Posted in Faith

Letter to the empty

Dear [insert your name here],
That empty feeling you have inside of you is because there IS something missing in your life…it is SOMEONE and that person cannot be seen with the naked eye.  However, His Spirit can be felt in the soul and His peace, love, mercy and grace is yours for the taking.  Pointing fingers and placing blame is a way of deflecting the act of actually dealing with yourself.  Not dealing with your own pain only hurts you.  And expecting other people to feel the same hatred/bitterness you do, is wrong.  It is a way of controlling them, NOT LOVING THEM.  Seek God and turn away from the selfishness in your life.  You will be released from the pain/pressure/fear you’ve been dealing with, and you can start a new life with His peace and His love (notice it’s not yours, because true peace and true love can only come from God).

The Bible promises we will never be plucked from His hand. But the first step is always the hardest.

That is why I am praying for you.  Forgiveness is a process, but it is necessary for release of our own pain.  By being bitter, you’re only hurting yourself.  And the Bible says it ages us.  It can steal years from your life.  I’m asking you not to die early over anger.  Release your hurt and give it to Jesus.  True forgiveness comes from Him, and revenge is never an option, because forgiveness means letting go.

It doesn’t change the past, but it does promise hope for the future.

Since the beginning of our lives, we all were born into sin and cannot escape its grip on our life.  Because of sin, there is a chasm between us and God that we cannot fix.  If you die with that space between you and the Lord of the Universe, that chasm and space will be there forever, and you will be alone.

But know this: there is ONE who has conquered SIN AND DEATH. God’s Son Jesus Christ came down from Heaven, lived a sinless life and became the sacrificial lamb who would bear our sins, die OUR DEATH, and be resurrected through the power of God, so that sin and death could no longer hold us.  And because of that demonstration of selfless love, we are able to reach God by ourselves, through Jesus, with no need for an intercessor.  The cross He hung on, becomes the bridge in the chasm, to a loving relationship with Your Creator.

Your Heavenly Father HAS made a way for you to be in His presence.  Please don’t waste away time and the life He has give you here on Earth.  Take the step of faith to believe in His Word and give yourself peace and freedom from worry and despair, by turning to the Lord and asking for His gift of LIFE.  It costs just one hopeless, broken and weary life.  It’s okay to take the mask off and hand it over.

Believing in Jesus is the only way to true freedom.  Forgiving when someone wrongs us, is the first step to actually healing, and though there may not be immediate justice in your mind, things will begin to change in your heart and through Christ, you will be able to accept that person again and love will fill the place in your heart where the hurt used to be.

I’m sharing these truths simply because I’ve lived through them myself, and what I couldn’t do on my own, Christ did, and I now am grudge-free and thankful for a place in God’s Kingdom.  I don’t deserve anything either, but that’s the beauty of grace.  It is completely undeserved.

Everything that happens down here on Earth will affect us.  We have emotions for a reason.  But if we learn to forgive when we don’t feel like forgiving, we’ll release ourselves, and we’ll speak to a watching world about the power of God and what His love truly means.  The choice is yours.  In time, I pray you will surrender.

Love, Gracie

Posted in Faith

Hey there…how are ya?

Hello all…this is my first blog and I just want to say hi and thanks for stopping by. The majority of my writings here will be for self-reflection and to see how God has been a part of my life.  Some days I like to look back and see the road that I’ve traveled.

Currently I’m 29-years old and living in an apartment in North Olmsted, Ohio.  A ruined marriage by both parties due to lack of maturity and lack of commitment led me to making life decisions I thought I’d never make and choosing to drown myself in lack of reality.  I also wandered quite far from the safety net of being under Christ and learned some of the repercussions of having done so.  Thankfully God didn’t leave me in the pit where I put myself. 🙂

I was reading the book of Philippians in February and was awakened to verses 12 and 13.  Growing up in a Christian home, I knew Philippians 4:13 by heart.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  However, I had never paid attention to the preceding verse, about being content-knowing what it  is to “have plenty” and knowing what it is to be “in want”.  That made me stop and think a bit.

I’m glad I did.

I would’ve missed the statements that I am allowed to claim for myself.  (And you too…)

I have been in both situations ever since I left my ex-husband.  God has never failed me.  I am claiming these verses because I know very well that I’m undeserving of Christ’s love and forgiveness, but HE STILL LOVES ME.  AND He still wants to use me.  It took some time for me to realize this.  I’ll explain below.

A defining moment in my spiritual understanding came around March 2007.  I had been laid off from a medical billing company in Middleburg Heights due to “lack of work” a week after leaving my husband.  Trying to settle into my new apartment, I was jobless and bills were starting to come in.  I took a job bartending in Avon, Ohio.  Working at the bar provided for me financially, but where I was excelling with money, I was bankrupt in self-esteem and value.  I was not in a good place, emotionally or spiritually.

Six months after leaving my ex-husband, I was craving LOVE.  I knew I had failed God, had fallen away and needed to be fixed, but because of my divorce, I had second thoughts about myself, my worth and whether or not I had done the right thing.

One Sunday morning, I was listening to the radio and flipping stations in my car.  I had just pulled into a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot and parked.  I was about to step out of the car to go get a cup of coffee and a bagel.  I heard a man’s voice on the radio, and the only word I caught was, “…divorce.”  It made me stop and listen to what he was saying.

The radio station was 103.3FM (WCRF in Cleveland, Ohio) and I was listening to a church sermon.  My mother had played this station on the radio when I and my siblings were younger, so I was familiar with the station and their method of playing sermons from local churches to reach shut-ins and people who couldn’t make it to church.  Neither reason applied to me.  I was physically able to go to a church, but hadn’t decided which one.  And let’s be honest, I wasn’t really seeking one either.  My Saturday nights had been binge-drinking evenings, so my Sunday mornings really were Sunday afternoons…

Anyway, I was intrigued by this man’s voice.  The pastor was sharing a story about how he had recently been approached by a newly divorced woman who was questioning whether or not God still loved her.  After hearing that, he definitely had my attention!

This woman’s concern was that the Lord wouldn’t need her anymore because she had gotten a divorce and was broken.  She was scared because she thought she would be viewed as a failure for not staying married.  Again, my curiosity was piqued!  I had been questioning the same things in my own heart!

To backpedal for a second, I had grown up in a church all of my life.  I had seen how the church treated people who had been divorced, and people who had children out of wedlock.  So, this woman in the pastors’ story about her fear of being rejected seemed reasonable and also mirrored my current dilemma.  I really wanted to hear this pastor’s response.

The pastor was bothered as he sat with her and heard her pain.  He said that he started thinking about how HE could help women who were/are going through divorces, but how he was limited (he was happily married and had never experienced divorce).  As the proverbial light bulb went on above his head, he said he suddenly realized that God allows us to go through certain things, so we can take our pain and use the redemption process to prove God’s love in our painful stories.  This woman would be able to reach another divorcee much more than he would!!

He explained to this wounded woman, that though he was the pastor of a church, he would never be able to touch peoples’ lives the way she could, because he had never been “in her shoes”.  She had gone through something he’d never experience.  He realized and helped this poor young woman realize that God needs and uses ALL of us, especially those of us who are broken, because we all have something to offer His people.  He said that God needs wounded healers because we can identify in ways other people can’t.  And I thought, “THAT’S ME!  I want to be a wounded healer!”

I was spiritually broken, but desired more than anything to know that God still loved me, even though I had walked away from a marriage that He could’ve fixed.  I chose to walk away for my own safety and out of hope for a better life.

I cried in my car for at least twenty minutes in the middle of a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot.  In my heart, I had recently been wrestling with “being okay” in the presence of God, since I had chosen to leave my husband.  I was scared about standing in front of God, knowing He discouraged divorce.  I justified my action of leaving because there was no growth, no desire to grow emotionally together or with Christ, and I had felt so alone.  I was pretty sure God had written me off, and I was uncertain of my spiritual future.

However, after hearing this message on the radio, I was determined to find this church, listen to this pastor, re-establish my relationship with Jesus (I was a previous convert who had fallen away and embraced disobedience), and see how God could use me.  My life was not over!

I’ve grown immensely in relationships since my divorce.  I’ve also allowed Christ to heal my heart where human failing had torn it in half.  I’ve mentored other people with my story and I’ve stepped out in faith into a ministry that forces me to speak in front of other people about the life-changing life of Jesus.

I mentor to the young women housed at the Lorain County Detention Home in Elyria and it’s been such a fun journey for me to express my faith and it’s also a great stepping stone to see the faces of the hopeful.  God can use wounded healers to help heal others.  If you’ve experienced something that was painful and scary, question it.  Talk with God about it.  Ask the hard questions, and read the Bible.  Scripture reaffirmed me in places I was definitely spiritually void.  I learned of Christ’s love and forgiveness in a new way since my divorce, and I firmly believe God can use all of us, especially those of us who have walked dark paths.  His redemption is real and His love neverending.

I’m not sure exactly where my road leads now, but I definitely believe that God is present and loving.  I know He is my judge, but also my Heavenly Father.  He has me in the palm of His hand, and nothing can take me from that place….ever again.

My goal is to use this blog to examine some special times in my life, from my past and present.  I write because I like to write.  Sometimes writing out certain experiences helps me to see something differently, and if I can help you see Christ from a different perspective, than I am accomplishing my ultimate goal.

Thanks for reading, and be blessed!