Welcome to Songs of Salvation, a Sunday feature. Each week I will feature a different Christian author to share their "Song of Salvation", a post that is intended to uplift, encourage and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
Putting God to the Test
My dad was a pastor, so I grew up in the church. I went to a Christian elementary school, my mom read me the Picture Bible multiple times, and she taught me scripture verses on flashcards. This was great, but even more importantly, in high school, my youth group attended Jesus Northwest where I got to hear Becky Tirabassi speak. She had a powerful testimony of coming to the Lord after a life of drug abuse and promiscuity. She tried attending church, but nobody would speak to her. Nobody but the janitor. He led her to the Lord.
Now I didn’t have a testimony like hers, but I wanted the passion she had. So I started reading the Bible the way she instructed. I don’t remember all that went into it, but it pretty much included reading part of the Old and New Testament every day and journaling prayer and praise. I still do that, and I will forever be thankful to her for getting me started.
Growing up in the church was a real blessing, but I don’t believe the faith became my own until I was tested. This started out with me actually writing the words “test me” in my prayer journal.
I didn’t write the words lightly. I was at a writer’s conference where a big publisher expressed interest in my work. I went back to my room and lay happily on my bunk, staring at the ceiling. But my Bible was on my bunk and I hadn’t yet read that day, so I opened to the passage I was on and read David’s words where he said, “God you are my all.” I wrote “God you are my all” in my prayer journal. Then I asked myself, Is that true? And I remembered how David said, “Test me.” I cried. And I wrote, “Test me.”
Later that night at a writer’s retreat, I went on a hayride with another author who told me about how she’d lost two of her children, so she was writing a book to help parents when their children die. At that point, I tried to renegotiate with God. “Hey, God? Remember when I said to test me? Well, you can test me, just don’t touch my family…”
Well, I returned home from that trip to eventually find that my husband (at the time) had started an affair while I was gone. I fought for my marriage, but it takes two people to make a marriage, and he wanted out. I’ve never hurt so badly.
I grew a lot in the time. I grew closer to God because He was all I had. And He never let me down.
I don’t believe my divorce was a result of my prayer. I don’t believe God was saying, “You want a test? I’ll give you a test.” No, he was preparing me. He was saying, “Angela, you know I’m your all. You KNOW it.”
Because God is good, my story doesn’t end there. I met Mr. Strong who loves me the way every woman should be loved. At the time, it felt too good to be true. Even when Jim told me for the first time that he loved me, I said, “I don’t know what that means.” He responded, “I will show you with everything that I am.” I wanted to believe, but I couldn’t. When Jim would say to me, “You’re a gift from God,” I couldn’t say it back. And I didn’t know why.
Finally on a jog when I was running and praying, I prayed, “Lord, open my eyes.” And suddenly I knew. I didn’t believe Jim was a gift from God because I’d prayed for God to test me, and I didn’t know if I’d passed my test. I didn’t feel deserving of love, and I didn’t know if God was going to take Jim away from me too.
I thought about the meaning of a gift. I remembered how the Bible said every good gift was from God. So I went home and looked up the word “good” in the Bible.
The first verse said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The last verse said, “Now you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.” I cried. Because it wasn’t ever about me passing any test. I’d messed up a lot. I still do. But God is good. And He wanted to redeem my life as He wants to do for all of us. We only have to accept that we need his grace and we can’t possibly earn it.
I stopped writing romance novels during that dark time in my life, but now there’s nothing else I’d rather write. God is love. And His love changed my life.
If you’re interested in learning about more of my story, I’ve included a lot of it in my novel Finding Love in Park City. Next month it’s the Book Club pick for Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, which means I’ll be discussing it live in their facebook group on February 24th at 1:00 MST. I’d love to have you join us there. You can also pop over to my facebook group to find out about what I’m working on now or join my newsletter to find out about my new release, audio book, AND a blog tour where you can win lots of fun things, including a Kindle.
The most important thing to remember is that our stories are never over, there’s always more for us. And if you want to find out what the Author of Life has for you next, it’s not a bad idea to spend time in his Book every day so He can prepare you for what tests might come.