By Glenda Lesher

I’m very blessed to attend a church that embraces praise and worship music.  There is something unifying and sacred about worshippers being one in the spirit.  One chorus that particularly resonates with my heart goes something like this:

Where would I be?  God only knows…

A hopeless case

An empty place

If not for grace

Every time I sing those lyrics, my mind takes me back in time when I was considered a hopeless case.  The truth is that I was empty, lonely, and separated from God.  As an only child in a military family, I was often isolated and didn’t have consistent parental discipline or boundaries.  In addition, changing schools 13 times and watching my parents’ marriage disintegrate didn’t exactly foster self-confidence.  By the time I was 16, my parents had divorced.  And by the time I was 17, I was married.  I thought I had found the love of my life and could escape my unhappy past.  Instead, the marriage was a disaster, filled with anger and abuse. Two years later, my husband abandoned me and our son.  I had no money, no job skills, no hope, and no future— or so I thought.  Thankfully, I had family to turn to or we would have been homeless.

The next few years were kind of a blur.  I went back to school and got a job to support my son, but my personal life was still in shambles.  Only those who have experienced rejection and abandonment understand the insecurity you feel and the different routes you take searching for happiness.  I attended church some, but my heart was sealed off by pain, self-survival, determination, and the “thorns” of this world (Matthew 13:7).  I wish I could say that someone tried to lead me to the Lord…but no one did.

As I approached my mid-twenties, however, I was growing weary of the struggle and the ways of the world.  I guess you could say I was finally coming to my senses as the prodigal son did in Luke 15 and wanted to find my way home. Growing up in church, I soon recognized my state of “conviction” and knew the Holy Spirit was pursuing me relentlessly.

Savior means “Rescuer” and that’s what Jesus did for me.  My whole life was transformed including understanding my value in Christ and feeling secure in His love.  Somehow I knew God would rebuild my life for His glory and He did.

Where would I be without His grace?  Probably still floundering through life without purpose.  But with Him I have a daily relationship with my Lord, a family, a home, a job in ministry, and the opportunity to speak into other lives through mentoring.  That’s the abundant life (John 10:10)–full of mercy, truth, and, of course, the unmerited favor we call grace.