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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"My Story" Tuesday

From Anne: Hello, Readers. I hope this day is the day God will speak to you. I don't know the method He'll use--it's seldom an audible voice. Many times, it's through daily Bible reading--a passage will "jump out" at you, and you'll think, "Wow." Sometimes it's through circumstances--Two or three people will suggest something to you, even though they didn't colaborate ahead of time. Sometimes someone (like maybe your pastor) will ask you to do something, and God will give you that "okay, do it" feeling.

Jennifer Slattery, whose story is below, was reluctant to share her testimony today. She said in the past, when people found out what she'd been before she began following Christ with her whole heart, they would shun her. If you're one of those, shame on you! I don't know anyone so sinless they can throw a stone at anyone else, do you? EVEN CHRISTIANS who really love the Lord can backslide, but God is faithful to keep calling us back and wait for us until we come to our senses. I'm one of those.

I like this quote, but I don't know who thought it up. It was on my FB wall from a friend a few days ago. "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

My testimony is far from typical, although perhaps it is more common than I realize. It’s also hard for me to share because of all the baggage attached to it. Yet it is something I love to remember because it reminds me of God’s amazing grace and mercy. It demonstrates how far God will go to rescue the lost and bring hope to the broken.

As a child, my family moved a lot, yet somehow, we always lived near very strong Christians. These believers often invited me into their houses where they loved on me and demonstrated grace in action. I was initially saved in a Good News Bible club at a young age. I can still remember the lady’s home, her face—and the popcorn she served.

During my teen years, things got crazy, and eventually, I ended up on my own, crashing wherever I could with everything I owned jammed in a plastic garbage bag. Before long, I gave up hope for better and I started to live in survival mode.
A month ago, an old friend from high school who knew me at the beginning of my spiral regarded how different I am today from the person I once was. What happened? How did I go from a hopeless, homeless teen to a happily married suburban housewife filled with praise and hope?

God’s grace and love.

You see, when I was on the streets, I didn’t care … about myself or life. In fact, I didn’t feel at all. I did anything I could not to feel. But then one day someone reached out to me. My husband helped me financially, but more than that, he treated me with love and compassion. (I shared a blip of our story in an interview in Afictionado. You can read it here, in the sidebar. Most importantly, my Savior surrounded me with His healing love.

For the next ten years, God gently, consistently, patiently showed me His love, and in doing so, showed me I was lovable. He showed me I had value. He gave me, in my hopeless state, hope and a purpose.

And He hasn’t let me go since.

Wow, the power of love and grace. And today I say thank you, to my husband for reaching out to me when I was at my lowest and offering aid with no strings attached. But mostly, to my Savior, who sought me, found me, grabbed hold of me, and never let me go.

When I thought I had no hope, no reason to hope, and nothing to offer, God showed me who I was to Him. I pray as you listen to this song, He’ll do the same for you.

I am a child of God, saved by grace and transformed by love. I now long to show others the life-changing, hope-giving love of God. You can find out more about me and my writing on my blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud.
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