Before I contine writing about my experiences as a homestay mama, I want to backtrack to June 8, 1985. My marriage was teetering on the brink of collapse. Marriage counseling was not working. I didn’t know what else to do or where to turn. As I crawled into bed that evening in June, I felt helpless and hopeless. I couldn’t sleep and just laid there staring at the ceiling. My feelings were a jumbled mess. My mind refused to think--refused to deal with the problem any longer. I was at the end of my rope.
Then I saw Jesus. His arms were outstretched toward me, palms up--inviting me to come. It wasn't a distinct image, yet it was intense and powerful just the same. I knew it was Him. I could feel His presence in the room--a presence that emanated the most amazing love I have ever felt. Even though this experience was most unusual, I felt no fear. The love I felt from Him was so peaceful, so comforting, so compelling that I wanted to surrender. But, there was a barrier between us!
They had to be dealt with once and for all!
Some sins are obvious, but the worst kind lurk just beneath the surface of one’s spiritual heart. One by one as God brought my arrogance, critical spirit, self-righteousness and a host of other sins to the surface, I saw how ugly they were in His eyes. Especially my pride! That seemed to be the major problem in everything He was bringing before me!
I had grown up in a Christian home. I had been a relatively obedient child. I believed in God. I went to church every Sunday. I didn’t do those obviously ‘bad sins,’ which other people did. I tried to live and work ethically, honestly and in harmony with those around me! I gave to the poor and tried to help the less fortunate. Surely all of that counted for something!
But in God’s eyes my goodness counted for nothing. In front of Him the playing field is level. I was no better than the worst of sinners! Seeing myself as God saw me, reduced me to broken humbleness. All pretense was stripped away. There was no place to go but down on my knees, and so I slipped out from under the covers and knelt down beside the bed.
As God brought first one sin after another to the surface, I asked Him to forgive me and remove it from my heart. I don't know how long I was there on my knees, but it seemed like a very long time. When He was finished, I felt like my heart must surely resemble a block of Swiss cheese—full of holes from all the sins He’d carved out! “Oh, Lord,” I prayed. “Don’t leave me like this! Please fill all those holes with your love!”
And He did!
Oh, what a difference! I felt clean inside! I felt peace and joy. But most of all, I felt love--pure love--for the first time in my life! And, I had renewed hope because I knew I now had God's love and his Spirit living inside me. I desired reading the Bible like I'd never desired it before and so I read, and read, and read some more. I felt like a parched desert after a drenching rain! It was wonderful!
Now fast-forward to 1992. Even though I had fervently prayed for God to heal my marriage, my husband left. At that point I could have become bitter, thrown in the towel and turned my back on God. But, I chose to hang on. And, I’m so glad I did!
Tomorrow: Not Your Ordinary Love Story, Part Two.