03/12/2013: Shannon Cox Newton
Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay.
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Amen. ~Author Unknown
I was 5 years old, and the children at our church had been learning a new song. I remember sitting on the vanity beside the bathroom sink of my home as my mom taught me this song. She then proceeded to tell me the meaning of the song in a way that even a 5-year-old could understand. I felt the need to ask Jesus to come into my heart, and my mom helped me do that. No fancy speech was prepared, and no party took place that day………except the party that was going in Heaven as the angels rejoiced! (Luke 15:10)
A few years later, I followed the scriptures in water baptism and began listening more intently at church, as well as attending church camp every summer. One particular summer when I was 14 years old, I remember making a commitment to The Lord that, with His help and guidance, I would live a pure and holy life before Him.
My high school and college years were spent serving God and singing for Him every chance I got. Just a few months after I graduated from college, I got married. Less than 3 years later, I had broken the commitment I made to my Lord. I was not living a pure and holy life before Him. I had made many bad choices, and the marriage ended in 2001. Many heartaches followed, both in my heart and in the hearts of those who love me.
In 2009, The Lord got my attention through a Bible study I was doing with the ladies at my church. It is a Beth Moore study titled “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things.” This study ripped me apart and caused me to be completely broken before The Lord. I remember one of Beth Moore’s statements resonating so strongly in my heart. She said “Am I still considered a ‘fake’ if the person I profess to be at church is the person I really want to be?” That was the cry of my heart……… I longed to be that Godly woman I pretended to be in front of fellow church members, but I was deceived into believing it was too late for me.
Through this study, The Lord revealed to me that He could see my heart and that, although my lifestyle and my actions did not always line up with His Word, He was not finished with me yet. He was going to grant me those desires in my heart if I would turn my life back over to Him and surrender completely. I did surrender, and just like in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, the Father welcomed me with loving arms back into His presence.
Through many sleepless nights and many tears, God performed an amazing surgery on my heart (Ezekiel 36:26) through this study and through His powerful Word. In July 2010, I was baptized in water once again, as a sign of my rededication to The Lord, and as a “renewing” of the vow I had made to Him 20 years earlier at church camp.
This past Sunday, the pastor at my home church made a statement that sums up so much of my life: God’s grace is greater than our disobedience. During that same worship service, we sang a song with these lyrics: “I still remember the day You saved me, the day I heard You call out my name.” In that moment, as we sang this powerful song, The Lord reminded me of that day almost 32 years ago when He called my name as my mom explained to me what it meant to ask Jesus into your heart. And He assured me that His hand has been on me ever since that day, through all the mess and all the mistakes. Even then, He looked into the future and knew where I would be today, serving The Lord alongside a Godly husband who is a youth minister, and trying to follow God’s leading in every part of our lives.
Yes, in December 2012, I was given in marriage (by The Lord) to the Godly man I had been praying for. My husband often reminds me that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Yes, He makes ALL things NEW! He has given me a NEW LIFE and a NEW PURPOSE, and He will complete the work He began in me so many years ago. (Philippians 1:6)
Be encouraged that our God is in the restoration business, and no life is too far gone……. He doesn't want to simply make you better, He wants to make you brand NEW! If you need NEW LIFE, let me invite you to visit the Potter’s house where He does not throw the clay away, but instead He remolds each vessel into something NEW. (Jeremiah 18)
~ Shannon Cox Newton