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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Streams in the Wasteland
By marcella franseen
04/26/12


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“God, please don’t give up on me” is one of the first prayers I remember praying. I prayed that prayer often as I was growing up. Always at night, in the quiet darkness of my room where there was only me and God and I could let the walls down. “Don’t give up on me. Don’t let me go.”

My childhood is racked with verbal and emotional abuse, which left me with gaping wounds.

I had a very limited understanding of God when I was younger, especially of the Gospel and how it intersected with my everyday life. I believed that God loved me, that I was a sinner, and that Jesus died for my sin. I attended church regularly, but it was a lot of Bible stories and rules, which didn’t do much for a little girl with really big hurts. Still, I always felt God’s presence with me. I genuinely loved Him, in my small understanding and confusion, and believed He loved me. Often when I would lie in bed at night praying, I would feel Him speak to my heart. “Hold on. I have a good plan for you. You have a future.”

By the time I was a senior in high school I was depressed, bitter, and a wreck of a person. At times I entertained thoughts of suicide. My grip on Jesus was slipping, but, thankfully, His grip on me was firm.

My parents wanted me to attend a Christian college in South Carolina. I lived in Indiana and did not want to go. One evening my mother and I had an argument about it. As I lay on my bed crying, I felt God speaking to my heart that this was His plan, the rescue from my circumstances I had been praying for. This was the beginning of my future. The Bible says the sheep know the voice of their Shepherd. I knew it was my Shepherd speaking to my heart. I immediately stopped crying and, from that point on, did everything I could to get into that college.

My first year there I heard a message on Matthew 18:21-19:1. Jesus tells the parable of the man who was forgiven a huge debt by the King, but after being freed, refused to forgive his neighbor’s small debt. When the king heard it, he was furious and had the man thrown in prison to be tortured. Through this message God began dealing with the bitterness in my heart. I had been hurt, but I had also been forgiven all my sin because of Jesus. How could I not forgive others?

I returned to my room, got on my face, and repented. My healing had begun. It wasn’t an easy road. There was a lot to unpack. During the process I struggled through anorexia and bulimia, but God was faithful.

Today I am a completely different person than I was at 18. I am full of the life and love only found in Jesus. I am living in the future God promised He had for me.

In Isaiah 43:19 God proclaims He will make streams in the wasteland. Maybe you have been in the wasteland of abuse or sickness or poverty. There are many hurts and disappointments that lead a person to that desert place. Whatever your wasteland is, God is making streams of love and grace and mercy for you.

I view my life as two different chapters: the first 18 years, and the last 19 years. God has made me a new creation. My wounds are no longer gaping, but neatly healed scars-reminders of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. “By His stripes I’ve been healed.”

The God who loved us enough to send His own Son to bear our sin and suffering on the cross does not want us to live indefinitely with open wounds. He does not want us stuck in the past. He tells us in Isaiah 43:18 to “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Why? Because He wants us to “see” that He is “doing a new thing.” He is “making a way.” Whatever your past is, do not look back to dwell on it. In Christ, you have a future!

Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

This is a true story.


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This article has been read 306 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 04/27/12
Thank you so much for this heart wrenching testimony and revealing your heart to us. God is amazing and He has a plan to all of us who hear...and His hand is always extended in love. Amen.

May you continue in His love and sharing your story with others along the way.

Thank you and God Bless you~
Joanne Sher 04/28/12
What a testimony you have! So glad for all God has done for you - and that you shared it with us. Thank you!
Laura Manley04/29/12
I am overwhelmed by this story; the first part of it reminded me of my own childhood in some respects. This w as a very well-written true story, one which flowed from your early childhood to the grown-up you are today. Very, very nicely done! What an encouragement this should bring to others!
Hiram Claudio04/30/12
Such a marvelous testimony of complete and total victory! You wrote this so well and taught so many basic yet deep lessons in this piece.

Great work here!
lynn gipson 05/01/12
I can see myself in this article throughout. Excellent. God Bless
Ada Nett05/01/12
Two chapters of your life . I can relate to that. The second chapter is already longer than the first. God didn't give up on you. He gave you a new song to sing through your writing. Thank you for sharing.
Cathy
Dannie Hawley 05/01/12
Profoundly moving article with a message of hope from one who's been there. Your transparency, joined with your skill,makes a fantastic read. Thanks for sharing.
Genia Gilbert05/01/12
I enjoyed this very much. It is so open, honest, and has sadness but a real victory over all. Victory in Jesus! Good writing, and good testimony.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/12
This gave me chills. It's amazing how deeply words can wound. I've struggled with many of the same things as the MC so I know it is not an easy road. I commend you for your courage and desire to reach out and help others heal.
Leola Ogle 05/02/12
What a wonderful testimony to the mercy and grace of God. Thanks for sharing this tender and well-written story. God bless.
Graham Insley 05/03/12
A powerful testimony well told with a valid encouragement/challenge at the end.

Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level three and 19th overall!