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And everything has changed

I find it so hard to put this into words because it's so big, but I can try to sum it up by saying The Unedited Retreat pricked my heart & put me in a posture to truly hear from the Lord. And I am so grateful.
My testimony begins last year at Pine Cove Family Camp when a verse struck me, hard. - Gal 2:20. Not that I hadn't heard it before but that maybe I felt it deeper. 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/gal.2.20.esv

No life of my own? Had I really been living that way? Complete surrender? I started "trying harder" after that.

I attended another Unedited Movement event in the fall with my eternity-friends. ­čśŐ I came home & begged Mike to go with me to visit our Pastor. By God's grace my heart was dug up from where it had been buried under a mountain of hurt, rejection, fear & resentment. I had hidden it away in the guise of self-protection. With this huge weight lifted off of me I began to feel things changing.
Then I came across a podcast randomly that was talking about Christ setting you free from "trying" & learning to rest in the sacrifice of Jesus as your only righteousness. Since then the word FREE has been everywhere for me & strikes my heart each time. So I changed my one word intention and started to notice what a huge theme that had already become in my life. I began to see how much I'd been drawn to that over the past few years in all the changes that had gone on in my life. Verses like John 8:36 & 8:32, Gal 5:1, 1 Peter 2:16 started popping up everywhere and I felt a deeper sense of meaning in them. Inspired by my sister I read the New Testament taking a month to seriously study Revelations (which I felt so much truth revealed in!) Then it was time for the retreat in Washington where I was surrounded by all these beautiful Jesus-loving souls! In prayer after a session I felt God was calling me to listen, to notice. I took that as don't talk so much (ha!) and listen to others, listen to their hearts. I reminded myself that it's not about me or if I fit in & maybe I'm just a supporting role in someone else's story. I wrote in my journal that maybe that's what God was calling me to be is a listener. 

On the flight home I opened up a book I'd been reading with a group that I was two chapters behind on. Where I picked up was hitting literally every topic we'd just discussed at lunch in reflection of the retreat! Since this freaked me out I started slowing down & really paying attention to what I was reading. I felt heavy significance in the words. And honestly felt like truth was being revealed & my eyes opened..maybe for the first time.. 

It said you can't take Jesus as Savior 
...and not accept Him as Lord

Basically I felt you're either ALL IN or you're just fooling yourself, Shannon. My mind racing I thought back on my life raised as a Christian knowing right from wrong and choosing right so I don't get in trouble, disappoint anyone or have someone mad at me. But where in my life did I see me actually giving up my self for Christ's life in me? Did I have a real relationship with Jesus? Or did I just mentally know all this information? The book said Belief in Jesus is not just acknowledging He is real (even the demons do that and they shudder) but instead it's complete repentance that yes MY SIN really is THAT BAD that Jesus had to DIE in such a horrific way to cover it and that no amount of "good" from me fits in that equation. I am completely unworthy of that forgiveness & salvation (my best efforts from me being like filthy rags.) I can not add to or take away from Jesus' sacrifice. It is finished.

I felt everything shift inside in this acceptance. I fully realized my ONLY hope of salvation is in what Jesus did. I can DO nothing. (This information is not new to my mind at all but now I feel it in my very being..like my heart & soul has finally fully absorbed it.) I see now two categories of hearts - those who live to Christ, seeking Jesus as Lord of all and.. those that don't. I see now. And I know I've lived all this time somewhere in the in between. 

They will be known by their fruit. Jesus is my atoning sacrifice. I asked myself are you seeking Jesus as Lord over your life? Or are you dead in your sin, still living to self? Are you just basically "a good person" and "trying hard" and hoping that'll be enough? How do you measure what is enough anyway? Where are you resting? God is telling me that when you truly "get it" your heart responds in obedience and you don't have to seek out conviction for your "lapse in judgement" or cry over your guilt for messing up (because there is none.) There's only Jesus. A part of me feels like why on earth did someone not explain this epic significant difference to me before?! But I know it was God's timing to reveal it to my heart little by little over the past year and it was on the plane that I finally fully received it..and repented.

Honestly if I hadn't gone to that retreat before I read over those chapters I think I would have skimmed right past it & missed God's call. My heart had to be willing to LISTEN. 

This feels so crazy to me to say because I got saved & babptized at age six and have felt sure of my belief, salvation & faith my whole life (even in the depths of living in sinful rebellion for years I've always felt like surely I was "okay.") I remember the first time the concept of having an actual relationship with Jesus dug into me & I remedied that by simply saying His name in my prayers instead of just Dear Heavenly Father

It's taken me so many years of God revealing truth, breaking down my walls, shining light into the darkness.. and overcoming panic attacks, depression/anxiety, learning to forgive, even the people who most wounded me and feeling the freedom from that..that God finally made enough space in my heart to open me up to reveal His Glory. Thank you, Jesus. This experience all feels so surreal and at the same time is the truest thing I've ever known. My whole life, in every area & season I have never quite felt in (anywhere) ..and now I know that I am. And there is peace. And what is important has changed. I get it now. And for the first time, I have a testimony to tell.

Comments

  1. Wow, how up lifting this is!!! My heart hurts that all these years you felt this way! But I rejoice in the faith that his timing was right for you! I love you more than I ever express! Thank you Lord!!

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