Today's post contains Part 2 of Jeannie Jackson's testimony "The Mess That I Was." Click here to read Part 1 of Jeannie's story.

Somehow I fell into Bible studies and met my first mentor, an incredibly godly woman who knew my past but looked at me in the purest way I'd ever seen. I couldn't figure out why she stayed with me and didn't run away. I would later realize that this was Christ showing Himself to me through this woman. But I was still such a heap of wounds. Still didnt spend time in the Word and had no idea what it said. I understood forgiveness but thought He would forgive you, not me. SHAME will do that to you unless you allow the healing touch of Christ.

Being sick and home from work for a few days, I picked up a book that was in my house. It was all about spiritual warfare and how the enemy, called the accuser of the brethren, would tempt us to evil and then use our past to accuse and condemn. Unless we know the truth. And the TRUTH was truth, regardless if I believe. So did that mean I was forgiven, even if I didn't or couldn't believe it? I was so oppressed that I could not accept what this godly woman kept telling me about forgiveness. I didn't know it at the time, but I was Thomas! I wouldn't believe unless I heard it from Him! I needed a word directly from the risen Christ and that is exactly what I got. I told my mentor about the book and said, "This is what is wrong with me." She arranged a meeting with a woman who was very experienced in oppression and spiritual warfare. "Is this going to be smoke and mirrors," I thought. "Hokey pokey?" I had all but lost hope that I'd ever draw another sane breath.

This woman took me through steps to freedom by showing me chapter and verse about what God says about forgiveness, forsaking my unbiblical thinking, looking only to the Word and to Christ's sacrifice for me, not just everyone else BUT me too, not most sin BUT mine. He forgives ME and ALL my sin. I was so desperate for relief that through these steps I confessed all my sins, everything I could think of, laying all of my dirtiness at the cross. I held back nothing. This all while my mentor and another godly woman sat at the other end of the table and prayed......for 6 or 7 hours. I was not zapped immediately sane. But when we left, there was a sense of a burden lifted, and I had a sense that I would be okay. Jesus, through His Word and through these godly, loving ladies had told me Himself. I had believed a lie so long that it would take a while for the truth to set in. But, oh yes, He came to me.

One of the most precious gifts God has given to me is that I believe every word of Scripture. I don't have to understand it. I KNOW it is truth. I read Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART and you will find rest for your souls." Gentle? That was not something I was acquainted with. Kindness? Never really experienced it or maybe my heart was so hard I couldn't recognize it.

I began getting in the Word with my mentor, and our first study was about David. And he was a sinner! A big one! But God called him a man after His own heart. I'm not a theologian, but I believe the reason God called him that was because, when he was confronted with his sin, he was deeply and genuinely grieved for having sinned against The Lord. I began going to sleep early and getting up at 5 a.m., giving me at least an hour every morning to spend with God and, please hear me when I say, He was giving me my marching orders every single day, not only lovingly correcting me when I was wrong but giving me a new heart to make it right with whomever I had offended. I want to be careful saying He gave me humility, but He did pierce my pride so that I no longer had to be right. Instead, doing what I knew He wanted became more important. There was so much I was hearing from His Word that it was as if it were written just for me! David had been a shepherd, unknowingly bring prepared to shepherd people. I had traveled the U.S. teaching others how to use our software, unknowingly being prepared to lead ladies in Bible studies. Guess what? The Bible is full if saints who sin, as is the church. His arm was not to short to reach to me, ME!!

I came to Christ in 1997. On April 10, 2001, HE set me free from guilt, shame, unforgiveness, immorality, and, yes, even what felt like insanity. No one appreciates freedom like a former captive. I have a new heart. It was given to me by God. It is far from perfect, for I am in the sanctification process and am looking forward to glorification.

We have been at Brook Hills now for about 7 years. I love the teaching here because I need to be constantly reminded to examine my heart. That does not offend me; it helps me. That woman who took me through the steps in 2001 is here too. Actually, she just came up to me and said I was coming to her house to study the Bible and I said, "YES MA'AM!" She is my other mentor, and I am blessed to be in a singles class led by Hal and Alandra Parks and also with a small group of women I dearly love, also led by Alandra. I am not a super Christian, perfect Christian. I am a saint who still sins. I have this treasure in my jar of clay. I am a cracked pot! Honestly, I still don't quite get His love for me. But I know He has changed me. I know He has forgiven me, and I know He loves me for the Bible tells me so. Don't understand it. Don't always feel it. But it is still true!

I have peace with Him today, not as the world gives peace but His peace, and my weary, burdened mind is at rest. Because HE is GENTLE and humble in heart. The enemy can no longer accuse me, for I know the TRUTH and He is greater than he that is in the world.

By His grace and through His leading, He has given me a now adult daughter who is not only beautiful, graceful, and intelligent, but so loves the Lord and has been totally exempted from the bondage I grew up in. In fact, I soon have the privilege of giving her to a fine Christian man in marriage. Only God can redeem the years the locusts have eaten. Only Christ sets captives free. Only God can work a miracle. Only Christ can pierce the walls that we build and turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

I close with one of my favorite passages, Isaiah 61:1-4:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

Because He has anointed me

To proclaim good news to the the poor

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim freedom for the captives,

And release from darkness for the prisoners

To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor

And the day of vengeance of our God.

To comfort all who mourn

To provide for those who grieve in Zion

To bestow on them a crown of beauty

Instead of ashes

The oil of joy

Instead of mourning,

And a garment of praise

Instead of a spirit of despair

They will be called OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,