Written by Millie Wert, Blog Contributor.
I am a born-again believer and will never have enough words of praise! Not being raised in a Christian home, the only thing I knew of “religion” was the Lord’s prayer. I come from a very dysfunctional family. Divorced parents, alcoholics, and way too much abuse (physical and emotional). Physical is much easier because those scars eventually heal.
Anyway, I started drinking when I was 11 and it was way too easy because my father owned a bar and a liquor store. I also did a lot of drugs. I started dating (if that is what you call it) much too young and was always involved with the wrong guy. There were times that I was in trouble with the police.
As a young adult, I was the most insecure person. I was in 3 extremely abusive relationships. The last one was so bad that to this day, I still have nightmares. I believe the Lord hasn’t released me from them so that I will never forget what He has saved me from. And I also praise Him for my husband who gently wakes me from my screaming to just lovingly hug me.
My conversion happened when I woke up in a hospital after a near-death experience. I was instantly changed. My insecurities vanished and even though I had no clue what was happening to me, my life has never been the same. I had a neighbor at the time who was a Christian and actually had been praying for me. I started going to church with her and she really helped me to grow in my walk with the Lord.
It’s been 24 years now and I have to say that one of the most influential people in the bible for me, is Paul. His conversion on the Damascus Road is mind-boggling. Prior to that he was a Pharisee and hated anyone that had anything to do with the church or God. He wanted them all destroyed. He was a life that was changed. He understood that his past needed to be remembered only to praise God for saving him from it. That is so me!
I usually use the NIV, but I like to see how other translations are written and I like how The Message (MSG) translates Philippians 3:12-16. This was Paul writing:
Focused on the Goal
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
These words really hit me hard. I am like Paul. Of course, I wasn’t trying to persecute Christians, but my past isn’t very pretty and I am a life that was changed. I don’t want to ever forget the life that God has saved me from! I also want to encourage others to never give up on family or friends because God is so much bigger than we think. If He can save Paul and me, then He can save anyone! Praise be to God!