Pastor Michael

June 5, 2017

Our lake baptism service was so very meaningful. Here is one of the powerful life change stories that was shared:  

“Before I trusted Christ, I felt punished by God. My parents were alcoholics, and I was never good enough for their attention—and I felt I wasn’t good enough for God’s attention either because I thought he wouldn’t help me. I was neglected and abused and thought God ignored my cries for help, my demands to make my mommy and daddy stop drinking, stop yelling, stop being violent, stop ignoring me. When my brother died, I was 14, and he was 16. I thought I had reached my end point with God. I was ANGRY. Why would God put me through such a horrific childhood and then rip my brother from my life?

As I got into my late teens, I moved away from my parents with an older man, and I developed a toxic, co-dependent relationship. Every time he failed to show me love or make me happy, I thought it was God again, punishing me. Every time I would lose a job, a friend, a pet, a family member—I thought I was being punished, and I would ask WHY? Why are you doing this to me?

No matter how much I prayed, cried, begged, I thought God just wouldn’t answer me. I was in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. I would attach myself to people with addictive personalities, people hooked on drugs, alcohol, you name it. I wasn’t comfortable around “normal” people. It wasn’t until my mom went into recovery that I heard her version of my childhood and I received the most genuine apology that I forgave her—and I forgave God. I realized my elaborate expectations of God to erase every negative situation in my life were unreasonable.

We attended Journey’s Christmas Eve service in 2012, and I had an epiphany. God didn’t PUT me through my childhood, God GOT me through my childhood. Without the love and grace of Christ, I could very well be in the same shoes my parents were. I suffered; I cried; I experienced abuse—but God did not cause it. He was there with me as I was going through it. At that very first Journey Church service, my realizations led me to trust Christ fully. With each passing year, my trust and love for Christ have grown ever stronger.

Since I decided to follow Christ, I am no longer a victim. In Christ, I am strong. I am a survivor. I am God’s child. I now see that my life is made whole in Christ. I think back on some of the worst times, and I realize he was there the whole time! I was blinded by anger, disappointment, resentment. I couldn’t see him. I want to help others see him in each and every moment when they thought they were alone. I want to be the love of Christ to others.”