September 28, 2017

A Testimony of Grace

I write about lots of things on my blogs... here, you will find snippets of our simple homesteading life. Crafts, recipes, thoughts, and such. Highlights of our large family's ordinary everyday happenings. My cow-friend Matilda. {smile} And if my body positive fitness endeavors interest you, I share that part of myself on Run Hoop Julie.

My blogs are meant to encourage like-minded ladies. To offer a glimpse into what a simple life looks like for this nearly 50-year-old Christian homesteading mama of eight. This homesteading blog isn't a how to homestead blog, and my Run Hoop Julie blog is more of a celebration of authenticity and learning to be myself than anything else.

And at the heart of all of it is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


I want to share my Christian testimony with you. I have shared it on my past (no longer published) blogs... but I want it shared here, too. Because what I believe about God is of eternal value. And while life is ever-changing, and I have changed a lot in the past couple of years, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8, from the World English Bible)

My hubby and I were high school sweethearts. We got married when I was nineteen years old and began our family... we had a son, then a daughter, then an ectopic pregnancy loss. Our happy little family lived in town, I owned and *loved* a little home daycare, all was well, and I thought I was in control. Ha!

When we were in our late 20's, the Lord brought a series of events into our lives that truly rocked my boat. My hubby had sudden and unexpected health issues... a seizure, and then a severe reaction to the anti-seizure medication. Our car caught on fire the week after we paid off the loan and had changed to liability-only insurance coverage, so it was a total loss. It was a very stressful time indeed, and it did show me that I was not in control of anything.

Shortly after all of that, I heard some Christian music on the radio and it planted seeds of faith in my heart. A family in our neighborhood reached out to us and I was encouraged to begin attending church. I went... at first I was overwhelmed by what I learned there, by the truth of the Bible.

I was (and am) a sinner. Jesus died for me. God's grace and forgiveness is a free gift... I cannot work for it or earn it or lose it, once I have it. Sometime, in my late 20's, it all sank in to my head and my heart and I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I was born again. (John 3:7) Praise the Lord!

All of my desires changed. We decided to homeschool our children. We moved to the country. Our little family of four grew to five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Those were lovely, cozy years... I began wearing dresses all the time, I learned to cook and bake and tend animals. I came to believe with all my heart that happiness is homemade.

Our oldest son is nearly 30 (!) now, and our youngest child is 6 years old. We still live on our homestead with lots of critters and I hope we always do. We are well into our twentieth homeschool year, with several more to go. Our life is happy-busy and good and I still believe that happiness is homemade.

And I am still a sinner, saved by grace... I am still walking with the Lord and marvel daily at His wondrous goodness and power. He is my strength, my hope and stay.

But life is ever-changing. It will always have its ups-and-downs. Things to let go of and overcome. Joys and triumphs and trials and lessons, opportunities to grow in faith and trust in the Lord.

I am thankful to have finally found the Christ-based confidence to peel away some of the layers I had put upon myself over the years and truly be my authentic self... the person God made me to be... and not care what anyone besides my dear husband and the Lord think about that.

God continues to provide our every need and gives me lots of reminders that I am not in control and He is. So many lessons, so many chances to grow in grace and truth. My heart is prone to wander... yet the Lord will never let go of me. I am so thankful for that.

I am learning to be fearless, and to walk away from things and stuff and thoughts and even difficult relationships that weigh me down... seeking to, desiring to, obey God and trusting Him with all the results and consequences He uses in my life to mold me into what He wants me to be.

I don't believe in cookie cutter Christianity... that we all have to look the same and act the same and eat the same way and like the same things. We need to follow the Lord, not other people.

I believe in Jesus and that He is the one and only way, the one and only answer to every question and need. The path is narrow indeed, but I think my freedom in Christ gives me room to be myself as I walk upon it and strive to become more like my Savior. I know I am forgiven for my every sin... past, present, and future. I know Jesus loves me.

If you read my blogs, you will quickly see that I am a work-in-progress. My life is not perfect, I am not perfect, and I am not trying to be. But I am fully assured and convinced of Christ's love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life with Him someday.

Friends, we are all sinners. Even the best and nicest people are sinners and fall short of God's holy perfection. Jesus paid the price for our sins by willingly laying down his life for us on the cross. Then, He conquered death by rising again! When we believe, truly believe, we are born again and washed clean of our sins and eternally saved by our faith in Christ alone, by God's grace alone. Oh, how He loves us!

Do you know Him? 





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