Hebrew 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I come from a strict Pentecostal home. We didn’t have a choice as kids but to attend the church our parents did, so naturally, I followed that path. I stepped out on faith and got baptized at an early age, and my relationship with God began. I became a youth group leader, led testimony services, and encouraged as many people as I could. I was on fire for the Lord, but as I got older things began to change. I no longer had that burning desire to worship as I once did. I felt as If I was forcing myself to be this God fearing person. It was a struggle. I was unhappy with the church I was attending. The religious part of it really got to me. The restrictions and the fear that was driven into me took its toll, so I decided to leave. I completely turned my back on God. I never wanted to look back, never wanted to feel the way I once felt about him. I put my bible down for good.
That was 12 years ago.
Last Sunday (September 27th) I couldn’t ignore him any longer. LJ spoke on abiding in christ, bearing spiritual fruit, and walking with him. As he was speaking I began to feel heavy. God was calling me, telling me he loves me even though I turned my back on him so many times. He wants me to walk with him once more, be an example, fear Him, love Him, abide in Him and I will be fruitful. When LJ called us for prayer that night I was hesitant to walk up, but I listened to God. I was ready to receive him once more, ready to stop pretending, lying and feeling as if I was okay without Him. Today I am so happy I did.
I have been praying a lot more since then, and taking it one step at a time. Even though I'm still wavering with my faith at times, God is showing me his love. While I once asked him to burn a bush so I can believe he is with me, I now ask for strength, faith and patience.
Where I am today.
My boutique has been struggling, and often I've had no idea where the money would come from in order to stay open. The first year is always the hardest. One day I looked at the account and shook my head. I was almost there but needed more. I prayed and left it to God. Hours later, my brother called and asked, "How much more money do you need?” I told him the balance, and he wrote a check. Only God!
Two days later a vendor sent me fall merchandise and took money out of the account without getting my authorization first. That took me back to square one. My family had the flu for the rest of that week so that meant no school or work for any of us. As we were working on recovering, my husband and I spoke about closing the store if things weren't working out. On the very day we had that conversation, we received a letter in the mail. It said 'important document' so we thought we owed taxes and weren't aware of it. Instead it was a check from our tax return for a little over the amount that was taken from the business account a few days back. We looked at each other and just knew God was on our side. We knew He wanted us to work hard, keep moving forward, grow in Him individually and as a family, and He would keep opening doors for us.
Since opening up to God and letting Him know my faults and my needs for my family, I have seen what it means to have faith in Him and to wait upon him.
// Vinniece Dufresne