I picked this verse because it goes along with the sermon that my pastor was speaking on Sunday – which is the Quest for Truth!
Quest for the Truth | Messages | Maranatha Fellowship Church
My pastor started this new 4 part series on Sunday called “The Quest”. As the 1st line of his sermon notes states, “For the next four weeks, we (as a church) will be on a quest, a pursuit, a search for the things of God”
I’m really excited about it & if you’re interested, you can read part one at the link above. 🙂
My 6 word story
PRODIGAL DAUGHTER. RETURNS HOME. FORGIVEN RESTORED.
She Reads is also giving an opportunity to win a scholarship to the She Speaks conference in July.
The Prodigal “Daughter”
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.”
She Speaks Scholarship Contest entry
Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering an opportunity to win 1 of 2 scholarships to the She Speaks conference this year. She Speaks is a conference for writers, speakers & ministry leaders. It gives women the tools & the confidence that they need to answer God’s call on their lives in those areas.
In order to enter the contest, you must have a blog & link back to the post on Lysa’s website. You also need to share some information about the conference & why you want to win the scholarship.
Now that I’ve shared some information about the conference & contest, here are some of my reasons for wanting to win the scholarship:
* I started writing poems while I was in Junior High.
* I also got interested in reading books on developing my writing & poetry skills during the same time.
* I believe that God put the desire in my heart to write & use it to encourage others.
* My 1st poem that I believe was God given/inspired was ‘Lonely Souls’ which was written after I had a falling out with my dad & stepmom after he went into the hospital for surgery.
* After sharing the poem with others, I got the encouragement I needed to continue writing.
* I believe that every child of God has a story to tell & that the outlet that He has given me to share it is writing.
This is actually my 3rd attempt at trying to go. I learned about the conference over 3 years ago & the 1st time I tried was when I entered a similar blog entry contest & didn’t win. The 2nd time I was actually going to pay my own way, but because of my own fears & some financial problems that arose, I had to cancel about a month before the conference. Now, I’m entering the scholarship contest yet again in hope & prayer that this time will be different.
I’ve already read a couple of the other entries and, to be honest with you, I feel like I should have waited until after I posted my own before reading them. There are some really good entries listed and for me to attempt this a 3rd time is a big step in following & being obedient to God’s leading. I really have to humble myself because I know there are some people who have entered that either have way more experience, speak more eloquently or even write better than I do. However, that is not a good excuse for me to not even try.
That was something else that I’ve had to realize through this whole process. I’ve learned that sometimes our dreams may be put on hold for a time or season because God needs to take us through a refining period. Since God already knows our end from our beginning & knows what we can handle or can’t, I believe that He does this in order to help us get rid of any selfishness, pride or arrogance that we may be holding onto that may hurt or hinder our walk & dream that he has placed in our heart.
I also find it very humbling to realize that a holy God that created the universe wants to use someone like me to share my story in order to encourage others. He doesn’t have to or even need to use me, but He chooses to anyway because He loves us. We just have to be willing & obedient to His calling on our lives.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV) states:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (emphasis mine)
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