Born Again Testimony of Stacy Piland
I met, Amazing Grace. I had heard the song, even sang the song many times in my life, before I ever met and then received this amazing grace that so many sing about. In the later part of 2011, in a small trailer in Valdosta, Georgia, with two small children as a single mom, Jesus Christ visited me. He was Alive, not dead, not just living in heaven as I had previously thought, but Alive, well, and very real.
This is the “most” important meeting, precious memory and gift that has ever born into my life, with the two second, being the births of my two precious children Kati and Mikell. You may well know the feeling of meeting your babies for the first time. The first time you lay eyes on them and behold them. The one you’ve loved, from a distance, is now made “manifest”, very real in your life and tangible to you. In much the same way, that is how it was for me, when I received my first real encounter with Jesus.
Before I met Jesus:
The day I called out to God, was a day like every other day. My heart was empty and void of my purpose in life. The one thing I knew for certain, I was the mother of Mikell and Kati and that was my reason to live. For many times in my past, I wanted to die, so that I wouldn’t have live with the emptiness and uselessness I felt in my own heart about myself.
My childhood was dysfunctional as many childhoods are. There was verbal abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, drug abuse and physical abuse. But yet, I was still here, going through the motions of living. It wasn’t that I could not feel love for my children, it was that I could not feel love for myself, nor properly nurture my children the way they deserved their mother to nurture them.
They lived under the shadow of the pain of my own childhood misery’s, regrets, disappointments, angers and traumas that this life had brought to me. The things that happened to me, made such a negative impression in me, that I was left helpless and paralyzed to overcome them. I found myself, actually “numb” to “feel” anything, but the remorse of who I was. Things like depression and oppression, anger, wounds and hurts.
No amount of drinking, drugs, sex, or even the love I felt from my little children could alleviate the darkness of my life. Darkness is very real; it has weight to it. I could stand in a dark room, and the room could become even become darker because of the spirit of depression. I could literally “feel” the weight of darkness upon me. It was a heaviness that would way on my physical body, it would control my feelings and emotions, it would cause me to be very tired and uninspired to do anything.
It is possible to loath your very existence, because your unable to love yourself or see any worth in yourself. There was no light, except the laughter I heard coming from my children, as they played together. I was there, but their laughter was foreign and distant to me. I was empty and numb in my heart. I had enough knowledge to “know” this was not how I was supposed to feel.
My thoughts of God:
I don’t ever remember believing anything else, but that God was Jesus’ Father and Jesus came to earth and paid my sin debt. The problem was this, I thought Jesus was dead and only lived in Heaven with the Father. I had no, understanding nor knowledge that Jesus was alive and well and could communicate with me in an intimate way. I did not understand, God is a Spirit, and He is more than able and willing to visit me in a real and personal way. There was no knowledge in me, about the Holy Spirit or what this could mean to me, in my personal life. I was blind to the truth. Missing out on my paid for, relationship with the Father.
Reaching out to God:
A few years prior, to my moving to Valdosta, Georgia. I was living in Vidalia, Georgia and I took a job at a bookstore, where I first encountered an inspirational Christian book, written by Mary Baxter, sharing her God-given revelations of Heaven and Hell. This book made a such an impression on me, that I was inspired to go to church.
So, I did.
After a few visits, the pastor came to visit me at my mother’s home, and he prayed for me and led me into a prayer to invite Christ into my heart and to become my personal Savior. I said the prayer, and I believed Jesus was God’s Son, and that He had been born of the virgin Mary and had come to this earth to die and pay for my sins. I cannot tell you that much changed in my life, even after I got prayed for and said the sinner’s prayer. But I did take a step to reach out to God.
Little did I understand that it was the goodness of God the entire time, drawing me, wooing me closer to Him, even causing me to want to know more about Him. I had no knowledge of the Power of God. But, God had drawn me to this woman’s book, God was inspiring me to attend a church and God was inspiring me to get to know Him by reading in the bible, and I thought, it was just my own desire, my own idea. He was working in me, to do these things. His goodness was inspiring in secret, so to speak. For, I did not know Him at this time.
A few years went by, I did not stay in church, but “seeds”, “God’s words” that I had heard and read, did remain in the back of my mind. Although He was not real to me yet, I had kept these things in my heart, that I had heard and read about Him.
The children and I relocated to Valdosta, Georgia where I had a real encounter with the Living God. We lived behind a church; the back of the church property touched the back of my yard.
One day, a man knocked at my back door. Upon opening the door, there stood the pastor of this church, connected to the back of my property. On my steps were half empty beer bottles.
When I opened the door, he introduced himself and I remember feeling ashamed of of the beer bottles, and I really didn’t want to have a conversation with him. I gave him a “look”, like “please don’t start”. But to my surprise, he looked back at with so much compassion in his face, that I just somehow felt he wasn’t going to make me feel bad or condemn me. He reached out his hand, and took my hand to shake it, and he said,
“I just wanted to welcome you to the community”,
we are glad you’re here. And he walked away. I was shocked. He was kind, he was gentle and held no appearing judgment toward me. Just a kind, simply, welcome. When he left, I felt good.
A few weeks later, I came home from work and went into my bedroom. I laid across my bed and looked to the ceiling. I said,
“God, I know Your there, I know, and I know that Jesus is Your Son, and He died for me on that cross to pay for my sins. But, what I don’t understand is why, You ‘seem’ to be so real to others and not to me. God, I want You to know, I’m not thinking about committing suicide, but I want You to know, I’m a very unhappy person. Other people seem to know You, like Your real to them, and I need You to be real to me, so please make Yourself real to me.”
Jesus spoke to me:
Three days later, I pulled into my driveway coming home from work. There was what looked like “trash” strewn all over my yard, pieces of paper everywhere. I got the children inside and grabbed a trash bag and began to pick up the pieces. It took a second, to realize what the pieces were, it was the bible. Pages of a bible were torn and scattered all over the yard.
As I picked them up, I began to weep. Tears rolling down my face, I felt so bad, that this had happened to a bible. I didn’t know much, but I always knew to protect the bible and not to lay anything on top of it. And this made me sad that it had happened. I could not throw what I had picked up, away. I didn’t I just kept the pieces. Afterward, I came inside and went and found my own bible, went to my room and began to read in the words in read.
As I looked at the words, something happened, those words, began to “move”, they would magnify and lift from the page. I thought it was my eyesight at first, so I rubbed my eyes, but that wasn’t what was happening. As I kept looking at the words, I heard a voice speaking to me, just as if someone were right there in that room with me. It was a man’s voice, very gentle, very kind.
He said, as I read, I am Jesus, don’t be afraid. And I knew, it indeed was Him. I knew He was speaking to me, and He was reading His words to me. He was speaking to me audibly and straight into my very being. As He spoke, and I knew His great love for me, I would begin to think of my sins against Him, and He knew, and He heard my every thought. He would “answer” my thoughts. As a sin would surface to my thoughts, I would weep and He would say, I forgive you and I love you, I love you, I love you. And I would weep and love Him back.
We communed; it was intimacy in the highest level. His presence filled my very being, He came in great power and great love. I felt His life-giving power coursing through my body, and I experienced His powerfully intense and passionate love he had for me, and not only for me but for the whole world. I was born again. He spoke many things, and these few words stand out, is when He spoke to me, and said,
“Go and tell others, I’m Alive.”
The journey I am now on:
I would like to tell you, that all things are perfect in my life and that there has been no problems since my born again experience. But, I cannot tell you that. Because there are many trails and much tribulation even when a person is born again. There are things in my heart I desire to see take place in my life and in the lives of others, circumstances needing to change.
But I can tell you this for sure, He will never you nor forsake you. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. Our journey with Christ is a process of growing and changing that can only be accomplished in and by the Holy Spirit and sometimes it can be painful, for we as humans tend to resist change. Don’t be afraid to pray and call out to Him. He does not only meet you in a church setting. This is a private encounter, He is able and most willing to “meet” you, where you are.
Jesus is Light:
Jesus is light, there is no darkness in Him at all.