Forgiveness- I knew better but chose to do it anyway
Have you ever examined yourself and seen all the ugliness that is way down inside? Well I did and it was tremendously hurtful. I thought, how in the world could I ever have done the things that I did, I knew better but I choose to do them anyway.
This self talk led me deep into questioning how God could ever forgive me.
I made the decision to accept Jesus Christ when I was 11 years old. I understood what that meant and what I was committing to. I know that I was saved because God was ever with me. I was aware of His presence and although I didn't understand what I understand today, I know that I was His child and my relationship with Him was truly parent and child. I was blessed to have christian parents and be raised in a christian home. I learned the Bible and respected it's words. Many times I veered off path and each time God smacked me back in line. I was different than others but I wanted the same things. I wanted to be popular, so I tried to act like the world and be accepted. Well let me tell you that didn't work. I actually would walk up to join friends in their group and they would be laughing and joking having a great time. Usually telling dirty jokes or the likes, and it was like when I joined them, somebody poured ice water on the group. They would stop whatever they were doing and disperse or just get quiet. All the fun was gone. For years I thought there was something wrong with me. I tried so hard to be like them and do what they were doing but was always rejected. I could be in a group of people that I didn't know, and this holds true today, somebody would say a foul word and they would immediately look directly at me and say, "excuse me, or excuse my language". I thought what is this, do I have some kind beacon light on me that flashes and says, here she is stop the party. It was literally like there was an invisible flashing light on my head. When I look at it now its a wonder that I have any self esteem at all. lol I tried very hard to conform to be like them, but regardless of how hard I tried I was still rejected. I was the most unpopular person in my high school. Really, I was. I wasn't particularly disliked I just didn't fit and I didn't understand why. I discovered the answer when I was 28 years old. I should have known but I didn't, I could not see it.
The way I discovered it was this. I went to a concession stand one morning around 6 am. I was at some function where they had a concession stand. Anyway I am not a morning person and not anything but grumpy at that time of day. I asked the lady for a cup of coffee and she looked at me and said, "My goodness, you sure are bright and happy this morning". Well I thought she was crazy because I knew I wasn't bright and happy at that time of day but I didn't say anything. I gave her the money for the coffee and when she gave me the change her hand touched mine and she jumped back threw her hand in the air and said" Oh my goodness now I know why you are so bright and happy, you are a Christian". Let me tell ya now, I really thought she was some kind of nut at this point. I just looked at her and then said, "How do you know that I am a Christian"? I knew that I wore no jewelry that would indicate my faith and there was nothing on my clothes that would indicate either. She answered me with, "because you have the Holy Spirit all over you and it just got all over me." lol This was funny and the reason being is that I was raised Presbyterian and knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. I really thought she was crazy now, but it got my attention and sparked my curiosity. I thought about it for a while and went back to her and told her I wanted to talk to her when she took a break. We talked later and I asked her about how she knew I was a Christian. She explained as best she could how the Holy had moved on her, then she said, I have a scripture verse for you, and she gave me Mathew 5:16 which says,"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Bingo, Light, there was my answer, I did have a light and didn't even know it. I began to put things together like when light enters the darkness has to flea. That changed completely the way I thought of myself. Instead of disliking the way I was I began to rather enjoy using the light and became very bold. The devil didn't like that at all but again I wasn't prepared for what he would throw at me, but I learned and am still learning. Praise the Lord for still learning.
As the years went by my walk with the Lord increased and my knowledge grew but also the battles increased and attacks came. I lost a lot of battles and wandered away but never very far. I found myself in the middle of situations that I didn't intend to be in, but there I was in the middle of something that was wrong and like the title of this says I knew better but did it anyway. I stayed on my knees repenting. Over and over I had to repent. Not for the same thing it was always something different but never the less it was sin.
God used me to accomplish many things. I saw His hand move in miraculous ways. There were very few things that I could take credit for, because they were things that were impossible without God doing it. I was just the vessel that He used and is still using.
I was successful in my endeavors in life. That was because I listened to that still small voice that led me. When I listened to that voice and acted on it, things worked. When I didn't listen I ended up having to repent and seek forgiveness.
I had learned many lessons, many lessons about listening to His voice. Then when the economy went bad a few years ago, fear came, and I didn't listen, and chose to trust myself rather than listen to Him.
Well, He took me straight to failure and economic loss and the lowest time I have ever known in my whole life. Yes He led me into it, and let me fall. I fell hard and fast into an empty pool head first. But He is faithful, and as Romans 8:28 says,"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose."
When fear came into the picture human reason and logic came in also. I made a business decision to involve my self with people that I should not have, people that He told me not to join. Well I didn't listen. I prayed about it and pushed His answer aside and made my own choice. It was logical and sensible, but I didn't pay attention to that still small voice that said,"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." That scripture not only relates to marriage but relates to business dealings also. That was the scripture He gave me but I pushed it aside. I knew the scriptures say, My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts, but instead of listening to Him I made the choice to follow logic.
Everything went really good for a year it looked great. I was thankful, and prayed about everything, I followed His leading in everything I did. I was confident that He was leading me and that I was trusting Him. Well, I was trusting Him at this point, but I had not listened to Him in the beginnign when I had chosen to follow logic instead of doing what He had said. When the business failed and I suffered such loss, I was devastated because I couldn't for anything figure out what happened. I had forgotten that I made my choice in the first place and then started listening to Him. I had left Him out of the first decision I made which was the wrong one.
God has to have a sense of humor. I know He was watching me and all the while laughing at me being so dumb as to miss the whole thing. The devil was in there too saying, Oh Boy, I got her now and He almost did. I kept asking God what I did wrong, where had I gone wrong. I said "Lord I trusted you, You told me to do such and such." He didn't answer those questions. He was quiet. The only thing He said to me was, "don't ever doubt". That is all I heard from Him for some time. I heard a bunch from the devil. He was real talkative and kept telling me to give up what I believed. He told me I had been fooled all this time thinking God was leading me. He told me I was not saved, that God couldn't forgive me. He said to me, "Just look at all the things you have done in your life do you think God can forgive you for all that?" Well, I began to think and question if God had forgiven me. I thought, how in the world could he forgive me when I had known better than to do the things I had done in my life and yet I did it anyway. Now this kind of thinking will get you into trouble and lead you into despair and make you feel like everything is hopeless. It is a terrible state to be in. God began again to speak to me and tell me everything was alright. I prayed and prayed, I searched and searched, repented and repented. I repented for things that I don't really think I did but just to be safe I repented lol. Then God spoke the magic words, He said, "I forgave you when you asked, now you have to forgive yourself." That was it boy was that it. I had finally learned the lesson that He wanted me to learn. I had not forgiven myself and the devil was having a hay day with it.
So simple yet so complicated. I was carrying guilt that I didn't need to carry. God had already put it in the sea of forgetfulness but I kept dragging it out.
This was a hard lesson to learn but the joy of the Lord returned and I am off to the next step of life and this time I will be more careful not to trust in self and be ever mindful of listening to His voice.
If any of you are going through a battle similar to mine, be sure to check and see if you are carrying guilt that you don't need to carry. The devil will use it against you and can cause you to believe a lie. We must all be so mindful of his tricks and learn to listen to God and believe Him, and His Word. His Word is truth. In the end times, which I believe we are living in, it is going to be very hard to live the Christian life so we need to pray for one another and encourage when ever we have opportunity. Jesus is the only thing we have so keep Him lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him. They may not all come but He will draw them.
I pray my words made sense and that I was not rambling. This writing is new to me. Sometimes my mind runs faster than my fingers. I hope it blessed somebody.