by Rosie Keenan
“Help me, LORD!” I pray this now and often. I hesitate to type this up, because I have so many ways I could proceed and so much past to pull from. So, I pray again, help me LORD!
I have found that God is faithful. He is good and his grace is enough. In my weakness he is made strong. I have been made by him and am loved by him. I am a trophy of his grace and love. I do not deserve this life that he has gifted me.
I was born and raised in a Christian family. I considered myself a Christian because of this. We attended an evangelical church until I was about ten years old, church was fun. When I was about ten we switched to a Lutheran Church. I think this was a bit confusing, especially because my sisters and I were promptly baptized at this point. I remember we baptized the cat later that afternoon.
It wasn’t easy for me to make friends at school. Church youth group became very valuable to me. It was at youth group that I first explored sexual activity with a guy friend, however. High school was a rough season for me. Things were ok my freshman year. I am not sure what happened my sophomore year, though. Church youth group had ceased, we were expected to just go to adult church. I scrambled to make connections with my peers and I failed. I picked up smoking cigarettes and marijuana. I attended parties and I fornicated. These were all activities that I had looked down upon and thought I would never do just a year before. My family life was a mess, and my mom wanted me to move out when I was 18. I did.
I was so lost and so lonely. I lived with friends and we partied. I met a boy. He paid attention to me, which was all it took. I was pregnant in a couple months. I knew I was in full rebellion to God. I remember praying, “Please don’t let me go God.” I felt him tug on the strings of my heart, but I turned away from him. I quietly prayed that he would not give up on me, but I was not going to stop the sinful life I had going. I remember I wanted to go to church, I knew it felt good to go, but I did not know how to go without my parents.
I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, I was 20 years old. I moved to be closer to my parents, my boyfriend moved along with me. We tried to do life together for a few years but he turned out to be much more of a burden to my life than an asset. It was around this time that I started attending Coastline Christian Fellowship. I loved the church, it always felt great to go there. I felt that I loved Jesus, and I was very hardened to my life of sin. Breaking up with my daughters’ dad was hard, I was terrified of being alone. I found and shacked up with a coworker that really liked me. Through a series of poor choices I ended up marrying this man in an attempt to do the right thing. We were married a couple years. He was extremely jealous and liked to sit at my job every day and watch me work. I got a new job at the jail and he could not come watch me anymore. He came undone. He divorced me and left. I was alone, for the first time in a long time. I did what I knew to do at this point. I partied, hard.
I still attended church. My life was extremely double, I didn’t know any other way. I was in a physically abusive relationship next. The abuse along with some psychiatric medication brought my psyche to a point of breaking. Maybe a manic episode or two. I don’t know what it was, but it felt great. I felt connected to God in the most real way I have ever felt. I can’t even begin to explain the “feeling” I had. I read the Bible and the words literally jumped off the page and made so much clear deep sense. I felt the truth of Genesis resonate with my soul. I knew that God was not angry, that he loved us. That he created the world and that it was good. I was not afraid like I had been my whole life up until then. I felt free. I knew I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend anymore, so he didn’t want anything to do with me.
I was now single and on fire for God, or at least I thought I was. I wasn’t afraid anymore which was good, and I attended church often. I reached out for prayer, frequently. Deep down I think I was searching for intense spiritual experiences. I wanted to feel God. I wanted to use him to have what I wanted. Whatever the reasons were, He is faithful. As I positioned myself under solid Bible teaching, engaged in fellowship and responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he has delivered me from addictions, mental health issues, toxic relationships, all sorts of things that I allowed myself to become tangled up in.
Listening to a sermon one day I heard and embraced the truth that I was no longer a slave to sin, but rather a slave to righteousness. This was a game changer for me. I believed this and felt power in it. I used it when faced with decisions that involved sinful behavior. I knew what a slave was as I had felt so trapped in my sin for so long. I was now a slave to righteousness, so I shouldn’t waste time… but, behave righteously. Weird how that’s all it took. A small change in my thinking. And, God has been so good to slowly and gently work in my heart and my thinking to bring deliverance and healing in so many areas. His word is good, essential, and able to wash, bring healing, and restore. Well, more than restore. He is remaking me into a whole new creation. A creation for his delight, and I am so thankful to be around to enjoy it.
I would like to say that was it and I was saved and lived a perfect Christian life from then on. But, that would be a lie. I don’t know when my salvation moment happened. Maybe when I was a child and begged God to save me, but felt nothing. Maybe when I flipped out and felt like I was on top of the world and fully connected to God and also very full of myself. Or, maybe quietly years later as I heard the gospel faithfully delivered during a church service. But, I do know that his work with me is not done. I am a mess, I always have been. I am aware now that I was made by him and for him. That he has begun a work in me and that he will complete it. That it is his work, not something I am able to do. I do play a role though. I am not a victim of this great regeneration and restoration, rather I must want it, too. I have responded to God, I have heard His voice and I have decided willfully that following him is my desire. I am faced with this decision often, and I don’t always hear His voice. Each day and each season present their own challenges and opportunities to choose God. I know that he is alive, he is able and He sees me, He knows me… and it is my choice to know him. Today, I choose to know him.
“So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13: Because I was going astray and He saw me in my distress, he rescued me, He brought me home to a relationship with Him. ☺
Bio :: Today, Rosie is 33 years old. She is blessed beyond anything she could remotely deserve. Rosie lives in Astoria, Oregon with her 13 year old daughter Haley and their tiny dog. She is just finishing up her 3rd year toward a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and is working as a cook. She likes to try things like surfing and snowboarding. She loves to travel. She is preparing to journey to Israel with some of her church family in less than a month. She is excited for what God has willed for her life.