These are things God has done. These are Redemption Stories.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

By the way...

If you have been encouraged by these redemption stories, OR if you have a redemption story of your own that you would like to share, e-mail us at: matt@revolutionchurch.ca

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Redemption Story #14 - One More Home

I always love the chance to share my story. For me it’s the reason I live now, it’s the reason why I consider my life useful. It’s not by anything that I can do in my life, but only what God can do through me and my testimony

I was raised with the knowledge of a God. I was raised Roman Catholic, always taught to love God and obey him with all my heart. But it was only that to me, a 'teaching', nothing more. With no solid foundation to build on with my faith, I fell away.
Around grade 7 when I left private school, I began to feel tempted by the secular world. I was starting to see that there was a world without rules and what I thought was also without pain. Soon after I made some friends that showed me this new “world,” I found myself becoming something that I never even saw and that was: a fake. I put up masks to make myself appear as if I had it all together, although inside I was falling apart. My life was pretty much about surviving up to grade 9, then it became a death race.

Things took a turn for the worse when I started to learn the drums. To me drumming was an escape. I felt that music in general would accept me for who I was and for the most part, I was right. With music being my new “foundation” in life, I took my talents that I had playing drums and pushed them ahead of my masks the best that I could. I thought I figured out how to survive now, when in reality I was only hiding my masks with more masks.

All hell broke lose (literally) in grade 10 when my masks caught up with the music in my life. I began to listen to music that was classified as “gore death metal.” I was an angry poor lost child who had no means of escape from the prison cell that he had put himself into. The music served as a way to get my anger out. But that only brought more pain into my life.

The lyrics that so freely sang about death, torture, self mutilation, murder and suicide soon started to project images on my mind. I found myself fantasying about carrying out these songs in real life. It destroyed me, but because of my masks, I still appeared to have it all together. These images that I carried around with me ruled my life. I found myself only thinking about hurting the people I cared about the most. Not a lot of people in this world knows what it feels like to hang out with your best friends, only wanting to see them hurt.

This was my life and for the most part, I accepted it. But truly I was crying out for something more. I thought no one knew how I felt, I was scared to tell anyone about my problems, but thankfully, God knew about them. It was grade 11 now, and God finally decided to rock my world.

My 1st real true friend that I met in grade 11 showed me a better way. We met as two lost boys who had no real faith in God, until one day my friend became a Christian. The change in him was so radical and seeing how he changed, I got hungry for what he had.

In my 2nd year of grade 11, I became a Christian. I gave my life to Christ at such a crucial time in my life because if I would have gone on one more day without God, I'm sure I would have succeeded with my plans to carry out the images in my head. Instantly my life changed. I felt a new energy and even though I was far from perfect, I knew I had found purpose.

Since then, God has lead me to City Life Church where I got the chance to do The Masters Commission, where I have been able to go deeper with my walk with God than I could have ever imagined. Since then he has blessed me so much and now he has lead me to yet another amazing group of radical young people, that’s right, I’m talking about you Revolution church brothers and sisters!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Redemption Story #13 - The Thief

It’s taken me a while to actually sit down, reflect, and begin to write my redemption story. For a few months now, I have been waiting to be healed, waiting to be at a place of freedom and perfection so I could write my testimony. In this journey, I have discovered that my story is more a “redeeming story” …not yet complete, but in the process of redemption through full reliance and trust in the Lord.

I have been living with a secret, one I have been hiding from everyone for the past few years. I have been living a double life, believing in the devils lies and insecurities he has flooded my mind with. I have an eating disorder, one the doctors call bulimia.

Growing up, I don’t remember a time that I was fully satisfied with my body, completely confident in who I was and able to live free of the fear that body issues brought me every day. The fear of being in a bathing suit caused me to miss so many opportunities growing up, and the time my mind has spent obsessing over my image has been such a sad waste of energy.

My mom set a great example for me and showed me that a balanced life of health and fitness was attainable, but I let this desire for perfection spiral me into a bad relationship with food - leading to binges, purges, restrictions, and exercise obsessions.

It’s just been these past few years that I have let this issue grow into something greater, tear me apart from the inside out, and cause me a lot of health issues. I tried to maintain this lie for a while…hiding food, hiding receipts, hiding the purges, hiding the restrictions and hiding my fear. 

Food became my escape, my comfort, and something that made me feel good temporarily…I knew I could get away with it if I got creative with how I would deal with it after. That lead to more lies, more pain, and more secrets. It also led me to realize that it was an issue of control-while I wanted help, there is comfort in holding on to patterns I have known for so long. 

Food became my best friend and my absolute enemy. I developed a pattern of feast or famine, and lived in extremes putting my body through so much pain. For a while I believed that there were benefits to this pattern of eating; I was convinced that this could numb my emotions, help me control an area of my life, and allow me to look “normal” in social situations. 

Lately, I have realized that this eating disorder has taken so much of my life. It has robbed me of true joy, optimum health, and caused me to push others out of my life as a way to retreat and deal with the feelings alone.

It took a while for me to realize I needed help, forgiveness, and faithful prayer. This was habit, my identity, and a strange sort of comfort to my daily routine. I thought I could find healing on my own, but I quickly realized that my strength had to come from the Lord. I had slipped into depression, didn’t feel like myself, and spent days living with regret, feelings of failure, and heartbreak. 

Confession was my first step to recovery, and seeking professional help came soon afterwards. I am on this journey, having to surrender every moment to God in hopes of simply making it through a few hours on my own. 

I feel incredibly supported, loved, and prayed for…but it’s been a long and hard journey. I am confident that God will restore my faith, and bring complete healing. I am stepping out in faith and pursuing Him for my assurance, hope and strength. I know that God is going to use my story to help others, and relate to people struggling with similar issues…I am looking forward to that day.

The promises of Psalm 139:13-16 reminds me of how precious I am, and how much my heavenly father loves me. While I find it hard to love myself each day, the words of this passage confirm the passion that Christ has for His children, and the love He has for each and every individual.

13  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, when I
was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your
book before one of them came to be.

As I mentioned before, this is my journey of redemption, and while I wish I could have written this after “complete healing”, I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story and reflect on how far God has brought me already. I am thankful for the many who do support me and the resources that I have been able to utilize to receive help. 

This might be something that I will always be challenged with, but I know that my identity is in Christ, that He loves me, and I am his daughter - absolutely beautiful, and completely loved. For now, I am taking it a day at a time, resting in the God’s love and mercy.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Redemption Story #12 - Breaking Point

My redemption story is the simple truth: God’s love is the greatest love.

I dated someone for almost 3 years. We got along great, both went to church, both liked the same things, got along with each other’s families. But eventually, I found myself stuck in an unhealthy relationship – we were stuck in an unhealthy relationship. What we did, and what we didn’t do, affected everything in our secluded circle of “happiness”.

We were not glorifying God with our relationship. In both of our “Christian hearts” we wanted to (and thought we were) but were definitely not. We got lost in spending more time with each other and ignoring God completely while continuing an unbreakable routine of fight, make-up, make-out. We did not read the Bible together, attend church together, or pray together; we were not building our “love” with God’s love.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the greatest love (and the only love) is described:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I have read and re-read this particular passage MANY times. For the first time in our 3 year relationship, I actually sat myself down and realized… we were never patient, never kind, always jealous, always proud, always dishonoring, always self-seeking, always angry, always bringing up past arguments.

1 Corinthians 4:8 says this: “Love never fails”.

But our “love” had. Our love was not love. We were not happy. I recognized that we had failed. I had to trust God, and I had to trust that He had that love for me and for my partner. God brought the relationship to an end for a very important reason: We both, individually, needed to seek God and find redemption in our lives. We needed to seek God’s love before pursuing love in someone else.

One day I was on a break at work. It was rainy, I was gloomy, I was still waiting for my “redemption story”. I was upset with my life and the path it decided to take and the path it was on now. I tore out my Bible, flipped it open and there it was:

“You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, and I will exalt You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever.”
- Psalm 118:28-29

I broke into tears, knowing I had forgotten about a God who loves me despite my stupid mistakes. I forgot Him, but He loved me all the while. I’m forgiven; He doesn’t keep a record of wrongs! HIS love endures forever. Not mine. Not my partner’s. Not my “BFF’s”. God’s. From that moment, I knew what God wanted in my life. He wanted me to build all relationships, romantic or not, on His solid, trusting, and loving foundation. His love never, ever fails.

“You stay the same through the ages,
Your love never changes,
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning,
And when the oceans rage I don't have to be afraid, Because I know that You love me,
Your love never fails”

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Redemption Story #11 - Deceived

When Matt encouraged us to send in our redemption stories, I wondered where to begin. I wondered which testimony God would have me bring to Revolution Church. 
 
When I was born, I was born with dyslexia. This meant that I could not read or write properly and I was supposed to fail grade 1. How does a person fail grade 1?! My parents talked to my teacher about letting me continue on to grade 2 and I was allowed to advance. During the course of that summer, my parents prayed for my healing and by the end of grade 2, I had gone from the bottom of the reading class to the top and my dyslexia was healed. A miracle.
 
In Jr and Sr High School, though healed of dyslexia, I struggled academically. One thing I knew about myself is that I had a huge heart for God and desire to tell others about Him. With that passion, a friend and I organized a Christian Fellowship Club at our secular school in Surrey and within 2 yrs grew from 2 of us to over 50 regular attenders! Exciting!
 
After school, I wanted to pursue this passion for God and signed up for a DTS aka Discipleship Training School with YWAM and during that time begin to witness more miracles. Then, in 1995 I left B.C. to attend a School of Ministry in Missions and Churchplanting. My heart was to know God more and to serve Him but what I soon discovered is that I had signed up for something I was not expecting.
 
I joined a school and church in which people were flying in from all over the world and I was witnessing some very strange behavior! I saw people (pastors even) acting drunk, laughing uncontrollably, "jerking", shaking, manifesting demons... what on earth was going on?
 
As a student I was told to take it in (step into the river), drink deeply, etc. In fact, most of the students in my class were acting in such bizarre ways, totally out of control yet saying they were in control. Really?! 
 
Finally, I had enough of feeling like the odd one out by not manifesting these actions. I made up my mind that since I had quit work, sold my car and spent the money to attend school, I had better make the most of my experience. With that attitude, I opened myself right up! Next thing I knew, I was jerking and shaking and being soaked in attention because of this. I had caught "the anointing" and I was "in". 
 
6 months later I came home excited that I was going to bring this "anointing" back to the church. The church I attended did not accept this "anointing" from God so I quit church, angry that these people could be so close minded. 
 
I left church for over a year and during this time began hearing voices. At the school we were not taught to test the spirits or to discern everything (biblical). We were taught that everything that happened was of the Holy Spirit. 
 
The voices I heard soon led me not only to quit church but work, competitive rowing which I had been apart of, close my bank account and my biggest fantasy became one of going to live on the streets. I even believed it was God telling me to do these things and that I was simply being obedient to Him.
 
One day, I took a look at my life and felt so depressed. I had nothing and was tired of fighting - voices, demons, etc. Life was exhausting! I asked myself how this could be the blessed life that Jesus spoke about in John chapter 10? 
 
Finally, I was willing to admit that I had been deceived. I had attended a school in which everything was "of God" even though it was not. I had followed signs and wonders, opened myself up to unbiblical teachings, stopped reading my bible and stopped attending church.
 
Humbled, I confessed my sins before God and man. I came clean. I started my journey back towards healing and restoration. I returned to church, found a job, reopened my bank account. I stopped manifesting and began to experience a peace and joy in simply being. Not in striving for attention or "more Lord" but in resting in Jesus and in His love for me. 
 
What I did not know is that after all this, the Lord would open doors for me to publically speak out about my experiences. Remember how I was born with dyslexia and couldn't read or speak? The Lord allowed me to speak to many groups in B.C. (even at a Full Gospel Business Mens Luncheon in Langley and I am a woman!), at gatherings in Washington State, even at a youth conference in Holland!
 
Today I am blessed that after all these years, the Lord continues to allow me to speak to individuals and groups about my experiences on how I became free and how they can to. 
 
The verses I have chosen re: the above, 'But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.' - 1 Cor. 1:27.  'But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.' -  Matt 6:33  'Test everything!' - 1 Thes. 1:21.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this!  God Bless!