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The story of the "prodigal son" (Luke 15:11-32) was the main theme of my church for the past several days & there is a great reason for it. See, we started a spontaneous revival last Monday night & the condition was that if one person got saved, we would go the next night & so on, until no one gets saved. Well, by God's tender grace & mercy, we've had over 200 precious souls give their life to Christ. We've also witnessed marriages & relationships restored. People are being healed, delivered, set free & most of all, “prodigal sons & daughters” are coming home!! Glory be to God!!
Well, the original purpose of this post is for me to step out of my comfort zone, be vulnerable & share my heart. So, if you'll bear with me for just a few moments, I'm going to do just that. The reason I decided to start this post off with what's been going on with my church - well, not only do I think it's awesome & deserves to be shared - but because the story of the 'prodigal son' has been weighing heavily on me lately. You see, I was once a 'prodigal daughter'. And, I promise I'm going to give you the “reader's digest” version - as my pastor likes to say. LOL!
I was 15 years old when I got saved. I had invited my friend to church one night & that evening, we both decided to get saved together. After that night, I continued going to church but the only time my bible saw the light of day was during a church service. The majority of the time it collected dust on the shelf. So, even though I understood what it meant that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I never took the time, outside of church, to develop a personal relationship with him.
My official journey into the '”far country” (Verse 13) began about 3 years later when my parents separated and I quit attending church. Then, by the time I turned 21, and was still living at home with my mom & younger brother, I started rebelling. I was going out on weekends with my co-workers, hanging out in bars to drink & sing karaoke.
It was during this time that I ended up having a “very short” affair with a co-worker who was about my dad's age. I never thought I would do such a thing, but it ended up being more “emotional” than “physical”. I was still very vulnerable & was dealing with some heavy emotions over my parent's separation & divorce that I think I was looking for another 'father figure' type.
Soon after our affair had ended, I met a guy who was a regular at the bar my co-workers & I went for karaoke. He would also later become my boyfriend with whom I'd live with for the next 7 years. Not only that, but the kicker is that I knew his mom & he knew my dad before we even met. When my dad left, he ended up staying in the same apartment building that my new boyfriend's parent's lived in. Then, about 2 years later, his mom became my trainer at my new job - the same one with the co-workers I went with to sing karaoke. Too weird.
OK, since I'm trying to write the “short” version here, I won't go into all the details of our relationship because I could literally write a book about everything that happened. But let's just say that if I thought the affair was bad enough, then that was just the tip of the iceberg. Because, not only was I entering a relationship with someone without being married (fornication), but he was also an agnostic, which means that my relationship with God would became even more distant. On a side note, I would like to make it known that even though I had become distant toward God, He never left my side. He always sent me little reminders to let me know that He was there.
By the time I finally did go back to church & saw my sinful nature reflected back at me through the mirror of the 10 commandments, I was SO ashamed. In over a 10 year period, I had pretty much broken every single one of those commands - I've lied. I've stolen. I've taken God's name in vain. I've coveted what other people had. I've also created idols of the people & things around me, consulted tarot cards (divination) & worshiped angels through new age practices. By the way, even though I'd never “officially” murdered anyone, I did have a lot of anger towards my dad & other people. Which, according to Matt 5:21-22, is akin to murder. OUCH!!
I was a complete mess. I kept thinking to myself, “how could God ever forgive me after all the things that I had done?”. It was in that moment when I completely understood what Jesus did for me (and you) on that cross. (Romans 5:7-9) And, in November of 2004, I repented of my sins, rededicated my life back to Christ & was baptized. The forgiveness & restoration that God as shown me during that time is just scratching the surface of what God's been doing in my life up until now & I hope I get the opportunity to share more of it with you soon. :)
In closing, I just wanted to say that no matter what you've done, or how far in the country you've ran, it will never be far enough that God's love can't reach. It's there for the taking. All you have to do is reach out & take His hand. If you do, I promise, that it will be the most exciting adventure of your life.
The purpose of this post is because Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience is giving readers an opportunity to win a scholarship to this years She Speaks Conference in July. She Speaks is an annual conference for speakers, writers & ministry leaders & is brought to us by the lovely women of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
"The She Speaks Conference is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God and that your heart is to serve Him and His daughters, as He leads."