Monday, November 18, 2013

Prodigal Parade

I have been listening to the My Hope: Songs Inspired by the Message and Mission of Billy Graham. The whole CD is incredible because of the message of hope and truth it contains-the truth that leads to eternal life. One song has resonated with me more than the others and I find myself listening to it more often. It is the song "So Loved" sung by Matthew West. I would like to share it with you.

(If you receive this through email, please view the video on my blog. Thank you!)

You see I was part of the prodigal parade West is singing about. I was the child who grew up in church, went to Christian schools for 16 years and could tell you lots of different Bible stories. I wasn't a perfect child or teenager and I did not make the best decisions in high school. However, I truly wanted to live for God and please Him. I went to Cedarville University for college and it changed my life. I met some incredible women-my forever friends-, learned how to become a teacher (my life long dream since 3rd grade) and grew in my walk with God. May 2005, graduation came and many of my friends were engaged and getting married in the next few months- including two of my very best friends/roommates. I was a part of both weddings, which were a week apart and I hopped from Ohio one weekend to Indiana the next to celebrate the marriages of two truly beautiful, Godly women who had chosen their forever loves. 

And me? I was single throughout college, but I wanted what my friends had. And that is where my choices went downhill very quickly. I believed the lies Satan whispered into my ear day and night- you're not good enough, you're not beautiful, you're too fat, there is something wrong with you, you will always be alone, you're relationship with God isn't strong, no one wants you. You get the picture. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. As the song says, "In my life, I've failed and fallen, I've drifted far and wide, I have wandered from my calling, I've believed that devil's lies..." 

After graduation, I waitressed at the restaurant I had worked at since I was 16. When my hours increased, a guy started giving me the attention I so desperately desired. He was not a Christian, had no desire for anything related to God and knew the words to say to keep me by his side. You see this guy was a user. He used me for what he could get-from my wallet, from my body, from my heart. I gave up everything I believed in thinking I could have the love I so desperately thought I needed to be happy. Instead, what I found was anxiety, depression, 80-hour workweeks to pay the bills (mine and his) and a hot/cold relationship that broke my heart. 

And then it happened. I got the call from him that he was arrested again. I had already bailed him out once before ($500 later) and he had lied to me again about what he was doing that night. I couldn't do it anymore. I hung up on him and called home crying, in the middle of a panic attack. My mom sent my brother to pick me up from my apartment and bring me home. Home to my family that did not agree with my decisions, but always welcomed and loved me. Home to God and a relationship with Him that I had never known. Home to the only One who could love me the way I so desperately wanted. 

God redeemed me again that night. He forgave me for my sins, washed me white as snow. He was right where I had left Him. He had always been faithful. I was unfaithful, but He accepted me back with His mercy, grace and amazing love. God has taught me over these last few years that He is the only one who can satisfy me. He created me, my heart. He knows my every thought, yet never lets go. 

I'm still single. Almost 31. And yes I still long for a husband and family one day. My desire has changed though. Before it was about finding satisfaction and happiness from my husband. Only God can do that and does each and every day. Now it is about praying for the man that will serve God beside me, lead me and my children in the Truth. My desire is that together we can do more for God than apart. This life is not about me, my own desires and needs. It all points back to Him. It all goes back to the God who loved us so much that He sent his one and only Son to die for me, for you, for the world. 

Linking with Inspire Me Monday

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