Set Free by the Grace of God
On March 12, 2010, The Lord made a significant change in my life. When I was at the darkest place in my life, living with complete hopelessness, the Lord did something that I thought was impossible; He gave me a hope when there was no hope, He gave me peace when I was covered in anger, bitterness, and self-pity. The Lord gave me grace when I deserved judgment. Ezra 9:8 says:
And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
The freedom that I received had already taken place at the cross, but it was my decision to allow that manifestation to overtake me. The Lord gives us the choice to live our life in our own will, or to allow Him to provide that will for us. He already has a set plan and destiny for us, but He gives us the freedom to make the decision of living our life for ourselves or for Him.
I accepted the Lord as my Christ and Savior at the age of 6, and I always loved the Lord and believed in the word. However, at the age of 15 I was in an automobile accident that was very minor at the time. After the accident I began having severe back problems that led to years of physical therapy, injections, and weekly visits at the chiropractor. At the age of 18 I had my first surgery that provided a few years of comfort. I went on with college and work, but when I was 20 I had an experience with an evil spirit.
I was aware of the demonic realm, but never really took seriously the affect it can have on someone not living for Christ. I began to experience more health problems after that day. I experience jaw problems, stomach problems, and began to have back problems again. I was in considerable pain and discomfort everyday.
When I returned to the doctor they told me the disc had become herniated. A few months later I had my second back surgery, which was not a success. Six months later, after my third surgery, I became very angry and bitter. I did not understand why I had to be going through this pain. I began to blame everyone around me including the doctors, and even Jesus. I did not want help from anyone; I wanted to have self-pity because my thoughts were that no one knew what I was going through.
I was smothering with anger, depression, and complete hopelessness. I had allowed the enemy to fill my thoughts and ways with sin. I began to turn to things of this world to cover my pain. I became oblivious to what I was allowing to enter my soul, and did not even realize the damage that I was bringing on myself. I became addicted to prescription medication; the only thing I wanted was to be numb from the pain I was experiencing.
I was trying to hide my problems with the drugs, when in reality I was causing my problems to grow. I had become someone I knew I was not; I became what I think was like a silent zombie. I had no conscience, no emotion, no care, and no hope. I was as far away from the Lord as one could be, completely living in darkness. I was so hopeless that I would tell the Lord take me now, if this is how I am going to have to live for the rest of my life then take me now. I felt I had no reason for living, no purpose, because I was so blinded by the lies of the enemy.
For years I would go back and forth between Mississippi and Alabama. I would begin to get things in order with my life, and as soon as I started pulling things together the enemy would suck me back into my old ways. However March of last year my sister was getting married, and I knew that something had to change or else I could lose my life.
The night after Annah’s wedding the Lord gave me a dream where Annah was speaking to an angel. The angel told her that I was going to have one more fall, but that she had the choice to give me a second chance or to end it right there. She told the angel I want her to have another chance so I can see her shine as bright as the morning star. At that moment I did not know what that term meant. I did not think that fall would have been 3 days later, but I am thankful that it happened when it did and that it was revealed and dealt with at that moment.
On March 12 my dad sat me down and told me that I had to make a choice; that I could not live like that anymore. I had been hearing my family and friends telling me this for years, but at the moment when I looked into my dad’s eyes I saw the pain that I was not only causing him but that I was causing my Father in heaven as well. At that moment I like to think of it as I got my heart back.
The Lord shattered the coldness that had been built up around my heart. I made my decision right then that I knew if I continued going the way I was that it would soon lead to misery or death. I said to the Lord, “Lord, I am done living my life in my own will and way, I cannot do this on my own, I give you my life.”
That is all it took for me to say, because that freedom had already happened at Calvary, it was just me agreeing with that and having the faith to receive that healing. That day the Lord healed me of all pain and sickness. Every ulcer in my mouth and stomach was healed. The pain that I had been experiencing for 8 years was completely gone, and has been since that day; and since the Lord is so good He also healed me of allergies that I had since I was a little girl just because He loves me so.
He delivered me from every addiction that I was living in; I did not even experience withdrawals, nor did I have one urge from that moment to ever take pills again. I received the freedom that took place when the Lord sacrificed Himself for us. Even when we mock and abuse and blame the Lord, He still loves us and waits for us, never turning His back on us.
We tend to blame the Lord for the trials of this world, but the Lord wants to face the trials for us. We do not have to wait until we get to heaven to have everlasting life, we can have it now if we will just allow the Lord to crucify us with Him. We are to be Christ-like and have the power because of His blood to overcome the sins of this world. 1 Peter 4:1-2 states:
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil desires but rather for the will of God.
After this Sunday afternoon I would lock myself away in my room and fellowship with the Lord. I was getting to know the Lord all over again, I was so hungry for Him and finding the truth that comes from Him. I began to deal with the issues that I had been hiding around with sins of this world. The Lord was so gracious with me; it was hard but also very easy at the same time because I had Jesus to help me. He comforted me with His presence and love.
I would sit in my room for hours and read the bible and other books. I received a desire to read, which I struggled with all during my school years. The first book I read was my dad’s, Thrones of Our Souls, and it was as if that book was written just for me because every day the Lord would reveal an issue I had and would help me overcome it. The Lord then blessed me with such an amazing opportunity to travel all over the world this past year. The Lord had me on such an acceleration of redemption. Joel 2:25 says:
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
This is what the Lord has done and is still doing in me. He allowed the enemy to plunder my life, and He saw me make that wrong decision before I was even born; but God made a way for me. Even though I had years stolen from me, the Lord has redeemed those years within months. I have gained so much strength and confidence in who I am in Christ that the enemy would have been better off to leave me alone.
I thank the Lord every day for the life that He has given me, for the healing and the sacrifice He made for us. The Lord has given me true happiness; He has showed me what true love feels like. God is love; He is the love that sacrificed Himself for us even when we hated Him. He laid down His life for us even when we blamed Him for the trials of this world.
We are always going to face the things of this world, but I now do it with a different perspective, I see it from another view. I see it with hope and love for His people. I now have a reason to live, and that reason is to see Jesus receive the fullness of His reward for that sacrifice. As tough as situations may get, and as hard as things may seem, they are never to be big nor too small for Jesus. I have found such peace in Him every day.
The Lord blessed me with an opportunity to go to Africa this summer. That experience was me stepping out on my own and experiencing the love God has for us. When I went to Africa I knew that I was going to see things that would change my life forever, and I did; but the love I experienced there is what really changed my heart.
These African people who have nothing; no water, no electricity, no TV’s, internet, or phones, all they have are their relationship with Jesus. They were the happiest, most joyful people I have ever been around. They were not drenched with the things of this world, but they were filled with the joy of the Lord. It is such a sobering thing to experience. When I returned home I was in complete shock, to go from having nothing of this world to only things of this world was difficult to work through. That is when we have to find that place in Christ where we are always in His presence, to not allow distractions into us, to put our complete focus on the Lord. We are to completely yield ourselves to Him and made to be like Him.
Pastor Steven Shelley said something that has been glued to my spirit. He said that our identity is to be the reflection of His character, power, and image. That is my daily prayer, to love like He loves, to think like He thinks, to speak like He speaks. It is our decision how we live our life. The destiny of our life has already been written, but it is our choice to come into agreement with the Lord and allow Him to occupy us so that the destiny He has for us can be fulfilled.
My prayer now is that people who are smothering in addictions, hopelessness, depression, anger, bitterness, pain, self-pity, and all the lies from the enemy can experience the presence of the Lord the way I did. Just one moment with Him, one touch from Him can change your life forever. One encounter with God and I have never been the same.
It is my desire to bring hope to those who feel that they have lost it all. I went through 8 years of feeling like things were only going to get worse, to now everyday knowing that things are only going to get better. Every day I grow more in the Lord, and I experience more of His love. There is no reason to feel such emptiness when the Lord has already taken that pain from us. He made that sacrifice for us so that we could experience everlasting life, here, now on earth.. We just have to believe in Him and have the faith to know it is done. The victory has been won; the freedom is there for us to embrace. Revelation 12:11 says:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
That is my prayer today that the people of this world can too overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony, everyone can overcome. I give all the glory to the Lord for the healing of my body, the deliverance of my sins, the freedom of all chains that were holding me down, and the redeeming of the time that was stolen from me. I will now live not for my name, but for His name, and to bring glory to His name every day for the rest of my life.