One of the biggest, hardest lessons on this journey to a relationship with God was putting Him first, before EVERYTHING else.  It may sound simple to some of you, but for me it was one of the hardest learning experiences.  It took years for me to be able to say to God, “Whatever you choose for me I will trust You, even when I don’t understand.”   For me, being in the pit of despair was the hardest place to put God first because I felt like He had abandoned me.  I felt alone.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to learn that everything I had was already God’s anyway, but it did.  Maybe for most this is an easy lesson, but for me I struggled to keep control over what I held close and loved most. (Like I thought that I could do that better than God?!)
Looking back, I think maybe I could not put Him first because I was way too busy being angry at Him.  I remember thinking that if the God I’ve heard about all my life loved me I would not be in this situation.  I did not deserve this.  I felt I had given up everything for Him already: we had moved from several Churches which meant starting over every time with no friends, living in homes that were never ours, all the different ministry challenges and I lived away from my NY family.  My thinking was that I had given my life to Him in service, was that not enough???  
Let me just say how WRONG I was!  I hadn’t given Him everything. Yes, I was a Christian, Yes, I loved Him but I was just going through the motions and doing kind acts of service.  It was more about religion than relationship.  Don’t get me wrong about this because I feel this goes along with our relationship with God,  but it is ALL about the matters of the heart – not the “what I have done or am doing” list.  It is about total surrender on every level.  It was about saying, “ok God…WHATEVER you choose to do with my life, my husband’s life, my children’s life I will trust You.”  When I think about it now I wonder how I never understood how everything we have is from Him already – why do we think we can claim it as ours? Without Him we would have nothing because He has created it all!  Please understand for me this was a L-O-N-G process (years).  I do believe God can deliver us immediately from the things that hold us back, but for me it was a painful and very difficult learning process.  It seems that God really needs to stop us sometimes to get our attention.  I was stopped.  I had no one but Him – and this was when I learned that He was all I have ever needed and truly all I will ever need.  Everything else in this life is an added blessing, a bonus, a gift.  We deserve nothing, yet He gives us so much.  Much grace has been given to a sinner such as I and I am truly thankful for His grace and His blessings in my life.
I can remember the night (almost 10 years into this lesson) when I was lying in bed and I said to God: “OK – if this is how you want my life to be – then I will live it this way.  Just help me to be able to do it.”  From the moment I spoke those words in my head, the moment my heart meant every single word I prayed, the moment I surrendered it all to His will and to be willing to follow His plan for my life and my family, no matter what that meant – everything changed!  God showed up in a big way!   After years of begging for some kind of release from my situation, a way out of it all, something easier, something different – I finally surrendered it ALL to Him, truly trusted Him with my life and I can tell you with all my heart: “Our God Saves!”
It was the next morning that I would sing this song with a heart that trusted completely, that was totally surrendered, that was thankful, and that had finally started a true relationship with God. With tears streaming down my face, hands raised, a heart overflowing with praise, believing every single word I sang:  It goes like this…
Our God Saves
BY: Paul Baloche
“In the name of the Father – In the name of the Son
In the name of the Spirit -Lord we’ve come
We’re gathered together -To lift up Your name
To call on our Savior -To fall on Your grace
Hear the joyful sound of our offering
As your saints bow down, as your people sing
We will rise with You, lifted on Your wings
And the world will see that
Our God saves, our God saves
There is hope in Your name
Mourning turns to songs of praise
Our God saves, our God saves
Our God saves, our God saves
Our God saves, our God saves”
Please note the three lines in the song in red! Those three lines offer so much hope!  My friend, if you are mourning – there is hope in His Name!  If you are mourning – He will turn it to songs of praise!  If you are mourning – OUR GOD SAVES!  What wonderful promises these are.  Although this life is not easy and I still deal with past issues and things I dealt with in the pit,  I have full confidence in my Saviour, my God who saved me and loves me enough to keep working on me, to keep teaching me, to keep help me understand the things I would not know otherwise.  Wherever you are on your journey to relationship with God I can promise you that OUR GOD SAVES.  If  He can do it for a sinner such as I – He can do it for you also!!  Trust Him!  Run to Him!  Give Him your ENTIRE life.  You will never regret making the decision of total surrender.
Psalm 30:11-12 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”
So, until I write again I encourage you to:  Be Strong, Stand Firm and Believe in Miracles!  
Our God is a God of Miracles!     

Count Your Blessings,