Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Balanced and Beautiful in Christ:

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior." - Titus 3:3-6 NIV

Growing up in a liberal home in the wild and crazy ‘60s in Southern California, I was surrounded by a lifestyle that was anything but polite and proper. My mother passed away as I entered my teenage years. My father—the only adult left in my home—was born and raised in socialist Holland, so he was far left politically. His mantra was, “If you’re not hurting someone else, and you want to do it, then do it.”
Anytime I did anything illegal or immoral, his response was, “It’s not as bad as what I used to do,” as if he was challenging me to do something worse. Imitating him, I learned to serve myself and worship the most important thing I knew, me. Yet, I sensed that something was missing in our home and in my life.
Despite my intense self-focus, I had no self-worth and was incredibly lonely. By the time I was a young adult, I had no sense of direction, was more than a recreational drug user, and followed people of little scruples, whichever way the wind blew. I recall times that I could have been abducted or worse, yet somehow, I always found my way back home alive. Still, I grew lonelier.
By the time I noticed Christians being strategically placed in my life, I was no longer a teenager. I had not accomplished anything by being in college and had no direction for my future. I was a complete loser in society. I had nothing to offer. I was used, abused, and broken.
But then, God entered my life.
At a time in my life I should have been overlooked, He saw me.
At a time in my life I was lost, He found me.
At a time in my life I was lonely and alone, He showed kindness to me through others who followed Him.
At a time in my life I didn’t want to live, He showed me my worth and gave me a new life in Him.
At a time in my life I thought I was unlovable, He showed me His unending love for me.
At a time in my life I should have been punished, He showed me undeserved mercy.
Because of God’s great love for me, He did what no man could do—love me completely.
Because of God’s great power, He healed me of the addictions and brokenness to which I grew accustomed. Because of His Holy Spirit, I gained a companion and helper who would never leave me. Because of His kindness, He cleaned me and put me on a better path.
How did this all happen? I was at the end of my rope, ready to give up on this life. I cried out to an unknown god, “If there is a God, I need to know You because I cannot continue to live like this!” Then, in the stillness of my room, He met me. He held on to me like no one ever had. He patiently walked with me through all of my bad habits and poor decisions. He forgave me, over and over again. He took my stained and tattered life and washed me new.
It wasn’t because of who I was, as I was unknown.
It wasn’t because of whom I knew, as I was just a face in the crowd.
It wasn’t because of my education, because I had given up on it.
It wasn’t because of my profession, because I went from job to job.
It wasn’t because of my financial investments, as I was broke.
It wasn’t because of my political power, because I had stopped believing the lies of the legislature.
It wasn’t because of my family name, because they gave me bad advice.
It was only because of God and His great love for me that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to live a sinless life, to be persecuted to the point of death on a cross as the punishment for my sins, which were many. Because of His death, burial, and resurrection, I can live with Him eternally. Now, I choose to live for Him every day, until He brings me home.
This first appeared on the Facebook page for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ. Written by Marina Bromley. ©2020 Marina Bromley, all rights reserved.

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