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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Was the Woman at the Well - Part II

Guest Writer - Valerie

(If you haven't done so, be sure to read, "I Was the Woman at the Well - Part I" before continuing)

The Healing Hand of Jesus

New Hope Christian Fellowship was a different place back then, and I attended, but was able to remain relatively inconspicuous, which is a shame because I backslid in 2004 and got into an un-Godly relationship that turned really bad. But Jesus had a hold of me, and He wasn't going to let me go. I called one of the pastors and confessed what I'd been doing and what had happened, and he was very stern with me, but loving, and told me to contact one or two mature sisters who could come alongside me (thank you, sisters -- you know who you are).

It was a time of horrible tribulation for me. But I had my son to think about, so I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me. The Holy Spirit led me to scriptures that showed me that Jesus was still with me, even when I messed up, and that He wants me to rely on Him and Him alone and that He will never stop loving me. That was a trying time, but it was also a period of tremendous growth in my relationship with Jesus. I thought, "Cool, I've got this down now." I pressed on, and got involved in a lot of ministries.

In all those years, I had not mentioned the abortion to anyone, but I had to tell my son about it a couple of years ago. His Dad told him that I got pregnant on purpose, and my son wanted to know if it was true. I told my precious son some sketchy details about my earlier life, and told him that I had an abortion. I told him that it was wrong, it was murder, that as it was happening I knew it was a real baby, my baby, my gift from God that I threw back in God's face. And that I wanted a baby more than anything, and that he was NOT a mistake, NOT an accident, and that I wanted him, and yes, I got pregnant on purpose. Then we read Psalm 139 together; I showed him verse 13 that states, “I knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb." I told him that I felt really badly about tricking his dad that way, and that I offered to let him walk away, but he was afraid of being disinherited by his parents if he wasn't involved in his son's life.

I thought, "There. Good. Now I'm done, now I'm okay." I’ve got this Christian thing down and I can relax a little on my self-improvement-through-scriptures agenda. But later that year, I realized that Jesus was not done with me, that I hadn't "made it" to any significant place where I could coast through life and all would be rosy. I attended an outreach at American River College, and a pro-life group was there with 20-foot banners containing pictures of fetuses. I could barely speak. I listened to one of the speakers, and I went to talk to one of the counselors and confessed my abortion to someone other than my son for the first time in 27 years. That was just the beginning. I went to Friday night fellowship, and told them what I had been hiding all those years, and that I need to speak of it in order begin letting Jesus heal my broken heart. I will never forget that night -- I've never felt so much love in all my life. Especially poignant was when an elderly woman who has Alzheimer's came over to me and cupped my face in her hands, saying through her tears, "Oh honey, Jesus forgives you!"

So again, I thought, "good, that's done." But I was wrong. Pastor Jeff invited a woman from Alternatives Pregnancy Center to talk to the congregation about her abortion experience and the healing process. I dreaded the talk. I sat in the front row of church so nobody could see me cry, but I could not hold myself together, so I listened to the rest of her talk from the back hallway with the stage door cracked. Afterwards, I asked a Christian sister to keep me accountable, and make sure that I called for a counseling appointment that week. Very soon thereafter, I gave my testimony in front of the entire congregation, telling of the secret shame I had been carrying for so long.

A couple of months after that, I went to a Hope Recovery Weekend where I was one of four ladies who had abortions, and we went through an intense program with three counselors. There was one other woman who had a late-term abortion, and the other two had multiple abortions. It was a life-changing program, but very difficult. Every time we entered into a new module, I would say, "no way, I'm not doing that!," but they gently but firmly guided us through the healing steps.

One of the last things we did was name our babies. I know that mine is a boy -- I believe the horrid doctor who did the procedure might have said so, and I saw my little guy in a dream walking on streets of gold, so I chose the name "Joseph Meara" -- Joseph, because I threw him down the well but now he is in glory with Jesus, and Meara, which is Gaelic for "filled with joy." I look forward to meeting my little Joseph-Filled-With-Joy some day.

Think about this, please ... In 42 years of life, I only had four positive encounters with Christians -- Sunday School at age 5, a doctor and a cashier at age 28, and a temp worker at age 42. I do strongly believe that the first three were preparation for the final encounter when I met Jesus personally. This is why I have such a strong passion and I am so bold for the lost. What if those people had been too afraid to mention Jesus? Would I have been open to receiving salvation if they hadn’t shared their faith with me? How many people do you talk to every day, without even a mention of your Savior or your faith? It can be scary at first, but with practice you can grab the opportunities that Jesus puts in your path and possibly be one of the people who help someone else along the right path towards salvation.

It hasn't been an easy walk for me. But the Lord has shown Himself to me so many times, and delivered me from so many situations, saved my life in the face of certain destruction, both before and after my salvation occurred, that I will never doubt his existence. I feel His presence, I long to see Him. HE is my one true love.

In a way, I am still like the woman at the well ... after she met Jesus, she went through town telling people about the Savior regardless of how they felt about her, regardless of how much they hated her. She was unashamedly witnessing to people with reckless abandonment. If we think upon what he has done for each of us, shouldn’t we all share that passion?

Summary

Before I knew who Jesus really was, I believed that:

• I was a wretch, a waste of human air space.
• I was unworthy of love from anyone.
• I was unworthy of love from anyone.
• I was unimportant.
• My life meant nothing.
• I was the worst person who ever lived because I killed my baby.
• God would NEVER love someone like me.

Since I invited Jesus into my heart and my life, I believe that:

• He is with me when I despair
• He is with me when I rejoice
• He will never leave me nor forsake me
• He has plans for my life
• His promises are meant for me
• He forgives me
• He guides me
• He corrects me
• He equips me for whatever task is at hand
• He wants me to talk to Him every day, throughout the day
• He helps me see others through His eyes
• He gives me a love for other people beyond my own capabilities
• He has given me a son that is a wonderful blessing to me and others
• He has given me a church family that loves the way a family should
• He loves me far more than I could ever comprehend

I LOVE JESUS with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I long to:

• Be courageous against all odds like Esther.
• Know what needs to be done and do it like Abigail (1 Samuel 25) -- I really like her!
• Be as loving and devoted as Ruth.
• Have a servant’s heart like Martha.
• Have eyes fixed on Jesus like Mary.

The last thing I want to share with you is that I live to worship the Lord. It is one of my greatest passions. I am not a gifted singer, I was not born with the gift of song, but I’ve worked hard to learn to sing better, and it’s all been for Jesus.

There is a song called, “Fix Me Jesus” which exemplifies the way I feel about the Lord. It is an old black spiritual. The word “Fix” could really be “prepare,” but the song wouldn't sound as good that way. Now, we are supposed to worship without reservation, and I’m about to go off the reservation and sing it for you. I hope it enters into your hearts the way it has mine.

Fix me for my home on high, fix me Jesus, fix me
Fix me for the by and by, fix me Jesus, fix me
Fix me for my starry crown, fix me Jesus, fix me
Fix me for a higher ground, fix me Jesus, fix me
                                                                         (Queen Latifah Fix Me Jesus)

Amen, Jesus.



Valerie currently attends New Hope Christian Fellowship. She has a son in college, and spends her time assisting with the administration of her church and providing services to newly established businesses. She obtains great joy in singing on the worship team at her church and encouraging other women.

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