Saturday, July 16, 2011
Learning to Surrender
When I was five years old my mom asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my heart and give me salvation. I prayed for Jesus to save me from my sin and then I was baptized. I understood that I was a sinner and that Jesus died on the cross to save me and that I couldn't get to heaven without Him. I understood it as well as a five year old little girl could.
I learned more about God as I got older. But I also did some stuff that I'm not proud of. I didn't feel conviction over it at the time, I just did it.
When I was ten years old I became really convicted. It wasn't from a sermon, a book, conversation or anything like that. I simply believe it was the Holy Spirit. The guilt I felt from my sin really gripped me. I had anguish. I had a hard time thinking of anything else but my sin. Even though I was only ten I knew it was displeasing to God. I asked for forgivness. I told my mom everything, that was the first time I had a "spill your guts"conversation, I've had many more since then! haha
One morning I was in tears. My mom found me and asked what was wrong. I explained what I had done and I asked her to forgive me. She did and she told me that God would forgive me too. When I asked for His forgiveness I felt a sense of peace that I can honestly say was the best feeling I've ever experienced. I just felt God's love in a way that I had never felt before. I felt true joy.
During this time I went through a lot of changes...preadolesence. It was a really difficult time. But it was then that I believe I was regenerated, that my faith became my own and not just knowledge that I had been taught. These were beliefs that I believed not because my parents told me they were true but because I truly believed that they were. I had a lot of questions concerning the basis of Christianity. Was God real? Was I really saved? Was I going to heaven when I died?
It was tough. But it was a big growing experience for me. He answered my questions through His word and through a lot of talks with my mom.
Once when I was questioning whether God truly was real. I read a chapter in Psalms that I place my full faith in.
God is my refuge and strength
A very present help in trouble
Therefore, we will not fear
Even though the earth be removed
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
Though the waters roar and be troubled
Though the mountains shake with its swelling
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God
The Holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High
God is in the midst of her,
She shall not be moved
God shall help her
Just at the break of dawn
The nations raged
The kingdoms were moved
He uttered His voice
The earth melted
The Lord of Hosts is with us
The God of Jacob is our refuge
Come, behold the works of the Lord
Who has made desolations in the earth
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two
He burns the chariot in the fire
Be still and know that I am God
I will be exalted in the heavens
I will be exalted in the earth
The Lord of Hosts is with us
The God of Jacob is our refuge
Be still and know that I AM GOD. It's one of my favorite verses, one of my favorite lines.
During that time the Holy Spirit really gave me regeneration. How do I know? Because before that I didn't have conviction when I sinned. I didn't feel sorry for it. I felt sorry that I had been found out. But the sin that had been so attractive now became disgusting to me. I couldn't stand it. I felt very ashamed of it. But Christ redeemed me. I'm clothed in His righteousness. I'm so thankful. It's nothing that I've done. We're helpless on our own. But now my past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
There have been times when the "old man has risen up within me." I've sinned, I've been selfish, prideful, full of the flesh but He always convicts me. He shows me my sins and when I confess He forgives. Through Him we have victory.
That was a major turning point in my life.
When I was fifteen I heard a sermon on sharing your testimony. I started to think about my own. I began to wonder whether or not my baptism at five was genuine. I didn't feel conviction of my sins when I was five. I was a very little girl at the time! :) I wanted to nail it down. I had really faught and stuggled with it before and I felt that God wanted me to do it. Not because I had just become a Christian but because I had begun to live like a Christian. For a month I deliberated on whether or not to be baptized again. Not because baptism saves you, baptism is only an outward symbol of what God has done in your life; that you've given your life to Him.
I finally decided that I would. I was scared. But I did it because I wanted to obey what I truly felt God was telling me to do. When I finally gave it over to God I felt peace about it. It was hard. When I was baptized I wore my "Do Hard Things" shirt ecause it was one of the hardest things I've ever done! I don't like being up in front of lots and lots of people unless I'm doing ballet. Weird but true.
We moved from Georgia to a new state and a new church. This was really different from what I had been used to. I learned about true surrender of life. To be poured out for God. To tell you the truth it scared me a bit! :) What was God going to want me to do? I think I was most scared of giving up my dreams and goals. I'm a very goal oriented person. I set a goal for myself and I do everything in my power to reach it. My dream had been to be a dancer. I wanted to start a ballet company and travel. Farfetched I know but that's what I dreamed of. I also had fears of having to do things that would cause me to be humiliated. God's really changed my heart on that. As Christians we're supposed to do things that others might think are strange. And sometimes the real Christian life appears strange to other "Christians." If we live like true Christians we WILL have people call us fools.
But in the words of Brother Andrew, "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?" Who cares what people think? Live for an audiance of One.
Say what you mean,
Mean what you say,
Those who mind don't matter
And those who matter don't mind.
Little by little God began to change me. I read "Radical" by David Platt and "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. It shed some light on what I had been thinking about. Our church has played a major part in my change of heart. I want to live sold out for Jesus!
I realized that I hadn't truly surrendered my life to the Lord. I still held on to my passions, my pursuits, dreams, and goals. I was scared to let go of them. Up to that point my focus was on becoming a professional dancer. I worked for hours. I lost toe nails and almost suffered heat stroke! :D All for that goal.
But I want to give them to the Lord. I think that in the back of my mind I had been thinking, "Is this really all I'm going to live for? Dance is a very small thing to spend your life on."
I've come to the realization that the life well lived isn't about having fame. It's about living to glorify God in everything you say, do, and think. Its about winning souls for Him.
So I've surrendered it all to Jesus Christ my Lord. He has everything that I need. If He wishes me to be a dancer so be it. If not He has something much greater in store. He has my life. When I'm scared He'll give me courage and when I'm weak He'll give me strength.
That's my journey so far, that's how I became a Christian. It's not one of those thrilling testimones but I like what Alex and Brett Harris have to say on the subject of becoming a Christian at a young age, "God saved us from a life of sex, drugs, and violence at the age of six." God has all different ways of leading His children to Him. We all have sinned and we all are in desperate need of Him no matter our age and no matter what we've done.
One of my heros is John Newton, the author of my all time favorite song, "Amazing Grace".
"All I know is that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour."
It's been a process for me. Right now God's been teaching me about the Holy Spirit. About taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. About being a witness in a secular enviornment. Showing me how to trust Him and step out in faith--even when it's totally out of my comfort zone.
I thought long and hard about a blog name. My mom suggested Learning2Surrender. I liked it so that's what I used. Since I created the blog back at the beginning of the year I've learned so much. God has been teaching some lessons, some have been pretty hard to learn! :) So I've really had to make a conscious effort to surrender everything to Him. Its not always a one time lay it down and it's no longer a problem. Some things you have to work on letting go of.
So I want to spend each and everyday learning to surrender. It's been a process, it still is, but it's an adventure and I can't wait to find out what happens next. ~