Today marks the 2nd year of my restoration to the fellowship in the church. I’m so very grateful for God’s mercy and grace, for his unconditional love and His patience.
Yesterday I had the privilege of spending some quality time with an amazing sister in Christ who happens to also be one of our women\’s ministry leaders. We spoke about life, relationships, our children, and lastly, we spoke about my restoration and what I went through and learned through all of it.
There’s a story in the bible “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32) and part of it goes like this:
7 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Every time I read verse 20 tears start flowing from my eyes because that’s exactly what happened to me.
For four years I was the “prodigal daughter” who not only stopped being a part fellowship in the church, but also left God.
My weakened faith only made my sinful nature stronger and more dominant in my life. I had once again become a slave to sin (Romans 6:20). What was worse is that I fell into more sin in those four years than I ever had in my life leading up to my baptism at 18 years old!
Like the story says “and here I am starving to death!”. The prodigal son was starving-not from food, but from righteousness, from the holy spirit’s strength which had grown weaker due to the sin in his life. The same thing happened to me. I was starving. I finally felt that starvation and need for God again.
I think sometimes it has to get to that point for all of us who have left God and the fellowship of the church. No matter what excuses we may make for why we leave, there’s really one one reason why: We take our eyes off of Jesus and look away from the Cross (Hebrews 12:2).
It usually starts by reading the Word of God (our bibles) less and less and praying/relying on God less and less. It’s a process of deterioration of our faith that happens slowly, until it gets to the point where we no longer feel compelled to live for Christ, but only care to live to obey ourselves.
In the process, Satan does what he does best-he prowls around like a lion waiting to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). When the time is right, he attacks. When we are weakest he attacks. He certainly attacked me and overcame me for four years.
But you know what? Satan could NEVER do what God will not allow. You see, God gave me my free will (as he does for all of us) to choose whichever kind of life we want, but Jesus calls us to be his disciples, to live righteously (not perfectly).
God made sure that at just the right time when I finally began to feel the true weight of my sin, when I felt the starvation, HE woke me up and began giving me the food I needed to get strong again.
It began with hearing/reading His word faithfully every day. It continued with coming to church consistently and taking part in the fellowship. God helped me even more by placing some amazing women in my life to whom I owe my restored salvation: Sara, Jackie, Xiomara, and Silvia.
These were the key women that helped to guide me in becoming stronger and stronger and in helping to get my eyes fixed back on Jesus, back on the cross. I needed these women in my life. They have the Holy Spirit that guided them into helping me. I am eternally grateful.
And now, I look back at all the blessings that I truly do not deserve.
I have two healthy, beautiful, intelligent boys whom I love with all my life and who love me and need me. I have a wonderful family (mom, sisters, brother, dad) and of course I have my amazing church family. I have been blessed (almost 6 months ago) with an incredible and pure dating relationship. All of this in 2 years and I still sometimes feel like I’m dreaming.
Praise be to God for his amazing grace and unchanging love. I hope and pray for my dear friends who have also left and have not yet returned– that God will help them feel the starvation so they can seek Him once again and that He may restore their salvation and that they may enjoy the relationship with Him that cannot be compared to any other.
Psalm 51:10,12 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Amen.