By: Robbin Plaster
When asked the question: When were you saved? I always answer,
Before the foundations of the earth.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us, in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having said that, this is a testimony of the sovereignty of God and the grace of Jesus Christ toward me.
I was not brought up in a typical Christian home. My mother married at age fifteen. No, not because she was pregnant. In the 50s all you needed was parental consent. I was born when she was sixteen. My brother was born two years later and she divorced within that year. She married again and I became a military brat. Which meant we moved a lot. We had three more siblings, so I was the oldest of five. My grandmother, who was my mother figure, lived with us most of the time. She was faithful to pray for me and take me to whatever church was close by (Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Catholic). The first time I heard the Gospel I was five. I attended a Vacation Bible School at a local Lutheran Church. I can still see it as if it were yesterday. The coloring pages that showed Christ on the Cross, and it was for me. That contributed to my passion for VBS ministries.
When I was eight we lived in Fallbrook. There was a beautiful wooded area where we could play all day. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and was molested by an older neighbor boy. I never told anyone, but I knew I was damaged goods.
I was not consistent in attending church. My knowledge of God was limited to movies. The Ten Commandments, King of Kings, Ben Hur. Every Easter my heart was broken for Christ. I would cry for days and then go about my childish ways. My real father’s side of the family was very religious, but their way of serving God was seriously different. It made it impossible to know Christ. Very legalistic and fall down scary. If that was God, no thank you!
My mother divorced again. It was difficult for a woman to raise five kids and keep an eye on them while trying to keep food in their mouths. Feeling very lonely and damaged, I gave myself away to the first person that pretended to care. Sadly at the ripe old age of 13. This led to a very low self image. Drug use crept its way into my life and as the song goes, “looking for love in all the wrong places.” I still always tried to look good on the outside for my grandmother’s sake. It was the 60s and 70s. Even so, God would send people to remind me of His love. Strange things like one sober person at a party with a Bible. I would always wind up talking to them. I attended a few youth groups in my teens but never for long. A few times I told my mother I was going to the tent worship at Calvary Chapel but would go to the beach and party. I’d listen to the sermon on the radio so I had something to say when I got home. Keep an eye on your kids!
I should have died. I should have paid. I should have more consequences. Sins committed against me and a chief committer of sins. The things I saw while while walking so far from God were so dark and evil. We can be deceived thinking it’s fun, how can it be bad. But the day comes when you find that sin has you… you don’t have it. I write this in an attempt to encourage anyone who might be lost. Are you in a life that you feel there is no coming back from? Don’t wait, let this be the day! God is a good and mighty Savior. There is nothing you have done, no path you have chose, no damage done that can’t be turned into something beautiful by the grace of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it takes years for all the ghosts to go away but God is faithful. Shame and guilt may keep you from your knees but if you come humbly, cry out for mercy, broken before God, He will in no way despise you.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (KJV)
I was determined never to get married. There was no one worth marrying and it wouldn’t last anyway. But God! I met my husband on a blind date November of 1974 and married in August of 1975. I made it to twenty, not married in my teens like my mother. He was a man of true Godly character, although he was not walking with the Lord at the time. But he showed me he was faithful. He love me with the love of God. One that didn’t see my brokenness but my capacity for love and friendship and my nurturing spirit. Life was different.
We had our struggles. After two years we tried to have kids but they wouldn’t come. Two more years of tears, prayers, and learning to commit to each other, and we were blessed. After our second was born I was being more and more convicted that my life style was still far from God. I started attending a Women’s Bible Study. The Holy Spirit would not let me go! In 1981 I was baptized along with both of my children. At that time I was attending a church where I realized that the pastor didn’t believe that the Bible was completely true. I started my search for God.
We moved to Maryland and although I was convicted and thought won over I still had a besetting sin. I had tried to pray my way out of my addiction to marijuana. I had others praying. I thought I was free after moving, but Satan fights very hard to keep us in bondage. Although I refused to buy it, it would show up for about a year. Finally I came to a point where I was broken before the Lord. I cast myself on the floor. I cried out to God for mercy. I begged Him for strength to say NO when tempted. That very day I was set free. I began witnessing to all those around me of God’s great mercy. I also started losing a lot of so-called friends. It’s ok. I was seeking the Lord and found Him. I was listening to everything I could find that had to do with Him. I learned so much through a Radio Bible Station that taught God’s divine and inerrant Word. The Bible alone and in its entirety, old and new testament. I was gathering information from many places looking for truth.
CHRIST ALONE, THE BIBLE ALONE!!
I’m grateful that it is God that changes the heart. We found a home church. I mention all of these different churches because God taught me a great deal about Himself through these experiences. There is no perfect church, because there are people in them. There is, however, one perfect Word and one true God! The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have seen His Spirit in many of these places, but it is where He is being served in truth that I have grown. Over the years I have been baptized in His Word and been kept safe from error. I know sometimes it’s hard to take the absolutes of the Scripture, but it’s there for a reason. I’ve seen churches where women have been pastors and men stopped trying. I learned a lot in Bible studies. Because of my hunger for the Word and my belief in what it said, I was given leadership of my women’s group, even as a baby Christian. My Pastor called me a fundamentalist like it was a dirty word; I didn’t even know what the word meant. I’m happy to say I still am one.
During that time we had three more children, all with their own challenges. I always said after three it’s a career move. Keeps you on your knees. We had times of plenty and times of want. My husband came to his knees while struggling with business, having six kids and a wife to feed. Painful but growing.
We moved back to California. I got pregnant again. This time with another set of twins. I lost one at 11 weeks. In my seventh month, my son Zachary was born. He died seven days later. I came to understand the meaning of the peace that passes all understanding. God held us up and surrounded us with Himself through many believers.
I did find after several months that I started to rebel. I kept finding excuses to drink wine. I would make gourmet meals after being sober for over ten years. Fortunately, God was quick to remind me that this was His story, not mine, and He was God, not me. I had to trust. I wrote a poem of His sovereignty. If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be. God was again good and gracious to us. After a couple of years we were blessed with my treasure, Matthew. I tried very hard for my first child and my last, all the rest were gifts. There have been many other struggles and I’m sure there will be many more. When God is in it, it’s all good. The Lord has been faithful to not let me stray far from the path. He made something beautiful of my broken life. I am getting ready to celebrate my 55th year of life, and our 35th year of marriage. Yes, it can last. We are more in love today than ever before, because we value the gift. Five out of seven of our children are married and God has His hand on all of them. We have three grandchildren, so far. God took a life with no hope and allowed me to serve Him in so many ways. I have more friends, more children, more relationships filled with love than I could ever have imagined. Even if there was only Him, it would be heaven.
Where humble men and women seek Him with all their hearts and search His Word, you will find Him. I am grateful for God’s mercy in my life and I pray I will be able to serve Him all of my days.