YOUR STORY  ||  April 12, 2018
Angela Eilts – “Breath in my Lungs” 
 I am overwhelmed with the graciousness and the radical goodness of God. My husband is working to understand why people are so happy at church and in thinking about how to explain it to him, it came to me that I literally wouldn’t be alive without God’s miracles in my life.
The first miracle happened when I was three years old. Our best friends had a swimming pool in their backyard. It was the beginning of summer and I got in the pool, which was full of kids, with my Donald Duck swimming ring. I leaned over in my ring and tipped over. My ring was too tight around my waist and I was stuck upside down in the water. I don’t remember being afraid or not being able to breathe. Nobody noticed that I was stuck. My friend’s dad came home from his job and instead of going into his quiet house to relax, he walked into his noisy backyard full of kids and saw me. He jumped in with all his clothes on and got me out. I didn’t think to cry or be scared until I saw all the mom’s crying, so I did too, even though I wasn’t hurt by the experience.
A few years later, the enemy tried again to steal my breath. When I was 18 years old and a freshman in college, I got sick with mono and then bacterial and viral pneumonia. My lungs stopped working and I was in a medical coma and on a ventilator. The doctor told my parents there wasn’t anything else they could do to stop my blood oxygen levels from dropping. As a last attempt, they turned me onto my stomach for three days and all of a sudden my blood oxygen started going back up. It was a long two-month recovery process. I was able to I leave the hospital but I took with me physical and emotional scars. Scars from lung, gall bladder, appendix and tracheotomy surgeries.
I didn’t know the love of Jesus. I believed the lie that he made me sick and then decided that he didn’t want to take me to heaven, so he left me sick and alone.
I started school over again in the fall and was invited to a Christian Challenge group. I didn’t understand anything about worship or reading my Bible even though I’d grown up in church. On New Year’s Eve of 1999, I went to a conference called Passion 99. Through a message by Louie Giglio I felt the love of God like a waterfall and accepted Jesus. I still battled with rejection and feeling like I couldn’t get it right as a Christian. I didn’t know all the “unspoken rules” of church and at times I felt more acceptance from my old crowd of party friends than my new Christian friends. Still, I didn’t give up, I knew that I needed Jesus in my life.
A few years later I got involved in a Bible study which turned into a house church. I got caught in the trap of believing that my Christian friends and church leaders knew more about God and even more about my own life than I did. I tried so hard to follow everything they said to do, where to live, what job to take. Then one night everything fell apart. I then realized I had put my life into the hands of human beings instead of God and when those friendships started falling apart I thought my life was over.
One night, I waited until I thought my roommates were all asleep (so no one could intervene) and took an overdose of pills. I walked into the house and one of my roommates, who was always the first one to go to bed, was still wide awake and sitting on the couch. I told him what I’d done and he called an ambulance. In the next several years I walked away from those destructive relationships which also meant walking away from friends that I thought I would raise my children with and a church that I thought held my future.
I can see now that God had an amazing future in store for me as I look where I am now with my husband and beautiful daughters. We’re now In a church where we have found so many friends that we love and that love us. I’m in a Bible study right now, where we are learning about how God heals our brains from trauma and toxic thinking. I see that I was so wrong to think that God rejected me for not “getting it right.” As we sing the song “Great Are You Lord…it’s your breath in our lungs and we pour out our praise” it’s so personal to me because God literally gave me back the breath in my lungs three times.
I’ve learned that it’s not a church or a certain person or people that hold my life and the life of my family: it’s God Himself. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that a God so big and powerful is also so personal and loving. He truly does leave the ninety-nine found sheep to go find the one lost sheep….and I know because He found me.
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