Tuesday, July 29, 2003

A Testimony

Another eventful week! I've been in staff meetings since Sunday night and have just now taken time to write this.

Today (Tuesday), for the first time that I can really remember, I was asked to share my testimony. For those of you who may not be sure what that means, it's just sharing with others about how I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. That was somewhat of a challenge, because I have never really had to put my experience into words. I tell you, when you stop to try and put into words your salvation experience, you really examine where you are in your walk with Christ.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that I really need to practice sharing my testimony. After all, the Bible tells us to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). So, here goes:

For the most part, my family was normal. My two brothers and I had both of our parents around. They both worked to provide for us and made sure we went to church on a regular basis. If dad wasn't able to go, mom made sure we were there - probably more for her own sanity than anything else. :) Well, needless to say, I was raised in church. As some folks would say, I cut my teeth on the back of the pew. So I had a pretty good head knowledge of the Bible and God and Jesus....you know, the whole nine yards.

I attended my first summer church camp at the age of seven. I'll never forget it. It was the first time I would be staying away from home for a whole 3 days! Camp became something I looked forward to each summer. God's presence was on that campground in a way I had never before experienced. I must have gotten "saved" every year. Mostly, that was because I didn't truly understand what it meant to accept Christ in my life. I think it was more about getting caught up in the moment and the emotion of those powerful services. Now, I don't want you to think that God wasn't working. He was using each of those experiences to bring me closer to a real knowledge of Him. But it wasn't until I was 14 and in camp, that I really felt God speaking to me and saying, "ok, this is it....it's time to make a real commitment." So I truly repented and accepted Christ as my Savior...but not really as my Lord. I was saved - no doubt about it - but the trials of life were still to come and test my willingness to completely surrender my life to Jesus.

When I was 18 and a freshman in college, I attended a youth convention with my church that really stirred within my heart the need to let Jesus be Lord of my life. I had been living my life as a Christian...for the most part. I was never tempted by things (like drinking or smoking or sleeping around) like most of the people I went to high school with. I won't act like I was perfect - I was far from that - but I at least acknowledged God's presence in my life and tried to do those things I thought were necessary to be a "good Christian". But when I entered college and was away from home and away from my home church, I started not attending church and not giving so much thought to where God fit into my life. I didn't start giving in to those temptations that I had withstood to that point, but I was living life for myself. When I went to that youth conference, I was really challenged by God's Word and began to examine in my own heart whether or not I had allowed Jesus to be Lord of my life. What that meant was this: was I going to continue doing things my way or was I going to seek God for His will in my life? It was a tough question.

I made the decision to allow Him to guide me in every aspect of my life. I won't pretend that it was easy or that even now I still always let Him lead and guide me, but that was a turning point in my life. I decided to come back home and attend a local private Christian college and at the close of my freshman year, went on a mission trip to Greece and Bulgaria that really changed my life and my perspective on the Christian experience.

Ever since that pivotal year (now an amazing 11 years ago!) I have seen God move in so many ways in my life and in the lives of those around me. I've had other struggles that have challenged my walk and my faith, but each time, God has been so faithful to me and has been with me each step of the way. I can look back now and see His hand in so many areas of my life. I am truly thankful and awed by His grace and mercy.

I used to feel like I didn't have a great testimony. I wasn't one of those who had come from the pit of hell (so to speak) and had a miraculous conversion. As a matter of fact, I hardly remember living my life without a desire to please Him. However, I realized that my testimony was just as incredible as the person with the miraculous conversion. My testimony is all about God's keeping power. His ability to guard me and keep me from sin.

Now, some of you may be thinking, "Well that's just great, Christy. I'm glad your life has been so wonderful. You haven't had to struggle with things like I have. I've not had it as easy as you." You are wrong. Sure, I didn't struggle with some of those things like drinking, smoking or sleeping around - but I've had other struggles. Struggles like pride, selfishness, self-righteousness....just to name a few.

The point of all of this is regardless of when you gave (or give) your life to Christ - whether you committed your life to Christ at an early age and lived a life pleasing to Him or you were an alcoholic living life on the edge without one thought of God and His will for your life - we all are sinners in need of a Savior. Thank God His grace and mercy are available to us all. The one thing I know is this - He is able to guard those things we give to Him (2 Timothy 1:12) and if you make the commitment today to give your life to Christ and entrust Him with that - you will never be the same.

If you would like to know more about accepting Christ as your Savior or need a friend to talk to about struggles you're facing as a Christian, please email me. I would love to help you in any way I can.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

A post for today...

Hey all. Seems like there's some problem with my commenting feature. If it doesn't get straightened out soon, I'll change to another service. I hate that because it means I'll lose all the great posts you've left until now. If you know a good commenting service to use, email me!

Well, anyway.....life goes on, doesn't it? ;)

On to something a little deeper....

Someone pointed out the following scripture to me the other day and I read it again last night:

"After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin." Hebrews 12:4

In this chapter, the writer of Hebrews is encouraging his readers to lay aside the "sin that so easily hinders" their progress and reminds them to keep their eyes on Jesus - the one who endured the cross. When we compare what Jesus endured to what we struggle with - there is no reason for us to lose heart. After all, we have not given our lives in our struggle against sin.

We all struggle with sin - that's just a fact. But I've come to realize in my own walk that I don't fight nearly hard enough to avoid sin. In fact, I sometimes don't put up any kind of fight.

Yikes! It really is convicting when I sit down and think of what my Savior did for me....and then realize I don't give my best effort in resisting sin. Now - I know I will fail. Even if I strive every day to totally resist sin, there is something I will miss. But you know what I mean - the sin (or sins) that continually raises its head in our everyday living. And you know as soon as you overcome that one, another is there to take it's place.......

Well, I guess that's the growing process. All I know is I want to be more like Him. I'm glad He's always there, prompting me, encouraging me and yes - even disciplining me. According to Hebrews 12:6, God disciplines those He loves. It is good to be loved!

Monday, July 21, 2003

I've been published!

Well, my friends...I answered the call on a fellow blogger's page about insight into Southern Belles and he printed some of my thoughts (along with a few other ladies) on his site.

You can read the article here. It is very good - and true!!!!

Thanks, Adam, for including me in your article!

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Thought of something else to say...

Well, as you can see by the posting time of this entry - I'm up late!!!!

Everyone made it safely home today! Thank God! Deedee and Meagan's mom is here visiting as well as her friend Pat and a little girl, Sam, that's a friend of their family. As I said the other day - this weekend is going to be a riot! Up until about 30 minutes ago, we were out on the porch visiting.

I just love people! (Most of the time!!) And having them at my house is even better! I don't know how much of that is just bred into me (being born in the south) or how much of that is born in me because of Christ being in my life. His word does say that

"Love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God - for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

That is so cool!

It is my heart's desire that our house will be a place of refuge - not only for Deedee, Meagan and myself - but for anyone who steps over our threshold and needs a little love. I pray for God's blessing to be on our house and that He would use it for His glory. Who knows what will happen??!?!?!?

Still thinking about starting a new blog about our house. Deedee likes the idea, and I haven't talked to Meagan yet. Keep watching! We may have one up soon!

Give me a break!!!!!

OK!!! HERE THEY ARE!!! GEEZ! After being harassed by a few friends, here are some pictures of the house. I don't have any of the outside (I'm never home at a good time to get the outdoors photos) but you'll get a good idea of what we're living in from these pictures. I'm only posting 3 right now - so as not to make it difficult for viewers still using dial-up.

Let me know what you think! The picture below is of our living room. Don't you just love the hardwood floors?! Bottom left: the dining room. Bottom right: kitchen - we love the funky blue color!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I'm still here...

No, I've not fallen off the face of the earth. I've just been otherwise occupied.

I do have pictures of the house and will have those up by the end of the week. I love our house! Right now, I've got the house to myself as Deedee left for Illinois on Monday. She'll be back on Friday, along with her sister (our other roommate) Meagan, their mother and their mother's friend - and no telling who else that's coming to help Meagan get settled in. This weekend will be a riot!

Especially when we have our "Stripping & Screwing Party" on Saturday. . . . . .

Ok, I'm sure you're thinking "WHAT THE...."

It's not what it seems! We've got to strip down my/our dining room chairs (all six of them) and then screw the legs on tight - they're a bit loose. Anyway - we've had a bit of fun asking everyone if they wanted to attend our "Stripping & Screwing Party". You can imagine some of the looks we've gotten!!!

Oh, one other thing.....they got me! The folks from my church got me good last week for my birthday. You know, I turned 30 this year, so I was hoping someone would make a big deal of it - and they did!

My cell group normally meets on Thursday, but due to some scheduling conflicts, we had to move our meeting last week to Wednesday - the same night of the Bible study we recently started at the church. So, no big deal, our group just wouldn't be able to attend the Bible study.

Well, our home group meeting begins and there are a couple of people in attendance who normally aren't there - that was really cool since I knew them and had been hoping they would come to one of our meetings. We begin discussing our topic and people keep showing up. Now, I'm thinking...."Wow! God is really moving! Thanks, Lord!" and at the same time "God, help me not say something stupid!!" It all seemed a bit strange, but I've seen God do some weird stuff. I must have re-capped our topic 5 times by the time the group from the church shows up at our meeting. Then I knew - they were all there for my birthday! I experienced a myriad of emotions - all the way from excitement to embarrassment (I don't like being the center of attention like that.) It was great - and I really felt special and loved! (Thanks to Deborah and all those who helped her pull that off!)

So the adventure continues. I'm thinking of starting another blog just about my roommates and our house. Could be a lot of fun! I'll let you know if I do!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Quick post

Here is one of the pictures of my car. It's a little hard to see, but I wanted to "share" a little of my experience!

We will have internet access tomorrow, so I hope to post some pictures of our house! I'm so excited! However, I find that, given a choice, I would rather stay home - so I know it will be even harder to leave the house once I get internet access. There is so much to do online!!!

Well, I guess I'd better get to work! Have a great day!

Monday, July 07, 2003

Today is a good day!

How about this - today is my birthday, I have the best roommate in the world and my website has registered over 1,000 hits!

My roommate, Deedee, is the greatest! This morning, I woke up to my dog barking as Deedee was leaving the house. Very early. I thought maybe she had an early staff meeting (she's a teacher) and didn't think much of it. As I'm outside with my dog, she rolls back into the driveway, jumps out of her car and says "Happy Birthday! Breakfast for the birthday girl!" She had gone to McDonald's and gotten me breakfast! How awesome is that! That's not all....I go to get into my car and come to work, and lo and behold, my car is all painted up! She had painted birthday messages all over my windshields! You know..."Honk, it's her birthday!" "Happy, Happy Birthday!" "Birthday girl!" I couldn't believe it. No one had ever done that to or for me! I love it! She called me as I was driving to work, and of course I had to threaten her - "You are so dead!" I said. She just laughed and asked me if anyone had honked at me yet.

What a way to start the day! It is a good day!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Another mile-marker

Well, folks - I'm all settled in (with the exception of a few things that still need to be put away)! Have I mentioned that I love my new house? Deedee and I are enjoying ourselves and have already had company over this past week! Meagan will be home in a few weeks and then we'll really find our "groove". I'm excited.

Tomorrow, I will be turning 30. Woohoo!!!! I am excited. I feel like I'm on the verge of something great - either for me personally or with some part of the many things in which I'm involved. I just have a sense of underlying excitement deep within. Have you ever experienced that? Only God knows the things He has in store for me over the next year, but I sure am looking forward to whatever it may be.

I know I said I would post pictures of the house, and I will, but it may be a couple of days. I haven't had an opportunity to borrow my dad's digital camera to take the pictures!!! I'm at my parent's house now, so I'll get it today. Updating this page will be easier once we get the internet service connected at the house.

Anyway, I guess I'll get off of here for now. We're about to have dinner and some birthday cake!! :) Yum, yum!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

It is good to be home!

We are in! Well, at least Deedee and I are in! We absolutely love our house! I'll try to get some pictures this weekend so you can see, too! :)

It has been a long week. Since Sunday night, I haven't been to bed before 2 am until last night. I got to sleep a whole 2 hours longer! Moving is hard work, but the really tough part is getting everything in it's own place! I didn't realize how much junk I have!

Anyway, I hope to be a bit more regular with my posts, but I won't have internet connected at the house until next Thursday. Oh well....soon enough!

Now for something a little more uplifting: I was reading the Bible this morning and ran across a passage that was extremely comforting. In today's climate of political unrest, wars abroad and troubles in our daily lives, everyone needs something on which to hang their hope. At least I know I do. Hebrews 2:8 says:
"In putting everything under him (Jesus), God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to him."
EVERYTHING is under the Jesus' control. Even though we don't see it right now, there is coming a day when it will be obvious to us all. I was just so encouraged when I read that. If you're having a rough time, have courage - Jesus is in control. If you don't see a way out of the situation, be strong - Jesus is in control of that situation. I don't know about you, but I really find that comforting.

I hope you all have a wonderful July 4th weekend. If you haven't read the Declaration of Independance do that sometime this weekend. It is truly inspiring. God bless you all!