March 28, 2011

How Did I Get To This Place?
Melanie Chitwood

"For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8, 9 (NAS)

Devotion:
One of the things I love to do is to recall the ways God has brought me to the place where I am in my relationship with Him. Have you ever done that? Have you ever reflected on the events and people God used in your past?

As I trace God's activity in my life, I recall important people and pivotal situations contributing to my love for God. I remember my mom and dad who made going to church a priority. My grandmother's gentle love spoke to me of the tenderness of God's love. I recall my Aunt Kathy who listened and cried with me through the tumultuous teen years. My youth leaders proved week after week, even when they knew my weekends were filled with more drinking than Bible study, they would not give up on me, and neither would God.

A week spent at Young Life camp Windy Gap opened my eyes and heart to God in a new way. Sitting on a rock with the dark sky and glittering stars above, I thought about some of the empty places in my life. I spent my days trying to be pretty, smart and popular. But no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I was "not enough" of any of these.

The only escape from these feelings was found in the thermos of wine I kept hidden in my bedroom closet. Enough sips and I'd be filled up enough to believe, at least momentarily, that I just might be all those things I longed to be.

While sitting on that rock at Windy Gap, I acknowledged that what I got from a drink was temporary and only a shadow of what I really desired. My longings for significance and love could only be found in Someone who loved me and accepted me unconditionally. I knew that someone was Jesus.

I prayed a prayer that went something like this: Jesus, I don't know everything about You, but I know enough to know You love me so much You died on a cross to take the punishment for my sin. Thank You for doing that. I want to be Your child, now and forever. Thank You for being my Lord, Savior, and Friend.

Remembering that defining moment and the steps which led me to Jesus fills my heart with gratitude. My love for Jesus is renewed, and I want to pursue Him once again as I remember the way He pursued me.

I encourage you to take time today or this week to remember the people and circumstances God placed in your life as He drew you to Himself. Will you pause at each place, thanking God for that person or situation? Thank Him that His love reached you and that His love will never fail.

Maybe as you read this devotion, you've remembered a time when you loved and followed God more wholeheartedly, but somewhere along the way you've pulled back or distanced yourself from Him. Will you pray today, recommitting your life to follow God?

I don't know what your story is, but I do know God is pursuing you. Isn't it amazing that even when we're not aware of God, He is aware of us? He's always working in our lives to draw us to His love.

Dear Lord, I am filled with thankfulness as I remember how You pursue me with Your love. Thank You for loving me first, even before I was aware of You. Thank You for each person and situation You put in my life that lead me to You. Reignite the fire of my love for You, causing it to grow stronger than ever. Let everything I am, do, and say point to Your unfailing love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

What a Husband Needs from His Wife and What a Wife Needs from Her Husband by Melanie Chitwood

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

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Application Steps:
Draw a staircase on a piece of paper. Ask God to remind you of the steps you took to get to this place with Him now. On each step, write the person or situation He used to bring you into a relationship with Him. Say a prayer of thankfulness for who or what you remember each step of the way.

Forward this email, write an email or write a letter thanking someone who God used in your life to draw you to His love.

Renew your commitment to spend time with God each day.

Reflections:
Do I need to remember that God loves me not based on what I do, but based on His grace?

Is there a friend who needs a relationship with Jesus? Can I forward this email to this person?

As you read this devotion today, perhaps you're not sure if you have a secure relationship with God. Will you pray a prayer like mine right now? Or click on this link for a prayer guide.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 2:4-5, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved," (NAS)

1 John 4:19, "...He first loved us." (NAS)

© 2011 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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