Tuesday, December 14, 2021

the goodness and faithfulness of God—birthday edition

 

Today is my forty-fifth birthday. I can say confidently that the Lord has been faithful to me all of my life. I thought I'd share part of my testimony with you here...I'm not sure if I've ever done this on my blog, but I was praying on how I could honor the Lord here with my words today and this is what He brought to mind. It won't be too long, I promise, but I have to rewind to the age of five, when the Lord drew me to Himself.

Jesus said these words in John 6:44—"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day."

I was 5 years old, in Mrs. Nina's Sunday school class and I'm sure a felt board was involved, but I remember as she shared the story of Jesus—His birth, death, burial and resurrection—I remember thinking in my little brain that I wanted to know Jesus like she knew Jesus. (She still walks closely with Him and she is still in good health, as far as I know.) I remember her leading me in a prayer asking forgiveness for the sin I had in my heart and I placed my faith in Jesus that day, as much as my little 5 year old brain could comprehend.

Fast forward through the rest of my childhood and teenage years and by the time I'd reached about my junior year of high school, I completely lived life for myself. That just means I had little to zero regard for considering Jesus in my everyday behavior. I did things I'm not proud of and I was a different person back then, someone you would never recognize if you saw her today and knowing she would turn into the woman of God I am today. 

I was still saved, because Paul asks in Romans 8:35 this question—"Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" He answers his own question in Romans 8:38 and 39—"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of  God is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Did you catch that? This passage is talking about the one who believes in Jesus and he is saying here that once we have placed our faith in Him, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus our Lord! 

I lived this way until I was at the age of 28. I lived a life in continual and intentional sin and never picked up my Bible. I never prayed. I was a nice person, I was a "good" person, an okay wife and decent mom. And though I'd been raised going to church every time the doors were opened, Todd and I only went occasionally. We went for the big times—Christmas, Easter, Mother's day—and that was all. But God started drawing me back to Him. I don't remember how it started, but somehow one day, something started changing within me. Maybe it was my friends that I worked with at the mom's day out I worked at in my old church, maybe it was one of the moms whose kids I watched, maybe it was the Christian radio station that played at someone's house as I was there with the two older boys at a birthday party. 

But something in me began to change and my desires started changing. I wanted to quit smoking cigarettes and we began faithfully attending church services at the same church that I worked that mom's day out program. I started praying, I started reading my Bible and I begged the Lord to help me to quit smoking, since I knew it was defiling the temple of His Holy Spirit—my body— by putting something unhealthy into it. I remember asking Him to help me do that however He wanted, but to help me quit.

A few months later I came down with pneumonia and I honestly thought I was dying. I've never felt so bad before or since, and I have had covid, bronchitis, sinusitis, I almost hemorrhaged to death for a full year, I've had stomach viruses, other times of pneumonia—but this time was different. Todd was at work one day, so I called Mom and asked her and Bill to come. Bill, because Todd was working and I would need him to stay with the boys, and Mom, so that she could take me to the emergency room. I packed a bag and everything, because I knew they'd be admitting me into the hospital for an overnight stay. (At this time in life, Graham was 6, Drew was 5, Jonah and Noah were 2.)

She came and I was diagnosed with pneumonia and they released me to the care of a doctor and a follow up appointment a few days later. A few hundred dollars later, I made it back home and began the road to recovery, but I am here to tell you that I never again picked up a cigarette. I still wanted to smoke once I was better, but I began to pray based on a story Dad told me about himself. He too had smoked as a young adult and once he started living his life for Jesus, he quit. Dad knew he didn't want to battle a lifelong desire to smoke or be tempted with it again, so he asked Jesus to take away that desire. And He did. So I prayed that same thing and guess what? The Lord completely took away my desire to smoke. I'm around it pretty often and I've never once been tempted to pick one up again. I told the Lord when He did this in my life that if He did this for me, I'd give Him glory for it for the rest of my life, and I've told this story over a thousand times at least. I'll continue to do so until the day I die. I could never have done that on my own, but God is good and He is faithful. 

Do you see what He did in my life? 

He saved me as a young child, and even though I turned my back on Him by having no consideration for Him, He began to draw me back, as if I were tethered to Him on a rope. One day it was like enough was enough and He began a process of events. 

He put me in a place where people would inspire me to change and I began to be transformed from the inside out, because that is what happens when you go through transformation. He began to change my desires and wants into things that were far better and He took away other unhealthy desires. He answered my prayer by using any method He wanted to help me stop the unhealthy habit and He allowed me to walk through being sick with pneumonia to break that chain of bondage I was yoked to. God is good and He is faithful. 

He drew me to His word like never before and I began to devour it at the age of 28 and He was preparing me for some impossible days ahead, when Todd and I would face some of our worst days as a married couple. He helped us muddle our way through all of that, though and He made us stronger than ever! God is good and He is faithful.

We raised our sons in church and to love Him, to serve Him and to walk with Him. I won't say that they walk closely with Jesus, because they don't, but guess what? They know Him, they're His and someday in His own perfect timing, Jesus will draw them all back to Him, just like He did me when I was 28. He did something else pretty cool regarding our sons. Even though Graham and Drew should remember me smoking, they have zero recollection. God did that too. I asked Him to erase their memories of that time in my life and He did. That is saying something, because Graham Douglas Goodwin remembers everything. God is good and He is faithful.

I can say that in the seventeen years since all of this took place, I've never gone back to the old me. I am still human and I am still a sinner, but these days I do not intentionally sin against the Lord. That means that when I read His word and read about not judging others and then I judge someone in my thoughts, I have to ask forgiveness. ("Do not judge, so that you won't be judged." Matthew 7:1) I have mean thoughts, I might not tell the whole truth one hundred percent of the time, I sometimes eat too much and commit the sin of gluttony, sometimes I put other things above spending time with Jesus, sometimes I am mean in my voice or snarky with Todd, sometimes I am unkind. I sometimes do other stuff like that and all of that is sinful behavior. The Bible says I'm not to judge, I'm to love Jesus the most and people second, I'm to always be loving, and filled with the good fruits of His spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. 

I struggle with all of that sometimes, but He sanctifies me daily and I am a work in progress. That's all that word "sanctify" means. He is not finished with me and I won't reach perfection until I am at His side after I've breathed my last breath here on earth. God is good and He is faithful.

 I would love for all of my loved ones to be there with me and I know most of them will, but I have loads of family members who do not know Jesus as their Savior. I pray for them by name everyday and I pray for you, the readers who read this blog. Do you know my Jesus? He is so good and He is faithful.

If you don't know Him and want to talk about this, reach out to me! We are not promised one more day on earth. What would happen if you were involved in an accident and died? Would you go to Heaven or would you go to Hell? Hell is a real place and I promise you, there will be no partying going on there. The Bible calls it a lake of fire (Revelation 21:8—"But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.") and there will be eternal torment that goes on there. Even so, God is good and He is faithful. He is our Creator who created everything on earth—people, trees, stars, waves and crabs. It is not His desire that any one that He created would die without knowing Him! (The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9)

Do you know Jesus? He is good and He is faithful!

Maybe you do know Him and you don't walk with Him. Why? Examine your heart if these words resonate within you and talk to Jesus about it! Ask Him to help renew your faith in Him and to strengthen the relationship you have with Him. The relationship part of my life with Jesus is what has been transformational in my life. I spend time with Him in prayer everyday and I read His word everyday. If you need some help with this or some recommendations, reach out to me! My email address is allboys@gmail.com

Don't wait! God is good and He is faithful. To Him be the honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Love to all. 


8 comments:

  1. Loved reading your testimony. Beautiful! God is just so absolutely good all the time!!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your testimony! And Happy Birthday!

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  3. Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing your testimony. It was very interesting to read. I am thankful that you obey the nudges from God with your writing and with your life!

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  4. Thanks for that encouragement, Tanya! And thank you!

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  5. Thanks, Maria! I appreciate your kind words. It's not always the easiest thing in the world to be an open book, but I like to live that way, with the hope of my story pointing someone to Jesus. I hope you're having a good week!

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  6. I too have drifted from God in the past. Some days I do much better at reading the word and other days I don't Boy do I feel off when that happens. You do such an amazing job at sharing the word. Happy Birthday with many Blessings

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  7. Jen- thankfully the Lord isn't legalistic about our time. He knows our hearts and our efforts, as long as we give Him our best! Thank you for that sweet encouragement! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog!

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