September 11th 2010 we spent the day at our friends ranch to honor and celebrate the day and our friendships both old and new, but we can never forget what happened on this day nine years ago.
Like most Americans we can each tell you where we were, what we were doing, how we felt and still feel about the events that took place in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.
It changed me personally and profoundly but mostly, about my faith. I watched in horror and unbelief the events of that morning and realized that if I was going to be attacked for my faith then my faith needed to be real and authentically lived out.
I was saved and baptized as a young girl of about 12 yrs old (don't know for sure, I don't think it was written down) but after that, I seem to live through a long season of drifting away and then walking in sin. At the age of 28 I gave my life to the Lord.
Alone in my living room, I prayed the sinner's prayer with Pat Robertson on TV. That may sound strange but that is how it happened. I was desperately seeking God and in faith I prayed. The following Saturday while making the bed I remember just desperately wanting to be forgiven for all that I had done in my life and I literally fell on my knees and cried out loud to God "help me". During this time I used to stand in the line at the grocery store and watch the other women there. I realized that the women I admired looked nothing like me. They were neatly dress, their hair was fixed, they were confident and happy. None of them looked like they had a dirty house at home. I, on the other hand, was a wrinkled disheveled mess, my hair a mess, the kids were a mess and the house was a huge mess!
On that Saturday morning, after I had been on my knees for a while, I got up dried my tears and went on about my day. I can distinctly remember how my mind seemed to be screaming at me, you can't do this, you will never be loved, you can never be . . . you fill in the blanks - but my heart seemed restful and at peace. I realize now that God was quieting my mind and changing my heart.
I made more mistakes through the years and I was still looking for a church to call home. If you had known me during this time you would not have thought of me as a Christian. I was uneducated on the Word of God.
During the summer of 2001, I found a bible study called Breaking Free written by Beth Moore. I boldly and uncharacteristically for me, asked if I could join the group doing this study. The lady I asked said, "if you will do all the homework and come, you can join us".
I did that homework. I dug into the Word like never before. A couple of times when I had to miss the weekly meetings she let me borrow the videos to watch at home. It was during these times that the Holy Spirit washed me the most. There was just something about being at home and alone, I was free to cry as hard and as long as I needed to, that set me free and to finally understand - no believe that not only could God forgive me but that He did forgive me and that I needed to forgive myself.
See I had asked God for forgiveness many many times in the past but I never believed that I could really be forgiven and I could never forgive myself. It was during this study in the summer of 2001 that God's truth broke through all my shame and I was finally set free from the chains that had been bound around me since the summer of my 16th year.
In October of that same year just after 9/11 I attended a walk to Emmaus, there I realized that Jesus was not something too far away for me to reach out and grab a hold of. He is Holy, He is high and lifted up but He is not unapproachable. His Word is true, His promises are true and He is Truth.
I pray each day that I live a life worthy of the One who died for me and that I show everyone who I meet the love that has set me free and can and will do the same for them. Some plant, some water, and some harvest. You never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in someones life and just how close they are to turning their lives over to God or maybe running from Him a little longer, a little farther or forever.
I can never forget where I came from and I will never forget the God who set me free, who hides me in the shadow of His wings, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light, whose peace surpasses understanding, whose voice calls out my name, who set my feet on solid rock and who promises to never leave me or forsake me. His name is Emmanuel - God with us. He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega. He is the Ancient of Days and He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Name above all Names. He is Jesus.
And that is what September the 11th 2001 means to me.
Edited to remove the barn pictures to their own post . .