Grace Changed My Life
Pastor Tom, you have been an instrumental part of my life as I have a grown in grace. Although I had given my heart to the Lord at a young age, I was the only one in my family to choose a life with Christ. I was left to my own devices. When calamity knocked at the door, I refused to follow. I was a nieve teenager, but somehow I knew my family would have the answers. Shortly after my 19th birthday, a man, 13 years my senior, approached me with his 'safe council' to instruct me that God wanted me to marry him. Their 'Word of Knowledge' was that I would commit suicide if I didn't go with them that night. Although I was naïve, I would not go with them without talking to my family. I trusted that my family would defend me. It's true, I had struggled with depression up until then, but I knew in my gut that if God wanted something from me that He would tell me. In my limited knowledge of God, as a child, I came to know that I would receive an answer from Him when I was patient to listen. Unfortunately, that fateful day, rather than to defend me, my family let me go; actually telling me to me to leave. I felt so betrayed. Growing up, I was a good kid and did as I was told. When I didn't receive direction I stayed to myself, in my room with my stuffed animals . . . talking to God. Consequently that day my family let me walk out the door, I didn't know that I had a choice. From that time forward I lived a life of chaos and confusion. Although the state recognized this man as my husband, I call him "My children's father". I was never really sure of the legality of the of the marriage. As time went on it was the church that perpetuated my loyalty to him. Telling me it was 'my cross to bear'. I stayed by pure will to honor my father in heaven. When I finally found the courage to free myself and my children, it was another six years before I had the confidence to divorce him. Still it was several years before I found peace. For so long I was so confused crying out to God saying 'If there are no answers, then there is no God. If there is no God, then I don't want to be here.' I was asking Him to take my life. That's when He led me to Church of Grace. Pastor Tom, was teaching a 10 week series he called "You Are Not Only human". I was literally on the edge of my seat. Where churches had been teaching how to be a better person by tithing and reading and attending and praying . . . Pastor Tom was teaching grace. The things he taught were the things I understood as a child. God had brought me full circle to the place I started: with a child like faith trusting in His promises.
Cheryl Van Arsdel
Lake Mills, WI
Digestive Issues Healed
A special thanks to everyone who has shared their testimony of how the Gospel of Grace has impacted their life! If you have a story of how grace has impacted you, please share it with us! #gracechangeseverything