Friday, April 13, 2007

my summer sistas :)

i mean seriously...most amazing girls ever...Give Him Praise! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

...and now i'm free

I still can't think about that night without getting a little teary-eyed, followed by a smile that has a mind of it's own and completely overtakes my soul--The night I fell into the arms of Jesus and became a permanent bond slave to the cross.

Louie Giglio had just preached a sermon that nearly broke my heart (in the best of ways). I'll just put a few of my notes down because I don't really know how to condense it to tell it without giving you the entire script.
*God does the work for qualifying us into the kingdom
*Our God CHOSE to make a way for us when there wasn't one--HE brought us OUT of the darkness of the 'other' kingdom (the world)
*Sin causes us to be spiritually dead; dead people can't help themselves; God did NOT have to help us because of our mistake
*God has different priorities and plans for us
*God sees something in you of such worth that He ransomed His own Son's life for it

Throughout his sermon (sorry I'm Baptist, I don't know what else to call it) he used an illustration with a rather large flower/plant (sorry, can't remember what kind) to represent Christ. He pointed us to a verse in Isaiah saying that He (meaning Christ) grew up before him like a tender shoot out of dry ground. So the whole night he is just lavishing complements on this flower as He compares it to the beauty of Christ. Then out of no where Louie whips out these big clipper things (gah this would be so much better if i actually had a large vocabulary) and just chops the plant right in two. My heart stopped. Because in THAT MOMENT I felt the same thing happen to my heart. I don't know why God chose that moment, but there it was. Everything I had kept bottled up inside since I was 12 was broken and freed the moment that plant was stripped of it's life. It's beautiful, perfect, innocent life. And then I GOT IT. I just got it. I finally internalized the meaning of what the cross had meant for me. It was the Lord's will to crush his Son and cause Him to suffer--ALL so that I, so that we, could have our sins ERASED and be reunited with Him for eternity. He did that for the sickest and the most broken people on the planet. For 22 years I have known that in my head, but it never connected with my heart. I hadn't been willing to give up myself entirely and let God in. I KNEW that's what I had to do, I knew it's what I SHOULD do--and I WANTED to--but not until that moment did I, in my heart, let it happen.

We began to sing Amazing Grace--OH those words have never sounded so sweet to me--and my legs just stood me up. I say that because I'm not usually one to feel comfortable being the only one standing out of about 50 people in an auditorium seating section. But there I was--there we were, me and Jesus. And I didn't care who else was in the room. I figure the chains must have broken off of my body in order, from my feet to my head. Because that's exactly how it happened. My legs stood up, then my torso (funny word), followed by my arms, and then my hands with fingers fully extended up to heaven. Then it started coming out of my eyeballs in the biggest tears I've ever cried in my life. I was just as broken as I knew how to be, but so filled up with the Holy Spirit I could nearly contain myself. The chorus of that song is forever planted in my heart...

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God My Savior
Has ransomed me
And like a flood
His mercy reigns
Unending love
Amazing Grace

Indeed my chains are gone. Those lies that held on to me and guided my thinking for so long have been erased from my mind. Now of course I would be an idiot to think I am somehow immune to the enemy's lies, his self-destructing nature, or his plan of failure he has laid out just for me. Quite the opposite. He's got his eye on me like never before, and is waiting at every corner to lure me back to the pit I had decorated with my most favorite things. The difference now is the day I surrendered to God, I also gave up believing I had any ability to fight my battles alone. I most certainly do not. But within me is the power of the ONE who can. CHRIST IN ME!!

Is the road easier walking in freedom? Not always. In fact, most days it is harder. But the load is lighter. The reward is greater. And the battle is already won.