Every believer has a story of God’s saving and sanctifying work in their lives, this is mine.
I was born into a Christian family, going to church every week, praying before dinner. I’ve been saved for as long as I can remember, so really the story of my salvation is a simple one that is overflowing with the grace of God, that He would have compassion on me and gather me to Himself before I had to go very far on my own.
The journey of my sanctification, the lifelong process of being refined into Christlikeness, is a more detailed history.
For the first part of my life I was an immature Christian, loving the Lord and assuredly saved, but not centering my life on Him. In sixth grade, the Holy Spirit awakened my heart to the fullness of life that comes with fullness of submission to Him, and I began to long for Him at the center of my life.
I avidly pursuing Him and sorting the truth from the lies. The first manifestation of this was the frustration I felt at my church when I realized I had not been taught about the God of the Bible, I was being taught a distortion. When I expressed this to my parents and asked if we could look somewhere else for our church home and they agreed. This began two years of what I call “church-hopping” before my family found where we fit within the body of Christ.
The next thing my renewed conscience prompted me to change was my school. The environment I in was not building me up. I longed for somewhere that I could find fellowship and grow in wisdom. I again turned to my parents who fully supported and provided for my shift into a Christian school of which I still attend today. This gave me new hope as I was able to go into school each day growing mentally and spiritually.
And then the biggest challenge I’ve ever come up against entered my life.
I woke up one day with an intense, migraine-like headache, and it hasn’t stopped since. And yes, I really mean hasn’t stopped, not even for a minute. This was in the August between my seventh and eighth-grade year, I’m now in junior year of high school and have not yet experienced any relief from this pain. Less than a month had passed with this constant headache and I had already begun to struggle with severe depression and anxiety.
Sixth months were spent spiraling deeper into pain because it took me a long time to actually talk to someone and even longer to find the someone who gave me the guidance and support I needed.
The Lord began guiding me to emotional recovery and He is still the light unto my path as I strive for wellness in all areas.
Since then a lot has gone on. The past four years have been filled with more doctors’ appointments than I can count and a disappointing result for each one of them. There have been up to 20 pills day, 8 shots in my head of what felt like fire for a nerve block, and bloodwork and MRI/CAT scans many times over, just to name a few major events. I share this not for pity or to complain but rather for God’s glory. There is no way I could have lived through this without the Lord, much less have the JOY and HOPE I was able to have in Him, as the greater purpose I have received from the Creator was many times my only motivation for continuing to fight back darkness and run the good race He has set before me.
God is good on the hills and in the valleys, so what else was I to cling to in this than Him? He promises in Romans 8:28 to work everything for His glory and the good of those who love Him. This sickness (physical and emotional) was genuinely the greatest good that has ever happened in my life because so much of it has already worked for my good in my relationships with God, others, and myself. Through this trial, my God has continued to sanctify me and this good work will be finished on the day of His return. I am assured of no more sadness and no more pain. This is but a momentary affliction, a fire in the refining process, the pressure of the Potter’s finger as He molds the clay.
One of the most awe-striking qualities of the Bible is its unity. Though it was written by over 40 authors across 1,600 years and is made up of 66 different books, one common message is carried through every chapter and verse: God redeeming man to Himself.
I mention this because just as this message permeates every word of the Bible, it fills every moment of our lives. This lifetime holds salvation, redemption, hope, freedom, and joy no matter what the external circumstances are, but only for those who surrender themselves, repent, and accept these as free gifts.
God is redeeming me to Himself, and He wants to redeem you too.