.  I count it a privilege to serve Him there and am so thankful my husband has found his place of service as well.  Most of all, I am thankful that God did not let go of me.  He placed believers along the path of my life to point me to Himself, and He loved me enough to provide the redemption I needed in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for me.  For that, I am eternally grateful and desire to live my life in obedience and praise for all He has done for me.  His child I know now He will never leave me, and that is my greatest hope and comfort.  As David wrote in one of my favorite Psalms, 139, verses 7-10:

“Where can I go from Thy Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me.”

I am so thankful God is the One who is in control of my life’s plan—instead of me.  And as I live for Him I can look forward, with hope, to all He has in store for me!

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