Last night I was privileged to hear in person Pam Tebow's story of her choice for life. As a missionary with her husband in the Philippines, she became pregnant with her fourth child. While in the Philippines she had aquired an amoeba which caused her to be very, very sick during the pregnancy... so sick, in fact, that the doctors strongly suggested she have an abortion. She and her husband, however, had prayed for a son -- specifically so that they could dedicate him to the Lord -- and their prayer was that he would be a preacher. A few months later Tim Tebow was born, and though he was undernourished he didn't stay that way for long. And now many millions of people know their story. What an impact he has had for Christ!
Now my story is not so dramatic, but it is the story of life and how Christ can rewrite a family history. My mother was seventeen years old and unmarried when she found herself pregnant with me. Being from a small town this could have been scandalous. Abortion was not such a widely available option at that time, but she and my father chose to get married and bring me into the world. Neither of them were Christians at that time; still they chose to give me life, raise me, and love me. And so they did.
Fast forward eighteen years to my freshman year in college. In my dorm room one afternoon I was visited by Jennifer, who shared with me about having a personal relationship with Christ. I had grown up going to church in my small town and had learned about God and about Christ. But I had never really heard that Christ wanted me not just to know about Him, but He wanted me to know Him. He wanted a relationship with me so much that He was willing to die to make it possible. His desire was that He would not be a God that I knew about only in my head, but He would be a God who I could know intimately. He wanted a relationship that didn't just involve my attention one hour a week, but He wanted to walk with me day by day, hour by hour, and moment by moment. He would love me unconditionally, He would care for me no matter what, and best of all He would never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Now I had not lived a spotless life, and there were many things keeping me from this kind of a relationship with God. But according to 1 John 1:9 all I had to do was confess that I wasn't living like someone who loved and wanted a relationship with God and was choosing my own way. If I did this and confessed that I couldn't measure up to being righteous on my own, but wanted Him to cleanse me and make me new, He would do it. So, that very day I asked God to forgive me through what Jesus did (according to John 3:16) and because I believed the promises in His word were true. That day my life changed. I went from carrying around a load of guilt and being a person who tried to please everyone (including myself), to someone who knows that there is only One Person I need to please. And I know that on my own I can't please Him. But because He has made me a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), I am no longer condemned. Further than that I am FREE from the sin and the shame! It is His job to do the cleansing, not mine. My only job is to walk with Him daily. I do this by confessing to Him when I miss the mark that He has set for me and by then accepting His promised forgiveness.
My life is not perfect, and this side of heaven it will never be. But my heart knows real peace (Philippians 4:7), and it really is a peace that passes all understanding. I hope and pray that each of you -- my precious blog friends -- know this same peace.