When God met me in the park

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I grew up with 2 sets of Christian grandparents. One set seem to be miserable rule followers just waiting on heaven. The other loved Jesus, loved people and were loving and kind toward everyone. Their way of correcting us was very gentle and loving. Unfortunately I grew up thinking like the rule follower Christians. I thought I could just follow all the rules and I would get to heaven someday.

My Papaw was a preacher. When I a young teenage mother he took me to church with him. I heard a fire and brimstone message one Sunday morning from a visiting preacher and I was overcome with fear and some gratitude for what Jesus had done for me. A lady, I will never forget, came over to me and asked if I needed Jesus. I of course said yes and she walked with me to the alter and prayed with me. I accepted Jesus as my savior that day out of fear of hell. It was real but there was so much more I didn’t know.  It wasn’t until years and years later that I found out that I could not follow all the rules on my own accord and that Jesus wanted a relationship with me. I thought I had to earn God’s love and acceptance. I didn’t know he loved me just as I was and He would make changes in me in his timing.

I was asked to lead a bible study for a group of women on “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. Being a rule follower I had to complete the lessons so that I could go to the group and tell them I had. One particular assignment was to go spend time alone with God. I thought “What is the big deal, how would I spend time with God.” I mean wasn’t I supposed to just call on him in prayer when I was in trouble? I drove to a nearby state park where I knew it would be quiet. I sat in the car trying to talk myself into getting out of the car and walking on a trail. I thought “I have to do this or what will I tell the group?” Finally after lots of whys and why nots I managed to get out of the car and start walking. That act of obedience changed my life in so many ways. I started to cry, as I walked, overwhelmed by the thought that God would spend time with someone like me. I even said “God why would you want to spend time with me?” and as real as me sitting here typing he said “Because I love you!” I had to sit down on a rock and cry, pray, and thank him for his presence and for his love toward me. You see I always knew God loved me just like all the people in the world because he is God and he had to but that day he loved ME. It had never been that personal for me. He, the one and only God of creation, loved ME.

I would love to say it has been all wonderful since that day, but it continues to be a journey. I did change that day and I have never been the same and I know He will continue to work on me until he returns.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Philippians 1:6

Think about: Do you believe you have to earn Gods love? Do you think you have done something that God will not forgive?

Prayer: Lord Jesus thank you that you love us just the way we are but you love us too much to leave us the way we are. Thank you that you will continue to work on us until the day you return to take us home to glory. Thank you Jesus that you want us to know YOU.  Thank you for your grace, and your mercy on us.

/RitaReagan

River Community Church