Today I want to talk to you about 4 things and along the way I will share my personal testimony. The 4 things are:
Your spiritual gift
Your purpose and how fulfilling it changes everything
God is able. He is able to put a wow back into your spirit like you have never had before. The enemy is cunning but God is always several steps ahead.
Prayer changes everything in an unexplainable way.
How many of you have a spiritual gift? Yes my avid bible readers in here that is a trick question because every single person reading this has a spiritual gift. In 1 Corinthians 12 we learn that spiritual gifts (or charismata) are endowments which may be given by the Holy Spirit. These gifts are not for personal gain but for the “common good”. Verse 11 says that these gifts are given according to God’s sovereign will. So in other words our spiritual gifts are given to us as God himself determines.
Now lets stop here for a moment. What does that mean? That means that if I don’t use my gift I am basically treating the gift God gave me like I treated that gift I got for christmas. You know that one that has been in the closet all year that I plan on re-gifting this year.
Unlike that vase I will re-gift and never use Ephesians 4:12 tells us these gifts are given to prepare God’s people for service and for building up the body of Christ.
Ladies and gentlemen, these gifts are the supernatural graces in which individual Christian needs to fulfill the mission of the church.
1 Corinthians 12:4 tells us there are different kinds of gifts and they fall into a few categories such as motivational gifts, ministry gifts, manifestation gifts. But all are meant for works of service to benefit and build up the body of Christ. Often these different gifts are why we see different denominations. Often we tend to bond well with those like us and misunderstand those who are different from us. That is why our gifts cant cause a great deal of disagreement.
Now I experienced salvation early at about age 6. I can remember the pastor was preaching the invitation called to me (Keep in mind that he was using his gift of preaching). The music team was using their gift and I was crying. I felt conviction that I had been doing wrong. I went to the alter prayed a prayer and that was that. Now a few years prior to that my adoptive parents had went through a horrific divorce. My mother was caught cheating my father was devastated and the battle for me got ugly. Now any of you that have ever experienced divorce whether in your own life or as a child know it can get brutal. Whether children are meant to be a tool for revenge or not it often turns out that way. My father won custody of me and my mother was allowed weekend visitation.
Just a few weeks after I was saved my mother said it was to hard on her to visit me. Emotionally if she couldn’t have me all the time then she just couldn’t bare to see me at all. Now at 6 when she was saying all this I didn’t realize this was a good bye. So the next week I sat with my Granny on her old white wooden porch swing waiting…and waiting. We waited until after dark that Saturday and my mom never came to get me.
For weeks every Saturday I sat with my Granny waiting for my mom but she never came back. My Granny and I would sit and swing together often for the couple of years. We weren’t waiting on my mom anymore it had turned into just a time to sit, think and enjoy the company of each other. Then one afternoon we were swinging and my Granny started talking funny. She fell out of the swing and onto the porch. She made noises but she couldn’t speak. I didn’t know this could even happen. I was only eight. I started praying Jesus help us. I remembered there were numbers written beside the telephone so I called for help. Help arrived and took my grandmother away. My mom never came back and I never got to swing with my Grandmother again. Just when I had lost the two most important women in my life God placed another woman there to encourage me. She was my Sunday school teacher. During this time she had me memorize John 3:16. She would look me in the eye and she would say God loves you. I promise. Now at the time I had no idea how important that verse would become or that the memory of that verse would be needed for the storms that were to come.
While I was living with my great grandparents my father was out searching for a new wife. He found one and between the ages of 9-13 things would drastically change for me. I remained in church and begged to go anytime the doors were open. It was the only time I had peace. I felt as though my step mother hated me. I felt I had three step sisters who were prettier, more talented, and older and I knew that I was a pest. I was made to eat dinner alone, confined to my room, and when my father wasn’t there I was made to clean. So I ran away. When I finally decided to go home no one noticed I was even gone. So I thought how can I regain some control in my life? I can control what I eat or how I treat myself. So I battled with eating disorders, and cutting. I walked this fine line where I went to church, I pretended I was fine, but I wasn’t. It was between the ages of 9-13 that I first contemplated suicide. I remember each time I thought about it God would put some random person in my path to speak love into my life. Whether at school or church just a person to encourage me. Those people had a spiritual gift it was the gift of encouragement. They will probably never know but they saved a child’s life. That preacher, the Sunday school teacher, and countless other people God used to save me.
Also during all of this struggling I found out I was adopted. I found out that my parents were really my aunt and uncle. I found out that my other uncle was my grandfather. Most importantly I found out that his daughter, my real mother had been murdered. Not only had my real mother been murdered by my father but I learned I was there.
Every thing I knew about life was a lie accept Jesus Christ. I remember being very afraid of the dark afraid that my father would escape from prison and be there in the dark ready to kill me. After all I was the one witness to my mothers murder.
At 13 I entered a new season of life when I was rescued by my maternal grandfather. When he got me back I had twenty-six cavities. Now if you don’t know most adults have 32 teeth so 26 is a lot. Even though I was rescued I still struggled. Isn’t that how we as christians can be? We get saved we are rescued and yet we still struggle? Unfortunately I didn’t know where to go if you’re still struggling or how important staying in the word was for living with joy. I partied, I spent too much time with boys. I cheered and I kept my grades descent but I was still hurting and looking for love in all the wrong places. I even went to the doctor because I wanted to be normal like everyone else. The doctor had ideas. But I never felt better. I became another teenage mom. I was so used to surviving I was not the mom I should have been. I stayed in unhealthy relationships and ended up in an abusive one just like my own biological mom. I self medicated as long as I could and my son was taken from me. It was rock bottom. I was scared to leave this relationship since I had another son and I was pregnant. If it were not for those babies. Those sweet blessings of life and the good grace of God I would not be here. I shouldn’t be here. Really for a long time I didn’t want to be but God changed that inside of me. When the pain of losing my son was greater than the pain of not feeling loved my whole life I finally remember that some one else felt pain like I felt it. That another person was willing to endure this kind of hurt just for me. I remembered john 3:16. I knew what I felt over my son and I thought wow God must love us more than I can even fathom. That God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit had been with me all along I had just been too blind to realize it. I had been loved. Maybe not by the people I wanted but I had been loved enough to die for. Not only that but God had given certain people gifts from the Holy Spirit to be in the right place, to speak the right words, and to teach me the right things if I would just listen. So I want to leave you with this. The change in me was instant, but the road to getting my life back together and finding healing wasn’t. It wasn’t easy but it was possible. When I got out of that relationship I was homeless. God took me from homeless to homemaker. He took me from reckless to secure. God took a selfish mother and made me a great mother. He repaired my life. It was possible. Maybe you are reading this and life has been relatively easy for you. That is wonderful and I am so thankful but please know that you too are gifted and that you can use your gift to be Jesus and speak the power of the spirit over all the rest of the world who just needs what you have to offer. No matter who you are or what you have done God has a plan for you. He has a purpose for you. That which the enemy meant for your destruction God will use it for good to save many lives. Finally I want to say how important the power of prayer is and that all through my life even in the worst moment there were people praying for me. Several strong women of God who had to have been shedding tears and shouting, maybe even stopping when they were praying for me. But it worked! Here I am. Not only am I here but I am joyfully here. I got a wow back in my spirit. I want that for you too. I know that I had to go through so much so that I could relate to so many people. I had to know what those struggles looked like so that I could tell you that you can have hope and mean it.
Praying today that someone would find hope in my testimony and be encouraged. Don’t give up God is with you. You are loved. You are loved so much that he sent his only son to die for you. If you serve whether it is at the grocery store bagging stuff or the nursing home or at Sunday school remember that your smile or encouraging word could save a life. You may never know until you get to heaven but I truly believe that everything we do for the good of others matters. Whether they recognize you for it is irrelevant. I may never see that Sunday school teacher again and probably could recognize her if I tried but she impacted my life. I am praying you would not only be impacted by God’s grace and goodness but that you would feel compelled to impact others.
The greek word I mentioned charismata has two parts which are gifts and pneumatic which means spirits. They are plural forms of charisma which means “expression of grace” and “expression of spirit”.
ps. If anyone is offended by me sharing such personal details. I can’t apologize for sharing what God has brought me through. I will always be vocal about what I have been through in hopes that someone else will find hope in Jesus.
May you be blessed and encouraged.
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