Redeeming Love: Megan’s Story

March 10, 2010 at 1:18 am (Purity, stories) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Megan’s Story

Megan Graham is a fellow sister and friend who I have enjoyed getting to know over the past two years. She is a hard-working wife and mother of four (with a fifth on the way!). Abigail and I think her story is absolutely beautiful—a wonderful tale of God’s redeeming love and His power over our sin—whether it is in the open for all to see or hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts. We hope you’ll rejoice in what the Lord has done in her life as you read her story! Here’s Megan:

To write of what God has done in my heart and life, to speak of Him who redeemed me, is truly a joy and an opportunity I’m so very thankful for. While writing out my testimony I’ve been able to review God’s faithfulness, love, and mercy towards me. And there is so very much to speak of! During my review of the abundant grace I’ve been mercifully shown, words penned by William Cowper have run over and over in my mind:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

I was born 30 years ago in Tulsa and was raised in the same house until I moved away to attend college. My brother is eight years older and my sister two years younger. Early memories consist of my mom taking my sister and me to the little Free Methodist church down the road each Sunday while my dad stayed home. I do not remember too much of the theology I was taught, but distinctly remember learning that Jesus Christ was God’s son and that He died on a cross for sin.

It was during this time period, I’ll say I was around seven years old, that I remember driving home with my mom one evening and asking her something along the lines of “how do I become a Christian or how do I go to heaven?” My mom told me that I needed to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask Jesus into my heart. So, I remember turning to look out the window and praying for Jesus to come into my heart and make me a Christian. I told my mom what I’d done and we soon went to our pastor, who talked with me and shortly thereafter baptized me. I knew the gospel message, but I knew nothing of a holy God, the sinfulness of my sin, nor was I convinced that I deserved punishment for my sin. My life reflected this as I grew.

Although my mother, sister and I attended church often, church was very separate from my home life. My father was, and still is, not a believer. There was no biblical training and little example of godliness. I saw much of the world and the sin of man, both of which were appealing to me. While I was not raised in a Christ-exalting home, I praise God for the parents He purposed to give me. I love them dearly.

As a child, pride was the prominent attitude of my heart. I was involved in many activities; I was a good athlete and made excellent grades. It was easy to think I was the golden child of my family. While I was doing so well in school and getting complimented on what a nice young lady I was, my older brother was an alcoholic and drug addict by the age of 15 and my younger sister struggled terribly in school and was labeled as ADD. I took great pride in being the good girl. I can remember a friend’s mom saying on several occasions, “why can’t you be more like Megan?” And I loved hearing this. Along with a heart full of sinful pride, I longed for the praise and approval of man. I would have said that I wanted to please God, but the attitude of my heart and my actions proved that Megan was the person I wanted to please most. As a teenager I may have performed well, but at home I was a hateful, rebellious girl with a serious attitude.

During this time I was attending an independent Baptist church where knowing the date and time of your salvation was given great importance. I didn’t know that date and time of my prayer as a young child and thus proceeded to walk the aisle and be baptized around the age of 13. J.C. Ryle writes that “men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need.” I had a date and time to write in my Bible, but I didn’t truly have a need for a savior.

Although I was active in church, the world was so very appealing. I knew full well what was wrong in the sight of God, but I did what was right in my own eyes.

One week after my 16th birthday I found myself sitting in a Planned Parenthood office with a positive pregnancy result and a counselor asking me if I’d like information on an abortion. God graciously pricked my conscious and gave me a heart that knew I would keep the baby. I praise Him for the blessing of a child, even in the midst of sin. My sin grieves my heart, yet I am so very thankful for the gift of my daughter Kaitlin. Children are a gift of the Lord, even to a rebellious, unwed 16 year old child.

Becoming a parent at the age of 16 caused me to grow up fast in some ways; but, more than growing up, it brought out more of my prideful, sin-stained heart. I graduated high school a year early and moved Kaitlin and myself to Norman to attend the University of Oklahoma. My family, friends and even strangers praised me for being such a success story. And remember, I loved to be praised. What people couldn’t see was a heart that was determined to prove to the world and to God that I could make up for my sin. I truly thought I could show a holy God that I was good enough. I put a burden on myself to excel that was very heavy, not to mention impossible.

My time in college was used by God to show me Himself and to open my eyes to the sinfulness of my sin. The Lord surrounded me with believing friends and involved me in a church that challenged me to study scripture. I can’t tell you a specific date or time in which I truly humbled myself before the God of the universe, but I can look back over my life and see this time as a turning point in the desires of my heart.

Shortly after graduating from college I moved back home to Tulsa and began working for a large accounting firm as an auditor. Through events that could only be the meticulous work of God’s providential hand, I became involved in a solid, Bible teaching church and was surrounded by Believers who sought to follow Christ with all of their lives. Many weekends were spent in the home of a Godly family where I saw what God’s design was for a husband, wife and children and how disciples who truly loved the Lord lived lives committed to Christ. Over the next year, God prepared me through His Word, other Believers and books for the next course of my life.

Fourteen months into my career as an auditor, I was married to Gabe, my Beloved, and was able to retire. For the first time in eight years as a single mom, I was able to stay home with my daughter. God is so very good! When married, I left my church and joined Gabe’s Southern Baptist Church. This first year of marriage was difficult, not in terms of my relationship with my Beloved, but because God used it as a time for me to wander in the wilderness, so to speak. I was no longer hearing meaty sermons or being fed spiritually. God showed me that much of my faith had been lived vicariously through the lives of those around me and He graciously and mercifully showed how lazy I was, both spiritually and practically. He caused me to learn to depend on Him and live out my own faith.

Over the past few years I’ve been learning more of the nature of sin, the attributes of God, the Bible, and my own heart. I’ve been challenged in ways that have made Christ increasingly beautiful to me. God has taken me to new depths by challenging me with the words of a dear saint who said, “The great thing about the kingdom is the King!” I remember hearing that and thinking “Is Christ what I’m most looking forward to?”

God has done a mighty work in the heart of this sinner. I can stand before the Lord clothed with the righteousness of Christ. My heart sings a new song:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.


Praise the Lord! Tomorrow we’ll hear from Megan again as she shares with us on the topic of purity.

Permalink 6 Comments

Lessons from Wisdom:The Art of Trust

December 3, 2008 at 7:00 am (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

art-of-trust

If I met Rahab on the street, I’d likely pass her by without offering admiration—raised in a foreign country, working to support herself as a prostitute, offering protection to God’s spies through lies and deceit (the only way she knew). Yet the scarlet thread of redemption is woven through her story. She recognized God’s power, His ability, His sovereignty and she cast herself entirely on His mercy. In an epic tale of complete destruction, only Rahab and her family were rescued from God’s certain wrath.

Why?

Not because she was beautiful. Not because she was wealthy. Not because she was intelligent or creative or spoke beautifully. Because she trusted Yahweh. Hebrews 11:31 celebrates her alongside Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, the heroes of the faith. “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient…”

In this phrase we see Rahab’s trust demonstrated: obedience. Not just a habit of obedience to anyone—an Ella Enchanted sort of docility—but obedience to the One who commanded her reverence. The essence of obedience begins with fearing Yahweh and understanding His power, His beauty and His worthiness. Because Rahab had heard of the mighty deeds of God Almighty, she welcomed His messengers in peace and offered them shelter to the best of her understanding. This might have seemed a foolish thing to the men of Jericho. The King could have discovered her treachery and strung her from the city wall! But for Rahab, the fear of Yahweh was the beginning of wisdom. Her trust wasn’t simple words. “Yahweh, I trust you. I believe in You.” She began with a declaration of her faith, “Yahweh is God of heaven above and earth below.” But her faith worked its way out through her actions, first in hospitality, then in seeking shelter, in obedience to a command and finally in forsaking her past and embracing God’s ways and God’s people. She acted on her reverence for God and trusted Him to work out the details.

She welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31)

Rahab demonstrated true hospitality—in welcoming strangers. We would do well to learn from her, opening our homes, our resources, our safe-places to those who do the Lord’s work, offering them peace. Jesus says, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you’ve done to Me.” Accepting Jesus means accepting His people for fellowship, protection and assistance. Paul said the widow worthy of honor has “shown hospitality” and “washed the saint’s feet.”

Please deliver our lives from death. (Joshua 2:13)

Rahab had heard the Lord deliver His own people from Egypt and had heard how He had sustained them through the wilderness. She had never witnessed His work for herself when she sought His protection. “Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” She knew He was able to save her as surely as she knew He was able to give Jericho into the hand of the Israelites. So she stepped out in humility and sought God’s mercy. He gives grace to the humble.

Tie this scarlet cord in your window. (Joshua 2:18)

To obey this command could potentially mark Rahab out for ridicule and danger. At the very least, it might have seemed extraneous. Must she really do something so entirely unusual? Didn’t the spies know where she lived? She obeyed a command to stand out, to mark her house as different, to appear odd. The cord served several purposes—it marked her out to all of God’s people as having received His mercy and it set her apart from the rest of the city. But even greater, it required her to trust and obey. In the end, it was the very cord that saved her. As Hebrews puts it, “All of these gained approval through their faith.” Jesus calls us to obedience as well—not always an obedience that we understand the significance of. Rahab’s obedience is a challenge to us to trust God to have a purpose in every scarlet cord.

Joshua spared Rahab and she has lived among Israel to this very day. (Joshua 6:25)

Without a backward glance, Rahab walked away from her world of wickedness, her life of sin and her heritage of selfishness. When she sought God’s mercy, she sought it with a heart to obey. She joined His people and lived in obedience to His law. Our reaction to God’s mercy should be the same. We have been spared a terrible destruction. We have been bought back from a life of sin and shame and given hope through the scarlet cord of redemption. Someone cares for us, protects us and provides for us. Our reaction should be to seek out what we can do to please Him, and do it with our whole heart! Rahab’s trust in Yahweh left behind her a godly legacy—she was the great-great-grandmother of King David, the trusting poet king, and the ancestor of Christ. Her redemption was a small scarlet thread woven into the heritage of the Redeemer of the world.

god-is-a-shield

Rahab’s trust began with her perception that Yahweh was trustworthy. Because He was trustworthy, she believed that He was able to work through any circumstance and any person for her good. But her trust didn’t end with knowledge. It was not lost in a pile of verbose language. It was living, breathing, active obedience. In the same way, our trust of Yahweh should work its way into our lives. After all, trust is a verb. “Trust in Yahweh and DO GOOD.” (Ps. 37:3)

Read the story:

Rahab the Harlot:A Scarlet Cord of Hope


Permalink 2 Comments

The Hem of Your Robe

June 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Flowers of Thought) (, , , )

It’s a humbling thing to come face to face with my own helplessness, driven to my knees in tears to plead with the King of the universe. But I come in confidence, praying like a beggar, yet knowing I will be heard—not because of my piety, but because of the mercy of the King I implore. Before the mercy seat of God, humility and hope stand hand in hand.

Colossians 4:2 urges us to devote ourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. “Pray like beggars!” my brother once explained. I picture a beggar’s relationship to a king—prostrated before him, imploring his kindness even to allow her near him. It’s not completely outrageous that a kind king would look at a beggar—might even give her a gift, speak to her or touch her—were she clean. A just king might make sure she was provided for—in whatever manner she deserved. In the story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 9:43-48), our King proves the power of His love: an unclean beggar, hoping only to touch the dragging hem of His robe finds in His touch the healing for body and soul. The words of Jesus prove the depth of His kindness: in one instant of intense redemption, He adopted a beggar.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Such a world of humanity, needing Your care,
Yet I grope through the crowd with a skeleton prayer.
I wish to escape all the eyes that would probe,
But, Lord, let me just touch the hem of Your robe.

Unclean, I approach You, ashamed of my sin
And reach out to know that You’ve healed me within.
You know it—You’d planned it—the powerful touch.
Only the Christ loves a beggar so much.

Of all those who touch You, who press You this day
The power comes only to those who will say:
“Lord, I’ll pursue You. Lord, You may probe.
But, Lord, let me just touch the hem of Your robe!”



Permalink Leave a Comment