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A Valentine from Heaven

A Valentine from Heaven

Judy A Bauman

It was two days before Valentine’s Day 1997, and though my life looked wonderful from every angle, deep down I was miserable. I tried ‘to be a good person’ and live my life in a way that would be pleasing to my fellowman, but all the community works I was juggling did not fill the void in my soul. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and empty. Occasionally, I would get a glimpse of why I was so unhappy and what I needed – I needed the Lord! Sadly, I would quickly reject this notion because it wasn’t convenient to my lifestyle. Rejecting God was justifiable in my mind because I knew I couldn’t live up to His standards. Though I looked to the world for acceptance and comfort, I never seemed fulfilled. I was in a frightening and unwinnable battle.
 

The void began when my father suddenly passed away. He was only 43 years old and left behind a wife and three children, as well as his parents who daily relied on his help. Well-meaning clergy told us, “God must have needed him,” and that “he was in a better place.” This didn’t bring consolation to my grief-stricken heart. My sister, brother, and I were sent to live with relatives that summer. Though young, my sister was soon married and moved to her own place. My brother’s bedroom was the walk-in closet of our aunt’s teenage boys – placing him continually at their mercy. My bedroom housed the huge gas floor furnace in the unfinished basement. Night after night I would earnestly cry out to God from that room, “Why my dad, why me?” I agonized over the loss of my dad and listened for an answer, but none came. I also learned to listen for sneaking feet coming down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was a time fraught with dangers for my brother and I.
 

Meanwhile, my mother worked to stabilize our housing so we could come back and live with her. Unfortunately, her life was also full of snares, so it took more time than we ever imagined. Three years later, we moved into a home with her and the nightly threats and torment were over. Though I was often rebellious, we had many good times together. We traveled some and even spent an entire summer in Oregon. After coming back to our home state of Colorado, the unthinkable happened. Doctors diagnosed my mother with breast cancer. I never doubted that she would recover (because surely God would not ‘take’ her too). However, after a few years, and much suffering, she succumbed to the ravages of the disease. At her funeral I again heard from well-meaning folks, “She’s in a better place,” and “God must have needed her.” Really? More than her children? It did not sit well.
 

Deeply dismayed, my confusion turned to anger that burned hot against God. He seemed selfish and more like a big bully who was no different from Greek gods who threw lightning bolts or hit people with a huge hammer. I decided if God was so selfish that He needed my parents more than their three children did, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I would live my life my way, not His! Anytime the subject of God came up, I was like a cornered cat ready to fight; my cynicism towards Christianity and disdain for Christians grew. Some would try to explain to me how the Lord was loving, kind, and good. I reasoned, if God were truly loving, why wouldn’t He have kept my parents from dying? If He were kind and good, why wouldn’t He just put an end to all the suffering and evil in the world?
 

This is where I found myself on the morning of February 12, 1997 – drowning in my own sorrow. Deep down I knew only God could rescue me. I saw on the calendar that it was not only two days from Valentine’s Day, but also the first day of Lent. Oddly, something went off inside me. It was HOPE! Jesus had been drawing me to Himself for months, and though I had been keeping Him at arm’s length, I could ignore Him no longer. God was throwing a lifeline into my Pit of Despair, and I prayed that if I clung onto it, He would be merciful and pull me out.
 

I found an old Bible and began to read in Psalm 107: Then I cried to the Lord in my trouble and He saved me from my distress; He sent forth His word and healed me and saved me from destruction! I fell to my knees, and thanked Him for His goodness. I repented of sinning against Him. Later I found in John 10:10 where Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” This Scripture immediately dispelled the lie that God had killed my parents. I saw the “thief” had come to kill, steal, and destroy – not my heavenly Father. Oh, friends, how might that have eased my suffering had someone shared that truth with me from early on?
 

In that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me great freedom, and peace flooded my soul. I knew Jesus didn’t condemn me but filled my emptiness with joy. He adopted me! As a child of God, I had a sense of belonging that I had never known. I began reading and truly studying the Bible. I saw it was like a beautiful tapestry that, through many authors over thousands of years, God had woven together. I could have never imagined it, but I found the Bible to be wonderful and freeing.
 

You do not have to be an orphan to experience the debilitating wounds from being abandoned or rejected. We each have our own story of how we’ve been beaten and battered. We have fought with discouragement, doubt, and unbelief. At some point, all of us have been, or will be, wounded by different tragedies and heartbreaks. Our heavenly Father’s desire is for all mankind to experience His forgiveness and abiding love. The most wonderful Valentine’s gift anyone could ever receive is to be adopted by the King of kings! Being reconciled to God is a gift that anyone can accept at any time.
 

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”


He gave His best so we can live abundantly. Every day is Valentine’s Day with Jesus!


Revised February 12, 2016

~

A Valentine from Heaven

Judy Bauman

It was two days before Valentine’s Day, and though my life looked wonderful from every angle, deep down I was miserable. I tried ‘to be a good person’ and live my life in a way that would be pleasing to my fellowman, but all the community works I was juggling did not fill the void in my soul. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and empty. Occasionally, I would get a glimpse of why I was so unhappy and what I needed – I needed the Lord! Sadly, I would quickly reject this notion because it wasn’t convenient to my lifestyle. Rejecting God was justifiable in my mind because I knew I couldn’t live up to His standards. Though I looked to the world for acceptance and comfort, I never seemed fulfilled. I was in a frightening and unwinnable battle.

The void began when my father suddenly passed away. He was only 43 years old and left behind a wife and three children, as well as his parents who daily relied on his help. Well-meaning clergy told us, “God must have needed him,” and that “he was in a better place.” This didn’t bring consolation to my grief-stricken heart. My sister, brother, and I were sent to live with relatives that summer. Though young, my sister was soon married and moved to her own place. My brother’s bedroom was the walk-in closet of our aunt’s teenage boys – placing him continually at their mercy. My bedroom housed the huge gas floor furnace in the unfinished basement. Night after night I would earnestly cry out to God from that room, “Why my dad, why me?” I agonized over the loss of my dad and listened for an answer, but none came. I also learned to listen for sneaking feet coming down the stairs in the middle of the night. It was a time fraught with dangers for my brother and I.

Meanwhile, my mother worked to stabilize our housing so we could come back and live with her. Unfortunately, her life was also full of snares, so it took more time than we ever imagined. Three years later, we moved into a home with her and the nightly threats and torment were over. Though I was often rebellious, we had many good times together. We traveled some and even spent an entire summer in Oregon. After coming back to our home state of Colorado, the unthinkable happened. Doctors diagnosed my mother with breast cancer. I never doubted that she would recover, but after a few years and much suffering, she succumbed to the ravages of the disease. At her funeral I again heard, “God must have needed her.” Really, I thought, more than her children?

Deeply dismayed, my confusion turned to anger that burned hot against God. He seemed selfish and more like a big bully who was no different from Greek gods who threw lightning bolts or hit people with a huge hammer. I decided if God was so selfish that He needed my parents more than their three children did, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I would live my life my way, not His! Anytime the subject of God came up, I was like a cornered cat ready to fight; my cynicism towards Christianity and distain for Christians grew. Some would try to explain to me how the Lord was loving, kind, and good. I reasoned, if God were truly loving, why wouldn’t He have kept my parents from dying? If He were kind and good, why wouldn’t He just put an end to all the suffering and evil in the world?

This is where I found myself on the morning of February 12, 1997 – drowning in my own sorrow. Deep down I knew only God could rescue me. I saw on the calendar that it was not only two days from Valentine’s Day, but also the first day of Lent. Oddly, something went off inside me. It was HOPE! Jesus had been drawing me to Himself for months, and though I had been keeping Him at arm’s length, I could ignore Him no longer. God was throwing a lifeline into my Pit of Despair, and I prayed that if I clung onto it, He would be merciful and pull me out.

I found an old Bible and began to read: Then I cried to the Lord in my trouble and He saved me from my distress; He sent forth His word and healed me and saved me from destruction! I fell to my knees, and thanked Him for His goodness. I repented of sinning against Him. Then I found where Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” This Scripture immediately dispelled the lie that God had killed my parents. I saw the “thief” had come to kill, steal, and destroy – not my heavenly Father. In that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me great freedom and peace flooded my soul. I knew Jesus didn’t condemn me but filled my emptiness with joy. He adopted me! As a child of God, I had a sense of belonging that I had never known. I began reading and truly studying the Bible. I saw it was like a beautiful tapestry that, through many authors over thousands of years, God had woven together. I could have never imagined it, but I found the Bible to be wonderful and freeing.

You do not have to be an orphan to experience the debilitating wounds from being abandoned or rejected. We each have our own story of how we’ve been beaten and battered. We have fought with discouragement, doubt, and unbelief. At some point, all of us have been, or will be, wounded by different tragedies and heartbreaks. Our heavenly Father’s desire is for all mankind to experience His forgiveness and abiding love. The most wonderful Valentine’s gift anyone could ever receive is to be adopted by the King of kings! Being reconciled to God is a gift that anyone can accept at any time. 

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

He gave His best so we can live abundantly. Every day is Valentine’s Day with Him!

In the Father’s love,

Judy

The following is a longer version written in 2007

Jewels From Judy: A Valentine from Heaven
Judy Bauman
 
 
The Father’s Love: A personal testimony from my heart to yours
  
It was February 12, 1997, and from every angle my life looked wonderful; however, deep down I was miserable.  When I woke up that morning, I realized I had come to the end of myself.  I didn’t simply have a hole in my heart; there was a vacuum sucking the life out of me.  I had tried in every way to “be a good person” and live my life in a way that would be pleasing to my fellow man, but the community works I was juggling did not fill the void in my soul. Though I had the right idea, I didn’t have the right motivation for what I was doing. At the end of the day I was still empty and longing for something, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was I needed.  Every once in awhile I would get a glimpse that what I needed was the Lord, but in my “sorrow” I had rejected Him, so I had nowhere else to look but to the world. The more I looked to the world for comfort, the emptier I became.  Instead of filling me, I seemed to have a perpetual leak. It was a terrible cycle that I could not seem to escape!
                                                    
My “sorrow” began when I was 10 years old. My father passed away suddenly at the young age of 43 from Rheumatic Heart Disease. Night after night for at least a year afterwards I would cry out to God, “Why did You take my dad?” “Why me?”  I felt I must have done something wrong to receive such a terrible punishment.  My deepest desire was to hear God, but I never seemed to hear an answer.  
 
Six years later my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My belief was that God would not “take” my mother too, and because of that I never doubted that she would recover with treatment. Three years later, at the age of 48, she succumbed to the disease. I was deeply dismayed and in a state of shock and disillusionment during the months she suffered with that terminal illness with no signs of healing.  When she passed away, my anger against God burned hot. I was literally spitting mad at Him and anytime someone brought up “God” or “Christianity” – I was like a cornered cat ready to fight. I angry at Him for taking my parents and was very cynical toward Christians – believing they were weak-minded fools.  I figured if that is what He was like, I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I would live my life my way! 
 
One reason I had the impression God “took” my parents is because of what well-meaning people say to comfort a grieving family. For example, “God needed them more than you.” or “They’re in a better place.” No one taught me what Jesus said about such things:
 
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
 
Because I did not know this truth – that Jesus came to give life, I held onto the lie that God had killed my parents.  I would hear from some say that God was kind and loving, but then I would wonder why He did not stop such a horrible thing from happening to my family. I would see at all the other terrible things happening in the world and wonder why He wouldn’t put an end to it all.  I saw God as a big bully just looking for someone to pick on – like the Greek gods: Zeus, throwing lightning bolts at people who displeased him, and Thor, hitting them with a huge hammer.   Why would I go to someone like that for help or comfort?  In my anger I turned away from the True and Living God and gave my affection and attention to the world.  I accepted its consolation and looked for approval there. This is where I found myself the morning of February 12, 1997 – empty, miserable and not knowing what to do.
 
As it so happened, I looked at the calendar and noticed it was the first day of Lent. Lent is known throughout the Christian world as a time of reflection and often personal sacrifice prior to the commemoration of Jesus’ death and subsequent celebration of His victorious resurrection. When I was a child I remembered adults giving up things for Lent - only to see them renege on their commitment a few days later. Consequently, I never saw the importance of participating myself. 
 
However, when I saw it was the first day of Lent something went off inside me! Something was very different about this Lent –I wanted to change, but honestly, I did not know how to initiate it. Deep down I knew that God was the only One who could help me and it was the opportunity I needed to declare my heart’s intentions to the Lord.  He had been drawing me to Himself for months, and though I had been holding Him at arm’s length, I could ignore Him no longer.  I had accepted Jesus as my Savior in 1982; however, as a seed that grows fast in shallow soil and withers in sun, so my faith wilted in the heat of persecution.  On February 12, 1997, I made a vow to Him and hoped He would be merciful to me again.  I looked for my Bible packed away in a box and as I flipped through the pages I asked, “What is it I need, Lord?”  The word “healed” came to mind and I found a Scripture that stood out to me. As I read it I was amazed – it was my testimony!
 
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved this from their distress. He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy. Psalm 107:19-22 (Emphasis mine)
 
I understood in that moment that Jesus was there to set me free. He was not there to condemn me.  The Holy Spirit opened up revelation to this Scripture’s meaning and I saw it so clearly. I understood exactly how I had gotten into the condition I was in and I understood exactly what I needed to do to escape it.  I cried to the Lord!  I repented of sinning against Him and being disobedient and rebelling against His Word. (See verses 10-16)  
 
A great freedom and peace flooded my soul. This was a powerful time for me and I enjoyed a sense of love and belonging like I had never known. I knew I had been adopted by God and would always be a child of the King of kings! I received an amazing revelation of His love that all of us can enjoy if only we ask!!! In that moment when I looked up and whispered for help, God swooped down and saved me. The Lord didn’t use my wounds against me but caused them to bring about aministry of reconciliation for the lost to return to God.  Experiencing the love of the Father is what so many people in the world are missing; it is the revelation of this love that He has given me to share. 
 
You do not have to be an orphan to have experienced the debilitating wounds from the lack of a father’s love, touch or encouragement. Our heavenly Father desires for us to experience His perfect love. He wants His love to be perfected in us. (See 1 John 4:13-19) It is the power of our resurrected King, Jesus the Christ, the Son of the One and Only Living God – the Creator of all things who gives us the ability to have victory. It is my joy to share with people all over the world that God can, and He will, turn those things in life that Satan means for our destruction into something of great value and worth. As an ambassador of God’s love, I share this truth with confidence because I have experienced it myself to the glory of the Father. 
 
Jesus swooped down that day and rescued me; He carried me up on His wings of love and continues to do so to this day. Each year at this time when we celebrate Valentine's Day I think about how the Lord touched me with His love - the most wonderful Valentine's Gift from heaven. The greatest thing is for you to know God's love.  Being reconciled to God is a gift that anyone can accept and every day is Valentine’s Day with Him!  
 
Perhaps the Lord is speaking to you right now about returning to Him. He is waiting for each of us to turn our eyes upward so that He can deliver us from destruction. His is willing to meet us where we’re at. Jesus died to deliver us from the evil one! He loves you and there is nothing you have done that His perfect sacrifice cannot cover. Love covers a multitude of sin. (See 1 Peter 4:8)
 
In the Father’s abiding love,
Rev. Judy Bauman
    The Father's Love International Ministries

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