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About Me

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I'm a Texan, born and raised. I love my God and my family (friends included as family!) My first novel was realeased December 23, 2014 and I've since finished writing my second manuscript and have begun my third. Being a successful writer has been a dream of mine for years, since I was little. I can't wait to see where God takes my first book and my future ones. I pray that it touches many hearts. For those of you who love suspense novels, good vs. evil, you may be interested!

Friday, September 11, 2015

After All These Years...I've FINALLY Found The Answer

Today's post is FULL of good news! If you've ever wondered if there's more to life than trying to do good and you're so tired and weary from that journey, you'll want to keep reading. If you're struggling with fear and want relief and freedom, then stay tuned.

Fear comes in many forms and all of them are evil and can be detrimental mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally if you let it take you over. What is your fear? Perhaps you have more than one? Is it fear of rejection, fear of living life alone, fear of not doing enough good, fear of going to hell, fear of illness, fear of the unknown? I believe fear also holds hands with obsessive compulsive disorders. Whatever your fear is, get ready to be set free because God wants that for you, my friend. He did it for me last night.

I'm going to share my testimony and what God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has done for me. 

I grew up in a strong, Christian household. I grew up knowing Jesus but it wasn't until last night that I actually knew Him for who He truly is. 

I am amazed at how I felt last week, or even yesterday morning, compared to how I feel now. 

I was raised for the majority of my life in a Baptist church. Both my parents are firm believers that Jesus died for them and saved them from the sin that would have taken them to hell but they had two different views as to whether or not you can lose your salvation. 
Growing up I was often confused when I'd hear them discussing it, sometimes in elevated voices. My dad believes once you ask Jesus into your heart, you are saved and cannot lose it. My mother and her side of the family strongly believe that in order to keep your salvation you must work to keep it. Because my mother, grandmother and great grandmother are/have been more vocally expressive concerning this, I believed the way they believed.

As a child, I didn't have as much fear as I did the older I got and understood more about life and the stresses and strains it brings with it.

For 18 years I lived a life of immense fear. When I was six and asked Jesus to live inside me I meant it, and I loved Him, but I wasn't completely free to love Him with my whole heart because my focus became so revolved around making sure I didn't do too much of this sin or that sin, otherwise God may send me to hell.

And though I loved Him, for 18 years I searched high and low for acceptance, validity, and a love in others that only Jesus could give me. I'll start my testimony with the first time fear entered my life.   

Even though I never made poor choices in friends and where I spent my time, I wanted to please God not only out of fear but because I did truly love Him. It wasn't until seventh grade that fear became my master.

I'd heard about these kids who went to church only to mock Christians and God then on their way home that night they died in a car crash. The point of the story in the sermon I listened to was that blasphemy against The Holy Spirit was unforgivable. Once I heard that, fear gripped me by the throat and seized my heart. 

I thought, what if I accidentally do that? What if I blaspheme The Holy Spirit and go to hell? 

These thoughts turned into an overwhelming and debilitating paranoia that took over my life throughout a period of seven years. Horrible thoughts would jolt through my mind that would send me into a panic. The thoughts became so frequent that I couldn't even take a drink without fearing the thoughts would come out of my mouth. I withdrew from people, not wanting to talk. I lost interest in activities I normally enjoyed doing. I hardly smiled and I often cried alone, believing God was done with me, that I'd committed the unpardonable sin. I believed I was doomed for hell. On top of this paranoia, I'd developed another crippling OCD of having to touch certain things, otherwise I might displease God and I'd be sent to hell. I was absolutely miserable and didn't want to live anymore. What was the point in living if I knew that when I died I'd go to hell? How could I now possibly enjoy life knowing this? Why not just get it over with and die? 

My parents and grandparents saw me struggle with this. My mom kept telling me, "Brooke, you're okay. Satan is tormenting you. He's beating you over the head because He knows how much you love God." But the fear was so great I could not accept that as truth. 
Then one night when I couldn't take the misery any longer, I called my great grandmother (Maw Maw, my mother's grandmother), bawling. I was hysterical. When I finally got out what I was so afraid of, Maw Maw said, "Baby, you have not committed the unpardonable sin. If you had, you wouldn't be so concerned over it. You wouldn't care. Satan is using this fear to torment you. Those thoughts that come to your mind are not yours. You reject them and you speak over the fear. You're okay. Just lay your head down and know that Jesus loves you. I will be praying. Don't worry about anything."
That was the first night in, I don't know how long, that I rested well. The fear subsided for a while and when those thoughts tried coming back, I rejected them verbally and made myself think of something else. Over the seven years I wrestled with this fear, it would grow stronger then wane, stronger then wane. But it wasn't until after I graduated high school that I was delivered from the bondage of it. 
God through my grandmother (mom's mom) helped me gain control over the other OCD, the one where I had to constantly feel the need to touch random things or do something a certain amount of times in order to not get sent to hell. She said, "Brooke, in order to get control of this, you're going to have to force yourself to resist the urges. Next time you get the urge to touch something, don't do it." I thought she was nuts at first because those feelings felt real. Key words...feelings and felt

Beth Moore, an amazing woman of God, Bible Study leader and speaker, says fear stands for "False Evidence Appearing Real". 
Friends, fear is a liar. Fear is of the devil. If your feelings come from fear, IT IS A LIE! 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I also used this verse to help me through the struggles I faced during that period in my life. 

When I got into college, my life seemed to become even more hectic with homework and holding down a job, later two jobs. Along with issues behind closed doors, I slowly began drifting from God. I began saying shorter prayers at night, mainly due to exhaustion. There would be times I'd be praying and fall asleep in the middle of it. I began listening to more secular music (not that secular music is bad) and less Christian music. When I turned 21 I had my first drink and headed down the road of alcoholism. I lost sight of Jesus, my first Love. I still loved Him but had wondered. Oh, there were many times I wondered if I really did love God to be doing the things I was doing. I did not understand Grace. 

For the next year and a half I lost who I was. I actually looked into the mirror and said, "Who am I?" I beat myself up over the things I was putting before God. 
I could see that satan was well on his way to destroying my life through alcohol and I didn't want that. So, I prayed that God would provide an outing for me. He did. It wasn't pretty but He did. Shortly after I spent eight hours throwing up everything I've ever eaten since birth, along with a pounding migraine, I turned to marijuana. I fell in love with it. I loved how it took away my cares, how it helped me relax and laugh, how it took away my loneliness...but I didn't like how it left me once the effects wore off a few hours later. It seemed each time I sobered I felt emptier than when I was the time before. 
You may be wondering why I turned to such things if I had God. I'm glad you were wondering because I'd love to explain. :)
Over the course of my life, I've had many people I thought I could trust hurt me. And I mean really, deeply hurt me. I loved them and cared about them and I am a person who loves and cares deeply, so when I'm hurt I hurt badly. Living a life of trying to figure people out and what I "must have" done to upset them or why they did what they did to me, left me angry and bitter. I'm very analytical. It's both a blessing and a curse because I sometimes think too hard about things. The more I sat and tried to figure out what I must have done to these people only created a deep frustration that led to extreme bitterness and hatred for nearly all people. I lumped them together, believing everyone was the same in that they would find a way to intentionally hurt me and leave me. Out of all the people who've hurt me, I've never received an explanation as to why and that drove me even more nuts. I became entirely focused on pleasing people. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to feel validated. I began to think negatively of myself.
I saw myself as strange, weird, not good enough or worthy to receive love. During this period of spiritual drought, I was afraid to approach God. I didn't feel I deserved to come before Him and pray. I felt (False Evidence Appearing Real) that God was mad at me and didn't want to speak to me since I wandered and turned to other things besides Him. He seemed silent and so far away.
So, if God couldn't give what I was hungry for and people couldn't give that to me, I would try something else that might. 
In a way, I felt I was so far gone that I might as well dabble in things I'd been taught not to do. 

My anger, hatred, bitterness and loneliness worsened to the point it was nearly debilitating. Despite this, I still went to church. I attended a church that has extremely strict doctrines. So much so that the pastor indicated in one of his sermons that he wasn't sure whether someone who said a cuss word before dying would go to heaven. 
I began to get fed up with feeling like I needed to be perfect in order to get to be saved from hell. 

My soul cried, there has to be more to Christianity than this. I must be missing something.  

In the late winter of 2015, I got into a relationship with a married man in the midst of a divorce. It nearly cost me my virginity and probably my life. I heard God for the first time in a good while and I left the relationship. BUT only because I thought if I were to die while in the mess I was in, I'd go to hell because I wasn't living my life right. 

I misunderstood why God was calling my name.  

He was calling me not to warn me I'd go to hell if I didn't leave the relationship with this man and marijuana, but because He wanted me all to Himself. His Word says God is a jealous God. Again, I did not understand Grace. I didn't fully understand Psalm 34:8- "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

I had a HUGE trust issue along with a bunch of other garbage I needed to hand over to Him. I was blinded by FEAR. 

Once I left the relationship with the married man, I sought the Lord and He responded. He gave me peace and I clung to it for a couple of months. Though I had peace, I still had unrest in my soul because I still believed I needed to stay in a tight relationship with Him and do my best not to sin in order to keep my salvation. 

I didn't realize that I was breaking God's heart by basing fear as my sole reason for maintaining a relationship with Him.

Because I didn't fully know the meaning of Grace, I grew tired again of trying to be perfect. I didn't know how to pray. And I kept thinking about the sermons I'd heard about making sure to stay away from sin and I got overwhelmed again. I tried various things to keep me away from marijuana so that I wouldn't displease God and thus go to hell. I kid you not, everything I seemed to try failed. With each failed attempt I grew that much more livid at God. 

Just late last month, after my last attempt failed, I literally raised my middle finger to air and I cursed at God with the "F" word. And after I did that, I felt immense regret and a sense of doom (fear, false evidence appearing real). I believe that regret is good, but the sense of doom was a lie. Because I believed God was mad that I cursed at Him, I let myself go again. I could not understand for the life of me why He'd want me back after cursing at Him. 

A couple of weeks ago, my mom sent me a video about The Rapture that scared me to death. Being a raised in a Christian household, I believed/believe that Jesus will be coming back for His church but I was terrified because I was afraid I wasn't ready. I shook inwardly in horror because I'd not been living the way that would be pleasing to Him.

Due to the fear of being left behind, I began doing research as to whether I could lose my salvation or not. That only lead me to further confusion and distress because I came across an article that really mortified me. 

I immediately got myself straight and stopped smoking marijuana out of FEAR that God would leave me behind. This fear escalated into paranoia rapidly. I began thinking in double negatives. I began freaking out that I'd be sent to hell because I didn't want to be sent to hell. I thought, what if I don't really love God? What if I'm only believing so I won't go to hell? What if my subconscious doesn't really believe and I get left behind? 

This intense fear was crippling and I was at the point I wanted to throw my hands in the air and be done with trying. I was worrying myself sick. Literally. I was physically ill. I'd begun to get terrible migraines that left me vomiting until all that was left was foaming bile. I'd get three headaches in one day, sometimes medicine not even alleviating the pain. I'd developed heart palpitations and got dehydrated due to being unable to keep anything down and had to be given fluids through IV.

I wanted to love God because of Who God is and what He's done for me, not just because I don't want to go to hell. I wanted to have a relationship with Him and LOVE it but I just didn't feel at liberty to do that because I had my focus on being the best I could be in hopes that He would even listen.

I cried and cried, didn't sleep well, woke with nausea that stayed with me throughout the day, and I endured many migraines that I had to go to the urgent care clinic for. They gave me shots for nausea that made me want to sleep and shots to rid my migraines. I literally thought I was dying due to having so many migraines in such a short period of time. 

In great distress, I sought out people I knew that were God-fearing (fear as in reverence, not the fear satan gives) Christians and shared my struggle and torment as a last attempt to find out the truth. 

My soul was so hungry for the Truth.     

I spoke with three Christian women. The first two put my soul at some rest, but it wasn't until I spoke to the third lady that the chains were broken and I was set free. 

And this is the Truth I want to share with anyone and everyone. I cannot keep it inside. I want you to feel the INCREDIBLE peace and rest that I have. I'm literally high off God. 

John 10:25-30 says, "Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one." (Emphasis mine)

Guys, I am left in awe and teary-eyed at the goodness of God. He doesn't say, no one but your brother can take you away, no one but satan can take you away, and it doesn't say no one but yourself can take you away from God but it says NO ONE. 
God does not send us to hell to punish us. Friends, hell was never meant for us but for SIN. God cannot have sin in His presence and because He did not want us to spend eternity away from Him, He sent Jesus Who was perfect to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. God knew that there would be no way we could live without sinning. 

Another key word in the above passage is give. His Son was a GIFT, something we accept or don't accept. We have that free will and when we accept the Gift, God is not an Indian-giver. He doesn't take it back. 

Look at 2 Peter 3:8-9 (The Msg), "Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
   
Look at the great mercy in this passage! He doesn't want ANYONE lost. So much so that He's giving everyone time to repent and accept His precious gift. 

Romans 10:8-12 says, "But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[e] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him13 For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (NKJV) (emphasis mine)

It is simple, if you believe that you are a sinner, that you are not perfect and need Jesus to be that perfection for you, and you cry out to Him and believe with all of your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, you WILL be saved. You know what word I really like in there? "Whosoever". I love that word because it means ANYONE and EVERYONE. 

It doesn't matter what you've done, God wants you, my friend. He wants you. 

Before I had the chance to finish this blog, I was attacked by the enemy. He is fighting me hard because he knows that what I'm sharing with you is THE TRUTH and he wants as many in hell with him as possible. 

As I was taking a break and went to get a drink, I was attacked with lies that I had to rebuke. I did not hear an audible voice but the enemy used thoughts to try and torment me. Literal thoughts of, what have you done that you need forgiveness for? You never killed anybody. Never stolen anything. You don't need Jesus' blood for anything you've done. 

I rebuked those thoughts and I told satan to leave me alone. I told him I know that I need Jesus' blood because it doesn't matter what kind of sin I have committed. Sin is sin. I said, "Satan, you cannot have me. I belong to Jesus Christ and you will never be able to take me away from Him. His Word says so. These ugly thoughts are not from God and they are not mine--they are from you. So, you take them and you get away from me. And while you're at it, let me remind you of your future in hell. Your future home is not mine! You get away from me, in the Name of Jesus Christ!" 

And he fled. I felt my peace return. If this same torment comes upon you, do this and I guarantee you will find relief. James 4:7 says, " Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (Emphasis mine). 

If you are a believer and you've been under attack, take a deep breath and know that God has got you. If you aren't a believer and you want to know Jesus, you can say a prayer like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I need you. I am a sinner and I know that I'm not perfect. I believe You died on the cross for my sins and rose three days later so I may live with You for eternity. Please wash me clean and live in my heart. I trust You and I love You. 

I finally realize that it is not about the things we do that get us to heaven. We can not do enough good to get into heaven and once we rely upon Jesus Christ and realize HE ALONE is the only One who cleanses us from our sins and we have that faith that His Blood saves us, there isn't enough bad we can do that takes us away from Him. 

Yes, we can distance ourselves from Him by doing things we know are not right, such as indulging in alcohol, but He doesn't sit up there and tally off how many times you do wrong and say, "Okay, so and so, you've done this sin twenty times within the past two weeks. If you do it again, I'm sending you to hell." 

No, true salvation is about realizing that you have sinned, no matter the sin and you need Jesus' Blood to wash your sins away. It's about trusting and having faith that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was the Ultimate Sacrifice for our sins and rose three days later so that we can live freely IN Jesus. 

Salvation is about realizing that Jesus is soooo much better than what the world has to offer and He is! I have experienced a joy and peace that I can't even explain, a peace and joy I've been longing for since I first said yes to Jesus at the age of 6. 

We cannot be saved by our own righteousness/righteous acts.

Isaiah 64:6- "But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away." 

We must realize that only by Jesus Christ's righteousness are we saved. Not by our own works. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."


If you recognize you're a sinner in need of being saved and you believe and confess Jesus is Lord you WILL be saved. 

Once you do this, seek Him! He wants to be in a relationship with you. He created you and longs for you to seek His Face! 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

Look at these verses! He promises that you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart! This is such a beautiful love story--the BEST love story! 

I've taken two days to write this entire post. As I re-read it I realized it was incomplete. In the meantime fear still tried to take me over. This morning I was praying, "God, I want to know you not only so that I am saved from hell. I really want to know you. I don't know what to pray. I feel like a new believer since I've finally understood Who You really are. I've been so consumed in fear. I need You. Please do not let the prayers my great-grandmother, grandparents, and parents have prayed over me to go in vain. I plead the Blood of Jesus Christ over me." 

Seconds later, a song I'd never heard before came on Air1 called No Longer Slaves by Bethel. A small clip played a split second before it came on and I knew it was for me right then. I felt God say, "Brooke, listen carefully. This is for you." 

The words were so precise as to what I've been struggling with that I pulled over and I closed my eyes and thanked God while listening. I'll post the lyrics below, along with the YouTube link for the song. I highly recommend you listen to it. It's amazing. 

I'll also provide a link to the song Flawless by MercyMe. 

BETHEL MUSIC LYRICS

"No Longer Slaves"

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I've been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We've been liberated
From our bondage
We're the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
So I could stand and sing
I am child of God...

No Longer Slaves Video

Flawless by MercyMe Lyric Video


Taste and see the Lord is good, my friends. 

  

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