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made new

So, maybe my question on Friday was too deep? Hopefully you are still just thinking about it because I definitely want to hear about God’s changing work in your life.

He has definitely changed me. And I am so, so grateful for that. As I began reading through Genesis, I loved thinking about the fact that the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit who were doing a creative, life-giving work creating the world is the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit who have done a creative, life-giving work in my life.

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I became a new creation in fifth grade. I had grown up going to church but not feeling like I really heard and understood the gospel. The Bible was just a book of stories to me and church was just a part of our weekly routine. My family moved the summer before I started fourth grade and that fall I began attending a Christian school. I was blessed with the most wonderful fourth and fifth grade teachers who showed me what it looked like to have a vibrant relationship with the Lord. One day as I was sitting in my fifth grade classroom my teacher held up the Bible and basically told us that it was a meaningless book unless we understood and believed the gospel. She told us that we couldn’t just inherit our salvation from our parents or earn our salvation on our own and proceeded to drop the Bible in a nearby trashcan to make her point. That really made an impression on my little “rule following” brain as the Holy Spirit began drawing me to Himself. That night as I laid in bed alone I replayed that scene in my head over and over. That same night I decided that I was a sinner who needed a Savior and I wanted to follow Jesus.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

And that was just the beginning. God not only gave me a new heart and a new spirit, but He has been making me new ever since.

I moved two more times throughout junior high and high school. Moving and going through the changes of a new home, new school, and new friends helped me to understand that though my circumstances might be constantly changing, God never does. He used that time to help me find my identity in Him.

In college I saw people around me who had a vibrant relationship with God. They were excited about what He was teaching them through His Word and were applying it to their lives as they made decisions for the future. It was in college that I learned how to study the Word and the importance of daily time with the Lord.

And then Cora died. If we were marking this journey of change with remembering stones this part of my journey would be represented by a huge boulder. I felt like my world had been turned completely upside down. And it was at this point in my life when I had to decide if I really believed what I had always said I believed. If I’m honest, trusting God through those initial weeks after Cora’s death was hard for me to grasp. The only thing I could make sense of was this: I had to decide if I was going to follow Him and stand firm on Truth even when I didn’t understand what He was doing in my life…or I had to turn my back on Him. The only light, the only hope I could see through my pain was in Jesus. So I chose to trudge through my grief and cling to Him. I bathed myself in God’s Word and it was through that bathing I learned that I couldn’t trust in my emotions but had to stand firm on God’s truth even when I wasn’t “feeling” it. Through studying God’s Word I began to understand God’s character and how He fit in with my circumstances. I realized that my view of God was very warped and that needed to change! All the names we read about God in the Bible, I experienced in my own life: my Rock, my Comforter, my Redeemer, the Giver of true peace, good, unchanging, and truly ALL I NEED. Cora’s death gave me a longing for eternity and a new passion to follow hard after God in this painful world. I found hope and peace in a God who encourages us to take heart in this world full of trouble because He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Sometimes I feel like I could stop there. But my heart resonates with what Nancy shared in our study this past week.

“I don’t want to depend on yesterday’s fresh experiences with him. I want there to be an ongoing freshness in my walk with him (p52).”

I want that too. I don’t want this changing work in my life to culminate with Cora’s story. I don’t want to be satisfied to stop there.

So where am I at today? I feel like God has been changing me lately through His Word as I seek Him in my role as a mom. I am slowly learning what it means to be humble as I experience humility on a daily basis with my kids. I can’t do this parenting thing alone. I mess up all. the. time. He is reminding me again of my dependence on Him when so often I am tempted to let busyness crowd out what is important. How important it is for me as a mom to be disciplined with my time in the Word and in prayer even though I definitely have to be creative in how I make that time happen during this season of life. He is teaching me what a servant looks like as I choose to serve my husband and kids when so often I would rather be selfish.

I probably could go on and on but those are the highlights. As I wait for the rest of my story to unfold I long for the day when Jesus will return to make all things new and complete the work He has started in me.

Now it is your turn. You don’t have to take time to tell me your whole story (unless you want to!) but I would love to hear just a piece of God’s changing work in your life!

Head over to Breezy Acres Farm to read Julie’s post about how God is refining her as a mom.

  • Mary Ann - It is amazing to hear about your journey toward God. I have always said, it is easy to love God when things are going well. But when they aren’t, that is when our faith and trust is tested the most. I know it does not compare with losing your beautiful daughter but when my darling husband, then my sweet father, and finally my beloved mother passed away in the space of 7 months, I thought I could not keep going on, my world had ended. But then….I realized I had to keep going and that life goes on and that He loved me because he put so many of his tender mercies in my path to help light the way. Angels were on my left and on my right to help lift me up. I think my job now is to keep trying my very best to do what I know is right and to be the best person I can be so that when I see those wonderful people again, I can tell them how my life turned out. Plus I have to tell them all about my cute little grandson Braxton. Keep going Jess, and being an example to many of us. I admire you from afar in Salt Lake City, Utah.ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - We are finally breathing a sigh of relief after a difficult health issue with my son. As the burden lessens I can feel myself relying less on His strength to see me through each day. I need to be desperate for Him with or without a desperate situation. That is what God is working in me lately. Have you heard the song, Clear The Stage by Jimmy Needham- it’s so powerful? I know what I need to do, I just need to commit and follow through on it. Thank you for always being so transparent. Thank you for sharing your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle from Australia - My daughter is 10 today. And it is 10 years since I learned about the fragility of life. My 4lbs premmie baby that BATTLED to live for the first few weeks of her life. And during that time, we had ‘THAT’ talk with Doctors a few times. If this doesn’t work then we are out of options type talk.

    I learned then that what I EXPECTED in life and what God had in store for me were two very different things. I sat beside Georgia’s humidicrib and BEGGED God to let my daughter live. And he did.

    I vowed that if He let her live, I would devote my life to helping her be the best Georgia she could be. We had no idea at that time that she would be physically and intellectually disabled. But she walks, skips, runs, talks, writes a little and is learning to read. And hasn’t God shown us what is possible with miracles.

    My son has autism. Two kids, two kids with special needs. Life is not what I expected. AT ALL. But life is what God had planned out for me and I am grateful that I am the Mum of these special gifts. He sent them to us to be the best parents we can be. And that is what we are doing. Day by day. One step at a time.ReplyCancel

  • Erica G - I definitely plan to answer, but I have had very little computer time. Thank you for sharing your story here.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Ack! I’m sorry I’m just catching up on last week’s lesson.
    You know, I struggle with this question. When I lost Annie, my daughter, I knew it was the BIG THING. I didn’t question that God was changing me and that this was a big moment in my life. But now, almost 4 years later, it’s harder to define how God is changing me, since it’s not the big-life-screaming-change that I experienced before. It takes me a little more reflection and thought. Does that make sense? All that to say, I think God is still refining me. When I started to pray for empathy a few months ago, I had no idea how he would break my heart for others around me. He has been opening my eyes to those around me who seem to be okay on the surface, but are so desperate for Jesus. In turn, He’s been teaching me that I am just the same. . . . my need for Him is so deep, whether in desperate, drowning grief, or in new-normal, everyday life. Figuring out how to rely on Him during these two different stages in my life has been tricky and even confusing at times, but I’m (slowly) learning that He’s not disappointed in me when I feel like I’m failing, He still loves me for who I am, and I can still rest in the same promises today.ReplyCancel

  • Deb - I’m a little behind this week too. Sorry!
    God has shown me that in the past I didn’t fully depend on Him. I can see now that I had become very self-sufficient… independent of needing Him if you will. The first time this became clear to me was when I told my sister that I didn’t know how to “fix” things after my son, Nathan, passed away. It was obvious that there was no “fixing” it at all. Over the past two years I have come to realize how much I truly need God and that I had become a “luke-warm” Christian. Yuck! I have a lot of growing yet to do and am grateful that I serve a God will help me along the way.ReplyCancel