Changed In His Presence

I sometimes think about the woman I was 9 years ago before my return to my faith. Looking at her is not an easy thing because she is not a pretty picture, at least her soul isn't. Outwardly all looked well; she held a good job, had some decent friends, and a family who loved her. Inwardly however, there was just death and destruction caused by years of guilt and shame over sins she was too proud and too scared to confess. This shame and guilt had number her to life as it was meant to be lived.
Then one day a dear friend invited her back to the faith she had abandoned, but not only to the faith's rituals and beliefs, but to the One who sought a relationship with her and could heal her of all that shame and guilt.
This woman, who knew of Jesus her entire life, never really knew Him. When she admitted her guilt, she came face to face with Him. From that moment she knew her life would never be the same again; in His Presence, she was changed. He became her center, and she knew that all she would ever do from here on in would be done with Him by her side. In that moment, she vowed never to go back to the way things use to be.
It is true that our pasts are part of us and have helped to shape who we are, but we are not meant to stay there. Through Christ and with Him, we can live in the present moment and look forward to the future that awaits us~the future of eternal life with God in heaven.
I sometimes find myself reverting back to the days of guilt and shame, but as soon as I reach the door to that dark, cold cave, I find Jesus standing in the doorway; He reminds me that I don't have to go back to the way it use to be and He reminds me of the promise I made to Him on that day nine years ago to live for Him and with Him.
I heard this song by William McDowell last night at a prayer group meeting. It fits in nicely with what I have said here and with the road my life has taken; the road walked with Christ by my side.
So turn this one up, put your hands together, get on your feet and let's praise the One in whose Presence we are changed.


christopher said…
"It is true that our pasts are part of us and have helped to shape who we are, but we are not meant to stay there." - Well said. I can't count the number of times I hear the phrase, "Well, that's just who I am..." - the antithesis to your point and a self-fulfilling statement if there ever was one.
mary333 said…
I got shivers reading this post. Very powerful. I could see myself in this post, the guilt and shame from my sinfulness kept me from returning to church even before my conversion. I remember sneaking into the back of the church a few times, just listening to the Mass and feeling overwhelmed because my soul was so sick. I thank God that He brought us both back to Him and I thank you for this beautiful post. The past can be "treacherous waters" for many of us and the Lord gave me a word last year "put your hands to the plow" and also "stop looking back". Your post brought them to mind. God bless.

I hope this comment goes through. I keep trying.
Praise the Lord for what you were. For it is then that He chose to attract your attention!

God bless.
Esther G. said…
Excellent point about our past sins K. Thank you.
Karinann said…
Thanks everyone.
Christopher~ the "that's just who or how I am" phrase I have always found to be an excuse for not wanting to change bad habits or for not doing what one knows one ought to do.

Mary~this one made it through! At least you could sneak into the church. I remember Saturday morning of my Rachel's Vineyard retreat~we hadn't had confession yet and there was Mass that morning. I remember grabbing one of the team and telling her that I couldn't go into that chapel. She reassured me that it was OK and to sit with her. I truly believe that moment was where God started doing some serious work with me because I shed the first tear of repentance I have ever shed. Now you can't get me out of church :)Praise God for His patience and mercy!

Victor~sometimes I think the harder we fall the more devotion we have if and when we return. Yes, God certainly got my attention.

Esther~ the devil will try to use our past sins to draw us back into his clutches which is why practicing our faith and receiving the sacraments are so important.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and comments on this one and God bless.
mary333 said…
Finally one went through!

Yes, praise God for his patience and mercy :)
Colleen said…
Wow. So beautiful and heartfelt. Thanks, Karinann.
Karinann said…
Thanks Colleen. Sometimes these posts seem to write themselves. When I started it, I had planned to just post the video. Guess God wanted more :)
noreen said…
Hi Karinann, I think we can all look back at our lives and regret the choices we made when living for ourselves! Your post is honest and filled with hope because Jesus is always waiting for us to come home!
Karinann said…
Thanks Noreen. Yes, Jesus waited very long and patiently for me.

Just a PS- I sent you an e-mail about the Community blog about a week ago-not sure if you got it. If you want i can resend it.
noreen said…
I just went back and responded. My mind is focused on the upcoming rosary rally preparations and I was asked to announce it at church. Plus, do the readings for a couple of days at daily mass. Not my cup of tea but I'm going to go for it. Thank you!
Karinann said…
Thanks Noreen. Prayers for the rally and your reading at daily Mass.
God bless!
Colleen @ ID said…
Thank you for the beautiful, honest, and heartfelt post Karin. I was afraid to watch the video at work in case I did stand up and start praising. My cube has zero privacy! Plus I think I am supposed to be working there.
Thank God that he strengthens you and changed you and that Christ keeps you centered on him. You are such a powerful witness, and so sensitive to the spiritually hurting. No more shame and guilt! What great mercy! Peace to you.
Karinann said…
Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I'm glad you enjoyed the video. It is such a powerful song and tied in nicely with my own experiences.
God bless.
Daily Grace said…
It's kind of weird how God works. I just read this post today after having one of the best confessions that I ever remember having. In fact, I know that today was meant to be because this wonderful priest that I had never seen before was sitting behind me during mass. After receiving the Precious Body of our Lord, I felt strong enough to say at the end of mass "Father will you hear my confession or would you prefer that I go over and stand in line with the others (Our pastor had confessions after First Friday service this morning). He said, "No, I prefer you tell me your confession, let's go over there where we can sit privately". Anyway, I was able to unload things I had never had the courage to before and he reminded me that Jesus was not a finger wager, that once I was absolved, I was forgiven of this sin forever!!!!

I won't go back!!! No dark cold cave for me either!

God bless you for this beautiful post!
Karinann said…
Daily Grace,
Isn't that the best! Finding a priest who you somehow know you can unburden everything with. My first confessor upon my return to the faith was found in a similar way. He was transferred to a new parish, and I haven't found anyone like him since.
He's right about Jesus not being a finger wagger. I have learned (the hard way) that when we find ourselves reconfessing a particular sin, it is often because we haven't forgiven ourselves.
So glad you had this beautiful experience with this healing sacrament~may the grace of it linger on.
Michael said…
Wonderful post, and a good reminder to all of us who have changed for the better.

I love the image of Jesus in that doorway ... one I will not forget.

God Bless you!
Anne said…
Love this moving and heartfelt post Karinann. What would we do in life if we didn't have Jesus standing in the doorway holding us back from our sinful tendencies?
Thanks for the song! And, for this beautiful post. You took me back in I can remember the VERY moment SO WELL...when I " was changed in His presence". Just like you, I had a single moment when I knew I would NEVER go back to my sinful ways and would ALWAYS walk with JESUS forever-more...also like you, I was raised to know Him...but didn't REALLY know Him...until that moment. Thank you for reminding me that when that ugly head of guilt starts creeping back in...JESUS is there to reassure me that I "needn't go there".
Karinann said…
Thanks Anne, Michael and Judy.
The image of Jesus in the doorway to that dark place is one that has stayed with me. A friend used it in a Scripture meditation she wrote some years ago. We need Him to block the entrance to that cave because there is usually nothing good on the other side of it.
Judy, I think that the "single moment" we remember is what helps us to stay on the road with Jesus. It is a moment of true and deep conversion that gives us what we need to continue the conversion process throughout life.

Thanks for all your thoughts and comments, blessings to you all.