Found By Grace: Abby's Story
The first of our Found By Grace series comes from Abby, a friend of ours from back home in Cambridge. This summer Abby became a Christian and it has been such a joy to see God working out His grace in her life in such a short time. We are so excited to watch and see how God uses her kindness and generosity to shine a light for Him there and in every part of her life. This is Abby's story:
I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST AND I NO LONGER LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME (GALATIANS 2:20)
When I think of a ‘testimony’ I picture a godfather giving a narrative at the baptism of his close friend’s child, or an anecdote of university days from a family member over the Christmas dinner table. These have always captivated my attention and inspired me but the truth is: you can never really portray the moment you give your heart to Jesus. You can never do the single greatest moment of your life justice in any description of it.
So as I retell it now, please keep in mind the actual magnitude of this time for me aside from how eloquently or awfully I may turn a phrase.
I was brought up as a Christian, surrounded with the message of God’s love throughout childhood. As I’m sure many have felt, you begin to desensitize to what you’re being told. “Jesus died on a cross for me” becomes a lyric with actions rather than a horrific fact with the most glorious significance to base your entire life around.
I hit my teens and (who would have guessed it?)… rebelled.
I revelled in dissidence and what I saw as ‘freedom’ in disobedience. I was too immature to realise anything was missing in my life but when I decided I was confident enough to completely denounce my faith it had the opposite effect. I was suddenly aware of an absence; a lost connection with an old friend or a relative I had relocated far away from. I knew He was there, watching over me, missing me, and doing everything he could to bring me back but I wasn’t willing to hear it. I sat down with a Christian friend and told her that I didn’t want anything to do with it anymore, I told my family and I told myself.
2 years later I sat down with that same Christian friend at the start of a week-long youth camp for Christians I had attended so I could see my friends again. I told her nothing had changed; I’d had an eventful 2 years and although I felt like an outcast in the current surroundings, I just wanted to ask all the difficult questions in bible studies secretly hoping they had an answer for me.
5 days later I sat down with her again. Earlier that day I had heard a talk on the crucifixion that brought tears to my eyes. I heard that when Jesus was on the cross, God looked down and saw “the worst rebel the world had ever known”. The worst rapist, the worst murderer, the worst paedophile. Not only that, it was my fault. I was reminded of a song I had loved as a young teen:
If only my one heart
Was all you'd gain from all it cost
Well I know you would have still been a man
With a reason to willingly offer your life
Didn’t this man deserve my attention after all he’d done for me? So I began to talk with my friend, I told her how guilty and yet how grateful I felt but I still gave every excuse I could to not let go of control over my life. “I want to go out and get drunk with my friends; I don’t want to be restricted!”
"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."
I kept on indignantly until I was crying uncontrollably with terror at the next step I was inevitably about to make. I felt like I was about to launch myself off a cliff.
“But you know what’s at the bottom off the cliff, why wouldn’t you want to jump?”
60 seconds later I said “Amen” with a conviction and resonance I had never felt.
I was shaking, still crying, totally overwhelmed. But my friend hugged me, acknowledged my fear and hesitance and said three words that I still hear in my head every day:
“Run with it.”
And I did. Literally. I ran to my friends with a smile so wide my face ached. Yes, I still have questions and arguments and worries but now I truly listen to everything God has been saying to me all this time and I truly hear it.
“Because the Lord sustains me, I will not fear.” (Psalm 3:5-6)
“For He himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14)
The last 2 months have been extremely hectic, exciting and emotional but they’ve also been the most peaceful. The freedom I once thought I had looks like iron chains to me now and the social life I once adored is exposed as the greatest loneliness. Now I know freedom and I’ll never be alone again.
“He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
And that is all you really need to know, his grace is sufficient. So whatever you’re holding on to that’s stopping you from jumping off the cliff just remember that. His grace is enough and once you’ve jumped off, I PROMISE you, you won’t even remember why you were so reluctant in the first place.