CON'T FROM PART 2: One who trips and falls doesn't need to get beaten with a rod of iron along with harsh words. What they need, more than anything, is a kind and compassionate hand up and help to get back on the right path.
So anyway, much of what I’ve written so far really took place between February 5 and March 1 ,2011. But really, the day of my salvation was on March 1. Throughout the month of February I continued to struggle with who I was as a Jew and what I was learning at this church that professed Jesus as Messiah and G-d. I went back and forth and agonized sometime late into the tearful night about what I was going to do. I desperately wanted to prove Christianity wrong. I wanted my father’s faith – I wanted my Jewish heritage. I realized at one point that this was the very dilemma Abraham was faced with when G-d told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the Hope of Israel’s future. It was almost as though G-d was asking Abraham to decide between Him (G-d) or the religion (Judaism). This is how it came down into my mind anyway and I realized that suddenly I had the same choice to make. Was I going to choose G-d no matter what the cost? No matter WHAT THAT MEANT? Or was I going to choose the religion of Judaism EVEN IF IT MEANT GIVING UP THE TRUTH? And consider this, I STILL didn’t know or understand yet what that Truth was. It was about 3 AM over that weekend and I decided through my tears that I would take G-d Himself over ANY religion, even over the religion of Judaism. The score was now, G-d – 1, Johannah – 0. But I continued to struggle throughout that weekend just prior to March 1. I listened to rabbis teaching on the false prophet of Jesus just bolstering my own position all that much more. Hoping against hope that I’d put together just enough circumstantial evidence to prove that Jesus was just some guy the Catholics turned into the religion (and a not-so-nice religion at that) that would change the world. And I did gather together enough evidence to set me right back on my path of self-destruction again. The score was now tied: G-d – 1, Johannah – 1. Monday, February 28 was a miserable day for me. I was depressed and weepy. Irritable. Out of sorts. And I still don’t know how I got through that Monday. I ended up writing a post on the church website requesting prayer because I was struggling with this whole Jesus thing again. People got together via the internet and prayed for me and left messages of encouragement and love. The score at the end of that Monday was: G-d –2, Johannah – 1. Tuesday, March 1 started much like any other day. I felt better emotionally which was a plus but I was still confused and I was still battling the whole what do I do with Jesus thing that rumbled in my soul. Toward the latter part of the afternoon I once again began to search the Internet for evidence that would prove beyond any doubt that I was right about Jesus: that he was an itinerant preacher with a charismatic personality who was essentially a charlatan and a nutcase. And I finally found the evidence I sought. I found an article that I was sure would supply all the d*amning evidence I needed and it was called: WHY JEWS DON’T BELIEVE IN JESUS. I thought, “Aha! Just what I need to prove my case.” So I began to read the article (it was long) and the more I read the more I couldn’t tear my eyes away. It was like passing a horrific accident on the freeway and you can’t stop yourself at staring at the carnage. Soon enough, I realized that this article was written from a different perspective – it was written to explain why the Jews don’t believe in Jesus but its thesis was meant to prove the exact opposite: that He is, indeed, the Holy One of Israel. By the time I finished reading this article, it was like the blindfold had been taken from my eyes and I could SEE Him as though He was standing right there in my office next to me. And I knew, in that moment that the only reasonable thing I could do if he had been physically standing there in my office was to get out of my chair and kneel down on the floor and wipe his feet with my tears and kiss them. It was the very first act of worship of my life that was given to my Creator and G-d. Everything else that came before, I realized, was me centered. And I realized something else, too. I’d been GOD in my life all my life and I was pretty darned lousy at it. I was finished being GOD and was content to be His Servant and let Him have the Job of being G-d. G-d took the winning point in this one: G-d – 3, Johannah – 1. So there I stood, accused and naked before the world knowing (and admitting) with full 100% responsibility for every last one of the actions for which I stand accused before G-d knowing that I am justifiably accused by others, by my family and friends, by the Universe, by G-d Himself. Before all, I stood before the Universe that day, facing serious charges against G-d that I alone incurred. I didn’t have a shred of an excuse to stand on for anything I have done or left undone. I stood before the world guilty as charged and worthy of nothing but the ultimate wrath of G-d. I deserved to have THE BOOK thrown at me. I deserved to burn in hell for all eternity and longer for all the evil I have done in my life. Indeed, there is not one good thing I have ever done or accomplished because even the “best” that I ever thought to offer to G-d was full of my own idolatry wherein I made myself into my own G-d and sat on the throne of my own life and did things my way. These are the “filthy rags” spoken of in the scriptures as far as our arrogance goes when we bring before a Holy G-d our “good deeds” to prove how “wonderful” we are. I also knew that in and of myself (that is in my old nature) there is really no hope for me whatsoever. I was justly condemned on the day of my birth and utterly without hope outside of a Redeemer, Rescuer, and Savior. The “old heart” just doesn’t work and never has. That’s the message that Jesus preached and the message I sought to understand for so many years within my own fleshly intellect. When understanding eluded me, I abandoned it all thinking it was all one big fat lie. But I was wrong and in the process I bought the very lie Satan had always wanted me to buy into and that was that all by myself, I really was good enough to merit the requirements of a Holy and Just Creator. And herein was where the problem lay – that with the very part of me that I worked to reconcile myself with G-d, this is with my intelligence and my intellect lay the very problem itself because that part of me, my intellect was just as “fallen” and “condemned” as any other part of my flesh. In my old nature there is just no hope at all for me or anyone else but for the person Jesus is creating in me now, something entirely new and different is taking growth. I am committed to becoming, not only well, but growing into the person G-d created me to be from the beginning of His Creation and the fact that I am understanding the Gospel for the first time in my life and making the Gospel a reality in my day-to-day dealings with the world is simply priceless to me. The L-rd Jesus has shown me so much and I’ve grown in ways I’d never have dreamed possible 2 months ago. In the course of my everyday life, I have plenty of opportunities to share with others just how Jesus has changed my life and the one person in my life who has witnessed this change more than anyone else is my beloved unbelieving husband Jim who is not a Christian and like me, has said that he never wants to be one. But the tremendous changes in MY life are causing HIM to ask questions now and he’s been talking to people at my church and asking questions and miracle of miracles, he recently asked me if I’d get him a New Testament so he could read about Jesus said and did, too. When Jim has been asked by others at church if he has seen any change in me at all he just grins and says, “Well, yeah! She’s not walking around p*ssed off at the world anymore!” And he’s starting to really think that maybe Jesus IS different from “religion” too. People at this church I’ve been going to for the past two months can see the difference from the person who showed up there in January and the person I am today. Today, I am at peace and I realize that a whole lot about Christianity can be faked: A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility and that’s probably the biggest change there is in me because I realize I have absolutely nothing I can be proud of. I was without hope from the moment of my conception and religion was never the answer. I thought and believed for all my life that Christianity WAS religion but I was deceived as many are deceived. Christianity is all about having a living and VERTICAL relationship with the Living G-d and I have that now. I don’t have nor do I subscribe to a religion. Since becoming saved, I have had the opportunity to share my new-found faith with my ex-husbands and at least one of them has noticed a substantial difference in the person he was once married to and the person I am in the last month or so. He’s been so impressed with how I’ve changed that he’s thinking about leaving his church and just checking out the one I’ve been going to. And it’s significant, I think, that he is a member of the LDS (Mormon) Church. He and I have talked quite a bit and he knows that nothing short of a miracle from G-d could be responsible for the changes in me. I’ve spoken with a couple of my other Mormon friends about what I have found and they, too, have been impressed that me, the one who swore that she’d NEVER accept Jesus as the Messiah of Israel is now a “completed” Jew who is in love with Jesus. And I might as well add that it was an interesting night when me and my new husband Jim sat up into the early morning hours talking one night about what had happened to me and with tears streaming down my face I confessed to my nearly atheist husband that I was now in love with Jesus as well as with him. The L-rd is working on Jim’s heart and I don’t preach at him or talk to him about spiritual things unless he brings it up first because I believe that Jim can truly be won without a word from me. My job is to be the Love of Jim’s life, his wife, his friend, his confidant, his helper and now to be his intercessor and to just let G-d love him through me. Sooner or later Jim will be so touched by Jesus irresistible love that he can’t help but say yes to Him. Some of my old “church” friends have not been able to accept the change in me and they’ve preferred to call me a liar instead. Some have said that I am just “doing this” for attention and others have implied that beneath it all, I’m just incapable of being “saved at all.” It is not my goal to make others “like me” or to “restore old relationships.” I’m not in this for myself or to simply make myself feel good about myself and my past or my present. My only wish is that Jesus Christ would be glorified for the work and miracle He has done in my life because without Him I am nothing – I am but dust. But in Him I have everything I could ever want. And it is far more important for others to see what Jesus has done in me and glorify Him for that than for me to be best friends with those from my past. When I was saved on March 1, I gave up everything (I mean everything) to Jesus. My writing career, my education, my life, my struggles with cancer, my husband, my kids, my everything. I now live moment to moment in His grace and love. I can live without ever having another article or short story published because I am no longer my own. I was bought with a huge price. But if Jesus ever decided He wanted me to pick up my pen and write again for pay or for free, I would do that and hope that others would find Him through my words. Because all I care about is shining His Light for others to see because before all I could do was see through a glass darkly – now I live in the LIGHT OF HIS DAY. This is my story and where G-d will lead me from here I don’t know. I do know that I have no fear of the future and that I am safe within the boat wherein my L-rd sleeps while the storm rages all about us. He sleeps and I am awake while grasping His Hand. And I know most of all that as long as the L-rd is asleep in the midst of the storms, I am safe, but as soon as the L-rd awakens and begins to worry about the situation at large, well THEN I can also begin to worry. But not until He does. . . . Thanks for reading. Johannah
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