Posts tagged ‘God as Father’

September 10, 2010

Losing and Gaining (Drina)

Here is a testimony Drina gave to us about a year ago about God restoring a specific area of her heart…Thanks for including us on what God has done in you Drina!

August 2009

Well, there’s a long and short version of what God is and has been doing in me.  I feel like it’s important to share the big picture.  I will try to nutshell it as much as I can.

Here’s a little background.  I had a good upbringing, nice parents who were very much in love, not perfect but I was very loved, and I have a good family.  When I was 17 my mom died of cancer.  She was sick for about a year and a half. I was her primary caregiver since my brother and sister were older and already out of the house and my dad worked nights.  I watched my beautiful mom become a shell of who she was on the outside.  Cancer stole her body but not her spirit, she fought til the end, she was 41.  My dad had a difficult time with my mom’s death and it was all he could do to keep himself together so I learned to take care of him and myself at the same time.  He never really recovered from her death and became more of a buddy to me than a parent.

About 5 years ago, both my dad and my grandpa checked into the hospital together to be treated for pnuemonia (my dad moved in with my grandpa after my grandma passed away).  It was then that we found out my dad had terminal cancer.  He was 62.  The time from his diagnosis until his death was 6 weeks.  My sister and I, with the help of our brother, cared for my dad in my sister’s home with the assistance of hospice, we all 3 did it together.  My grandpa passed away 2 weeks before my dad.  That whole experience brought a lot of pain but also healing and is an amazing testimony in itself of how God was there for me and for us, but to be shared another time.

Last summer I flew to Florida to be there during the time leading up to my grandmother’s death (my mom’s mom).   I was leaned on a lot by my aunts and uncles since I’d experience caring for a loved one a few times.  I tell myself that I’m good at it.  I’m good at loss, I’m good in a crisis, I can think clearly and I can be strong for people when they can’t be strong for themselves.

After losing my dad, I spent a lot of time in the Word and the Lord kept pressing on me 2 things- that He would be both my mother and my father and that I would receive double the portion for what had been lost.  Just this week, I admitted to myself for the first time I had been trusting this whole time that the fulfillment of that promise was going to come in the form of a person, a man, a husband.  After believing that, and 5 years later my knight in shining armor has still not shown up yet? God must not be trustworthy.

Over the past few years, I’ve had a couple of disappointing relationships, some health issues and all things combined have shaken my faith to it’s core. My heart became very hard and I’ve had a pretty good case built against God.  I began to believe God has good things for some people, but for me, He has pain, loss and disappointment.  I learned when I was young to take care of myself because no one else would be there to do it for me.  I resorted back into that line of thinking when it came to God: “Don’t trust any longer because you don’t know where He may lead you and it may hurt…a lot.”

But I also remembered the good times I’d had with the Lord, the sweetness I’d experienced, and it left me torn. Which God is He?

At the women’s retreat, the focus was seeing the heart of God as a good Father, as being His “girlies”.  Talk about a laser pointed right at that old wounded spot of mine.  God reminded me He still has more to heal.  I struggle so much with allowing Him to care for me, to take care of me and to trust Him with my heart that He will protect it.    He keeps chipping away at me, reminding me of the truth of who He is.  It seems to be one step forward 2 steps back and sometimes I really feel like a turtle!  Maybe double the portion is double the portion of Himself?  And is that enough for me?  Some days, I can honestly say, yes!  More of you, Lord!  And other days, my answer is, um…I’d really like the knight in shining armor, please.  I’m still a work in progress 😉

love,

Drina

August 14, 2010

Drawn by Grace (Elisabeth)

Below is just a piece of an incredible lifetime of testimony (that has been and is yet to come!) from Elisabeth.  Read how God has worked to bring both emotional and physical healing as she tenderly responded to Him.

Also check out this awesome testimony I “overheard” from Tommy’s facebook.

Elisabeth 2009/2010

“God loves to take a mess and make a message so His glory and grace shines through. God has been so gracious to show me His mercy and magnificence and take my mess and make His message. I was broken and bitter when God pointed me to CITC. I came because that was what I was supposed to do, and I had to check off the boxes to continue to prove I was good enough to keep His forgiveness.

Due to things that happened during my upbringing, I was fully aware of my sinful nature. When I found Jesus, I got into this pattern where I would just keep doing things in order to show God that I was really trying to learn to love and be good enough, hoping maybe He wouldn’t take back His forgiveness of my past if I was good enough. Jamie and Nate were only a stone’s throw away from me, so I figured that was as good a place as any to start. I didn’t realize that God was going to show me the true meaning of grace and healing at the little Church in the City.

My intention was to fill a seat at the church. But God had other ideas. I went to the women’s retreat with Jamie because I didn’t have anything better to do at the time, but God met me there. Steve had previously told me to stop thinking so much and try to experience God’s presence after I came to him with a list of 27 questions my second week at church. During the women’s retreat was the first time I ever felt truly accepted and loved by Him. I felt wrapped in His loving arms, and rocked like the daughter that I am for the first time in my life. Total acceptance by God. It was amazing. As I enjoyed the presence of my Papa like I never had before, there was an extra gift. My Papa had healed my hip, and I began to physically jump for the first time in my life. It was an extra touch that I never expected, but rather had been afraid of until that moment. I couldn’t stop jumping and yelling about how I was jumping. God had done more for me than I had ever thought I deserved in that moment.

Steve talked about this first healing the next Sunday and told everyone how it was the first time I’d ever jumped. And as I began to thank God and to think about this, my Papa helped me realize that I was going to jump more, and that He was wanting so many others to “jump” as well- He gave me this acronym: Jesus Unleashes Miraculous Purpose, and told me that He wanted to do that for others as well. He wants all His children to “JUMP”!

Jamie gave me a book called “Living in the Grace of God” by Rob Rufus, because I had begun to struggle with the memories of my past. And what I thought was, “Oh, isn’t that sweet? But nobody can understand what I’m going through right now.” I began to read the book to distract my mind. I began to see that grace wasn’t just a nice Christian platitude. It’s the backbone of who we really can be, and who we really are in God’s eyes. That book needs a warning label, because if you want to be the person that I started out to be in God’s kingdom, a seat warmer, I warn you: Don’t read the book.  I began to see that I was driven by guilt, not drawn by grace.  One of the many ways understanding His grace has changed my life is that my attitude toward people and myself has become more relaxed.

Well if that wasn’t enough, God poured out His presence again in my life in a very visible way. I was walking down the church aisle to answer my phone and my weak ankle snapped, as it has several times before, and I fell to the ground.  As I was laying there in excruciating pain thinking, “Okay, God, now what?”, Mat and Christian came over to see what had happened. My ankle began to swell and I couldn’t get up. I knew Mat was a doctor so I knew I’d be okay. But then I thought, “Let’s pray first, before going to the hospital”.  I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew that it was okay to ask and I knew that God loved me enough just because I was His baby girl. So we began to pray, and I felt led to let go of some of my bitterness and fear, like I had done the first time. The swelling ankle reduced and God repaired it even better than it was. I’ve learned that enough is never enough with God. He wants to open up and pour His love into our lives every second of the day. All we have to do is jump into His arms.

Elisabeth Grace