A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘belonging’ Category

Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious
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Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

In The Wilderness

As I sat in my living room one afternoon, I could hear thunder roll nearby and see fat rain drops fall in bursts on my deck. It reminded me of early spring days living in the raw bottoms of central Illinois when I was sixteen. At that time, my family had spent several months living in a school bus, fishing and carrying water from McGee Creek and cooking fresh-killed game over open fires. With no end in sight, we tired of our meager diet and daily drudgery.
I asked my father, “Why do we have to live this way?” Our only agenda was day-to-day necessities. We just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Is this how life was for the Israelites in their years in the wilderness? From the beginning, they questioned and accused both God and Moses.
“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Deuteronomy 14:10-12 NIV). “There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’”  (Numbers 21:5 NIV).
They couldn’t see past each moment, each day, or night. Their focus had been back in Egypt where they had memories of plenty to eat and drink.
My experience caused me to be angry with my father for many years, and my anger strangled my personal growth. I only recently understood the blessings God gave to me in the bottoms. He strengthened me in physical ability and endurance. I learned to observe, discern and adapt in order to survive. I became a vital member of a team—my family. Knowing that other members relied on me for what I could provide gave me a sense of belonging.
When I accepted Jesus as my Lord, He increased my spiritual strength through church attendance, Bible study, Sunday school, missions, and women’s ministry. I became a member of His team, called to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ alongside you.
“Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land” (Deuteronomy 8:6-7 NIV).
In Christian Love,
Berta
P.S. Would you please pray for the Flowers family as they move through the adoption process to bring their son home from El Salvador. www.facebook.com/Bringing.Carlos.home

Do You Fit In?

I remember my first “sleep-over.” Elizabeth’s family had just moved to our small town and seemed worldly having lived elsewhere. We snuggled in sleeping bags on her front porch and she pointed out stars and constellations in the clear dark sky. Soon she guided my innocent eyes, “Look at that bright one straight above us.”

I strained to pick out the one she was talking about.

“See it?”

There were so many and I really wanted Elizabeth to be my friend so I said, “Yes.”

“Watch it close ‘cause it’s moving. It’s a UFO. Look. It’s coming right at us.”

The star I chose seemed to be moving toward me and I thought my heart would stop.

When I remember the foolishness and gullibility of my childhood, I consider my ongoing desire to fit in. Not just as that little girl but as a young adult in the Navy where my lifestyle fit in with seasoned sailors. And even later as a young mother.

When I accepted Christ as my savior, I continued to fear “not fitting in.” “What if they knew of my past, would they accept me anyway?” I wondered. I kept my secrets for several years until I learned that I only had to fit in to Jesus Christ. The peoples judgement, Christians included, didn’t matter anymore as I began to tell my story of what God had done for me.

I almost fit in to several small groups, but to tell of God’s grace and forgiveness in my life I had to tell of my sin. A word or two of truth dissolved many relationships.

I continued to testify to everyone God placed on my heart and in my path. I witnessed in my home and while waiting at appointments. In department stores and bookstores. In restaurants and grocery stores. In churches, at retreats, and in Christian bookstores, too.

Do I fit in? Sometimes with people. Always with God

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe (Proverbs 29:25 NIV).

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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