I heard a very good sermon at church today. The title was "When God is at home in your heart". The basic massage is that God, the Holy Spirit, lives within us, in our hearts. We will never have to ask or pray for God not to remove the Holy Spirit from us. Once we are saved and have asked Him to come into our hearts, he will be there forever.
I was saved sometime during my late elementary years. Possibly 5th or 6th grade. I'm embarrassed that I don't remember the exact time or place. I do remember that I was at church camp when I felt The Lord stir in me. I do believe I was saved that day and a few weeks later I was baptized. However, I have never been comfortable talking about it or sharing it with anyone.
My college years were not ones I can say were... easy. I was too caught up in college life. I fell away from church and started feeling like I didn't need it anymore. My friends were unbelievers and so were my boyfriends.
College came and went. I went to church with my parents on the "important" dates. You know, Easter and Christmas. I moved to San Francisco. I started to question everything about religion. Organized religion was just a way to control the people. Man.
Then one night I was hanging with my homies (yeah, I said that) and the topic turned to religion. One guy said that he thought he was a Christian. No one was more shocked than me when I asked him, "do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?" What had just popped out of my mouth? His answer was no. But he thought he lived a "Christian Lifestyle". Whatever that meant.
I am married to a wonderful man that I can't believe found me. You can read about our courtship HERE. :-) We have two beautiful children who are miracles, and the reason I breath. After their birth, twins remember, I started having panic attacks. I'd had them before, but they started coming more often. I won't bore you with details but they were "oblivion" related. I started questioning my salvation. For decades I didn't care, and now suddenly I was desperate to know God. I couldn't envision life without my family.... I certainly didn't want to envision eternity without them.
One night, I was confiding to my cousin, Jill, about my fears. I had started going to Church and was hanging on every word the pastor spoke, looking for something that would make me go "AH" yes, THAT'S THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING. (And no, the answer is NOT 42).
I told her that when I was saved I asked Jesus into my heart. I'd envisioned my heart as a castle where he had the key to every room. He'd had full rein, with nothing denied Him. Then, sometime during or after college, I'd thrown him in the dungeon, chained him up, turned out the light, closed the door and locked it. I cried when I told this to Jill. What had I done? Her response to me was beautiful. Without a beat she leaned forward, looked into my eyes and said, "But isn't it WONDERFUL that he is STILL THERE??
Why WAS he still there. In my mind, He could have been gone. But I never considered that He was. He was just waiting for me to let him out again.
The sermon today reminded me that I will "never be abandoned, ignored, forgotten or cast out". Isa. 49:14-16. Also, Heb. 13:5 states, "He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you."
I am imperfect. I am flawed. I make mistakes. But I love. I care. I CHOOSE to have faith.
Thank you, Jesus, for living in me, even when I was not living for You. And thank you Jill, dear cousin, for helping me to see it.