Monday, February 22, 2010

My Testimony

Ha!! I declared it "national share your testimony on facebook" week since I was writing mine out...and I decided to post it here. I am SO thankful for how the Lord has worked in my life and blessed me beyond anything I could've dreamed. He is so kind! I hope I'm blessed reading hundreds of others this week on facebook!
I grew up in a Christian home and attended church every week. My parents sent me to camps as a kid, and I loved going and hearing about the Lord, but as many kids who grow up in the church, I wasn’t saved until a bit later. The first echoes of God’s grace in my life came in my junior high years, but even stronger in my high school years. God’s story in my life really began on a mission trip to Mexico in high school.
Anyway, one warm summer evening in Mexico, I remember being out under the stars debriefing about the day, and being interrupted in that pleasant evening by a glance turned gaze into the evening sky. I remember looking up at the vastness and immensity of the sky- (the small portion that we can actually see!) and feeling so small and insignificant as I recognized the "hugeness" of God. I was horrified in fear and even overcome by it. At different times, maybe even that night, I remember weeping in fear that I didn’t know this God the way I needed to. I remember feeling terrified and traumatized because I knew that I hadn't been reconciled to the God who created the heavens. I knew that I hadn't "come clean" with Him and was deeply troubled by that reality. Romans 1:20 really explains my situation- "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." I could almost "feel" his eternal power and divine nature that night as I looked up in sheer terror of His immensity. I wasn't honoring God with my life, and was beginning to recognize the foolishness of my heart (by His Grace! Romans 1:21ff). God was definitely drawing me at that point, and I didn't want to displease Him (this was my fear), yet I was still clinging to my sin- and was confused and unable to recognize much of it. God was forcing me (in His kindness!!) into doing some soul-searching.
It was fearful to see what turned up in my soul-searching. 2 Timothy 3:2-5, which although is talking about end times, described my state pretty accurately. "For men will be lovers of self (yes!), lovers of money (yes!), boastful (yes, mostly with volleyball, but then again there were lots of other things I would boast about too…), arrogant (oh yes), revilers, disobedient to parents (oh yes, though most of it was subtle, some of it did get pretty ugly), ungrateful (wow, I don’t think I knew of what I should’ve been thankful for!), unholy (yes, very unlike God), unloving (pretty hateful in many ways), irreconcilable, malicious gossips (extremely so), without self-control , brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power..." On the outside, I was pretty "good"- by the standards I gave myself (mostly comparison to others), but when I look back and see the wretchedness of my heart, it saddens me. I really was a lot of those things, and if I wasn't living out those things, I was only proud and self-righteous to not be. Anyway, God pushed me to really wrestle with those things that I was questioning and to search out answers. It was sometime in that time period that I decided I wanted to go to a Christian college. I wanted to know more and "figure things out". I was really turned off and confused by the hypocrisy in our church-which was not unlike many churches. Good and bad churches alike face their share of hypocrisy. That is what God used to challenge me and move me in the direction that He did- which makes me thankful for my church. Though I knew that “no one was perfect”, my conscience said that grave sin should be dealt with in some way in God’s church, rather than ignoring it altogether as our church seemed to do. I wanted something more, and God's grace stretched far to reach me and answer my heart's cry!! Anyway, God graced me through my parents’ sacrifice to attend The Master’s College, which I shamelessly dare say is the greatest Bible teaching college ever. At The Master's College I was struck by the unapologetic and straight-forward teaching of the Word. I was impressed at the way they respectfully and thoroughly taught Scripture, and believed that though God is mysterious in some ways, that His Word is not meant to be so mysterious as to mystify us and leave us wanting for answers. It is intended to be understood (Deut 29:9), and with thorough study and the Holy Spirit, we can understand it. Praise God!! After all, God gave it to us so that we can know Him!! He is able to communicate with us clearly (is He not??) and I was so thankful to gain an understanding of His Word that I had previously never thought possible. I had been blinded to that before, and I would say primarily for two reasons- 1) my slavery to my sin which blinded me, and 2) teaching that didn't exalt the perfect Word of God in its perfection but degraded it to an obscure book that we could never understand. The Bible had been denigrated in my mind because it was disregarded by so many people whose position in the church I respected. In some cases, it was hardly even used. I think in my heart, I even put God at fault for not communicating clearly in the Bible... now that is shameful arrogance and horrifying criticism of the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!! Praise Him for not striking me dead!
During that first year of college, I believe God saved me from my sin. I think it was then that I even saw clearly my sin for the first time. I had more Bible classes than I could take in, chapel three times a week, and then church on Sundays. With the holiness of God being defined and shown to me, I cowered in fear of His wrath on me. But then the Grace of God in Christ was so lovingly presented to me and explained in such clear terms- my heart exploded with gratitude when I understood what He had done for me!! When I understood the reality of my sin separating me from God (Isaiah 59:1,2), which is what created in me that real sense of distance that I felt- the dots began to connect and I could see and understand the gospel for the first time. It wasn’t HIS inability to communicate through His Word, but rather MY sin that had kept me from a right and close relationship with Him. Previously, I had a shallow understanding of sin. I thought that sin was drinking, doing drugs, using bad language, cheating, and things like that. But I learned that sin was a condition of my heart and that I had been sinning in thought and other ways that were far worse than the above mentioned list. I was hateful, envious, lustful, prideful, and rebellious. I tried to stop doing some of these things at different times, but always in vain. I was a slave to sin as defined so clearly in Romans 6:16-20. "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." That sums it up in my mind in many ways. For the first time, I was freed from the bonds of my sin, after receiving the clear teaching and becoming committed to it. As I understood my sin and saw it for what it was, I hated it. I longed for cleansing and longed to purge sin from my life and heart. In a word, I had repented of my sin. My heart was drawn to the Word of God and rejoiced when I heard it taught and when I read it myself with the Holy Spirit’s illuminating power. I now saw clearly all that I had to be thankful for! I was overwhelmed with His grace and kindness toward me, an undeserving wretch! I still struggled and struggle with sin, but the direction of my life and heart took a radical turn (2 Corinthians 5:17). I had an insatiable appetite for the Word of God (Psalm 42), unlike anything I had experienced before. A hunger and thirst for truth welled up in me and multiplied the more I was exposed to it. When I recognized what Christ had suffered on my behalf, I wanted to live my life to please Him and bring honor and glory to His Name (1 Corinthians 10:31). I wanted to be done with bringing recognition and praise to my own name. "He must increase, I must decrease" (John 3:30) became a desire I longed to (and still do) impose on my life. I saw His worthiness (Revelation 4:11) presented and saw so many people living to prove that He was worthy. I saw holy lives and struggling believers who desperately wanted to honor the Lord with their lives, and was encouraged by their faith. I joined the “evangelism team” at the college and went to the park, downtown Santa Monica, and other places and told people about Christ.
He has continued to work in my life and purge sin, and yet the more I grow in my relationship with Him (and the more I listen to my husband’s preaching!!), the more I recognize how short I still fall from the grace of God (Romans 3:23). I am so thankful that when God looks at me, He doesn’t see my spots or blemishes, He doesn’t see my wretchedness. Instead, because of what Christ did on the cross, and because I have placed my faith in Him, what God sees when He looks at me, is the perfect righteousness of Christ. What a shame that this truth doesn’t make me strive harder after holiness than I do…but again, praise Him for His abundant grace that covers my sin and weakness!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Stupid Cat: "I love pacifiers."
Stupid Cat: "I REALLY love pacifiers. Maybe he'll share with me if I'm nice."
Stupid Cat: "Oh that looks so good. I want it. Really."
Dax: "See this?? It's MINE." (A little baby taunting...)
Cat: "Oh how I LOVE silicone...I want it. I want it so badly."
Cat: "I love it. I just love that chewy yummy silicone...or rubber...or whatever that stuff is."
Cat: "If I can just get a little closer...I can smell that yumminess...I want it SO bad!"
Cat: "Please share it with me. I promise I'll be nice. Please just let me have a lick. Chew."
Cat: "I love that thing. I just love the color of it. The smell of it. The texture. I want it."
Cat: "I'll just chill here for a while and maybe I'll get my chance."
NEVER. I'm telling you, this cat has a problem! If anyone has "OCD", it's this cat!! Can we prescribe him something??

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stupid Cat

Okay maybe just one. Or two. 1)Stupid Cat. 2)Pacifier number 7, in the trash. In one week. Okay, maybe three. 3)Stupid cat is obsessed with silicone, including Polly Pockets. It feels good to get that off my chest. AGH. I'm leaving right now to buy MORE pacifiers at Target. I'll take donations. I hide the pacifiers, and he sniffs them out. He was IN THE CRIB this morning trying to steal it from Dax.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


silly tired girl hugging her "Littlest Pet Shop" toy
the happiest little three year-old alive
Macy's friends
"Laura". She has been correcting me non-stop if I call her Macy. We made a deal. As long as she was obeying me, I would call her Laura. As soon as she was not listening to me, I'd call her Macy. Laura doesn't disobey. And she smiles like that all day, mostly. I love it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Boo!

Today, our little princess turned 3!! We had a fun day with her, and tomorrow will celebrate with her friends. She LOVED her "Little House on the Prairie" dress that Grandma made- she wore it all day. I will have to get a good picture with her bonnet on tomorrow (SO precious!). She enjoyed opening a couple other family gifts we received in the mail too- thanks to aunt Maggie and uncle Chuck, Grandpapa and Granny Dee, and Grandma and Grandpa for all of the fun books, puzzles, and clothes! Her sweet little face lit up with delight as she opened each gift. We sang to her and ate cupcakes tonight and she crashed hard after a long day. We LOVE Macy Boo! Here are some reasons... 1) She is a joy machine. Smiles all day long. 2) She LOVES to give out smooches and hugs like no other! 3) She is sweeter than candy. I tell her all the time. 4) She loves everyone. She invites grown-ups to her birthday party! 5) She loves to make other people smile.
Today I asked her a few important questions on this, her third birthday.
Me: Macy, what is your favorite color?
Macy: Pink.
Me: What is your favorite food?
Macy: Grapes.
Me: Where is your most favorite place to go?
I expected to hear, "the park", "the toy store", or "Disneyland", perhaps? But no.
Macy: Sam's Club!!
Yes!! Next year I'll invite all of her friends and their moms to meet us at "Sam's Club" for a PARTAY!! (Cheap food and entertainment!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spelling Bee CHAMP

Spelling bee champion with his buddy Tommy cheering him on.
Aren't they so sweet?! We celebrated tonight with hot fudge sundaes and a climb to the top of the 15 foot snow pile in the Hobby Lobby parking lot. I pretended to drive away and they went into a fake panic mode on cue. It was quite amusing.
This is Reilly nervously picking at his fingers (I think he did this a little bit today) while getting the definition of "manicure". Yes, that was one of his words. And he did ask for the definition.

Wow. Today was the school spelling bee, and I didn't even know it. This afternoon I got a call from Kurt (who picked up the kids for me) and he told me about it, and that Reilly was "a part of it". Boys aren't really good at giving details, so I never even heard that it was going to be an event. I knew that he had won in his class, but that's about all. Kurt couldn't keep it he just spit it out. Reilly had won the spelling bee for the ENTIRE 3rd through 8th grade classes!! He beat out all of the 5th graders, 6th graders, 7th graders and 8th graders to win!! He's in 4th grade, which makes him the youngest kid to ever win the spelling bee at his school. We are so excited for him and proud of him!! Okay, so you may be thinking that this is a small little Christian school, and I guess you may be right. But this school does happen to be the number one private school in North Carolina. (Okay, so here's the proud mama coming out in me...) And in case you're wondering, there's probably an average of 35 kids per grade level. SMART kids. :) Anyway, my favorite part of all was when I was driving Tommy and Reilly home from their basketball game tonight and they were telling me about the spelling bee. I asked,
"So, Tommy, were you excited that Reilly won?" Not really prepared for his response, he said,
"Oh yes, Mrs. Gebhards! I jumped up and yelled like this!!" He fist pumped and shouted out a loud "WooHoo!!" was the sweetest thing ever! Could you ask for a better friend??
Kurt had them do a "reenactment" and these pics are from that. How I wish I had been there!