Lindsey H.

from KS
Story #426
I was asked the question ‘what has your experience been in turning your life and will over to Christ?’ In response, my answer would be more of an ongoing journey, I believe that turning your life over to Christ is a one-time commitment, but turning your will over has been a daily, ongoing, recommitment every morning. I can choose to face the day making descensions based on my own understanding, and what I can see or by what I feel; or I can look to the truth of what God’s Word tells me is true and have faith when what I see does not make sense. One of my all-time favorite verses is Hebrews 1:11, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Followed by Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

You see, I had made a one-time decision to turn my life over to Christ at the age of 8. I understood that no matter how hard I tried to be good, there was no way that I could be good enough to make it into Heaven on my own merit. To do that, I could never, ever sin and would have to be 100% perfect because no sin can ever enter into Heaven. The law was given to us, not as a tool to earn admittance, but to open our eyes so we could see our need for Jesus. In Romans Paul tell us, 3:20 “Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin”. I knew that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I prayed and asked God to forgive me, and that I believed Jesus was His one and only Son sent as the payment for my sin. Jesus chose to leave the glory of Heaven and come to make it possible to conquer sin and death, so I can spend eternity with Him. The cross was not a defeat, but a victory over death. Jesus not only died, but conquered death by living again. Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.” My faith is in Jesus’ ability to save me, not in my ability to achieve salvation. I need only turn from my sin, admit my need for Jesus, and trust in Him alone. He has taken care of the rest. Hebrews 9:27-28 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

So, my choice to turn my life over was a decision I made early in life, learning how to turn my will over has been a different story. I knew Jesus as my Savior but had never really learned how to make Him my Lord. To place my will under the authority of God and choose to be obedient to God’s will for me, even when I don’t feel like it or it’s hard and uncomfortable. Eventually, my life became unmanageable in my own strength and understanding. I had been making plans and choices for so long based on what I thought was going to make me happy, unfortunately, I ended up traveling down a path leading to regret, guilt, anxiety, control issues, depression, and addiction. Until, God finally showed me His way was better. I just had to figure out how to get my life turned back around and on the path I had set out to follow as that eight-year-old girl looking to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.

Don’t get me wrong, yes, my life, like many others, has had its challenges and difficult times. I have also been blessed beyond measure and have much to be grateful for as I look back over my 35 years.

I grew up in a large blended family with my dad, step mom and several siblings; me, being the second oldest, with an older brother who only had 16 months on me. I can always remember being in church and even going to a private Christian school. However, as we got older and more involved in outside activities; church became less a priority. I left private school my freshman year to play softball and there went my outside accountability for staying on that path I had chosen as a young girl.

My parents expected us to make good choices, but other than praying, we did not talk a lot about the Bible or making choices based on God’s will for us. It was more, make your plans based on what you think will make you happy and then ask God to bless them, at the time, I didn’t realize that the plans God has for me are going to be way better than anything I could dream on my own. I was a good student and excelled in athletics. But my identity became dependent on how others viewed me and I grew to become very codependent and the definition of a “people pleaser”. Pleasing my parents and other authority figures was quickly divided between pleasing them vs. peers, friends and boyfriends. The good choices that had been easy to make, were traded for compromises and rationalizations. I knew what God’s Word said, and how He said it should be. However, by the time I left for college, I was well on my way down the path of making choices based on pleasing my own fleshly desires and pleasing those people around me. My life looked really no different than anyone else’s, in fact, I was a pretty good person by worldly standards. I was sexually active with my boyfriend but didn’t’ sleep around with a bunch of different guys. I was drinking and partying on the weekends, but I was making it to my classes and had good grades. I had started smoking late in high school, but could quit when I wanted, maybe after college? Deep down, I knew there was something missing. I continued to believe in God, and that He loved me; but I knew that I was not living to His standards, so I just avoided thinking about it. I had time to get my life together, I wanted to have some fun, was my thinking later as a teenager and early twenties.

I graduated college, got married, was blessed with two beautiful daughters, and became a stay at home mom. I thought my destination was complete, this was the time in my life I thought I was waiting for; time to finally be happy and have everything fall into place. I had a great husband, a nice house, two beautiful children…. My life should be perfect. I just couldn’t understand why I was so anxious all the time, I was tired, depressed, disconnected with my husband, controlling, angry, insecure, and fighting a smoking addiction I was using to cope with it all; and I did my absolute best to hide it behind a mask so everyone thought I was fine, happy, fulfilled, and content. The mask became heavier and heavier, and when I could no longer control my anger, yelling at my older daughter, Alice, in over reaction to something that should have been handled calmly; I knew something had to change. I was tired of trying to change the people around me so I could be happy; I needed to learn how to be happy even in the midst of chaos and confusion, to not be so controlled by my emotions or the emotions of loved ones around me. At the time, I just wanted to feel better, I had no idea how to make that happen.

It’s funny and not funny, I hit the age of 30, God just started to wake up something inside me I had been pushing down for a long time. I guess you could say He started showing up in ways I look at now and I know the only explanation is God seeking after me. I was at the end of myself and He was my only hope, what very little hope and faith I had left. I have always felt most connected with spiritual things outdoors, probably not alone in that. I spent hours pushing Alice in her swing, seemed like most days that is all she wanted to do. One Spring afternoon, we were out in our backyard and I was pushing away; I looked up at the sky and clouds with new eyes and started having a conversation with my 3-year-old about the sky and what was up there; and how Jesus was watching over us. It’s hard to explain the significance of that moment, but it was like Jesus saying remember me? I’m still here, and I was compelled to introduce Him to Alice. I had never really talked to her about Him up until that moment. This would have been the spring of 2013, almost six years ago now I began my journey of redemption and surrender. It has been full of its up and downs, but also an unexplainable peace and hope that makes all those down times bearable and the ups that much sweeter. I could go on and on with all the details, but I will just mention a few highlights.

I rededicated my life to Christ and joined LBC as a member in the spring of 2014. Tom at that time chose not to be involved, but never really kept me from taking the girls or being involved myself. (He has since this time also chosen to make a personal decision to follow Christ and be baptized).

God has used the Celebrate Recovery ministry at LBC to bring an enormous amount of healing and freedom to my life over these past 4 ½ years. He has shown me that I was looking to the things of this world to satisfy my soul in a way that only a relationship with Jesus can. To know someone, you must spend time with them; through prayer and studying God’s word I have learned things like, even though my life looked exactly like I had planned, the people, things, relationships, successes, and accomplishments of this world do not compare to the peace and comfort that comes with having a relationship with my Savior. I had to put aside my pride and false thinking and try to think the way Jesus did and does. I had become very resentful and angry, some things were brought on by my own wrong choices, other things had happened that I had no control over, but it came down to the fact that I thought I was not being treated the way I should be by certain people in my life. I did not feel appreciated for the incredible amount of work it took to be a stay-at-home mom, and nobody saw or appreciated it. In Mathew chapter 6 Jesus talks about how when you seek your reward from men then God is unable bless you from Heaven. I was seeking the appreciation of those around me, not realizing that the only thing that really mattered is that God saw what I was doing, and my hard work was most definitely not going unnoticed. Colossians 3: 23-24 says “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ”.

I needed to live humbly, not a false humility to was only seeking the approval of what others thought of me. But to humble myself in the way Jesus had done, the ultimate Servant King who took upon Himself the punishment of my sin and paid the ultimate sacrifice with His most undeserving death on the cross.

I live in a fallen and sinful world, I should not be surprised that everything is not going to go the way I desire it to. Fortunately, when I keep my priorities in order, and seek God first in my life, He continues to take care of the rest. I still have good days and bad days, those are going to be there anyway, I couldn’t imagine taking on any of it without Jesus. John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”! Thank You!

You can learn more about Lindsey here.
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