SEEKING FOR SELF-WORTH NEARLY KILLED ME!
(The Lisa Lofland Story)
By: Lisa Lofland
God has caused me to do an “about-face” -- a 180 degree pivotal turn in my life! He pursued me. I wasn’t looking for Him. I didn’t know how to find Him.
When I was a little girl, somehow I didn’t get the full message of the gospel truth when I went to church. I just knew that I wasn’t good enough to make it into Heaven, and that it was my fault that Jesus had to die! (*Please read the end of my testimony for an explanation of this last sentence for greater understanding).
As I got older, I began to look for my self-worth in all the wrong places. After having three children, I found myself alone … just me and them against the world. In the end, I learned how to do men’s work because it paid more. I became a pretty good welder, but it was really hard work.
My boys were my biggest fans. They were so proud of me. They stuck by their mama no matter what. We started making changes. They had nice clothes; we always had a terrific Christmas. But my drinking got to be more habitual; my partying and my partying friends became life for us. After all, they had kids too, and it didn’t seem to be harming them.
It got to where the welding jobs just weren’t there any more. And along with that, neither was my motivation. Depression started to settle in, a depression I just couldn’t shake.
I was taught never to ask for help, to pretend, if you had to. I wasn’t used to not being able to provide for my boys. For over a year I couldn’t find a job. Things just kept getting worse with no car and no job.
Then, a new neighbor moved in. He was a meth cook (meth short for Methamphetamine). It all just happened so insidiously. When I was high, I didn’t have to “feel” the depression anymore. I became addicted long before I could admit I was addicted. I stayed away longer and longer. I just couldn’t stop myself. Welfare was concerned with the condition of the trailer we were living in. I was so cold to them. All they did was judge me instead of helping me in any tangible way I felt.
So I moved to Kansas City to get away from welfare, and possibly the meth. My parents and I had a falling out and the boys and I moved back to Springfield where my old neighbor, the meth cook, was living with one of my old girlfriends and her kids.
I learned to shoot up all by myself. I could barely consider quitting. Welfare swooped in and took my kids, and still I didn’t quit.
Then one night, about five months later, I happened to pick up a Gideon’s Bible. I opened it up and my eyes fell on Matthew 18:9 where it says, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you for it is better that one of your members perishes than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” I thought “What?!” Then I read the verse before it, Matthew 18:8, and that’s what got me. It said, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you…..” My right arm was causing me to sin. It was the one I shot up with all the time. (Important note of clarity here. God is not telling us literally to gouge out our eye or literally cutting off our arm. What He wants us to comprehend is that we need to get radically ruthless and “gouge out” and/or “cut off” the sin’s desire inside us that is causing us to use our eyes and arms and hands to carry out sins’ desire that originates from deep inside us before we are totally destroyed by it).
I sat back and pondered it -- my heart was racing. Somehow I deciphered that there was something akin to “hope” in these words I was reading. That I wasn’t doomed after all? If God is telling us to get “ruthless” with our sinful addiction/s, the assumption is that it CAN be overcome! I didn’t have to believe the only way out was to keep feeding my addiction until one day dying.
That very night, I was arrested and put in jail. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I hadn’t faced the truth about abandoning my kids. I wasn’t capable of facing it. The meth was my crutch and now I didn’t have it. I didn’t even have a cigarette, but I did have food and a bed.
The girls said the church ladies came on Monday nights. I came in on a Tuesday and had to wait all the way until next Monday until they were to arrive again, but their visit ended up being canceled that next Monday. I was more than a little disappointed. I thought to myself: Wow, I really was excited about seeing them! I didn’t know why. But by the next Monday, I was ready for them! I couldn’t name the little light of hope I had in my heart. I think those two weeks in jail - God was preparing my heart. He gave me time to sober up and realize my hopelessness, and my need for Him.
One of the church ladies’ names was Gloria. She handed out some little papers with parts for each of us to read aloud from, so that we could take turns. I think mine was number three.
There came a building up of something in my heart. My turn came to read and I began to read aloud: “Matthew 5:30 - If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you…” I gasped loudly. My mouth was as wide open as my eyes! I looked at Gloria, and quickly back at the words -- I started to cry. I mean, really wail. How could this be?!
Finally, I explained to her that the night I was arrested, I had picked up a Bible by chance and read this very same verse! I begged her to explain to me what this meant. She had wide eyes, and glancing around at the other church ladies she said, “The Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something!”
I gasped again! “But why?!” I asked.
Then she explained that Jesus had died for me - that He doesn’t intend for anyone to perish - that everyone who calls on Him will be saved from their sins.
I asked, “HOW do I get saved?!”
That’s when she turned to Romans 10:9, and as I was looking over her shoulder … she read, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord ...”
I said “Jesus is Lord” … quietly and timidly before she even finished, and I felt Him enter in. I was overcome by it. I sat back all humped over and couldn’t talk anymore.
Gloria gave me a Bible and left, but still I just sat there in shock. Something had happened, and I didn’t know what to do about it!
So for two more weeks, alone in my cell with my Bible, I would test God. I would open up the Bible and let my eyes fall where my finger pointed and let Him minister to me. And oh the tears -- I can’t tell you the anguish at times yet joy at other times I went through, the way He spoke directly to my heart. It was absolutely nothing short of truly amazing.
I began to confess my sins. ALL of my sins to Him, and I took Him up on EVERY one of His promises that I came across. And then I would test Him. And let me tell you, He has been absolutely, one hundred percent faithful to His word, and it has been so special, His love for me. Right where I was at, He loved me. Right where I was at, having abandoned my kids, having chosen meth over them, He opened His arms and I ran to Him.
My life has not been the same. I don’t lie anymore. I don’t smoke or do any drugs. I regret losing my boys and the hurt I caused them EVERY single day. But somehow, God has placed me in a town no more than 10 miles away from my boys! I had no idea at the time! And although I don’t get to see them just whenever, I do get to know how they’re doing and give them gifts.
I now seek His will in every major decision I make. I put Him first in every area of my life. I trust Him with everything that I am. After all, He first loved me when I was at my most unlovable. My self worth is in Him now. I’ve discovered that trying to find and nurture self-worth is totally poisonous and totally counterproductive in developing a healthy relationship with the living God. I am valuable because He says so in His Word. He says I am valuable to Him and He died to prove just how valuable I am to Him! And that gives me true joy! Furthermore, it is CHRIST-worth given to me free of charge that has any lasting value or power or reason for God to bless us. Self-worth needs to be buried in the grave and allowed to turn to dust as quickly as possible, which is what God is trying to communicate to people in the sixth Chapter of the book of Romans, among other things.
Forgive me for preaching a little here, but self-worth likes to be stroked to assert itself so that it really doesn’t even need a Savior to die for our sins. Self-worth left totally unchecked likes to convince itself it is perfectly capable of saving itself, and certainly needs no Savior at all. Self-worth at its very “best” will even convince itself that trusting Jesus Christ as the only One who can save us of our sins is the biggest bunch of nonsense that has ever been told on this planet.
Satan is the one who has masterminded the decoy of self-worth. Anything he can do to try to convince us that we don’t need God for anything is what Satan is all about. But until a person becomes Saved, they can’t appreciate, let alone understand, what I’m saying here, I realize. I’m saying it because there are so many seemingly “credible voices” in the world trying to con Christians into “developing their self-worth.” It is non-Biblical; anti-Biblical; anti-Christ.
Truly – the one thing God finds in us useful to Him more than anything else … which is ultimately useful to us -- what is that? He finds that when we relinquish our will to His will, He now has someone to work with that He can change into a creation beyond anything we can imagine fully this side of eternity. Instead of rebelling against such a wonderful and exciting possibility … I’m now in line with it; fully connected to it. I’m staying connected to it too, because I am now fully persuaded that there are no limits to what God can do in us or for us, or what we can do for Him, if we’ll just trust Him to be Lord of our lives. He KNOWS what He is doing! Your “meth cook” doesn’t.
* Expanding on this statement I made near the beginning of this testimony: When I was a little girl, somehow I didn’t get the full message of the gospel truth when I went to church. I just knew that I wasn’t good enough to make it into Heaven, and that it was my fault that Jesus had to die!
It is in fact true: no one can become “good enough” to go to Heaven when they die. It is only in Jesus Christ that God finds anyone acceptable in His sight, to allow them to remain in heaven for eternity with Him. And the only way we can be in Jesus Christ is to ask Him to come and set up residence inside us. He only comes on a personal invite, in other words!
Yet even upon a personal invite, He will only do so if that person wants to be forgiven of all their sins because of what was accomplished by Him (Jesus Christ) by dying on the cross, and by purposing to allow Jesus Christ to not only be their personal Savior (saving them from all their sins, in other words), but also allowing Him to be Lord of their life. Allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of one’s life means to diligently strive throughout their life to be obedient to Him as best as possible as the New Testament instructs (though the truth of that matter is that we all fall short of perfect obedience, yet God has grace and mercy and forgiveness for that as well, praise God!)
The second part of that statement, “that it was my fault that Jesus had to die” – is true as well, yet it needs some additional explanation for it to make wise sense.
It is the sins of every person born on this planet, not just me personally, that God the Father sent His Son Jesus to come to Earth and life a perfectly sinless life, which is what qualified Him to be the One and only acceptable sacrifice God the Father would accept as a substitutionary sacrifice to accept full punishment for the sins of every sinner on planet Earth.
And although the Bible clearly states that we all are born as sinners – inheriting the sin nature from everyone who has been before us all the way back to Adam and Eve – the truth of the matter is … if I happened to be the ONLY sinner on planet Earth, God STILL would have sent Jesus from heaven to do exactly the same thing He did for EVERY sinner: take full punishment for their sins so they can be fully forgiven of them by God. That’s how much He loves each of us sinners! Incredible, isn’t it?!
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