“…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11
My last post was the beginning of a short bio of my life and how God has helped me through everything. It is also about how people change, how my conception of God has changed over the years. In fact, it is still changing.
Late 20s: After my divorce, I was very lonely. I went to church each week, but there were no single men there. After three years, I met a man through my job. He was the best friend of one of my co-workers. We started dating and I liked him a lot. He was fun, seemed kind and really liked my daughters. He started going to church with us.
One day, I asked God if it was okay if I married this man. I knew he had already bought a ring and was planning on asking me. The Lord spoke to me, which I did not expect, and quoted a verse that was in the Bible, “What agreement does Satan have with God?”
So, God was saying my boyfriend was an unbeliever and would stay that way. I was rebellious and kept dating him. I was so afraid of being alone again, and I hadn’t yet learned to trust God. But a few things happened that showed me the man was indeed evil. One of those things had to do with my oldest daughter. He didn’t do anything, but he said something about her that was sexual. I broke up with him immediately.
I told God then that I would quit looking and hoping for a man. I decided not to date again. The next day my cousin, Bonnie, called. She asked me to go to a Bible study with her. I went and enjoyed it very much. Afterwards, we went to have coffee with two of her friends, two Christian men.
We had a good chat and I got up to leave. I didn’t think I would ever see those guys again. But as I was leaving, one of them asked me what I was doing the next day, a Sunday. I told him my mom and dad had a table at a flea market and I was going to help them. He asked where it was and I told him. I was clueless that he wanted to see me.
He came to the flea market and spent the day with me. Then he asked me to go to a church songfest with him and I said okay. We started dating and he was a total gentleman, which I wasn’t used to. We eventually married and are still married 40 years later. The Lord gave me a Christian husband when I was least expecting one and when I had given up trying myself! I have since learned that God is like that. He wants us to rely on him completely and not on ourselves. He waits till we try all our various ways of making things happen and when we turn to him in defeat, well, that’s when he works. I’ve found it is better just to go to him first, telling him we will accept whatever he wants for us; it saves a considerable amount of time.
Just before I met my husband, a new preacher came to our church and taught us all about having righteousness by faith alone. After learning this, I was no longer afraid God would kill me for the least infraction. I had my first inkling that God might actually loved me.
My new husband, who had only recently become a Christian and had never gone to church before, kept teaching me this. He had a strong faith in God, he still does, and I also learned from him about feelings. The first night I met him I said, “I don’t feel like God loves me.” He said, “Well, it’s a good thing we don’t rely on our feelings, isn’t it?” I was stunned at this thought. I think I had always been guided by my feelings. It still took many years for me to get over doing this, but that night I did believe what he said. As far as my relationship with God went, I quit relying on my feelings.
So during these years, the Lord kept me from marrying the wrong man, in spite of my rebellion. He gave me a Christian husband who helped me spiritually and I learned we are saved by God’s grace alone, not by anything we’ve done.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9