Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"I could feel God's forgiveness."

This is from a journal entry and Xanga blog post from January 2006...the day I accepted Christ as my Savior.

January 4, 2006

The message was extremely convicting, which is good. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
1 John 1: 5-10:
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives."

This passage explains exactly what I've done, and even gives a solution for those who need it, like me. It felt like, after I read it and compared it to myself, it was written about me, for me. So cool. So after the message, those of us who were still dwelling in sin but wanted to make things right with God were encouraged to remain seated, in prayer, and then to talk to a staff person about our problem and let them pray for us.

Honestly, I thought about just getting up, leaving with everyone else and healing on my own, but my heart was so heavy I couldn't rise from my seat. As I sat there, praying, I could feel the beating of my heart pick up speed. Tears formed in my eyes but didn't fall. I silently poured out my anguished heart, not caring how the words sounded or what order they came out in. With my eyes closed, I blocked out the worries I'd had about what others would think about me sitting there and focused everything I had on God. I prayed for what seemed like forever, until I had emptied my mind of words to describe my repentance and longing. After about 10 minutes, I picked up my head and blinked away the tears. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the staff members come up beside me. She introduced herself as Sonya Quiet. I told her my name and she asked what was on my heart.

"What did you tell God tonight?"
"A lot," I answered, and between tears, I explained it all. "I've been living a double life, and I want to make it right with God. I'm tired of wearing a mask."
"Would you like me to pray for you?"
I nodded. "Yes."
We bowed our heads, closed our eyes, and she put her arms around me as she prayed.
When she finished, I could feel the burden had lifted. My heart felt lighter, and a sense of peace and comfort washed over me.

I could feel God's forgiveness. I could feel, in my soul, in my mind, that He had forgiven me. Before, I had doubted. I'd been blinded by lies that kept me from believing there was hope for me. Finally, my mind and my soul were cleansed of the guilt and shame that had been weighing me down. The mask has been removed. To be a light for Christ, I have to be genuine.
And now I am.
I am free.

"If You Want To Follow Me, Turn Around."

Yesterday I was reminded of how God called me to Himself through a dream. Some of you have no idea what this dream was like. Well, here it is.

There was this huge room, with a big table in the middle of it and hundreds of chairs around it. All these people, both friends and strangers, were sitting at the table talking to each other. I was sitting at it, too, and I could see a man walking around the table behind everyone, and tapping them on the shoulder to get their attention. Every time he tapped someone, they got up and followed him out of the room.

Pretty soon, it was my turn. He tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned around, I knew who he was. It was Jesus, and He said, "Come with Me." I followed Him out of the room and He transported me to an abandoned warehouse-type building that was (oddly enough) built on a beach. We went inside, and He stopped there in the middle of the room, facing the door. I stopped in front of Him, facing the back of the building.

Then my focus turned downward, to both of our bare feet, and He simply told me, "If you want to follow Me, turn around." Then He made me put my feet on His so that I'd face the other way (the way He was facing). Then, the dirt floor became the sandy beach, and I was left standing in His footprints.

Looking back, I can see how God was calling me out of my life of sin and darkness. I'd been living a double life: wearing a mask of happiness to hide the anger and bitterness I had pent up inside me - anger and bitterness that was pointed at God. But God...BUT GOD...in His great love and mercy and patience and grace reached down into my mind and showed me that - if I truly had the desire to live for Him - I needed to turn my life around...that I needed to turn and walk in the opposite direction. He met me in a personalized dream. He used my favorite landscape as the setting (the beach). He used a very simple illustration to make everything clear (turning me around to stand in His footprints). He spoke to me in my mind...not through some outer force...so that my attention would be turned inward, to my soul so that I could see how backward I was.

(Thinking back on it, I should make it clear that I did not actually see His face in the dream. I couldn't make out any features, such as bone structure, eye color, hair color, etc. It was as if, when I looked up at Him, that His face was just a bright light, all white, and when I "realized" who He was, it was as if the sense just came over me and I knew - "This is Jesus.")