Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saved by Grace: Michelle's Salvation Story (Part 1)

image by diabolik808 / text added
Updated 10/19/14 to remove broken links.

Today I'm thrilled to share with you another story of saving grace, this one from my good online friend Michelle, who blogs at Cross Driven and StickBurbia.  I don't remember how I "met" Michelle, but we quickly discovered that we have a lot in common.  I appreciate the honesty in her writing, and I trust that you'll see that honesty in this account:

In John Piper's book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence, he says this:
Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Over the years, salvation to me as taught by my Mom was something I had to work for. If I didn’t pray hard enough, bad things would happen. If I didn’t conjure up enough faith, God would certainly punish me. My idea of God was something like a mean old man looking over my shoulder get ready to hit me with his wooden cane. For years, the wooden cane would be in the form of losses. I had to face it – God was punishing me for something terrible. What that was, I didn’t know.

When I was 11 years old, I lost my dad to lung cancer. Previously, I had spent many days watching him wither away while my Mom was convinced her faith would heal him. He sat on the couch sucking on cigarettes, hoping to die faster if he could. Much to my horror, I watched my dad cough up blood and get eaten alive by something it seemed even God couldn’t control. And then like that, he was gone from my life – another punishment for my many sins.

Several other losses occurred – loss of our home, loss of relationships, and changes in my home life. God hated me and I knew it. Still, I played the part of Christian well and carried on as if I had no doubts. After all, I wouldn’t want to raise suspicion. I didn’t want God to really know how I felt.

It wasn’t long before another loss would come. A police officer arrived at our door one day in July and informed us of the sad news: My triplet brother had committed suicide.

I went to my room and I cried like I never cried before. I punched my dresser. I wanted to die. What did I do that was so wrong? Why did God hate me so much? My existence was choking me. I didn’t want to eat or sleep or live. Did God even care about me? Every day I became more angry at God for doing this to me. Who could live by such harsh standards?

For some reason, I never quit going to church. Life carried on and I married a Christian man. We had a child. For a brief moment, life was good. By all means, I looked the Christian to everyone else. I didn’t swear, I didn’t drink, I kept a vow of purity until marriage, I didn’t do drugs, and I was a good person. Deep down, I was a mess. I would lash out at my husband when he encouraged me to read the Bible. I found myself hating church yet feeling like I had to go, as if there was some kind of record keeper who was keeping tabs on me.

I hope you'll come back tomorrow to read the rest of Michelle's story!

7 comments :

  1. Wow. Sounds like a good book. You left me in suspense. I want to read the rest of your story.

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  2. What a troubled start to life... looking forward to reading the rest of the story of His grace in you.

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  3. thanks for posting this Melissa :)

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  4. Cannot wait to see how God opened her eyes.

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  5. Wow so powerful love reading it, can't wait to read the rest!

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