Saturday, February 9, 2013

The God Who Loves Me

I rediscovered this piece from my writings from the mid-1990's and wanted to share it again. I have shared the same story in other places but this one was written closer to the time of the event and contains more details than what I currently remembered. It touched my own heart to recall what God did for me in such vivid detail and I hope it touches yours, too, because what God does for one, he does for all of us. That is why the Bible touches people so strongly. It is about God's love for us.

The God Who Loves Me

Before I came to know Jesus, personally, I used to wonder what the cross of Christ had to do with me. I saw no connection between what had happened 2000 years ago and me and my life today. I liked to hear the Christmas story. I heard the word "salvation" and did not understand how it related to me or what it meant. I liked hearing the story of the birth of Jesus, the son of God, and it gave me pleasure. It reminded me of Christmas and warm feelings and presents -- but, for me, personally, I did not understand any of the significance that other people put on it. What could this possibly have to do with me? If you had asked me, "Do you believe in Jesus," I would have said "yes." If you had asked me if I was saved, I would have given you a blank look and steered the conversation to other things. If I had ever been brave enough to voice my feelings I might have said, "What is all the hoopla about? What's the big deal?" and in the process offended someone. That is really why I kept silent. I did not want to offend anyone or to reveal my ignorance, and I had no over powering reason to bridge that gap, so I just pretended that "All was well."

I had not asked those questions when I was young because of the environment I was in. I was not allowed to speak freely on this subject. Whenever I raised any questions about other things that did not make sense to me from the Mormon books, I was verbally put in my place with a response that made me feel as if I was rude and should not even ask such questions. It was apparent to me that it was "dangerous" to investigate for myself the things I was being taught as truth in the Mormon church. I did believe in God, but I lacked knowledge.

Jeremiah 4:22* "For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge."

When I turned 25, I could no longer stand what was going on in my life. I was depressed and lost because of my own sin. I knew I needed Jesus, because the Holy Spirit was working on me -- but I had no understanding of how to get to know Him. I thought about it and figured that if I read the Bible I would get to know Him and so I started to read. To make a long story short, as I read I simply came under more and more conviction until I knew I could not do what Matthew said Jesus wanted me to do. I was inadequate to love as Jesus said to love. I didn't love that way. I had not obeyed my parents, I was mouthy and rebellious always wanting to do things my own way. Yet, I wanted truth in my life. I noticed that what I had been taught at church and in the Mormon books as "truth," did not have the results in my life that I had been told would come forth from it. It was becoming obvious to me that if the results were not as promised then the promise was at fault. I was tired. Tired of working hard at improving myself and never getting any better. Tired of being a good girl and never finding a husband. I was tired of being used by the church and never receiving anything for me that was promised by them from doing good works. I had no peace and no joy.

I finally gave up and threw out the teachings of the church I had grown up with. I was angry with God because He did not give me the husband I wanted -- and in the Mormon church, that is paramount. I knew I could not do what the Bible said I should do. Since it was absolutely impossible for me to be as Jesus said I should be -- I had actually tried for a long period of time -- I decided this did not work for me. I threw out the church. I threw out the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price and The Bible -- all the books the Mormon church was founded on. I threw out God. And I threw out Jesus. I decided I was no longer going to simply follow what ever the "authorities" told me to do -- I was going by what the truth in my own heart was -- no matter what. I was tired of the dishonesty. I threw out everything. I wiped the slate clean and started over by paying attention to my own heart. In anger I decided I was an atheist.

In one way this was a good thing. I was throwing out a system that was built on lies but I was not aware of the depth of it yet, except as it showed up in the results of my own life. In another way it lead me down many many rabbit holes. When you only trust what you know and feel then you have no way to test what others say, except by taking it on and doing it yourself. I later realized that at the end of every rabbit hole I shinnied down, I only found rabbit dung. I tried est (a two weekend program that taught me to use foul language and go for short suffering which is another way to say "selfishness"). I tried psychotherapy for four years. I liked the sessions where someone actually listened to what I had to say... but I was also aware that I had to pay someone to be my friend. It helped to get me through some very rough times but at the end I was not really any different than when I had started. I still had all the same fears and problems, I was just more comfortable with them and recognized the ups and downs more clearly.

I read every self help book that came out on the market. I tried vegetarianism, I read about yoga (and hurt my back). I searched high and low for "what" I did not know -- but something had to be better than THIS! I kept on seeking. The one and only thing that  remained with me continuously, even when I was trying out witchcraft, was that I continued to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. I had been taught to do that as a child and I simply could not depart from it. I truly thought it was simply a superstitious reaction on my part but I could not stand the jitters that came with not using His name in my prayers. I had at the very beginning of this new way of life thrown out God and become an atheist but soon came to realize for myself that I truly believed in God's existence, so obviously, I was not an atheist. I chalked it all up to superstition. If it made me feel better to pray in Jesus' name, then what could it hurt? I prayed in Jesus name. And through it all I knew that God was waiting for me. He was watching. I talked to Him constantly and I know His patience -- but I never really expected to actually hear from Him.

The major issue that I had going on in my life was that I was unloved. I thought I was unlovable. I was a living example of what people rejected. I was undesirable because I was fat and ugly. It did not occur to me for a very long time that no matter how fat I got I still had men wanting to have sex with me and I mistook sex for love. I could not understand why nothing of lasting value ever came from my sexual encounters. I rarely had a relationship that lasted more than a few weeks -- and if it did last more than two weeks that was just how long it took for the new partner to start asking me to lose weight. It used to frustrate me completely. "I was good enough for you two weeks ago -- what happened?" It seemed that it did not matter how good I treated them, or how good it felt in bed -- they soon wanted me to be different than what I was. I played the victim, always. Everyone else was to blame for how I felt. I did not leave them no matter how they may try to use me -- and they soon got disgusted and left -- proving, once again, that I was unlovable. This scenario played over and over again in my life for the next 20 years.

I will skip all the details of all the things I tried from self-help books to climbing up a rung or two at work. None of these things ever satisfied me. I continued being one of the unloved and unlovable. I was continually bumping into other peoples reactions to me, knowing there had to be something better, but never finding it. Hearing people talk about love and thinking to myself that there was no such thing. I trusted no one. I would check the sources of every book I read, every person I heard, searching for the answer to the questions: "Where did this philosophy originate? What is the source of this? Where did this come from? Who thought this up?" Every one and every thing was suspect, and I just wanted the truth.

Finally one day I was at the end of my rope. I had discovered from going home for Christmas the year before, about a month earlier, that I had been gone so long that my family no longer realized that their Christmas was my Christmas, too. I was an outsider in my own family. My annual Christmas depression had taken on a new aspect. There was no place I belonged. No group that would call me their own. I was completely alone and at the end of my rope. I had nothing left to hang on to, or to seek after. There was no love in the world. I had searched under every rock I found and under every rock I found worms. I had no other avenue left. No place more to look. No where that I could go. I was sitting on the edge of my bed in my apartment in Houston, Texas, and I had no more options.

When the thoughts of suicide had started entering my head a few weeks earlier I tried the things I had learned in psychotherapy which was to talk to someone. I talked to my mother. I talked to my sister. I talked to two friends I had found in Houston. Nothing made a difference. I continued to feel abandoned. As I sat on the edge of my bed, I contemplated the method I would use to take my life. I knew I was a coward and would not use a gun or a noose. I knew I could find pills that would kill me if I looked but the thought of this was overwhelming to me. I decided to make that decision tomorrow. I'll postpone it a day. I laid myself down in bed and as my head hit the pillow, I said quietly, but earnestly, "God help me."

I slept for about two hours and woke up feeling just the same. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Now, you must understand that I lived in an apartment by myself. If I heard someone speaking to me, then I knew I needed to pay attention, because this was unusual. The next thing I knew, I heard someone speaking to me. As I came up out of my sleep I told myself, "This is important. You need to hear this." I listened and this is what I heard: "You are loved, and you are worthwhile. You are loved, and you are worthwhile." Over and over and over again -- I heard: "You are loved, and you are worthwhile." I began saying, "I am loved and I am worthwhile," along with the person speaking to me. With my eyes still shut I sat up in bed and spoke out loud! "I am loved. And I am worthwhile." Nothing in my life had ever touched me the way this did! I opened my eyes joyously to see who was speaking to me and there was no one there. I knew that this was God. I knew He had spoken to me and His message was love! He loved me. He wanted me. I immediately decided to search for Him and I did not care what the "form" was -- I was searching for Him now -- however He was to be found. This is what salvation means.

The root word of "salvation" is "to save" or "to rescue." God rescued me and gave me the words that assuaged my soul. Whenever I felt depressed after that, I would simply say, "I am loved, and I am worthwhile," over and over again, as they had been spoken to me. Until my soul was again assuaged by His words. Even as I looked at the words that He gave me, I understood why he told me he loved me -- but I still, for a long time, did not understand why He also said I was "worthwhile." I only knew, His words touched my soul like no other words had ever done. And I began to search for Him earnestly. I knew I would find Him. My heart opened up wide and I spoke to people asking if they knew where I should look and I tried what they shared with me.

Even the story of this part of my search is too long to tell you all the details. Suffice it to say that the Lord lead me along baby step by baby step. The first thing I had to overcome was my rejection of Jesus. I came to believe in Him in what I now consider to be a sideways direction -- but since my search was for God, I had to end up with Jesus! The significance of me leaving behind "the form" (most people do not understand what I mean, when I say this) is that I had been raised in a very rigid religion that had placed a very rigid and specific form, or boundary, around the idea of God. I had been taught He was a certain way, and had a certain form, and no other way, or form, was valid. This idea is what I left behind when I left behind the form. I realized that God was beyond the "forms" or boundaries of this world. I wanted Him, not a replica of Him. I had had replicas of Him before and they were not real. A replica of Him would be idolatry which is as far from God as a person can get. I wanted God and I wanted Him, alone.

At one point, as God lead me along, I had to step back, in my mind, and look at all the things I had read about and studied and questioned. I pictured them in a circle around me and as I looked at them I looked for the source of each one. Where did these things come from? I knew that most of them had their beginning in the mind of the author. Some of the authors went so far as to lay out a prehistoric story, that no one could verify because it was, after all, "prehistoric." Do you get it? How do they know these things if there is no record of them? They get a vivid idea in their mind and then believe that is "the truth." Imagination is not truth. That's not what I wanted. I wanted the truth. Period. What really happened.

When I looked, I saw that there was only one book that had stood the test of time. They say that "time heals all wounds" but, time does not heal anything. In time things only fade into the background. There was one book that had not faded into the background. Millions of people, for thousands of years had said "This is the word of God." I decided to use the testimony of those people as my guide. That was, of course, the Bible. And it is ironic that the Bible, itself, is a testimony from many many people about the same God I was looking for. Of all the philosophies I had ever researched, there was only one, that I knew was older than a few generations. Only one that stood out as having passed that test of time. I put my faith in the Bible, knowing that my ultimate goal was knowing God and the truth.

I knew the Bible was the truth, but had a hard time reading it. It did not match up with my world view, so it continually made me angry. Of course I was not aware of that at the time, I just knew I had a hard time reading it. After coming to the end of myself and my trying, I asked Him to make me able to read the Bible. He did. Within three days, I was reading the Bible and not getting angry. He had reached down inside me and removed the anger I had been experiencing. He changed me and I began to not only read it, but over the course of time, to teach it in Ladies' Bible studies.

I grew in the knowledge of Jesus Christ through both apologetics, which explains the symbols, ideas, ceremonies and purposes of Christianity, and studying the Bible, myself. I had "mis-learned" a lot by growing up in a cult but I soon discovered that the Lord had not only made me able to read the Bible, he had given me the desire of my heart which was to be able to share what I had learned with others in a way that made the words blossom off of the page. That is, of course, not me, but the Holy Spirit using me.

This is certainly not the "end of the story." God is a living God and His story does not end!! Thank God.

I just wanted to share my testimony which leads up to the "beginning" of knowing God as He really is, and to be reminded of the fact, again, myself, that God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. His grace still lives, too, just as He does. If you are in need of His love and grace and mercy, seek Him... and He will let you find Him. He wants you. He loves you. Seek Him and you will find the God who heals broken hearts. The God who loves you!


  1. Praise God! He is so awesome! Such a great reminder that He reaches down to where ever we are to save us... even from ourselves.


  2. I am 38 and recently found out my whole Mormon upbringing was based on lies too. I even served a mission. I am in the stages of grief and have almost decided to be agnostic but I am looking for a Chrisitan church that more aligns with reality.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I totally understand your grief. It is so hard to learn that what you fully believed has turned out to be a masquerade. It makes the heart hurt and shocks the system. But don't give up hope! Truth is "out there" and it is actually found more easily than one would think.

      I had no guidance in my journey so it took me twenty years to stumble my way through it. The thing that really helped me find the truth was beginning to seek out who Jesus Christ really is and for that "Christian apologetics" was a major source of good information and healthy learning about Jesus.

      This web site may be a place to begin.

      Just investigate the questions that come up in your own mind. Your searching will lead you to the next question and answer. You need to satisfy the questions you have in your heart. Doing that will lead you down the right path to begin to know the real Jesus, the real Father, and the real Holy Spirit. Seeking to know them, draws you closer to them. Don't be afraid. They are much more loving, kind, and understanding of you, and who you really are, than you have been taught in the Mormon church.

      If you are anything like me, I know you are tired of the lies and want to find not only the truth but the comfort of the God who truly loves us. A good place to start is to investigate what "grace" is.

      continued in the next space

    2. continued from the previous space

      I did not find a church first. I was not ready for that. I investigated first. Then, based on my investigation, and beginning to read the Bible with news eyes I began to learn how kind Jesus is, and how powerful, and how able to touch our hearts is God. Then I knew what to look for in a church.

      Here is what I think is needed in a good church:
      1. They teach directly from the Bible and nothing but the Bible. The version does not matter as much as how closely they teach what it actually says. (I like the King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), and the New Revised Standard Versions (NRSV) of the Bible. I also like the Bible in Basic English (BBE) and the Contemporary English Version (CEV) for easy readability. Just pick one and start reading. I also like to carry the same version as whatever the church I am visiting uses so the words they speak and the words I read as I follow along are the same. It is less confusing. So have fun at the Bible store!!
      2. They will have a system of "small groups" set up where you can attend (maybe in someone's home) and learn more intimately, getting to know the people in the group and becoming family with them.
      3. Go to their web sites and read their mission statements and "what we believe" sections. Verify that it matches what you are finding in your investigation.
      4. Visit the church with the idea of getting to know what goes on there, and what the people are like, rather than the idea of "joining" and making a commitment right away. Just observe what they teach and make sure it aligns with what you are coming up with in your "investigation."

      This is just what I think should be done. Since you are in that place of "I know that I don't know" (agnostic) that means you are still open to God. So sincere prayer will let you begin to open up to Him. Don't be afraid to share exactly where you are with Him. He is kinder, and more gentle and understanding that we can even fathom.... especially if you are seeking Him.

      When He first began guiding me I would wake up in the morning to one scripture verse going through my mind repeatedly until I looked it up and tried to understand what it means. The first one He gave me was this:
      Seek ye first the kingdom of God
      That, I think, is the thing God wants us to do. If we are seeking Him, we will surely find Him.

      I would love to get to know you, if you are interested, and you are who I think you are, we have a mutual friend, so, please feel free to call the number she has so we can meet and share over lunch. Or.... if it is a little too soon for that.... please feel free to e-mail me at: Ask me any questions that seem to be coming in your mind and I will try to ease the transition and fill in the blanks to the best of my ability. God will do the rest as you seek Him!!

      You are loved and you are worthwhile!!
      Looking forward to a new hope in Jesus!!