It is by GRACE you have been saved.

My understanding of salvation has changed over these past few days. The things you learn by actually seeking God, reading The Word, praying, and listening to and reading stuff from Godly people, is actually legit. Who woulda thunk it??

I never liked my testimony (which doesn’t make any sense…). I always secretly wanted one of those really “cool” ones where I was a drug addict and a prostitute by age 12 then I found God and my life took a 180 turn and I became a missionary to the indigenous people of Australia. You know, something like that.

It honestly didn’t hit me until last night as I was getting ready for bed how much my life is a testimony to God’s grace and abounding steadfast love. Like, seriously, how I came to know God is nothing but flat out grace; grace I don’t deserve.

I was born into a “Christian home”. I’ve accepted that as fact until…last night. Last night it occured to me just how much my “Christian home” was…not a Christian home. And, please don’t take this as a knock on my parents because it’s not. I love them so much it’s insane. I’m just stating facts. If by definition, you’d classify a Christian home as a home that has Christian parents, then, yeah, I suppose it was a Christian home. But, when I think about the home I would want to lead, if I were to get married one day, it lacked many, if not all, of the components.

My dad was not a  spiritual leader in our family. He was a leader, but, not a spiritual one. Yes, he woke us up on Sunday mornings, ironed our dresses and pants, and faithfully took us to church every week. Yes, he was even a deacon for awhile at my childhood church. Yes, he taught Sunday school classes from time to time. He actually even taught a Sunday school lesson on grace that I’ll never forget. He gave a candy bar and a soda to this girl for no reason emphasizing how God’s grace is underserved, but, He gives it anyway. (He only gave the stuff to the girl though so, I think everyone missed the point because there was an uproar of whining and “UNFAIR!” 😉 ) My dad’s an awesome guy. But, I honestly don’t remember one conversation he ever had with my siblings and I about God or about who God is. He didn’t talk to us about the Bible. He never poured into me and the rest of my family as a spiritual leader. He didn’t pray with us. He didn’t make decisions based on studying the Word, meditating on it, and prayer. I never realized until now. My dad “believed in God”, but, I think it kinda stopped there.

My mom kind of acted as the “spiritual leader” in our family. I don’t think my mom really knew how, but, she tried. I’d say the extent of it was not letting us watch a lot of tv, playing a lot of Christian music for children in the car/ later on only allowing us to listen to Christian music, purchasing a bunch of animated Bible movies, taking us to church, only letting us hang out with other Christian kids from church, and  homeschooling us which began every day by reading from the Bible. My mom made us memorize scripture and the books of the Bible. We used Christian curriculum. I don’t remember when it stopped, but, every night my mom used to come individually into my siblings’ rooms and she’d pray for us. I remember not being able to go to sleep until mommy came and held my hand and prayed with me.

Never until now have I questioned that that right there was being raised in a Christian home. But, now I really see it as being raised in a home where a lot of Christian material and literature was readily available. I was surrounded by it.

I’m definitely not questioning my mom’s sincerity or her faith. She definitely loves the Lord and has sought Him as long as I’ve known her (haha …)

But, again, besides teaching us Bible lessons every morning during school, my mom did not run our house as if God was the center of it. And, I’m not saying that we were raised like heathens or something, but, it wasn’t Christ centered. It’s hard to explain exactly…but, it wasn’t.

So, this is where this unimaginable realization of God’s grace like I’ve never realized before comes into play.

I “prayed the prayer” when I was 5, almost 6 years old. (btdubs, I’m no longer a believer in the ‘pray “the prayer” and you’re saved!” deal. it’s not Biblical…but, that’s a different subject). I remember it clearly. I prayed with my brother in my parents’ room, and they gave us cool Bibles. Mine was pink and it was awesome.

I can’t tell you honestly at that moment in time that I knew what I was doing. But, I can tell you one thing, and it’s purely and solely by the grace of God, I never looked back.

God uses vastly different circumstances and experiences to bring people to himself. C.H. Spurgeon said, “God’s Spirit calls men to Jesus in diverse ways. Some are drawn so gently that they scarce know when the drawing began, and others are so suddenly affected that their conversion stands out with noonday clearness.”

God was drawing me to Him when I was so so young.  I don’t know when that moment of “regeneration” happened, or when I was justified through my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as my savior. I don’t know when the sanctifying began exactly. All I know is that I am forever thankful for God’s grace in my life.

For some reason (God), as a very young child, I accepted Christ as truth. It was always fact and certainty in my life. 

I don’t understand it, but, for some reason, I never looked back. For some reason, strictly God’s grace alone, I loved Him. I loved Him. I wanted to serve Him. I wanted to know the Bible. I loved going to church.

By God’s grace, I was a child/teen who wanted to do what was right, who wanted to be like God. I am amazed sometimes when I look back on things I wrote when i was 9, 10, 12 years old. Song lyrics, journal entries, papers, etc. that are all just expressing this love and understanding of God. It’s something I’ve taken for granted.

My brother isn’t a believer anymore. I’m not sure if he ever really was, but, I’m in no place to judge. My sister, although would claim to be “a Christian”, has zero desire to live for God. She loves the world and has a very worldy view on everything. She has no desire to read the Bible, go to church, or be around Christians.

Sometimes I look back in confusion on what happened to my “Christian home”. I pray that God will madly pursue them and draw them to Him.

I see God’s grace in that though. Why didn’t I ever decide I didn’t want to be a Christian anymore? Why did I always feel so strongly against things like pre-marital sex or abortion even when my parents never told me their stances on it?

I was not surrounded by an environment that was gungho about the pursuit of Christ above ALL things. But, yet, I wanted to.

Grace.

No, my life has been far from perfect. If you’ve even glanced over any of my blog entries, you would know that I am far from having my life together. I have lots of struggles and combat sin every day just like you do.

But, althought previously aware, I just am in awe of God’s grace in my life. Such grace must envoke a response. I simply can’t ignore it and continue to take my “belief” for granted.

It is by Grace I have been saved. I did nothing to deserve it. I did nothing to make myself worthy of it. I will live my life telling others about this grace so, that they may taste and see that the Lord is good.

Resolved: To live a life that is glorifying to my Father in Heaven who has lavished His grace upon [me].

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:9-11

“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 o fworks, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2:8-9

~Shara

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