Updated: Aug 23, 2021
As I sit here, over a year into Covid 19, I am reflecting on how my life has changed, and when I saw all the positives I felt the need to share a few thoughts on how the transformation took place.
Being forced to stop everything and do it all differently, and in a lot of things to just plain stop, threw me into a bit of a spin. I felt like a yo-yo that someone had taken the string out of and left it sitting on the floor. My life and my identity were so entwined in the various jobs that I truly had no idea who I was or what my purpose was without them but with not being able to replace the "noise" in my life I was forced to listen to the still soft voice that I knew was trying to get my attention for years but I had successfully drowned out by continually keeping busy and creating a louder "noise" because I wasn't ready to face the truths that I knew I would have to face to start the real work required to get me to where I was supposed to be and to relinquish the control over my destiny to the one who truly has any power, God.
From the age of sixteen until my early fifties, I dabbled in church. I always knew and believed in God but I certainly didn't live according to his word. But as I started attending St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Belfast, I could feel a change stirring in my spirit and if I am honest, it scared the life out of me. But as I listened and began to read the Bible, and study it, I realized that God is a God of love, not a scary character that was sitting on high rubbing his hands together in anticipation of find fault with me or my actions and condemning me and looking forward to tossing me into the fiery pit of hell. He wasn't a cruel and unjust God who took any delight in the fact that I had made a pig's ear of my life.
My7 heart was changing but I was still on the run and filling my waking moments with busyness so I didn't have to relive my past sins and failures because I truly didn't want to be degraded and judged over them as the world had beaten me down and I just not strong enough to do the work required to fix it all. Was I ever wrong!
The energy I spent running, hiding, weaving, and bobbing trying to avoid God was the only work that came of the whole thing. Believe me, when I say that God is gentle, kind, forgiving, and oh so patient, all the things I didn't have much experience with. When you are used to people being hard, judgmental, unforgiving, and impatient it take a bit for you to realize that it isn't a show with God, and there is no hidden agenda. There is no other shoe waiting to drop. I repented of my sins and He tossed it all in the Sea of Forgetfulness and if the sins are ever brought up again it isn't by God it is because I went fishing in the "Sea of Forgetfulness" even though there is a huge no fishing sign.
Once I repented, I was no longer that person. This became crystal clear to me not that long ago. I was praying and lamenting over a past transgression when God said to me "I don't know who or what you are talking about!". I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he had forgiven me and I had to forgive myself. Then about a month ago on a Sunday morning, as I sat in church and the worship team sang the first word of the first song, the holy spirit moved so greatly that I cried for the remainder of the service. Now let me tell you, crying gracefully was never my strong suit but throw a mask into the midst and we took it to a whole new level. Trying to dry teras and wipe your nose while keeping a maks on is a talent all in itself.
There were many moved that day, it was a powerful service. After the service, a sweet young woman pulled me aside and told me of something she saw and felt God wanted her to share with me. She went on to describe the footprints that we leave on the beach as we walk along and when the tide comes in and washes them all away. That is how the sins of our lives are removed as Jesus washes them all away, just like the tide.
Today, being Easter Sunday, I felt I needed to share this and it was the blood that was shed on Good Friday that is the tide that enables our sins to be washed away. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Jesus did all the work. There is no work or act that I can do to gain my salvation or everlasting life. My role is to love God and live according to his will. There are still many trials and tribulations. There are many hurts, disappointments, and tears but through it all there is always joy, love, and the knowledge that someone loves me just the way I am because he created me and he knows EVERYTHING about me and still adores me. He never leaves me and I am never in it alone.
I heard someone say that if you love God then you love people. I thought how simplistic but no very true. If you truly love God then you must love people. Don't get me wrong, some people are easier to love than others but everyone deserves and should receive love. When you think that Jesus died knowing full well he was paying a price for many who despised him and he did it anyway, the least we could do is show love.
My life has been so enriched over this past year in my walk with the Lord and the realization and truths that he has shown me. Not everyone has been so fortunate but if I can give anyone a word of encouragement it would be that you are not alone. Reach out, God is there!