“Set Free By Truth” – Julie’s Testimony
I grew up with a conditional view of God’s love. This came about through a very legalistic church I attended with my mom and left me feeling very insecure about my relationship with God and my future beyond death. I constantly doubted whether I was a true child of God because I couldn’t seem to be “good enough” to please Him. At times it was paralyzing.
This warped view of God, coupled with harsh and unapproachable authority figures in my life, left me feeling unloved and worthless as a child. As a result my life remained controlled by fear and anxiety until I went to college, with frequent bouts of panic attacks and nervous stomach problems.
I learned from a young age that there was a salve for my empty heart. Positive attention from men made me feel valued. The better I made myself look, the more attention I got, and the better I felt about myself. At this, I put all my energy into “looking good,” though it was frequently a prison. However, the approving looks from men, dates, and any attention I could get made me feel amazingly euphoric, so it kept me searching for even more until it became an obsession.
In college I got involved in a fantastic campus ministry where I began to grow spiritually in a nurturing environment. It was there I made my first conscious step of turning my life over to God out of desire, not fear and duty. After that, He began speaking into my life in ways that I could perceive—not audibly but through His Word, thoughts, other people, and circumstances.
One night while driving in my car, I experienced an unexpected “message” introduced into my thoughts that went something like this: “I have legally adopted you as my daughter, and I will never go back on this covenant with you. Through your belief in my Son—His death and resurrection—you have become my own flesh and blood.” Instantly, my fears of some forgotten sin separating me from Him forever melted away once and for all, proving to me that it was truly God speaking to me. This was the first step in a long journey of learning to trust God with the details and controls of my life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10
Though fear controlled my life up until college, it was then that anger took over, especially anger toward myself. I hated who I was (somehow I turned out to be a lot like my dad), and I desperately wanted to change. But it seemed the harder I tried, the worse I got. I begged God to change me, but there was only silence. Battling the same habit pattern sins over and over again, I never experienced any lasting victory, despite my earnest pleadings with God to take them away. I found myself wrapped tightly in a web of the Enemy’s lies and couldn’t wrestle free, mostly because I didn’t even know I was being lied to.
As a young wife and mother, there were several years of depression and hopelessness with no reprieve, and seemingly no progress of becoming a whole person. Through continued belief of lies from the Enemy and a cycle of despair, my life was on a path to destruction. Rarely did God seem real or involved in my dry and barren wilderness. And therein was the disconnect. The realization that I was a Christian who was supposed to have answers and to live in hope and victory only made matters worse. I described my Christian experience to a few close friends as “a salesman who doesn’t believe in her own products.” What did I have to share with anyone? It wasn’t working for me, why would they want it? I felt jealous of those people who came to belief in Christ and described the feeling of being set free for the first time.
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
God spoke these words to me (also Jeremiah 29:11-14) and revived a tiny spark of hope that He indeed had something better for me, far above my defeated life. I knew He wanted to set me free and to give me hope, but how? I came to a huge crisis of belief. But instead of choosing to believe His promises, I sunk to the lowest point of my life, giving up hope that God could improve my life or my failing marriage. I waved my white flag of defeat to the Enemy when I decided to give in and have an affair with a man who was pursuing me. I longed to feel valued to someone again, and it seemed both my husband and God would not come through. Having been tempted in this area many times before, I hoped that at last the Enemy would finally leave me alone if I gave in. What I never expected was that God wouldn’t leave me alone. At my lowest place ever, LOVE followed me into the darkness and didn’t give up on me.
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19
It was a hard road back, but God has given me a new life. Paradoxically, through my sin and failure, brought to ground zero, I was finally changed when Mercy met me at the bottom. I have experienced the grace, forgiveness, and redeeming power of a loving and Sovereign God like never before. He has finally broken through the clouds and confusion by teaching me to trust Him and believe Him, and how to live by the truth that sets me free.
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
I’ve been set free—free from sin and death, and free from Liar who set out to destroy my life. God has taught me the truth, and taught me to fight the Enemy with truth whenever he tries to destroy my hope and future. That is exactly how Jesus did won His battles too. The road has not been easy, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it because I have learned that God is not as concerned with my happiness as He is with my holiness. It is through the process of becoming holy that I will learn true joy.
“But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
If there is one super encouraging truth I have learned through my failure it is this: With God, there is no “Plan B.” In other words, our lives are already written on the pages of “His-Story.” Nothing I have done or will do takes God by surprise because He already knew me before I was born. He knows the exact price I have to pay to learn obedience, being conformed to the image of His Son. I am who I am today because of my sins and failures, not in spite of them. There is nothing that has brought me more comfort and peace than learning and believing this truth.
The other completely radical truth that has changed me from the inside out is studying and learning the truth of the Gospel message, all but forgotten from mistranslation in today’s popular, modern Bible translations:
“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” Romans 5:18
I am a woman who believes in my products now. I know what I have and what I have been saved from. I have experienced the incredible power of grace. God took a completely sinful, powerless, weak, angry, fearful loser and made me, by His redeeming power and love, into a confident, joyful, free, purposeful, peaceful woman who is excited about His plans for my future. He has given sight to the “blind,” and brought light to my darkness. He has put the power of truth in my mouth, my head, and my heart so that I can stand in faith and defeat every lie that the Enemy hurls at me—lies that used to work on me. Not anymore. My exhortation to anyone struggling in sin or discouragement is to learn the truth. Your life will be free to the degree that you know, understand, believe, and stand on the truth, which is the Word of God. That is your greatest weapon (Ephesians 6).
“They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Revelation 12:8
Favorite Web Sites
- Raising Hell Book
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- One Million Arrows
Will the world change your children or will your children change the world?
A free comprehensive Bible reference site. Features many different versions of the Bible, easy concordance look-up, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.
- Greek/Hebrew Interlinear Bible
Find out for yourself what Scriptures really say in word for word translation. Compare to your Bible. You might be quite surprised!
- El Shaddai Ministries
Want to know what you are missing in connecting the dots in the Scriptures? Get in on the critical Hebrew perspectives with Hebrew teacher, Mark Biltz. Start with his Feast DVDs and check out his suggested resources. Your Bible understanding will go from 0-95 in a few hours of learning!
- Ancient Hebrew Research Center
Begin learning some of the differences between Hebrew (Eastern) and Roman (Western) theological perspectives. Wrong perspectives lead to wrong assumptions. Wrong assumptions make a mess out of the original intent of the Bible!
- Savior Of All
Get seriously challenged in your current understanding of Scriptures as taught by traditions of men! Learn the truth of God’s plan for mankind and be radically changed.
- God’s Kingdom Ministries
For serious Bible students only. This is a heavenly buffet of amazing connections throughout Scriptures.
- CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, & Speakers Seminars).
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Chai Tea Recipe
- 1 Cup Powdered Milk
- 1 Cup Non-Dairy Creamer (Dry)
- 1 Cup French Vanilla (Dry) Creamer (can use sugar-free)
- 2 ½ Cups Sugar (or Splenda)
- 1 ¼ Cups Instant Tea (unsweetened)
- 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Cardamom
Spiced (Friendship) Tea
- 2 Cups Tang
- 1 Cup Instant Tea (unsweetened)
- 2 Cups Sugar (or Splenda)
- 6 Tbsp. Dry Lemonade
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cloves