Sunday, October 18, 2015

Everything Is Broken (My Personal Testimony)

I was raised in a bubble. Better yet, a bubble inside several other bubbles. I had the typical Christian upbringing. Mom taught Sunday school and my dad was a deacon and they both sang in the church choir. We lived “clean” lives and God blessed us. At the time I probably thought those were directly related. I never wanted for anything. I had great Godly friendships. Life was good. I had accepted Jesus as my savior at the age of seven and was a faithful Christ follower through college. But when I became an adult, I realized I was really a big mess. One by one all the bubbles I had depended on began to burst, and God was holding the pin.

At about 22, I learned the cold hard facts about church. It’s made up of a lot of Godly people who sometimes do ungodly things. No church is immune. I was always taught this, even from the pulpit, but I never really got it until I experienced it. Church was broken.  I no longer had security in the body of believers.
When I was 23, my dad, a faithful Christian man whom I love dearly, lost his job of 30 years and his alcoholism became increasingly worse. He had only started drinking a few years prior to this, but now it was serious. This was not something I grew up with. We were good ol' Baptists. We did not drink at all.  “MY dad, an alcoholic? Come on!” but it was true.  Since this time my dad has recovered and my parents have remained faithful to God and one another through many trials, but during that time it all took a toll on our whole family. My parents were broken. I had never seen that before.

“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!" Jeremiah 2:13

About a year later, with my first child on my hip, I began hearing and reading all about how our food here in America is bad for us and that food and drug manufacturers are all crooked. I read that we are poisoning our bodies by shopping at our local grocery stores or filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. Maybe this was true to some extent, who really knows, but naturally as a young mom, I was filled with anxiety.  I could no longer trust that my country had my best interest in mind when approving products for the assembly line. So, I spent all my grocery money at a health food store and barely had enough food for just a few days. I was driven by fear and worry and was in full on survival mode until one day something happened. 

I was driving down Frank Street in Lufkin and God spoke to me. No, not in an audible voice, but I knew He was speaking and wanted my undivided attention. I pulled over in a church parking lot and just listened. Basically he said, “Kacie, look at the three main areas of your life in which you’ve put all your trust. Your parents, your church, and your country. And they are all broken and you are broken. It’s time to put your trust in Me!!”  I may have said the sinner’s prayer at age seven, but in that moment with tears on my cheeks, I surrendered. Only this time I knew why. God is easier to see when everything standing in front of Him falls. (I went back to the regular grocery store, a little more informed this time, but I made my choices and left the rest up to God.)
Since then I’ve been married to my loving husband Justin for 14 years and we now have five children. Yes, FIVE!! We have a wonderful marriage. Until recently, I thought we had it all figured out. Oh, I would "humbly" tell people we didn’t have a perfect marriage, but I secretly thought we were special and unbreakable. But God took a sharp pin and burst yet another bubble I had formed and we went through something difficult. Maybe it wouldn’t be earth shattering to most people. It was a heavy emotional trial for us both and I was crushed. I was a mess. We were broken, but God, in His mercy, saw us through and we are healing. I grew closer to God during this time more than ever before. I realized I had put all my hope in my relationship with Justin. He’s a good husband, so it was easy to do, but I wanted something from him that he could not provide. I wanted perfect, unconditional love.

...“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” John 7:37-38

This is the main struggle for us all. We want fulfilling relationships, better circumstances, and pain-free lives here on earth. We even look to God for what he can give us rather than for what He has already made available to us through His Son; fellowship with God. We are broken and we long for the wholeness only He can provide. Nothing else and no one else can possibly give us that. They all fail at some point. When I was brought to my lowest point a little over a year ago, I fell straight into the arms of my Savior and I was given a great gift. I experienced a glimpse of what is waiting for me in Heaven. It was not eternal praise bowing at the throne of God, but more like peacefully strolling along a path with my “Brother” and my “Dad”* experiencing the fullness of my heavenly adoption. In that brief moment, I felt whole and it gave me great joy.

But I daily fight the urge to step back in the bubble and put my hope in something else. In my flawed humanity, I gravitate towards the temporal happiness more than eternal joy. I tend to keep searching for something "more” which eventually offers me much less, but real hope in anything but Jesus is futile. And as new bubbles form around me only to burst again, I will draw near to God and He will draw near to me as I eagerly await the fullness of what is still to come.

*“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later...But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay...For God knew his children in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.” Romans 8:18,20-21 and 29-30