Friday, September 7, 2012

Desire to Inspire: Purity of the Heart

Lately my mind has been swirling around circumstances that make up my testimony.
Most of this is due to the fact that I will be speaking/preaching for the first time this Saturday at a local church. The Lord really is working in amazing ways, allowing me to share what He has done in my life!

Looking back, I realized how much God was in everything. I could write so many books on how great He has been to me! Truthfully, I have only written one book and I'd like to share with you an excerpt from the Foreword, mainly my testimony...I promise, with my whole heart, everything I have written is true. I have not stretched the truth or added anything for effect...this is me, being transparent and hopefully inspiring you to be transparent with the Lord...

“You have to go through a test to have a testimony”

            "Behind every book is a story that started the entire process. Many times that story happened in a much earlier time, long before the author even knew that the basis of the story would lead to future inspiration. Four years ago, I definitely wasn’t thinking about emotional purity. In fact, I wasn’t thinking about anything pure or godly at all.

            I did not go to church, let alone own a Bible. I did not follow a Christian life, let alone have a relationship with God. I had experiences in a Catholic church and CCD (Catholic Christian Doctrine) but never felt any spiritual connection with them. I was given some knowledge about God but nothing that went deep enough. Maybe, I had thought, church is just not for me. Maybe God doesn’t even exist.  
            I went through the motions of high school and life just like a regular teenager, an emotionally-driven, boy-crazed teenager. My desires and dreams were all over the place, and I gave in to almost every emotion for all the wrong reasons. At the time, it just “felt right.” I remember obsessing over the latest boy band and sprawling my crushes’ names into my journal. I’d write sappy love songs about guys who didn’t even know me and poems about being found by Mr. Right.
            By the end of my senior year, I was tired of not having someone. You know who I mean, a boyfriend. I had built up unrealistic fantasies and expectations and thought my life was empty without one. Before I graduated, I thought I had met the right “one”. How did I know? Well, all my friends told me I should give the relationship a chance and that he was cute. I began to see what they saw and told myself this was the answer to my loneliness and emptiness. We got along great and became instant friends first. However, something that should have stayed an innocent friendship very quickly turned into a heavy, long-term romance.

            Everything seemed fine in our little world for a while. I say that because I cut off people who had once meant the most to me. I was so wrapped up emotionally in this guy that I had become dependent on him and he on me. I wasn’t the zealous go-getter I used to be. My heart began to harden, and my emptiness seemed to grow bigger. I put up walls to hide behind because I didn’t want to admit that I was falling out of love. I created unrealistic expectations for him, to try to balance my desire for a more wholesome life. We would argue constantly, and before long, it felt like we were roommates rather than anything else. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t satisfied in the relationship. I thought this was what I had wanted. It was supposed to last forever, wasn’t it?

            Art and writing were my escape growing up. I knew that even though my world was not perfect, I could create a perfect one with my own hands. I loved the arts and used my passion for them as a way to tell myself that everything was okay.
            As I was going through this chapter of confusion, my father introduced me to his best friend, Wanda. Wanda wanted to hire me to produce six paintings, each a custom representation of what the Lord put in her heart. Eager to paint for someone else and being a stereotypically broke twenty-one-year-old, I agreed to the project.

            The first painting was a very calming scene of Jesus’ birth. Mary, the young virgin mother, was holding baby Jesus in an airy meadow. At that point in time, I was taken aback by the level of creativity it had. I never had painted that well before! I started feeling somewhat different inside. When I started the second painting, I began to meditate on the idea of God again. I remembered some of what I had learned from church as a little girl and the morals that my mother had instilled in me.

            Guilt ran through my veins as I realized how I had given up those morals for my sinful life. Coincidentally, the second painting I was creating was of a throne room. The throne was placed in the center of the room, and three peasants were on their knees, worshiping around it.

            This painting really ministered to my heart. Just as I began to have a strong urge to know more about God, weird things started to happen. I began to have evil dreams, and my mind filled with perverse and demonic-like terrors. I would awaken at night and couldn’t move. I would hear fire in my ears and feel shortness of breath. I knew in my heart that something was attacking me, trying to keep me from knowing the truth about God.
            I didn’t know who to talk to, so I would pray the only way I knew how. I would recite the many prayers I had learned in CCD, but none of them worked. Finally one of them did, and I know now that the prayer I uttered is actually in the Scripture, the Lord’s Prayer.

            One evening, I confided to my cousin Billy about everything that was going on. Billy is the older brother I never had but who is always there for me. We have a special connection that goes much deeper than just family. We have a spiritual relationship and understand many things about the unknown that no one else gets.

            Billy gave me a valuable piece of advice. He said the next time I felt like I was being attacked, to call out to Jesus and ask Him for a sign. He confessed that he had tried this and it worked. I wanted help and was so scared I knew I had to try it.
            The next night I got my chance. I lay there, trying to fall asleep when I felt heaviness upon my chest. I couldn’t move, and I flipped open my eyelids to see only a faint light in the darkness. It was my boyfriend on the computer; the monitor was the only light in the room. I could see from the corner of my eye that he was looking at pornography. I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t realize he looked at that behind my back! I tried to talk but couldn’t. I tried to move but couldn’t. I then heard fire in my ears. Enough was enough!

            Jesus, I need You! I cried in desperation, inside my mind. I need Your help, Jesus! If You are real, show me a sign.

            Instantly, the darkness faded into a vision. The black of the night turned into a blue sky with white, fluffy clouds. And there He was, the Lord Jesus Christ, hanging on a cross with a crown of thorns upon His head. There was no blood, no tears, and no anguish . . . only peace. Jesus was looking down, and then His eyes came up and met mine. He looked toward heaven, and then just as quickly as it came, the vision vanished. I didn’t know what to do or what to think. I couldn’t believe it was real . . . a real vision! The darkness of the room came back, but the heaviness on my chest lifted immediately. I could move again! I looked around the room stunned, the vision still alive in my mind. There was my boyfriend, unmoving, looking at his computer. He had no idea what had just happened to me!

            Needless to say, I got my sign. Within a couple of weeks, I made arrangements to move out. It was hard to tell my boyfriend that I needed to go. I realized that I was just staying to make him happy because I felt too guilty to be the one to leave. I never cried so much as on that day, from both joy and sorrow. Eventually, he spoke up and admitted that we were holding each other back and this decision was for the best. Deep in my heart, though, I knew that this decision was what Jesus wanted me to do. Wanda took me into her home and became a nurturing friend and second mother to me. I finished three paintings from the series at her home. I was able to live there until I could afford my own place. When I was on my own three or four months later, following the Lord and building a real relationship with Him, I finished the last painting of the series entitled “Revelation.”

            During that time, I started dating my husband Jonathan. We spoke about life, morals, music, hobbies, and God. He shared with me that he grew up in a Pentecostal church and explained his Christian lifestyle, based on biblical principles. My heart ached because I knew I wanted that. Better yet, I needed it! I desired to go back to church, but I really didn’t want to go where I used to go. Jonathan had a peace about his spirit that I knew was something different. I knew there was more. I wanted to know the truth about who God really is, so Jonathan took me to church one Sunday morning.

            When I walked into the ApostolicChurch of Enfield for the first time, it was as if the angels had descended and I was swallowed by their glorious worship. I had never experienced a presence of God so strongly, and tears began to roll down my flushed cheeks. I closed my eyes and felt arms around me. It was Jonathan’s mother. She compassionately spoke to me that I was feeling God’s Spirit. I turned to her and, from the depth of my soul, replied, “This is what I want.”

            In four short months, I received the beautiful gift of the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking with other tongues and was fully cleansed by being water baptized in Jesus’ name. With God’s anointing and teaching, I finally had a revelation of who God really is: the one and only God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
            Now here I am, years later, joyful for all that God has done. I am still growing and learning the things of the Lord, but God spoke to my heart a few years back about this message and has placed a calling on my life. I won’t write that things will be easy once you surrender to Jesus or that you won’t still go through trials. My first few years in the church were a huge adjustment period for me, and some of those sinful things from the past kept trying to creep into my heart again. Yet I pressed toward the mark of the high calling and focused my heart on Jesus. Eventually, what was an issue became dust, and what was once unclean became clean.

            I am here to tell you that the time is right now to be your Palace Keeper. In those years I spent living in sin with a boyfriend, wallowing in my own guilt and doing things my way and not God’s way, I could have protected my heart and saved pieces of myself for my husband. I had allowed someone else to be my Palace Keeper! The condition of your heart is so important. Being your perfect Palace Keeper takes time, but be diligent. Then true purity will have its way!

            This book will help focus your attention on Jesus and explain to you how to be a Palace Keeper. It is written so you can read it alone, with a friend, or in a group. The content will guide you and bring you deeper into emotionally purifying your heart.
            Everything happens for a reason and a purpose. I have always believed that. What I see now is that everything works for God’s glory and for God’s purpose. If you follow the cross and look to Jesus, He will be the Light unto your feet and will show you the right way to purity for your entire palace.

Let God create your love story. You will never regret it!"

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1 comment:

  1. Jacy what an amazing testimony! Thank you SO much for sharing it and for linking up. Praise God for HIS gracious redemption!


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