Julie's Testimony

HIS FAITHFULNESS


I praise God for bringing me out of darkness and giving me hope again through Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that we receive grace for the forgiveness of our sins. Once we repent of our sins, He is faithful and true to throw them as far as the East is from the West. When we turn from our sins His power is released to heal and make us whole again. It is by grace we are saved and not by our works. When we have accepted Him as our Savior and asked Him to come into our hearts, by faith, we can draw on the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. He will give us everything we need to experience a life of freedom.

I asked Jesus to come into my heart over 35 years ago at a vacation bible school that my baby sitter took me to. I committed my life to His Lordship @ the age of 21. Shortly afterward, I contacted my father, who had been divorced from my mother since I was the age of 3. I had had little or no communication with him, but I knew that he had accepted the Lord (@ age of 44) and was a born again believer so I called him. I inquired his advice on where to attend church and he encouraged me to seek a Bible believing church. I started attending the First Assembly of God in Lafayette, Indiana. The Lord sent women to disciple me and placed me in an incredibly anointed church under the direct supervision of Pastor Charles Hackett. (Now retired Executive Director of Home Missions for the Assemblies of God). They took me as a babe in Christ, nurtured me and watched me grow into a woman upon whom God had His hand and one who was called into ministry with a heart for missions. They gave me responsibilities in ministry and as the years passed I accepted more and more of them. God had me right where He wanted me, teaching Sunday school to two year olds, working as a youth leader, assisting with the Missionettes, leading a single women’s home Bible study and He birthed a breakfast and bus ministry for the children that were on my public school bus routes. (three of the lowest income trailer parks in the county). I also accepted the responsibilities of being a varsity track and swimming coach for a local high school and God honored me with a husband. My life was truly blessed and then I made the worst decision in my life.

Through a series of unfortunate events, including the betrayal of some of the people closest to me, I was confused & deeply hurt, and started to believe that God didn’t love & accept me unconditionally. Using this wound, satan opened up scars of betrayal and abandonment from the past and subtly wedged unforgiveness into my mind. I slowly started reading less of my bible, praying & attending church services. I painfully accepted rejection and began pursuing self-protection and preservation, resulting in rebellion. I focused all my energy on my teams & athletes and became an overachiever. Although I was blessed with incredible success with my teams and athletes, I was a wounded & hurting woman. I ended up making a series of decisions that resulted in the destruction of my marriage and the relationship I had with my church. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering I caused. The shame and embarrassment I endured for years was overwhelming at times and my life spiraled out of control over the next ten years.

Aware of my life being in captivity over the years, I found myself slowly over time reading the scriptures and praying increasingly more and more. I know now that God allowed adverse circumstances to serve as a catalyst to my growing dependence on the only thing that I knew was the absolute truth. I was in a dark world, but I knew where the only source of Light could be found. On October 4, 2002 (Yom Kippur), in the privacy of my home, after reading and re-reading 1 Corinthians 6:12, " ‘ I am allowed to do anything,’ but I reply, ‘Not everything is good for you,’ and even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I MUST NOT BECOME A SLAVE TO ANYTHING." God’s still, quiet voice was very clearly asking me to trust him again and desiring to set me free from the imprisonment that I had subjected myself to. I slid out of my chair unto my knees, repented and made the decision to trust God with my entire life again. He immediately delivered me out of the captivity of hopelessness & despair, drug addictions, abusive relationships, suicide attempts, and the sex industry. When I decided to take up my cross and follow Jesus, seeking His will for me through the scriptures, He told me to sell my belongings (38 years of accumulating material possessions) and give to the poor. Being fully aware of the commitment I had made, I would do and go wherever He asked me to, because I knew that He had plans for my life that weren’t for disaster, but for the good to give me a future and hope. He led me from Indianapolis, Indiana, clear across the United States to Fort Myers, Florida. I arrived with only my bible, a few personal items, some artwork, equipment & supplies, my computer and my twelve year old dachshund, Kibbles.  My new life and long term healing journey had begun. Within months I met my husband, a Teen Challenge graduate and staff member, was married and went on staff with Sanibel Community Church as their full time bookkeeper within a year.  He used the my husband, who was Jesus in the flesh to me, and the supportive and healthy community of Sanibel Community Church to nurture me to wholeness again in the body of Christ.

He has taught me to survive on His unfailing love and to REMAIN FOCUSED UPON HIM for ALL my needs, desires & wants. He Himself is our one answer to a thousand needs. God’s works change, but His love stays simple, steady and strong even when we are not. He created us to be reliant on Him being our source of everything. He is continuing to daily graciously help me to die to my self, breaking, molding & rebuilding this vessel over and over. I trust Him. Thanks to the Master Potter, I am once again experiencing true love, freedom and the abundant life He destined me for.

In order for me to partake of this abundant life, early in this journey, He convicted me to contact Pastor Greg Hackett, who was the senior pastor of the Lafayette Assembly of God and his father, Pastor Charles Hackett, and ask for their and the church’s forgiveness. They gracefully assured me that they and the church harbored no unforgiveness towards me and expressed their excitement that God had kept His hand on me and brought me back into the fold. Repentance of my sins & contacting them was humbling, but it was necessary.

When there is true repentance within the body of Christ, He can heal and restore it. If we humble ourselves before the Lord and to each other, God can loose His spirit to breathe revival in our lives, in our churches, across our nation and around the world. But it must start with ourselves, first. He is coming back very soon. We believers are to stay awake and be prepared as the bride is for her groom on their wedding day. Because we do not know the hour or the day WE MUST CHANGE OUR SENSE OF URGENCY TO REACH THE WORLD, PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS, FREEDOM TO THE CAPTIVES AND RELEASE TO THE PRISONERS. Today people want to see SINCERITY in Christians. , IF WE LOVE EACH OTHER AS HE DID US, HE CAN USE US TO IMPACT OTHERS. He loved us with GRACE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS. I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, mind, body and soul again. I love His people, and am particularly grateful for the individuals that sowed Jesus Christ into me throughout my whole lifetime. He set me free and is giving me the desires of my heart. He has asked that I become a sower in His kingdom with what He has blessed me with. I consider it an honor to humbly serve the Lord and I am committed to giving ALL my resources, time & talent for His sake.

I am truly sorry for my backslid days, but I know that as I become transparent, God will work ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD. IN OUR WEAKNESS, HE IS MADE STRONG and ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE. I believe that God is going to take my unique past now and use it to His glory. Not by my might, but by the power manifested through the Spirit of the Lord, will He reshape me into the woman He destined me to be. He has never left nor forsaken me and He’s kept His hand upon me ALL these years. His Word did not come back void and HE IS BEING FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE THE WORK THAT HE BEGAN in me. I desire only to be close to Him and in His perfect will every day. His love endures forever and through Him my honor has been restored. Praise be to our God who delivers, heals and renews us, for His faithfulness has given me beauty for ashes.



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Julie Shematz © 2002-2013