This time of the year is extremely special to me. On February 25, 2004, a movie was released that reaches down into the very depths of my soul. While I know the story well, I've never seen it depicted in this exact way.
The movie I am referring to is, "The Passion Of The Christ".
Within the first month after the movie was released, my husband and I went to the theatre 7 times to see it. At the time, we were Youth Leaders at our church. Since the movie was rated "R" due to the extreme violence depicted, we were required to view the movie before taking students to see it. For the students to see the movie their parents had to sign a permission form, for the exact same reason.
I was raised in a Christian home. I often joke that I went to church before I entered the world, and started my entry into the world at church! My Mom actually went into labor during the Sunday night service. A funny side story here that my mom loves to tell. She went to the restroom, and her water broke. Obviously, she had to send someone in to get my Dad.
My grandparents, as well as a couple of my aunts and uncles went to the same church. My Dad sent one of the ushers in to let my grandparents know what was going on. It was at this very moment that the congregation was sitting, and the choir was getting ready to sing. My grandfather did not realize what was going on, so he was standing up, in the middle of the church, looking at my aunt, who was in the choir, shaking his head "yes" So this is how the congregation knew I was ready to make my entrance into the world!
Well, I've gotten a bit off track here. But, the point of telling this funny little tidbit of my life is to say that yes, I attended church regularly as a child. When the church doors were open, we were there. I knew the words of the old hymns by heart. In fact, I was even known to give a concert for my grandparents at the drop of a hat! There are even pictures of the performances, my "brush microphone" in hand.
Even if you are not a church-goer, it's quite likely you know the words to the ever-famous hymn, "Amazing Grace." In fact, there is now even a movie of how the hymn came to be. This was one of the songs that I loved to sing the most.
Strangely enough, though I have known the words of "Amazing Grace" by heart pretty much since I uttered my first words, It was not until I was 31-years-old that I truly grasped the true meaning of this beautiful hymn.
As I have mentioned previously, for many years I ran from God. I got so tired of "man-made religious rules", and did not understand until much later that these man-made rules were not what a RELATIONSHIP with God was about at all.
When I finally stopped running from God, I began the age-old struggle of truly finding God. I flat out refused to be a part of pious, religious rules. If God truly loved me as He said He did, He was going to have to accept me as I was, and help me understand what all this was about.
One thing I have learned over the years- God does things completely outside of the box if you allow Him to!
At this point, I was struggling immensely with past mistakes in my life. Yes, I told God He had to accept me as I was, but what did that really mean? This is God Almighty I am talking to here.... Creator of the universe. I wondered what made me think He would actually do as I told Him to do? Or better yet, why did I even care? I don't really have an answer to these questions, but thankfully, He met me where I was.
Little did I realize that this began a very long Spiritual Journey that would completely free me from the bondage of man-made religion! God was about to take me on a journey to show me what His Amazing Grace is truly all about.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So I have no doubt that this all happened for a reason, all at the exact time it was supposed to happen.
During the course of me watching, "The Passion of The Christ" 7 times, I was also reading the book of John in The Bible. And, at the very same time, I also read a book that literally changed my life. The book is"Grace Walk" by Steve McVey.This book literally rocked my world!
Because I am such a stubborn person, I believe God decided He had to use a combination of things to get my attention. In the span of 2 weeks my blinded eyes were opened wide!
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
I was a wretch of a person for many years. I knew that I could not be "good enough". I had tried and failed. And tried. And failed again. And tried... and..... well, I think you get the point. This is why I finally gave up.
THANKFULLY God Almighty never gave up on me! I bought into the lies of Satan for a long time, but God's Amazing Grace opened my blinded eyes to the Truth of Satan's lies!
If you are still believing Satan's lies about your past or who you are, I sincerely pray that You will have your blinded eyes opened just as I did. The freedom that comes with realizing who you are is amazing! It is a journey I am truly treasuring! Every day of my life I realize more and more how uniquely and wonderful God created me!
Lord God Almighty, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14) I thank You for never giving up on me. My life is Yours.
I pray for Congresswoman Giffords. I thank You for the grace You have already given her in sparing her life. I pray that You will continue to restore her health and heal her body.
I pray that this nation will humble herself before You. She has strayed so far away from the founding principles which were founded on Your principles. I pray for our president.
I pray for Israel. She needs Your protection every moment of every day. I know that You will protect her, but I know many will suffer as well. Please help them to hold on to You each and every day. Help them to never take their eyes off of You and Your promises.
I pray for every person in this world who does not know You. You are the Source of all Hope and Life.
I pray these things in the Name of Jesus Christ- the Giver of all Life- Amen.