Sunday, June 10, 2007

Angela's story

This is from a friend of mine, Angela Stolpe, who used to live in my area and who, along with her husband and kids, was part of my church and part of the small group that my family is a part of.
God's Grace, an amazing gift, so grand there just isn't enough words to describe all of the ways I have seen it in my life. To me, grace is a picture of the body of Christ reaching out and changing lives. In all of my experiences with grace, here is a snapshot of a few of the people who allowed Christ to work through them.

I didn't grow up in a Christian home. It's not that my mother didn't believe in God, there was just never any discussion of faith. The first time I heard of Jesus was when I was invited to a youth group activity by a friend my freshman year of high school. Sometimes, God's grace is as simple as that, inviting a person to hear the name of Jesus. I was hooked immediately. As a confused teenage girl, Jesus was exactly what I needed. I hungered for a relationship that accepted me, loved me and forgave me. I needed a father. I hadn't known my own earthly father.

The body of Christ was at work, reaching out to me, showing me His love. I was one of only a few kids in the youth group that hadn't been in the church my entire life. I was different, having seen and experienced things my peers couldn't have imagined. God's grace is what gave the adults the strength to reach out to the awkward immoral girl in the middle of their youth department. Someone always offered me a ride to the next activity or even just to church on Sunday. There was an amazing women who would take the time to study the Word with me once a week. She never judged me, she listened and taught me. She is a picture of God's grace to a person who has never seen His face.

I don't remember the exact day I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It was a process, I observed, I learned and then I knew. Grace is an amazing thing because it is always there, faithful.

My new found faith was causing my family to feel judged and me to feel alone. Even though my life at home was full of freewill, living a life for Christ really wasn't one of my options. Once again God used his people. I am so thankful for a family that brought me into their home and changed my life. It was at Sunday dinner during a simple conversation that I learned what my salvation meant. They told me I was a new creation, God had a plan for my life. I can still feel how wonderful it was to be told that I was worth something and that God had created me for a reason.

It truly is "by the grace of God that I am what I am".
Thank you, Angela, for sharing this with me and allowing me to share it with others!

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