But unlike Jacob Marley from Dickens' Christmas Carol, I was resurrected on March 1, 1997.
I am a new creature in Christ!
Today, on the 16th anniversary of that moment when I first trusted Jesus and became a child of the One true, living God, I stand amazed at all He has done in my life, in my marriage, my family, and most significantly, in my heart! I cannot imagine where I might be today if I had said no to the Lord.
There are moments when I look back at where we were--where I was--and shudder. I know you think I've shared a lot here about my past (plenty of evidence to prove that I was not a "good person"), but honestly, you don't know the half of it! And I don't feel compelled to share all the ugly details of my past life here; it is enough that on the evening of March 1, 1997, I confessed those sins to the Lord; sins that had been buried in the darkness were brought out into the light. Confessed and forsaken. Most importantly, forgiven.
I've come to realize that not every person must recount every sin they ever committed to God in order to be saved (He knows it all!), but what this did for me was that it opened my eyes to see how filthy, rotten I truly was in my heart of hearts; how deserving of hell I really was; and it made me so much more repentant and grateful for His forgiveness.
"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." ~Jesus in Luke 7:47
I only glance back at the past though. I don't live there anymore.
As the children and I are training for a 5K race, we are running three days a week on the road and there are times when we hear a car at the intersection and must check to see if the vehicle is turning onto our road. A quick glance is sufficient and I can continue running, but if I were to gawk and try to keep running, I would fall flat on my face.
I refuse to live in bondage to the past! As I have "mortified my flesh" (Colossians 3 :5) and put off the old man (Colossians 3:8-9), I refuse to drag that corpse around: I am not her anymore.
During the past 16 years, I have taken responsibility for my sins, confessed them and asked forgiveness when applicable, and made restitution where possible. Forgiving myself was hardest of all. I'm not perfect, by any means, and I do not claim to be sinless.
But Jesus lives in me and by His grace, enables me to walk in the Spirit.
The old Cheryl Long passed away on March 1, 1997, but please don't mourn for her. Praise God, she was crucified with Christ, buried with Him by baptism, and resurrected to walk in newness of life!
Here's to 16 years of walking with Jesus!