The inspiration for starting this blog: 

The moment we do something that we really don’t want to do, but know we are convicted by the Holy Spirit to do, that’s when Satan has really lost.

My (winding) path to salvation in Jesus:

At 14, I underwent an experience. I was told I was saved but I’m not sure I was at that point. I was baptized soon after but my heart didn’t change. I remember thinking, “now that I am going to heaven, I can do whatever I want and it doesn’t matter.” I suppose there is a bit of truth in that but I was missing the repentance part. I remember saying “I will stand before God in heaven and He won’t say ‘well done good and faithful servant,’ but at least I won’t go to hell.” For years I lived with that mindset.

After high school, I moved to Albuquerque for college and started attending Grace church. At the bible study, all I perceived was a bunch of really good people. Everyone seemed so close to perfect. The more I got to know them, the more I wanted to be like them, the more I wanted to be better. I also wanted to keep staying at my boyfriend’s house on the weekends and drinking illegally and I struggled because I wasn’t willing to give up those things. My heart wasn’t changing as quickly as my mind was but still, I resolved to become better. Not surprisingly, I failed miserably. I remember knowing what was right but being utterly weak standing up against the desires of my flesh. My desire to please other people was so strong- I couldn’t control it. I remember denying Jesus before going to Ecuador (on a missions trip!) because I was tired of feeling guilty for my actions. I was tired of failing to achieve my legalistic goals. I wanted to be good but without Christ changing my heart, it was impossible. Looking back, I can see how incredibly gracious God was to me- His mercy is overwhelming! I was protected in countless situations because He was watching over me and He wanted me back.

A few months later, a pastor with anointing oil in hand asked me if I believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was silent. I was guilty of so much sin! I took a long time thinking about it and decided that yes, I did believe in that truth. Until that point, I hadn’t realized how much freedom there was in that decision! Change didn’t come instantly, I was still fighting anxiety, manifesting itself as terrifying dreams, when I sought council through redemption groups at Mars Hill Church. God, through that experience, showed me what it feels like for a heart to change. The walls I had built around my heart were broken down and I finally let God in. It wasn’t that He was taking a break and came back to check whether I was still blocking him, He was waiting there the entire time. Through redemption groups, I came face-to-face with my idol of people pleasing which resulted in idolizing specific people. The man most closely integrated into my life at that time had access to my heart he didn’t deserve. I let him know me deeply but he didn’t know Jesus. I used him and he used me, even though we thought we were best friends. When I realized the severity of the situation, I began the process of giving up my idol in exchange for Jesus. At the redemption group celebration, I told my entire church congregation about my people pleasing idol and the man that had my heart. What should have been an embarrassing and awkward experience turned out to be the greatest evidence of my changing heart. I should have been crying hysterically, unable to walk back in and face my friends, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t because God was holding me, and I was free. Paul talks about this freedom in Galatians 5:

Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery… For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

I believe that God let me go through those because He knows how weak I am and He knew exactly what would break me enough to change my heart. The hardest part now is not feeling ashamed of my actions, most notably denying Christ for so long. It’s hard to not feel guilty for all the terrible sins I committed, especially after the anointing of oil, which I consider to be the day of my unquestionable salvation. Thankfully, God has a word for that too. Because I have repented of that sin and acknowledged that Christ paid the price for every last sin on the cross, I do not have to feel guilty. Romans 8 says:

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.

God is graciously removing my guilt and condemnation and my heart is actively changing. I still face the temptation to rebel but the satisfaction that comes from choosing to follow Jesus is infinitely greater than choosing to follow my fleshly desires. The evidence is unmistakable- God is not sitting back enjoying His creation, He is very active and alive in me through the Holy Spirit. It is well worth giving up my old self to put on the new and walk boldly, proclaiming the person and work of Jesus Christ.