|By Elise of Warrior Lessons|
Christ chose me (2 Thess. 2:13; Colossians 3:12-17).
When my mother tells the story of my birth she never forgets two critical details. She reminds the listeners that I was the only little brown baby in the nursery - as I was born in a Jewish hospital. As per custom, a Rabbi blesses every baby born in that hospital, and I was no exception. As the Rabbi returned me to my mother's arms, he said, "God says this is a special baby." That's the second, and most humbling, critical detail of the story.
That's the end of my birth story but also the beginning of my post-partum romance with Christ. He wooed me in the hospital nursery, spoke promises over my life then, and continues to amaze with his love and kindness.
I was hurting... bad. It was my sophomore year of college and I was so heavy. I cannot fully describe the extent of the weight but it was enough to propel me to surrender. I was taking Nyquil to fall asleep. Negative thoughts would not stop running through my head. My parents were driving me crazy. I was worried about my sisters. I felt alone and afraid. I woke up one morning and had a demonic revelation. Something told me to search the medicine cabinet, find some pills, and end it all. I knew I was hearing the voice of the enemy and I ran upstairs to the dormitory chapel, knelt down, and cried out to God. When I closed my eyes, a figured appeared. It was Christ, his arms outstretched. This was not my first encounter with the Lord, and it would not be my last, but it was so critical that I record it in my spiritual history as an altar moment. He literally saved my life.
Christ wanted me to live; he showed me that he himself was alive and present. He chose this special baby and she continues to abide in him.
2. How did you change?
Phase 1 - Big Bad God
In the beginning of my spiritual walk, I put down explicit music and parties. I diligently paid my tithes, and attended church religiously. I was afraid of disappointing God and "getting in trouble". I did not understand forgiveness, grace, and religiosity vs. relationship. At the same time, I was testing the Christianity waters. I joined a sisterhood and learned how to fast and pray. I joined the choir and learned how to sing songs of praise and worship unto the Most High. I learned how to search Scripture for truth.
Phase 2 - Obedience
I began to understand that God required more than just abstention from certain places, music or materials. I began to diligently read his Word. In fact, I would drool when reading the Bible; it was (and continues to be) delicious! I heard his voice and followed every instruction. (Story: Man, I was obsessed with music. It was how I coped. But the messaging wasn't always positive and the songs affected my mood, mindset, and behavior. I put it down. Some time later God whispered that I should buy a MP3 player. I said, "But God, how will I hear your voice?". He replied, "You listen with your heart.")
Phase 3 - Pride and the Desert
See I was feeling myself. I thought: "God, look at me. I am reading your Word. I am doing exactly what you want me to do. I don't hang around those people. Look at that spiritual gifts you let manifest in me. I am the bomb(dot)com (Tamar Voice)." I grew self-righteous. And I was masking true relationship and surrender with performance. God took me through a desert season like none other. I could not hear his voice. I succumbed to temptation. I lost my sense of self. And I couldn't figure out why God was not helping me! My self-righteousness was preventing a true revelation of who Christ is.
Phase 4 - Healing and Peace
The Bible describes God/Christ as Potter, Shepherd, Father, Friend, and Lover. In all phases, the Potter is shaping and refining us to look more like Christ. He leads and cares for us as a Shepherd leads a flock. In another phase, we learn how accessible he is; he's up all night with us just as a best friend would be. Now, I know him as Father and Lover. My Daddy has swept me off my feet in the past 18 months. My hands are off the steering wheel and I am not afraid. I let my Lover drive the car down the road of righteousness and victory. And everything he tells me about myself, I believe. I am beloved by Him. He is well-pleased. He wants to lavish me with love. I receive it all!
Phase 5 - To Be Determined
I'll keep you posted!
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