I was blessed to be born to Christian parents who took me to church and on July 23, 1978 at the young age of nine I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and was baptized that evening. What a great day that was!!!! I believed that God had forgiven all my sins and that when I died I would go to be with Him in heaven, but that was about all I knew to believe. Now everyone was telling me that I now had to strive to be as much “like” Christ as I possibly could be and so my 30 year cycle of trying and failing began.
I have always gone to church even during times in my life when I was willfully disobeying God and sinning against Him. I was bound by guilt and shame but always knew deep down that Jesus was the answer to all my problems.
I married at the young age of seventeen and had my two sons by the age of twenty-five. I was busy being a wife and a mother. The hustle and bustle of this natural world kept me pretty busy and I gave little thought to Spiritual things but thought that I was okay because after all I was saved and I was taking my boys to church. But I was a carnal Christian who was dominated by my emotions and feelings that were the result of my unrenewed mind. The guilt and the shame of my failure to be what I knew God wanted me to be made me a very angry person. Let me tell you, I could throw some fits and I did. I knew this was wrong and I tried to overcome it but I just couldn’t. I would do well at controlling it for periods of time but we just never knew when I was going to blow. I read in the Word where that since I was born again and had the Holy Spirit living within me I was suppose to be able to control my outbursts, but no matter how hard I tried, temperance eluded me. I hated myself for being this way and took it out on those closest to me. So went my life and the life of my family for years.
My life started to change as my oldest son began to come of age. While praying for him one day The Lord just showed me how delusional my thinking really was. I suddenly saw so clearly that I had no control over anything. Wow!! Then a few days later I blew up at my younger son and during my usual apology he looked at me with this blank stare and said ” I know, Mom, you are sorry” and when I tried to hug him he didn’t hug back. In disgust with myself, I went to my room and fell on my face before God and said “Lord, I can’t live like this anymore. I have tried everything I know to do to overcome this weakness of mine and have failed.” I also told Him that if I was ever going to be able to overcome this I knew that He would have to be the One who did it in me. That’s when I experienced a peace that I hadn’t known since the day I had received Him as my Savior. He spoke to my heart and told me that He had been waiting for this day and that He had always been willing to do this work of grace in me but He had to wait until I saw that I couldn’t do it myself and ask Him to do it. Finally, I was going to be delivered from this hell!! I realized that I knew nothing and that He knew everything and that if I was smart I would just listen to Him.
A few days later I passed a church sign that read HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS THE TRUTH? This really got me to thinking, and I began to examine what I believed and why I believed it. After a number of days of self examination, I came to the conclusion that the only thing I was SURE that the Holy Spirit had spoken to me was that I was saved by grace through faith. So when I realized just how little I was sure of I prayed a simple prayer and asked God to teach me what I needed to know. I told Him that I was going to trust Him to lead me to know the truth by sending people in my life to teach me and I asked Him to somehow let me know that it was His truth that I was hearing. So a couple of days later, while I was cleaning my tub, He told me to go turn on the TV. He then led me to listen to a man named Andrew Wommack who was teaching on Spirit, Soul, and Body. The truth of this teaching somehow unlocked the truth of the Word of God for me. I was so excited!!!! I also saw a peace in this man that I desperately wanted. So I told God that I wanted to know whatever he knew that caused him to experience such a peace and that I wasn’t going to give up until I got it. And so my deliverance through the renewing of my mind began. Since then the Holy Spirit has used many people to teach me of Jesus and brought back to my remembrance things that He had already spoken through many others in my past. It was truth that had not profited me because I had not mixed it with faith. Faith releases God’s grace.
It has been about 6 years since I started this journey of mind renewal. Through this process He has slowly been revealing to me the truth of Himself and who I am in Him. I no longer see me as a self separate from Him. We are one spirit. The life that I now live is not I, but Christ in me living as me. I know that it is impossible to be “like” Christ but instead I must simply let Him be Himself in and through me. I used to know Him just as my Savior (which got me a ticket to heaven) but now I know Him as Lord (which has brought heaven down to me). Praise be to God!!! There is much freedom in Christ and I pray that each person reading this will know/experience the Truth, for He will make you free…..Just like He freed me!!!! I know I have much more to learn and experience of Him and that along the way sometimes I will stumble and fall, but when I do He will always be there for me. He is my soft place to fall. Thank You, Jesus for loving me so much!!!!
Written by Tammy Strader