A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

Healing From the Inside Out

Abuse tainted my childhood and four years in the Navy taught me the ways of a sailor. Later, a failed marriage sent me spinning out of control. As an LPN, I got a job at Methodist Hospital (Memphis) where I worked afternoons and weekends to limit my drinking hours.

I had no self-worth and no hope.

Then I met Earl, the chaplain for the floor I worked on. He invited me to eat supper with him at the hospital cafeteria often and became a friend.  I told him all about my life and he listened. He never preached at me but encouraged me to call him if I needed help. Still, I kept him at a distance—no home telephone number and no address.

One evening at supper, he asked me out. I said “No” and asked him if he was crazy. He didn’t give up, and a year after we met we went on our first date. He proposed just two months later and of course, I said “Yes.”

I went to church with him a few times, and we always sat in the last pew. I never listened to the sermon. I didn’t know Jesus but scheduled my baptism with the pastor because I thought a preacher’s wife should be baptized. I answered the pastors’ questions appropriately, making a profession of faith, and he poured a palm-full of cold water on my head. As it slowly trickled down my scalp, I thought, “Shouldn’t I feel saved?”

Four years into our marriage, and holding the esteemed position of pastor’s wife, my past had devoured my soul. I avoided church and church members for fear they’d see the real me.

Earl and a few of his close friends encouraged me to go on a Walk to Emmaus. I heard testimonies from several of God’s forgiven daughters. I felt like the woman at the well: I met a man who “told me everything I have ever done” (John 4:29 NIV). I accepted God’s forgiveness that weekend and promised I would tell every one of His great love and mercy.

Father, You saw and touched the depths of my soul—my pain, my shame, my past. You brought it all out of the darkness, into the light and under the blood. You healed me and freed me from my chains. May I always boldly proclaim Your Word as you bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18 NIV).

In Christian Love,
Berta

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Useful

Jesus called me to tell what He was doing in my spirit. He said, “Invest in Me. My word is truth. My yoke is light.” How can I express His greatness and power? The fire that burns in my belly?

God’s call often sounds foolish to us. Noah built an ark before it had ever rained a drop. Moses told Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” Peter stepped out of one boat and walked on water, then cast his net in the deep water from another boat.

I came from sin. A sinner born from sinners to sin. Physically and emotionally alone, I felt separated by the cruelty of a world I couldn’t understand. Constant unbearable pain weighed heavy on my soul from childhood.

As I grew older, I knew God was out there. I’d tried to talk to Him but He’d never answered my selfish pleas. The day came that crushed by my sin, guilt, and self-loathing, I turned to Jesus and cried for mercy and forgiveness. I poured out my sin and soaked in His Holy Spirit. I walked away from who I’d been; I couldn’t keep doing the same things.

He began to use my life, which I once thought was useless—my voice, my joy and laughter, my pain and weakness—to speak to those who needed to hear about Him. He wants each of us to participate with Him in bringing others into the Kingdom, and he wants us to experience His presence in our lives.

“God doesn’t give us what we deserve, because if He did, we’d be burnt to a crisp in a nano-second. Because receiving justice would be hell; mercy is salvation; and grace is peace, and joy, and so much more.” Joni Eareckson Tada

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.” (Philemon 1:10-11 NIV.)

Lord Jesus, I thank you for bearing all my sins and setting me free from the law of sin and death. Give me boldness to share Your mercy and forgiveness at every
opportunity You provide. Amen

In Christian Love,
Berta
 

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What Can One Person Do?

Lost and alone, living in the turmoil of self-hatred and despair I worked in a hospital full of strangers and retreated to a bar each night. I had abandoned my daughter to her abusive, alcoholic father because I believed his words, “You can’t make it without me. You’ll either be back in two weeks or you’ll be dead.” I walked away.

One evening at work, I saw a man in a blue lab coat walking down the hall and asked a fellow nurse, “Who is that?”

“Earl? He’s the chaplain for our floor.”

Anger filled me. How could I be attracted to a preacher? We became friends despite our differences. Then we dated. Then we married. Baptism seemed the right next step for a preacher’s wife, but I didn’t feel “saved.”

Earl’s appointment to a local church helped me get custody of my daughter. As a pastor’s wife, I lived in guilt over my past. My lack of Christian faith and knowledge sent me into a tailspin of insecurity and isolation. Earl struggled with my behavior until I went on a Walk to Emmaus where God ministered His forgiveness of my past and healing for my spirit. Earl continued to love me as he helped me learn about the Savior who died for me.

What can one person do? As I’ve grown in Christian faith, God has placed people in my life who have needed Christian love and guidance. Most recently, I’ve befriended a young mother in need. Her love and dedication to her family and her willingness to share her family’s meager supplies with neighbors who have less has blessed me.

As Christ gave everything for me, if I could do one thing to change a person, I would be like Him and love them.

Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NKJV).

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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