Monday, August 15, 2011

One, Two, Three Strikes. You're Out?

Seventeen years ago this month (I've forgotten the exact day, but I know it was around the 12th or 14th), I gave my life to Christ. It's been an amazing journey, and I know God has so much more in store. This week, I'd like to share how I got where I am in my relationship with Jesus today. I hope you'll join me for the journey this week! Thanks for stopping by!

"You know what I love about you?" my pastor's wife asked me. "I love that I can bring a baseball bat to you, and you keep coming back for more."

I smiled. Why?

Because I recognized how far I'd come since the day I'd asked Jesus into my heart and made Him Lord of my life.

Several years before, the spiritual baseball bat wasn't something I admired. I despised it, actually. I rebelled hard against correction and discipline, and my rebellion only left me spiritually and emotionally bruised and beaten.

"The ear that hears the rebukes of life
 Will abide among the wise.
 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul,
 But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom,
 And before honor is humility."
 - Proverbs 15:31-33

I'll never forget the day I met Jesus face-to-face. I sat on the floor in a bedroom at my pastor's house. People laughed and mingled outside, enjoying the summer barbecue. The air had a cool breeze, and the sun had settled behind the mountain. A few teens and I sat listening to my friend, Dean, play his guitar.

Between songs, I naively asked him, "Can you save me?" (I obviously didn't know Christianese yet.)

Dean chuckled and said, "No. But Jesus can." 

Aah... I got it! On the spot, I prayed the prayer of salvation, confessing my sins to God and admitting I couldn't do life without Jesus as my Savior.

That weekend, I was baptized. In the late summer sunlight, I confidently stepped into the Dry Brook River and awaited to be "dunked." Though the river ran chilly, I didn't notice. It felt like bathwater to me. When I arose from the water, I felt cleaner than I'd ever felt my entire life. I swear I sparkled beneath that sunlight. I walked away a new person, shiny in the light of Jesus.

Until about two months after I returned to college. Strike One. I backslid.

I returned to my parents, dropped out of college, and tried to get on the right path with God. But I'd never gotten rid of my rebellious spirit. My parents set up rules for me to live by, since I stayed under their roof, their covering. And I decided I couldn't live that way.

Strike Two. I moved out from under my covering and in with my boyfriend.

After living with him for several months, I realized he not only had an issue with anger, he now displayed signs of being an abuser. I took an incomplete message from a business phone call, and I ended up with a steel toed boot in the small of my back. No bruise, so the police couldn't do anything about it.

Strike Three. I should have heeded the warning signs a year before and never strayed from God's path. I should never have stepped out from under the protection of my father and his rules.

Fortunately, God knew exactly what I needed. Before I struck out. I lay in bed one morning, wondering why I couldn't sleep. I wrestled with restlessness until the answer came loud and clear, as if God stood in the room with me. "If you don't go home now, you'll never see your eternal home."

I didn't need to hear that message twice. I understood the danger of not heeding the rebuke in my life. I understood that if I disdained this instruction, my soul may not make it through the next month or week. I understood that I needed to fear the Lord and get my life back on track with Him.

I moved back in with my parents. I gave my heart back to Jesus, and I made Him my first love. I didn't strike out. I struck gold.

When I stopped rebelling against those who tried pouring Jesus' love and God's word into me, I found myself growing in the things of God. When I began making choices and decisions in my life based on God's word, and not my own will, I saw God moving in my life. I saw blessings. I saw increase. I saw new things in the Word. I saw God at work in my life. He has done so many amazing things.

And all it took was me saying yes to the rebukes of life. Yes, I'll heed that instruction. Yes, I'll receive that word of correction. Yes, I'll choose to set aside my will for the will of God. Yes, I'll choose to stand firm and receive the strike from that spiritual baseball bat. Because I know God has something bigger and better in store for my life. And if I want Him to be able to use me, I have to humble myself before Him and those around me.

Because before honor is humility.

Photo Courtesy of Dirk Ziegener



  1. Wonderful testimony Alycia! This will be so helpful to anyone who thinks they can't turn back to God when they backslide...

  2. Thank you, Jennifer! I pray it does!

  3. Ahh.. I love God's UNENDING Grace! Thanks for sharing, Alycia.


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