Everyone has their own life-story. Each one is unique to the next. I want to tell you my story of love, grace and truth. Have you ever believed in something and realized later someone hadn’t painted the whole picture for you? That was me.
When I was twelve years old, I was at a kid’s summer camp in Nova Scotia. I loved going to camp. To this day, I can walk into any summer camp and feel like I have walked into my own home.
This particular week- my life would change.
I was attending a Bible camp. We had chapel each day, and someone would tell us a story from the Bible. But one night a preacher spoke of hell, fire, and brimstone. I went to bed and laid in my sleeping bag on the top bunk with fear and trembling at the thought of going to hell because I knew I was a horrible sinner.
The next day, I found the preacher in the dining hall and told him I was scared and needed to have Jesus in my heart so I could get into heaven. He led me in the sinner’s prayer crouched in the corner of the hall.
I went on to have a relationship with Jesus that was one of mistrust, hate, and at times, loathing the mean God that I thought he was.
I didn’t come to Jesus because I loved him or thought he loved me, I came so I wouldn’t go to hell.
Over the years I saw and heard of other people coming to Christ the same way. But many of them fell by the wayside, and their faith was like that in Matthew 13: 3.
I wondered if their reason for coming to Christ had been the same as mine…fear. When seeds are planted with fear, they don’t have enough nutrients to grow a healthy relationship.
People at times have said that in our modern day and times, we are preaching too much love and grace. As a child who started a relationship with God out of complete fear, I couldn’t disagree more.
My personal walk with God didn’t start to blossom and grow until there was a deep soil; which was rich in love and grace, planted in my soul.
That is when my garden of faith began to flourish.
I had rarely heard of how much God loved me, was delighted with me, wanted to walk along the stormy-seashore of life with me, desired to dance with me, laugh with me and loved me wholeheartedly.
Maybe I DID hear it, but it didn’t sink in.
I was married, with a hurting relationship, when God finally began to water my very dry, cracked, and almost dead heart.
God chose to show me his love through my husband.
Recently Vance said to me, “Cindy since you wrote your book and started your blog, you have so much more confidence when talking to people.”
I was delighted my husband had noticed the change in me because I felt it too. For a week, I thought about what Vance said. I turned it over in my mind and studied those words. I knew I had changed in many ways for the better, but I also knew it wasn’t the book or blog.
My confidence had grown when I had finally felt truly loved by God.
The hell, fire, and brimstone images had been chipped away, and I saw my heavenly father in his glorious white robe sitting in his throne room. He would look down and smile at me as his white hair and beard glowed, and his eyes shone in beautiful, illuminating light. He would hold out his arms to me, and I would climb his pearly robe till I reached his knee and there I would sit, and he was absolutely delighted I was there.
This was when my life changed.
I used to see him with a big stick, ready to beat me, when I arrived at the pearly gates. I know God’s heart was utterly broken knowing I thought of him in such a way. But I had heard plenty about God’s wrath and anger.
You may be wondering how my thoughts of God changed? My husband, the leading man in my life and the one I very much thought represented God to me, began to truly love me. Vance started serving me in little and big ways daily and sacrificed what he wanted so I could have what I needed.
My husband wears his leadership lightly and gently. He is a benevolent husband and father. He doesn’t manipulate, control, guilt or bully.
Vance wasn’t always this kind and gracious leader, in case you think I’m painting him to be a saint. He will be the first to tell you he has many regrets. I had to live with him as a very selfish man for many years. Then God poured a rich abundance of love into Vance’s heart and transformed him in a way that made him almost unrecognizable to me.
There was no wrath, big stick, yelling or punishment. God gently, and with great care overhauled my husband’s life and it affected my heart.
My bitterness and hate towards God slowly chipped away.
As my husband loved me, I allowed God to love me. They went hand in hand.
Some people feel called to preach hell, fire and brimstone. I feel a deep calling to share God’s love, grace and acceptance with people.
When people realize God loves them, sent his Son to die for them, and ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins, they have a rich layer of soil in their heart that can grow seeds of love and grace- that they can share with others.
Coming to God because you realize he loves you instead of out of fear of hell- will help you build a lasting relationship with a loving God- rather than a shallow knowledge of thinking you escaped death.
God wants to love you and be loved by you. He desires for you to trust him and commit your life to the Lamb who laid down his life for you. Your Heavenly Father wants to carry you through every moment of your life, good or bad.
Yes, hell is very real, but heaven is even more real. God desires that everyone goes to heaven, it’s your choice. Jesus is a gentleman who knocks at the door of your heart and won’t force himself in. No matter how disgusting or dirty your heart looks, he comes knocking. Any entry that opens, he walks through, and transforms that heart; if the person is willing.
God transforms. Makes new. Breaths life. Restores marriages. Returns prodigals. Loves sinners.
Every human, no matter race and gender, young or old, no matter your sins (great or small), are invited to open their heart’s door to him.
Today, Jesus is knocking on your door. He is ready to make you his child and transform your life. He will do all the grand workings. Jesus only asks that you seek his forgiveness and give your life over to him.
When I read this writing from Max Lucado’s book, Everyday Blessings, my heart gave a sigh, I understood completely what Max was saying to me:
- visit Max Lucado’s website click: HERE
My Story of Love Grace and Truth
God has done all of the above in my own life, and I am a witness to that. I can’t hold back this gift he’s given me and keep it all to myself. I feel the need to share it with others who are hurting, lonely and hopeless.
My writing cannot do justice to God’s heart for you. He would move HEAVEN and EARTH to have you love him. He is the creator, yet has a deep longing to be loved by his creation. People reject him daily, yet he keeps seeking to woo them with his tender mercies.
Today is your day to let him crack your tough exterior and pour his grace and mercy into your life and transform you into something even you don’t recognize. Maybe someone painted God out to be cruel, mean and degrading in your mind. God wants you to see the original painting.
I don’t regret my decision, at age twelve, I made at Bible camp. I started a journey that day to find God, but he knew where I was all along. He carried me through some horrible years and waited for me to seek him and his precious love for me.
That is what is called AMAZING GRACE💗
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.
Lyrics by John Newton