Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From Broken To Whole. A Guest Post by Katie Lloyd

I am continuing with guest posts from bloggers who have not only a passion for photography, but a love for Jesus.  I am honored to have Katie from Katie Lloyd Photography.  After reading her post be sure to click over and visit her.  

Hey y'all! This is Katie. I am very excited to be guest posting for the lovely and talented Amber! 
For those of you who don't know me, I'm a midwestern sahm to a 5 year old and a 3 year old. I met my husband on eHarmony and we've been married for 5 1/2 years. I have a small fine art photography business on Etsy and a photo blog. 
Oh, and I'm deathly afraid of snakes. 

{Here I am goofing off with my kids...}

But today we're not going to talk about family or photography {and certainly not snakes}. Instead, I'd like to share my personal faith journey and some of the lessons I've learned along the way. And since most good stories start at the beginning, let's do that...

My younger sister and I grew up in your typical broken home. My parents divorced when I was seven and I have very few memories of their marriage. What I will have forever etched in my mind, however, is the day my mom told my dad she wanted a divorce. Let's just say their encounter was less than pleasant and my sister and I had a front row seat. We were outside and one parent was screaming at us to get in the car while the other screamed for us to get in the house. Little did we know that our decision between the car or the house would set the stage for the rest of our lives. 

Rev It Up - 16x20 Fine Art Photography Print

Fast forward a year or two and you'd find us living with our mom and on welfare. She had decided to take the more difficult road and get her college degree while working and raising two kids. We saw our dad every Wednesday {to ensure we attended the awana program at his church} and every other weekend. He had a short and mean temper and even little things {such as slouching during church} would set him off. I can only assume he was still angry about the divorce and every now and then took it out on us kids; my sister got the brunt of it. {I wouldn't learn until many years later that what he termed "spanking", 90% of other people would term as "child abuse".} Since the majority of the time with our dad was spent at church, he quickly became my example of a Christian. And I had decided that if he was the measure of a good Christian, then I wanted nothing to do with God. "For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins." Job 11:11

{Lesson #1: When you display the love of Christ, people will be drawn to Him. But when you display Satan's hate for the world and mask it as Christ's love, it will push people away from Him indefinitely.}

When I was in high school and college I continued to keep God at a distance, and consequently felt an intense longing in my soul. Psychologists will probably tell you I was yearning for a loving father, and in some ways they're right. But what I was truly needing was God the Father! I just didn't know it then. So, I tried my best to fill that void with many things: boys and sex, drinking and partying, spending sprees and general rebellion. While many of those things made me happy in the moment, none of them brought me the deep and lasting love I so desperately wanted. In the long run the only things I felt were shame, self consciousness, and handfuls of regret. "And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God..." Titus 2:12

{Lesson #2: There's a God shaped hole in everyone's heart that can ONLY be filled by God.}

Even though I wasn't seeking God, there were times I felt His presence. There was one experience during college that I remember vividly. And to some it will sound downright crazy. I was driving home for the weekend. Nothing was different or special about that drive or the day, until out of nowhere I had such an overwhelming sense of unconditional love and it felt as if Jesus Himself was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. I was overwhelmed and immediately broke down and cried. "I will not fail you or abandon you." Joshua 1:5b

{Lesson #3: God will never ever abandon you. He will never leave you and He will never fail or hurt you. Unlike humans, God's love is unconditional, steadfast and eternal!}

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Yet, I still did not give Jesus the driver's seat to my life. 

About a year after college I met a guy named Seth on eHarmony. We hit it off, eventually met in person, got pregnant and then got married. While I had left behind some of that teenage rebellion, without God as my Counselor some of those sinful tendencies were still sticking around. It wasn't until the birth of our children that we both realized we needed God to guide us. And guide us He did. One day Seth was unexpectedly laid off from his job. Not long after that he miraculously got a new job with his old employer and we moved to a whole new city. In that new city we found our church home; it is the only church where I have ever felt the Holy Spirit at work. And I wholeheartedly believe that because we were seeking God, He led us to Him. It was certainly not in a way we expected, but then again He rarely works in obvious ways! "Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways." Isaiah 45:15

{Lesson #4: God knows you better than you know yourself. And He loves you more than you can comprehend. Move over to the passenger's seat and give Him the steering wheel. At times it may feel like you're swerving through traffic, but He will not let you crash and burn.}

Despite my sins, God has blessed me beyond belief! Even before I fully repented, He showed me His unfailing love and mercy. I owe everything I have and am to His amazing name! "The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!" Psalm 18:46

If you've made it this far, I'd like to send you away with a simple yet powerful exercise I learned from a friend. While reading the verse below, simply insert your name into the space...

"For God so loved ______, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:16

You can read other guest posts in this series


deb duty said...

This is a beautiful testimony, Katie. Thank you for sharing.

Discovery School at First Baptist Heath said...

i love your testimony Katie!!! what a great place to share it!

Anonymous said...

what an amazing testimony!

Kristal said...

What an amazing story Katie. Thanks for being so open!

Ashley Sisk said...

I can connect with you (Katie) on so many levels...and now it's even more apparent to me why. What an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Awesome. AWESOME. Thanks for sharing!!!

Casey Martinez said...

Wow Katie! What a beautiful, transparent testimony of God's faithful hand on your life and your journey to draw closer to him. Your blog and scripture posts always bless me and it is even more powerful now to hear your story!

H.E.R. Impressions said...

I am always amazed to read of the journey God takes us on to bring sinners to Himself. What a great God we have. Thank you for sharing how He transformed your life and filled up the emptiness inside.

Unknown said...

Wow. I always love seeing how God works in our lives, and appreciate women like Katie who chare their stories! I too find that we probably have more in common than I ever realized! Thank you Amber, for continuing this amazing series!

Karli @ The Bonnie 5 said...

Katie, this is BEAUTIFUL. Amazing, wonderful...so touching! I am not good with putting my thoughts into words like this; and you truly have a gift in your writing. And you already KNOW what I think of your photography! We share similar life journeys, and how merciful is our God! I was really touched by your post...thanks so much for sharing!

Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

What a wonderful testimony Katie. I have a friend who was abused just like that only it was her mum who was a minister's wife who did the abusing. She's written a book now about the abuse - she came back to the Lord after turning away from the New Age movement.

mountain mama said...

what a great testimony katie, thank you for sharing it!! It's amazing how God reaches out to us all in such unique personal ways!

{e-harmony huh? i've always wondered if that works!:}

Becky said...

Phew! That's one amazing testimony of God's grace. :0) Thanks so much for sharing that! What a wonderful Heavenly Father we have! I was sent over from Branson's blog to check out miss Amber (whom I already follow), I'm sure glad I came over though. Somehow I missed this one.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony! The ways that God works blow me away!! He's so good to us and he saved us not because of righteous things we'd done but because of his mercy. Praising God for what he did in your life!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a beautiful post Katie. Your dad sounds similar to my dad. All about going to church but had a terrible temper. He has gotten better over the years though. Thanks for sharing your story and being inspiring.