I died when I was fourteen.
My dreams stopped on that day. All the plans I had made for when I finished high-school came to an abrupt end. My desire to do what I wanted fizzled out.
It was gone.
I remember it well. I had been on vacation with my parents. We had taken a road trip to visit relatives up north.
It’s ironic, but before we left on that trip, Mrs. Bates, from my church, asked me a question. She asked me if I had ever made a public confession of my faith. What a question! I had been in church all my life. I knew all the answers to any question any Sunday School teacher had ever asked me. I told her I knew all about Jesus, but she gently reminded me that if I would not confess Him before others, He couldn’t tell the Father I was one of His.
“Well, I’m not ready yet,” I said, “I’ve got things I have to do first.”
And so I climbed into the car with my folks and off we went. Sometime in the next few days, I would meet my destiny.
A few days later, Dad was driving, and I, as usual, was dreaming in the back seat of the car. I was in a very sound sleep. In fact, I was being poisoned by carbon monoxide from a bad exhaust system. Thank God, stomachs started growling and a stop for lunch made Dad discover my plight. A doctor told Dad if he had waited longer to stop for lunch, nobody would have been able to wake me.
But it wasn’t until a few days later that I did, in fact, actually die.
I died to the old me. Not a physical death but a spiritual one.
I have been dying ever since I gave my heart to Christ and made a public confession of my faith.
But that wasn’t the end. You see, that old natural Jerralea wants to keep rising back up. The selfish desires and sarcastic personality I had all those years ago are still in there. The carnal Jerralea still exists. I just work on not letting her out.
Like the apostle Paul said, I have to die daily. I have to let the new me live and do His will, the new creation that God is fashioning into the image of Jesus Christ.
The new me that will accomplish those dreams and desires that He has willed and put there in the first place. My carnal dreams will do no one, least of all me, any good. But the God-inspired dreams will accomplish His purpose and give my life meaning.
It’s a paradox. I died when I was fourteen, yet I was born when I was fourteen. I died to selfish dreams and ambitions but came alive to His plan and purpose. I died, yet I now live … in Him.
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