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Delivered by Grace
by Beth Werner
08/08/08
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I can pinpoint an aspect of my bondage to one day of my life. This day has had wide reaching repercussions and has been the root of much pain and sorrow. Praise the Lord that He has delivered me!

It started as a normal sunny day. I was playing when my mother called me, not dreaming that the following hours would shape the next 15 years of my life. I pretended not to hear. Granted, that was wrong. My mother kept calling and I continued to ignore her. By the time she found me, the spankings she was going to dole out had increased to six. That was how the system worked in our house--the more offenses, the greater the punishment.

In an act of love I will never forget, my younger sister (probably six at the time) took the six spankings for me. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful picture of Christ I had ever seen. I truly believe that it was at that moment I gave my life to him.

Sadly, when my father got home, he was not pleased at my sister's sacrifice of love. I was spanked anyway and sent to bed. I remember thinking that this couldn't be real, it just couldn't be. The message I got was that while Christ had died for the sins of the world, His blood couldn't cover my sins. I was just that bad and frankly not worth it.

From this point on, I began a spiral downward. I began overeating. I buried myself in books hoping to lose my pain in the joy of others. As the years went on, I continued to seek approval from anywhere and anyone. In school I had perfect grades, but it wasn't enough. At home, I just stopped trying. In high school, I struggled with both anorexia and binge eating. I had entered what one of my counselors termed a "double bind." I was trying to reconcile what I knew in my head of Christ with what I had experienced--the fear that He could never love me. The result was psychological disturbance. I was said to have OCD, Schizophrenia and Schizo-Affective disorder. I was hospitalized three times as a result of these disorders.

Praise the Lord that He has delivered me! In the last few weeks, I have experienced His love in tangible ways. My fears that He could never love me have been allayed. I know to the core of my being that He does. My fears that love was too painful to be worth it are gone. God's message to me is, "Love doesn't hurt anymore." Granted, I know He will still correct me when I stray, but it will be gentle, not the brutal, angry beatings of my childhood.

I am today a living testimony of His love. If you feel He could never love you, you are so wrong, so wrong. My challenge to you? Ask Him to show you His love and do not deny it or fear when He does. He will.

In His Grace,
Beth Werner

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