I have always been a christian. I grew up in a church-going family that wouldn’t miss a Sunday morning service, not even if one of us had pneumonia. I always believed in God. I didn’t know it then, but my perspective of Him was skewed.
They say we see God through the lens of our earthly father. Well, in our household, my earthly father was somewhat of a stern dictator-somewhat is an understatement. We constantly walked on eggshells around him, it seemed like everything we did was to please him. You didn't want to upset dad.
This led to the construction of many barriers around my heart. In this battlefield called life, barriers were my became my lifeline because it was about survival. The only way I knew how to cope with my environment was to defend myself from it. As a result of this environment, I projected those same views on my Heavenly Father and felt compelled to approach Him in a similar fashion.
Fleshing It Out
As I walked with God- who I saw as the same type of dictator as my father- my trust towards Him grew less and less—believing that if He was anything like my father, He was not a God I wanted to serve. When I felt I couldn’t find what I needed from my dad and as a result I couldn’t allow myself to receive it from God, the search began. I began to look to look for something that would fulfill my needs and fill the void. I began drinking excessively, abusing drugs and sex in hopes of finding the affirmation and control that I so desperately needed. And don’t get me wrong, I always knew I shouldn’t be doing those things, but that didn’t stop me from giving my flesh complete control over my life.
A God Send
When I was at my the depth of operating in my flesh, God sent a mentor disguised as a voice teacher to pull me out of myself. This man showed me love that I could not find from my earthly father and helped me redefine what the word "Father" had meant to me. He etched a new meaning on my heart. That’s when I realized God was not just sitting up on His throne wagging His finger at me, but rather was He was weeping for me—because He was watching His precious son destroy himself—my life was changed forever. I could no longer see sin as a bunch of pointless rules and regulations purposed to simply control me. Rather God loved me (and you) so much that He gave us guidelines and safeguards to keep us safe from anything purposed to harm me, even myself.
I would love to say I lived happily ever after, walking in almost identical shoes of Jesus without sin or fault; unfortunately this is not how my story unfolds. I continually fall short. I would resort to my old self for weeks and even months because of the lies I believed about myself and the God that I served.
My testimony stretches far beyond me though, it’s truly about the sufficiency of God’s grace. Despite the countless times I’ve fallen short I have always found God to be a loving God who, regardless of how far I think I’ve fallen is always ecstatic to welcome me back into His loving arms.
Certainly His grace is no excuse to continue living in sin, but rather serves as a reminder that no one can out-sin the endless grace of God. There’s no depth of darkness that is out of the reach of God’s loving and rescuing arms. I learned that the God I serve convicts His children out of love, not condemnation.
God is still working on so many things in me, and I'm humbled daily by my shortcomings and by the sinful motives that lay dormant deep within my heart. But what a great thing it is to be loved by a God who loves me enough to take His time to restore me for His work! It’s such a blessing, and I am thankful for the things He’s strengthened me to overcome thus far. He continues to strengthen me to overcome to this very moment, which enables me to say, to God be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.