Thursday, February 17, 2011

God Allows U-Turns

I don't remember the exact date or time that I recommitted my life to Christ.  All I know is, Ethan was born and I hadn't moved to Minnesota yet.

Life was still turned upside down, baby boy and all.  I was "with Kendall" because he was my kids dad.  I was forcing my self to keep up with Kendall, to stick with him.  I still wanted to go back to the bars.  I still didn't want to be in a "commitment" relationship.  My divorce form my first husband had been finalized, but it wasn't final in my heart.

Now I'm a single mom, living with my parents.  My son's dad lives in Minnesota, I live in Texas.  My ex is in Virginia.  I'm broke.  No education.  I have a newborn.  Now what?  Who's going to want this baggage?   Want to sum up my life?  Two words: messed up.

I remember I had Ethan with me as I drove by my old church that I went to for Vacation Bible School and Youth group as a kid.  No, I didn't grow up "in the church", but I had grown close to some of their members over the few time's I had attended that church.  What are the odds that anyone there would recognize me.  If they heard my story would they be disappointed in me?  Would they smile with sympathy?

I pulled into their parking lot, sighed, and said "Okay God, let's talk."

I remembered where their nursery was, so I dropped off Ethan and headed into their service.  I just so happened to be driving by on a Sunday night right before their evening service started.  Perfect timing.  Thanks God.

I went to the balcony because it's usually vacant.  I remember scanning it to see where to sit and I actually recognized an old friend from Youth group!  Wow, what are the odds?  Thanks God.  She recognized me and invited me to sit with her.  I think I was on the verge of tears and just said something along the lines of "I just want to go back to church."

Then the service started.

They had always had an amazing choir, they are Southern Baptist after all.  Announcements.  Soloist sings. "You may be seated."

"Whatever, I'm here to see what you have.  What do you have to offer me?  How are you going to help me?  I'm here seeking something, anything, to change this road I'm on.  I know I have dug my ditch and, let me tell you, I'm laying down in it.  Face down.  Tell me what I have to do, okay?  Whatever, as long as I get it together again."

There was nothing less than a tornado of emotions and thoughts in my head until the pastor started to speak.

And my eyes were opened.

I don't remember much about the sermon except for the part about the book.  Towards the end, he said (written in the way I remember it, thankyouverymuch) :

 "Every one's life is like a book.  You're writing a book, every breath you take is written in the book.  And things are going good.  Then, out of nowhere, you stumble.  A roadblock appears.  And in your book, the ink is spilled.  It smears everywhere.  Your book is a disaster.  It's a complete mess!  But you keep on writing, because you're still breathing.  The ink has spilled pretty badly and has saturated the pages, so for many, sometimes chapters worth, of pages are destroyed and ruined.  But you keep writing.  You're still breathing.  Soon, the ink smears are getting lighter.  As you keep writing your book, the ink gets lighter and lighter with each page turn.  Sometimes it feels like it's taking an eternity, but your pages are becoming cleaner.  Prettier.  Things are looking up again.  If you keep writing your book, and stick with it, you will be able to reach a point where the pages are clean again.  But you must keep writing the book.  Stick with life, and the Lord, and He'll give you the strength to keep writing your book."

I remember listening to him speak.  I also remember holding back sobs and thinking, "Lord!  I really really want to get to some clean pages.  This sucks, I'm not doing this whole life thing right.  What the heck happened?  Get me back to where I belong!"

At the end of the sermon there was an alter call.  The kind of alter call where if you want live your life for the Lord, then get your butt down there and give your heart to the Lord already!  The pastor kept saying "If you have made a decision to give your heart to the Lord tonight, then make it public!  We'd love to pray with you!"  But I knew that wasn't me.  I was already a Christian.  Just a really messed up one.  There's a difference. 

Then he said "I know there are still people who need to come down here.  If you need to rededicate your life to Christ then come down here and we'll pray with you."


I turned to my friend and said "Will you come down there with me?"

She didn't even say anything, just nodded her head.  I grabbed her hand and about pulled the poor girl down the stairs.

We reached the front and an older gentleman in a suit from the late 80's met us there.  I said "I want to rededicate my life to Christ."  He put his hand on my shoulder and said "Well, God always allow u-turns."

AMEN!  I have clung, clung people, to those words.  God does allow u-turns.

The rest is history.  It has been a white knuckled, bloodied knees, cry-yourself-to-sleep adventure from there on. The peace, however, makes it worth it.

I do feel bad for those bad choices I made.  Man oh man do I ever.  People got hurt because of my stinking thinking.  Good people got hurt in the midst of it all.  I do feel bad for it all.  And if you are reading this post, I'm so so so sorry.  I was wrong.  All of my actions "back in the day" were so selfish and unnecessary.  I have carried those hurts for many years.  And I've had to purposely give them to the Lord, repeatedly. 

At this point in my life, I'm still working through them.  The Devil likes to dangle those memories in my face and tell me 'I'm no good' and 'I still have it in me to act like that'.  And day after day, I give them all to the Lord. 

Remind me, Lord, that I am forgiven.  Use this testimony for good, let it be a help an encouragement for those out there in the world that I encounter.  Let me give hope to those out there who could use some hope.  Let me be the salt of the earth like you have asked of me. 

I am no longer ashamed.  I'm a woman on fire for the Lord.  A gal who wants to tell the world "Hey, I know what it's like.  Been there.  Done that.  And those scars will fade but they never go away.  I'll show you where to get some peace."


  1. Thanks for being so real, Crystal. One of the first things I ever noticed about you is that you were real and not interested in anything other than REAL truth and a REAL relationship with Jesus. It's why I asked for your number! And I'm sure glad I did! You are a blessing to me, inky pages and all. :)

  2. Crystal,
    If you haven't experienced it yet, you will now. Satan will no longer be able to throw your past in your face because you have exposed your sin to the light. I had to do the same thing because Satan kept trying to tell me that I would never be forgiven and that I wasn't really a Christian, with the past that I had come out of. When I told every woman at RAG church about my past and how God forgave me, Satan lost his grip on that part of me and it has been completely different. I know longer feel the guilt. The remorse for our mistakes never leaves, because God doesn't want us to make the same mistakes again, but it doesn't haunt us like Satan and his guilty shame.

  3. I just LOVE this 'page' from your book. Reads like you're sitting next to me! Been there, done that, you know we have! God is so faithful to answer prayers and embrace each minute with us! And to turn and make it ALL good...your lettin' your little light shine makes every moment worth ya girl <3

  4. Love what MN Girl ;) had to say! Satan does lose his grip when sin is exposed. He is defeated when you repent and receive God's grace! Oh the Lord is so quick to forgive. What can make things difficult is when we don't forgive ourselves. Crystal, it is so clear how God has pulled you out of the mud and rewarded your faithfulness. You are such an inspiration!