My Walk to Faith

"This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me"

In the last few months this song has been in my heart as a reminder of what God has done for me. As God works in my life, It seems that what I have to share with you is constantly changing. Once again I have left the task of writing this to the last minute. This is what I have to share as of today, March 3rd, 2019.

I have studied Paul's letters quite a bit lately. Paul encouraged Christians even in times when he was
suffering for his faith. I have been amazed at what all God did in his life!
I believe much of what I have gone through is in preparation to serve God more faithfully. Today I can say that is what I want. A few verses that sometime leave me baffled are these:
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

When I think back on my life, I would not be able say that I have always been as Paul when I went through hard times and the verses above, I am still working on. But, I can look back and say God has
done great things throughout my life, as I learned in those times. I don't want my story to just be my story, but a story that shows God's amazing love!

God began to plant seeds in my heart at a young age. Being just a child, I feared hell. I was told that is where I would go if I was not good enough. Though this was not truth I was picking up, and I did not know of God's grace, I can now be thankful that this teaching got me seeking God. My prayer life really began at the age of 5 or 6 by pleading with God to help me be good enough.

As a preteen I did accept Christ and more seeds were planted and yet I still could not clearly tell you what God did in my heart after that over the next few years. I do know He kept me here, He kept me safe from many things that could have happened, and that He did not give up on me. I know there are times I felt moved by the Spirit to repent and to make apologies to others.

Yet, I did not comprehend that God loved me. I did not actually think anyone really did. (I now know I was loved) We had moved too often to make close friends and around me I mostly saw heartache. I did not believe anything good was meant to happen in my life and I still thought I had to continuously earn God's love. Sometimes I tried and sometimes I gave up. I was only 15 when I met a boy. (yes, my husband) He showed a lot of interest in me. This felt good. He bought me chocolate. Sometimes he snuck in the back door. He paid attention. I was not quite 18 when we got married. As the oldest of 12 in my family, I felt as though I was an adult. Really though , I was far from ready for marriage or the things to come in our marriage. To say we were a mess, is putting it lightly. First of all I handled many things badly. The other thing is , this boy who wanted good things for me, could not actually provide what was good at that time. He had not committed his life to Christ and spent much of his time drinking with "friends." Aside from our marriage being very difficult, we also ended up experiencing much loss. 

AJ was our First Born
We had 3 beautiful, full term babies within the first 5 years of marriage. All three boys had health issues and we lost 2 of our boys. Each loss was different. Both times we were very heart broken. Not only did we grieve for these boys, but I also saw suffering in a way I could not get over. I had many flashbacks to our last hours with our babies. As a mom, that is the most helpless I have ever felt. This took me down a very rocky path.

A note from Art (hubby): 
Looking back I do not really know what happened. Many things I do not even remember. Alcohol was just what I drowned myself in from a pretty young age. I did not feel like I would ever meet up to God's standards, so I lived carelessly. It was easier to not let myself care about much, than to worry about everything. When things got hard, I drank instead of dealt. I have very few words to explain my testimony. I have now put my trust in Jesus, as my Saviour, but have never been able to explain the events that lead to that. To this day I cannot get myself to speak in front of a crowd and I am not so sure if that is even what God wants from me. I know God still has a long way to go with me. I think maybe sometimes I am waiting for Him to finish, before I have the right to say anything. Still working that one out with God.
At this time I do not feel lead to share all the details of what happened in our marriage n'or with our
babies. I am however willing to share if someone finds encouragement through that and asks. Right now I want to instead focus on what God has done through some life experiences we have had. I also want to tell you a bit about what God has done recently.
I looked back at some poetry I had written over the years and felt embarrassed of many of them . I even wondered if I should burn my old poetry. I did decide to keep it as a reminder of how God helped me through the lonely years and overcome many things.
To sum that up, I was cast down but our loving, Heavenly Father held out His hand and lifted me up . He still did not give up on me. The Lord really is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He set me free and got me through again and again. He did allow me to go through these things for more reasons than I could see and probably more reasons than I understand today.
Since that time I have been able to relate to others that have experienced loss and have struggled with
loneliness and depression.
I also find that the road I have traveled has kept me from "following the crowd". I often do not fit the mold some think I, or we as a family should fit. It is ok for each of us to be unique as long as we are allowing God to be the potter. There was a time I would have liked to just fit in, but now see the blessings of allowing God to use me in His own way, that was just meant for me. Sometimes that will mean standing alone.

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

A few years ago God started giving me a desire to reach out in the community we live, I realized I do not know many people that live around us very well. At this time we attend a church near us and God has used the messages and worship there to renew my love for Him over and over! At the same time, I have not forgotten my roots. I have told God how I feel about all of this and keep asking Him to keep making our path straight. Just in this last month God has also brought me back to my roots in some unexpected ways. Things are not perfect along the way with other believers. To stay connected with the other believers requires much patience with one another and to forgive as our Father forgave us.

Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

All of this does not always come instantly but He is able to complete what He has started in us.
Also, God does not want us to trust opinions of man. Search what He has to say for ourselves. Challenge what we are taught with His word. In doing so, I have lost interest in many books I use to read. When doing a Bible study there is no better book to use than the Bible itself. Any books with a bunch of opinions has lead me in the wrong direction in the pass, and I am now pretty careful with books. In saying this, I also want to become more and more careful that my own opinions line up with the truth of His word. I have no desire to just be a motivational speaker but pray that God will use what I say to lead people directly to Him. This is causing me to become more and more open to correction. Something that has been on my mind that you are welcome to challenge me with is this:

I am blessed. Not because I have many earthly riches. Not because we have it all together as a family and not because everything is going my way. The poorest person on the other side of the world God has blessed. . This is why I cannot say the words God has blessed me when when He provides me with something that the person next to me may not have been given. When God gives us something, I am thankful but does this mean He has blessed me more than the person who is empty handed on this earth?

Again, I will use the example of Paul who was in prison. 

Acts 16:25 "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."

And in Philippians 4:12 he says, "I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

If we measure blessings according to what a man owns, we would have to say Paul was often not blessed even though He served God.

Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."

These are things I share as part of my story because that is part of what God is doing in my life as we
speak. I pray that God will be able to use what I have written for good and HIS GLORY.

Nancy Wall

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings
Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

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