God is good. I was thinking to share with you some of my experiences on how God revealed His goodness to me and how he led me in time to a better understanding of His character.
I was born in the country of Romania in 1973 when the communist regime was at its peak.
My mother told me I was a miracle child, being an premature baby, after only a few weeks the doctors let my mother take me home from the hospital, to die. My parents being of Orthodox religion believed I should get baptized to be able to go to heaven. It was in the middle of winter and on that particular day was a big snow storm, but the love of a parent for their child overcomes every obstacle . They got ready the horse and buggy and off we went through the snow into the next village where there was an Orthodox Church.The church was locked but the priest lived next door, so my parents were able to get the priest to open the church and perform an unplanned baptism.
Usually you’re suppose to warm up the water but not today...anyway I was expected to die so he baptized me with ice cold water.
They brought me home and waited, and waited, and it seemed that the only one who still had a rain of mustard-like faith was my grandfather. He was the only member of our family which was not of orthodox faith, he called himself an Evangelical. He kept checking to see if I was breathing.
Anyway, I lived and I solidified my family belief in Orthodox Church for God performing such a great miracle through the Priest and especially through the baptism.
I think God respected my parents faith and the fact that my immune system was shocked by that freezing water at the baptism, it all worked out for good. Praise God.
Why Am I telling you this story? Being my first memory about God, I suppose I kind of felt a little special, but more than that it made God real to me. I always felt He cared for me and he loves me.
My grandfather who as I mentioned was a Protestant and more specifically an evangelical, he was my hero and role model. As a 6 years old I remember walking to church with my grandfather.
It was a one room white building with wooden benches and wood floor, men on one side women on the other side. I have precious memories at that church or as we call it the Gathering. This is an important distinction in Romanian religious life between the Protestant churches and the mainstream Orthodox Church.
What I remember vividly was the sense of reverence was there.,you could hear a pin drop, and the singing was angelic. There were around 20 members in that church and they did not have a pastor, instead the elders each one took their turns to read something from the bible and give a little interpretation of that reading.
In first grade after I learn the Alphabet, grandfather always asked me to read to him from his favourite book Isaiah, also I learned how to pray from him though he never taught me, I just watched him in the morning standing in front of the window looking up and moving his lips and instinctively I knew He talks with God.
One day my grandfather passed away and so did my idyllic relationship with religion. I was back to the Gathering few more times but it was not the same.
I still loved God but now I started my own search for meaning, a place, a time where I could live what I understood at that time to be the fervent religion.
When I was about 13 or 14 years old I heard someone, I don’t remember who, said; do you know that Sunday is not the real day of rest which God created, but the bible says it is Saturday, and we are suppose to eat only vegetables? This really resonated with me so I decided to keep Saturday as a day of rest. The only problem was that Saturdays in our household was the laundry day. In the morning I told mother today I will take a break from helping her with laundry, for I am keeping Sabbath.
Oh needless to say my Sabbath keeping didn’t last too much, my mother told me as long as I live in the house my job is to listen to her and help her. I said with disappointment, Lord you saw I cannot keep your day now but one day I would like to keep it. Maybe one day Lord.
I never heard of Seventh Day Adventist’s but some years latter I had no desire to find out more about because the only person I knew had an awful reputation in town.
I was reading the Old Testament and I could not understand how people could be so stubborn and backsliders, I became so self righteous. I made promises to God every day, and every day I broke them.My situation was grave.I even started to study with Jehovah Witnesses. What attracted me to them was their view on trinity but as latter I find out their opinion of Jesus is not in accordance with the truth. I visited few more churches in the hope of finding “the perfect church” but I was only disappointed.You see, I loved the Old Testament I saw how good God was with Israel through the wilderness and how they were a bunch of ungrateful people for all that God did for them! Not me! Not me Lord . You are so good and loving I will be repaying you by being a perfect Christian. Everyone knew my fervour for the Lord and my brothers and sisters were watching me for an opportunity to make fun of me when I say or do something stupid, and I did plenty of that. I got so tired of trying to please the Lord on my own strength that one day as I was getting ready to leave for my first job I said: Lord I give up, you know I love you and want to do what’s right but for whatever reason it seems like I always fail at it. I want to have nothing to do with religion. You are God and you know where to find me.
For almost two years I had nothing to do or say about religion. I even had a Peter experience.
The place where I was working was a touristic retreat. It was a hotel with restaurant and bar.
The boys working there had a colourful language sometimes . One day when I was close to them one boy said to another; hey be careful how you speak when Lumy is around, she is a Christian. I said, “No I am not” at whom they replied, “yes you are you look like one”. I stopped arguing with them and left the room embarrassed.
Coming home one day I met my neighbour which invited me to a meeting. She said this American missionary came to town and everyone is excited to go and find what’s going on..I said ok I will come. At this point I was about 20 years old.
It was for the first time I heard the gospel. It was like scales fell from my eyes and a lightbulb switched on in my brain. I don’t remember what the sermon was about but when the preacher read Ephesians 2:8,9 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Something happened I got it. I understood it was not my trying to please God it was by grace through faith.
From there on I headed on a journey of discovery. Discover how good is God really!
I always had a saying; Father I know there is something more about you which I didn’t discover yet.
First it was the Trinity. Like I said I did not believe in a trinity but I could not explain why I just didn’t. Maybe it was my grandfathers influence...I though maybe Jehovah Wittiness had the truth, but I was not ready to make Jesus just another angel. For me Jesus was God and yet not God the Father. My first problem with my new baptist faith was the subject of Hell.
The pastor preached one time on the respective subject and he gave us this illustration: It was winter, we were heating the church with wood, the stove was very hot.He said: you see this hot stove? Hell will be ten thousand times more hot than this. I could not believe. After church I pass by the stove and touch it. It was hot,.I said Father I don’t believe you are like that...You are much more loving than this.
Fast forward a few years, I met my first husband who was a Seventh Day Adventist and so God gave me the opportunity to rest on Sabbath, no more hell, and in the beginning I even thought they don’t believe in the trinity. Praise God. Seemed like I have arrived, I found the truth. I was wrong. I had so much more to learn.
My first encounter with the writings of Sister Ellen White proved to be a blessing since I learn to read English reading The Desire of Ages. It was challenging though to see many in our church using her writings as a sword to cut rather than to heal. I guess it depends in what Spirit you look at them.
I knew there was something more. My journey of discovery continued. I was searching the web about the trinity every day. I found many interesting articles about it and books written by scholars, one of which I even bought, but nothing connected with SDA. I wanted to find some material from an Adventist perspective. I almost had given up when one day the name Adrian Ebens appeared in connection with the trinity. I start following Pastor Ebens watching his sermons and reading his materials. He is a blessing.
I think it was in 2014 I’m not good with dates when I heard Pastor Adrian started to keep the feasts .That was a big shock for me. Because of my preconceived ideas I automatically believed he is betraying Christ, now he is in the old covenant (I still had at that time the wrong view of the covenants), he is fallen from grace. I quit going to his website and basically I decided to shun him (sorry brother Adrian) though many times I prayed for him.
Meanwhile I learned more and more about the character of God , about the Nonviolent God and I loved it.The only problem was that my heart was not completely satisfied till my brothers and sisters in the Adventist Church could hear this message. All the messages I heard were from a nonadventist perspective, and thought wonderful as it sounded I knew they are missing something. I cried out and prayed ; Lord if only my church could hear this message. Please raise someone in the church to take this message to your children. About two months later something caught my attention. It was an announcement about a sermon by Adrian Ebens. I listened and I knew immediately what he was teaching, it was about the loving character of our God.
This inspired me to look deeper into the Feasts, which led me to see the importance of honouring and keeping the Feasts in ones journey of spiritual growth.
I praise God He raised a man to teach His children.
I love this message and I praise the Father for the opportunity to be part of this movement.
I still have lots to learn and most importantly to practice what I know to be true.
Thank you and God bless everyone on their journey of discovery.