When Grace Happens - Lynne's Story Part 2
This is part 2 of Lynne Parr's story of redemption. If you haven't read the first part, find it here. As our SMC Super Bowl Sunday approaches, Lynne's story is a beautiful example of coming out of the water a new person. Thank you again, Lynne, for sharing your heart and joy with us! Hopefully you'll see her this Sunday! She and her husband, Craig, will be at the water's edge this Sunday at Lake Cammack welcoming those getting baptized into the water and cheering them on...maybe you!
After my nine day inpatient treatment, I completed an eight week intensive outpatient treatment program at Behavior Medicine. After successfully completing this treatment, I continued attending St. Mark’s Church (SMC) and accomplished radical amputation of my previous circle of “friends” of seventeen years.
It was critical I avoided any form of contact with them, which was strongly emphasized in my outpatient treatment. This seemed like an impossible task at first. There was never any more communication with them. With the new life I was experiencing, I didn’t want to take any chances to return to the dark place I feared most. And, it certainly wasn’t worth the risk of losing the presence of peace or my marriage! Gradually, new friendships were established at SMC, whereby I found a genuine and compassionate church family.
Not only did I need God’s encouragement, I also needed fellowship and encouragement from other believers.
When I started my healing and recovery journey with Christ, my new life started to fall into His plan so graciously. Just a few months after my last suicide attempt and coming out of denial, Craig and I joined SMC. It was there where the truth set me free from bondage. It was there I started serving others and attending year-round bible studies to grow in Christ, striving to live more like Him.
My Bible studies proved there will be times when God allows us to go through hardships and struggles. It was reassuring to believe God also delivers his people from all kinds of tribulations. I was astonished that kings, disciples, prophets and other God-loving individuals struggled with trials, loss, and hardships. What they all had in common was their infinite faith, honor and love for God.
This new life of mine became exceptionally peaceful that it starting showing in my life. I was experiencing the authentic meaning of joy by embracing His Amazing Grace! I felt genuine and my love for Christ could not be contained. Craig and I started praying together each morning kneeling and watching the sunrise from our second story landing. We’d never prayed together until this point in our lives. Our relationship with God came first and then our marriage was reconciled and restored stronger than I’d ever imagined.
The real joy came when we were baptized together at Lake Cammack. We were both baptized as infants in the Catholic Church but this was different now. We’d both came together in Christ around the same time, and we were ready to accept him publically as our Savior. During the summer of 2007, North Carolina had a horrific drought so we had to walk quite a way out into the lake. I took this as a sign from God that no matter whom I used to be or what I did in my past, or how far I had to walk in the lake to be immersed, my past would be forgiven. Receiving His Holy Spirit in our lives renewed us; He gave life to my lifelessness and hope to my hopelessness.
Reflecting back on my life prior to my redemption, it never occurred to me that Pastor Bob and SMC would literally save my life. Even though I frequently attended service before my intervention, I always felt like an intruder… trespassing on His Holy church. I did believe in God but I was not a Christian and didn’t deserve to be in church. Still in denial and consumed by guilt, little did I know, I would soon embrace freedom by His Amazing Grace.
If Craig had not accepted an invitation to SMC, our lives would have turned out differently. Mine, tragically. Craig started to change in a new direction, with or without me. His convincing me that Christ was the answer, I longed to have the peace he was experiencing. Because I was still in denial with my addiction, I assumed the messages on addiction were a coincidence? Not at all! I will no longer believe in coincidences as this is how God works through other people. His timing is always perfect in reaching out to broken lives.
Today, I have been drug and alcohol free over seven years. My drug and alcohol habits departed entirely when His Holy Spirit entered my life! I have been forgiven, I have forgiven and my life has been restored through Jesus Christ. I continue my daily faith walk by encouraging those in bondage to be set free. I’m privileged to be a high school link leader, attend and lead Bible studies and sing in worship arts. I cannot change who I used to be and why would I? I would not have the conviction I have today. And, all this time, it was in His plan for me which I’ve learned not to dispute His timing!
What I thought was going to be the worst moment of my life, turned out to be the greatest moment in my life. The results from my written psychological test at behavior medicine diagnosed me with “a desperate cry for help” and not a disorder, I realized
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1(NLT)
Relying on my renewed hope has provided me with incredible faith. It was effortless to give up my addiction and desire the true love of all times, our Heavenly Father.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17