People often ask me how I got involved with counseling and teaching with Abiding Life Ministries Intl. Here I am a wife, mother of five and grandmother of three, sharing with defeated, discouraged believers as well as traveling to far off lands such as Nigeria, Ukraine, Latvia and Haiti. (At least far aware from my home in New Zealand.)
As I look back, I am really not sure myself how this all came to be. However, there is one thing I have no doubt about; that the road I myself traveled was paved with defeat and discouragement, and often despair. Shortly after my conversion at 15, I became sidetracked in the wilderness. There I wandered for 25 years. Outwardly, I was a mature Christian, involved in Church, teaching Sunday School, teaching in a Christian School, helping others as well as trying to be a good mother and wife. Inwardly I was depressed, angry, defeated by sin, and discontented.
I did not know that my past with all its baggage was driving me; I thought that deep down there was something wrong with me and I was on a continual search for "answers". I read Christian books, I read non-Christian books; I talked to people I trusted and sought counsel from pastors; I prayed and studied my Bible; I went down many roads of doctrinal emphases; I went forward in meetings again and again; I determined to be more…obedient; more faithful; more loving; more committed…
What I did not know was that God did not want me to be more of anything; He wanted me to be less, so that He could be more. I had failed and failed. The only explanation others could come up with was that I had not really been saved. I did not know that my flesh as a believer is the same as my flesh as an unbeliever. And so I tried to be saved again; and was baptized again. The darkest hour came when even that did not bring me into freedom from sin, anger and depression. Through it all I cried out to God. Then one day, in the natural course of events, He led me to a pastor who said he could help me. My first reaction was one of fear; I could not cope with having hopes raised only to be faced with failure again. I asked him how he would help. He said he would show me the way of freedom from Romans 6. I reacted, telling him I had no time for Romans 6. I knew it off by heart; I had tried so many times to apply it; I had read books about it; it didn’t work; forget it!
I did not know that this was God’s person in God’s time in my life. Finally, realizing I had nothing to loose, I went to see him. I did not know that the reason I struggled with being crucified with Christ was that I had been trying to make it effective myself; I had been trying to crucify myself. As we went through Romans 6, the Holy Spirit bought the revelation that I was already crucified with Christ; that God had placed me in Christ and I just needed to believe it that not only was I dead, but I was also alive in His resurrected Life. I did not know that He had done it all; that victory, deliverance peace and joy were to simply to be received as I abided in His life. But at this point, I did not know that being crucified with Christ was not a one time quick answer but instead I a moment by moment choice whether to live in Him, or in self; to live in unbelief or faith.
There is much I still do not know; but this one thing I do know; that there is nothing in my life, including the every day life of wife and mother, that Christ’s Presence does not cure. My desire has always been to encourage Christians for during my years in the wilderness I had a lot of company. I knew that if I ever reached the Promised Land, I would ask God to work through me into others’ lives. For a long time I looked back and felt that my Christian life did not really begin until I "found the answer". I have lived in the regret of "if only I had found the answers earlier on"; why didn’t anyone tell me? Why did God let me wander for so long?
What I had not seen was that all the experiences of that time brought me to where I am now. I now see that I WAS experiencing the presence of God in the despair, for as I cried out to Him so often, He was there. Because of my depression, sin, defeat and problems I was kept looking to Him. What I did not know was that He was allowing me to go through exactly what was necessary in my life to bring me out of my pride and my glory to that place of revelation of His glory, and humble dependence on Him alone. They are not wasted years, for God causes all things in my life to work together for good; the good being the revelation of Christ through me.
What I did not know was that I already had all that I needed to live an abundant life. Though my life was not successful as man defines it during those years, His life within was keeping me from destruction; was encouraging me to get up and carry on when I failed; was motivating me to desire His Way and Truth; was giving me the faith to look to God and was persevering and enabling me to serve Him with hope. What I did not know, was that as the pastor that day shared Truth with me, I responded so readily because the teaching was already within me in Christ, and I was hearing the witness of the Spirit, "I know that. amen".
God has shown me that though I had few answers for 25 years; yet I always had the Way, and His Name is Jesus. He is the greatest Truth, and we always have Him. As we walk in Him, in the way, He brings answers in His time.
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Do you not know that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Romans 6:3
Linda Guy. 32 Anaheim Blvd., Howick. Auckland. New Zealand. [email protected]