Cindy Robbins

  The Missing Piece 

I told the church one night during a service that I felt like our church was missing a piece of a puzzle, for some reason in my heart it seemed like we were missing something. Little did I know that it was ME that was missing God in my life, the peace that passes all understanding. There were many in the church that realized this, but I was clueless until several years later. Here is my testimony of how the Lord revealed himself to me and gave me my missing piece, and made my life whole.

I was raised by my mom who had been divorced 5 times, and a bitter grandmother that had raised 9 children alone after her husband had died of bone cancer. It was a very unstable environment, but it was all I knew, I thought it was normal for many years. I have never known what it was like to have a father, because I am an illegitimate child. My biological father denied that I was his. So I was raised with a bad attitude about men. I was taught they were all losers, and self centered. The discipline that was carried out was by my grandmother, who carried a switch and was just itching for a chance to use it, and unfortunately I gave her many chances. Growing up in this atmosphere, I learned to trust in myself and appeared that I did not need or have to have a man to depend on for anything.

School years were great and fun and I loved school and my friends. I was very independent and started working when I was 12. I made my own decisions and answered to no one at a very early age. Ironically, I was looking for love by the time I was 13 and thought I was ready for marriage by 15. Kenneth, my husband, and I were classmates in high school, we dated for about a year and were married  just 3 short months after we graduated high school.  My purpose for marriage was not for love solely, but to not have to live with my mother and change situations that that I was not satisfied with in life. I thought I would get to rule my own life after marriage, however, that was not the case.

Two years after we had been married, I had my first child, a son, Heath. Kenneth and I had such a good marriage relationship that I couldn’t even tell him I was pregnant for 3 months.  I was afraid he would be angry with me because I was supposedly taking the pill (when I would remember).  He wasn’t too upset with me, so we muddled through the process of adjusting to having a child.  Kenneth and I had very different ideas of parenting, I wanted him home helping me, and he wanted to not be at home, not helping me. So, most of the time he went his own way and I went mine. He loved to hunt, and fish, and run beagles. We both worked, so my new life was raising a son, and his was well the same as it was before Heath was born. We rarely went to church, we had no desire to. He was raised in church, but I only went to church when taken by a relative. I had no thoughts of God or spiritual matters growing up, life was just life and you rolled with the punches, taking all matters into your own hands and dealing with them the best way you knew how.

When Heath was 15 months old he had spinal meningitis, he was very sick and at the point of death. The doctors rushed him to a pediatric hospital to spare his life, at this point I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter Brittany. Needless to say this ordeal changed my complete thinking about life and brought my mind to thinking about God. I was in the waiting room attempting to sleep waiting to see if my son was going to make it through the night. I realized at this point in my life that there was a God and that he was in control of all life and situations. I started making deals with God in my mind, I said God if you will allow my child to live I will start going to church and live my life for you the best I know how. I dozed off to sleep, the next morning my son was much better and the prognosis was that he was going to be ok after a few weeks of meds and being in intensive care.

Now it was time for me to keep up my end of the bargain that I had made with God.  After the birth of my daughter, Brittany, I told Kenneth we were going to have to start going to church. We started going to New Oak Grove Baptist, because that is where Kenneth attended when he was growing up and his parents were still members there.  We attended on Sunday mornings only, for awhile, but then as our children were growing older and getting involved in sports and many other activities, church was not a priority again. Our children loved sports, so that became our God, even though we didn’t realize it at the time. Both of our children were very good in sports, Heath played all star baseball from the time he was 7 until he graduated, and Brittany played all star softball from 7 until she graduated high school, and basketball also. We were on a sports field or basketball court, every day, every weekend for 10 years.

As the years rocked along, we still attended New Oak Grove when we could fit it into our schedules. We had several preachers that came and went, which had become a norm for our church. The faithful people of the church had become weary of the searching for a new preacher process, because they would only stay for a year or two and then leave us.

In 1993, the pulpit committee decided to ask the Blue Mountain College Seminary to send some young men for trial sermons. Bro. Claude Mills came to our church with his wife and family of 3 young children. I don’t remember what he preached the very first time he came, but when they called him back for his second sermon, he preached a sermon titled “what are we passing to the next generation”. That sermon touched many of our church members, deep meaning for us shallow minded people. We had never thought about what we were passing to the next generation. He was preaching spiritually, asking were we teaching our children the ways of God? All we were teaching our children that I could see was how to play ball. Of course, this could mean scholarships we would tell ourselves.  We certainly didn’t know anything about the bible to teach them, even though we had been attending church for years. Little did we know that God was going to teach us what to pass on to the next generation in the years and sermons to come.

We elected Bro. Claude to be our new preacher, because we were all impressed with his sermons and his family. After he got settled in at our church and got the feel for what we believed or didn’t believe and realized where our hearts were, he started preaching what he called “truth”. Truth was what the bible really said about things and the standard by which we should live our lives, according to what God and the Bible said, not what we thought was right in our own minds, or vain traditions of the church.

When Bro Claude came to our church, we were well into our love for sports, and our children’s lives. Kenneth and I had grown apart over the years of our marriage because of it, he went one way with Heath and his games, and I went another way with Brittany. We had very little time for one another, and when we did it was usually arguing about money or who was right about what and you did or didn’t do this for me, or the usual marital fights and justifications of your feelings.

I got to the point that I hated sports, hated being at sports events every weekend, being in the hot sun, listening to parents whine about their kid not getting to play or the coach yelling at my kid because they didn’t play good enough. I worked hard and I deserved better I would think, if my family loved me they wouldn’t put me through this mess. I was very selfish, became very distraught, very strong willed and obnoxious to everyone, not only my family, but anyone that crossed my path. I got into financial messes, and Kenneth would have to borrow money to bail us out. I didn’t care about who it was affecting, I would turn around and do it again. I eventually was unfaithful in our marriage, so therefore I was an emotional wreck, and put my family through hell, but I hid it all inside, or in my mind I was. I was very deceitful, I pretended that nothing was wrong and trudged right along justifying all of my thoughts and actions. While all this was going on, I had to appear to be a good parent and wife and attend church, after all that’s what I told God I would do, my feeble promise earlier in life. I was living a double life, pretending nothing was wrong, living one way at home and work another way at church. It became a miserable life circle.

When Bro. Claude started preaching truth, one of the first things he preached about was that God expected husbands to love their wives and wives to love their husbands. Not only did he preach this, he lived it. Bro. Claude and his wife Becky were much in love. They held hands in public, would sit close to one another in church, and kiss in public, enough to sicken me. I would make fun of them and tell them to get a room or make other smirk remarks to them. But I could really see that they cared for one another and cared what the other thought about things, and had a relationship and respect for one another.  It was not good to compare our marriage to theirs, because it did not match up. Deep down in my heart, I was jealous of their relationship but I knew in my mind I could never love my husband like Becky loved Bro. Claude or the way God said it was supposed to be. It was at this point in my life that conviction started piercing my heart. I started hearing God speak through a preacher and it was about love, a type of love that I had not ever heard of before, a love from an almighty God that would forgive me and wanted a relationship with me. A type like a husband and wife are supposed to have, unconditional, forgiving love.

Bro. Claude often preached about how to love God was to love him and love each other, not only your spouse, but people in the church. I was so in love with myself at that time in my life, I had no desire to love anyone in the church, or get close to them. If I were to get to close to anyone or open up to anyone, they might find out about my sins and my terrible attitude.  Another thing Bro. Claude preached about often was repentance, a form of humility and showing obedience toward God, I was not ready to do that. I remember sitting in church and wondering to myself and asking the Lord what I needed to repent of. Bro. Claude would say that repenting is a change of mind? I had no intentions of changing my mind about anything, because I was determined and convinced that I was right in all of my thinking. The Lord needed to straighten Kenneth out, and have him treat me better and take better care of me, but unknowingly to me Kenneth was thinking the same thing about me.  Somehow the Lord started showing me through many sermons that I needed to start seeking him, asking for forgiveness, and repentance. My heart was very hard and cold and I did not want to admit that what I was hearing about love toward my husband and others was the right thing to do.

I finally just ask the Lord what must I do to be right? He told me to get right with my husband, and love him. I did not like that answer and rejected the idea that was what I needed to do in order to be saved. However God started a work in my heart and life and convinced me differently. He sent not only Bro. Claude but other preachers, like Bro. Greg Moffitt, Bro. Tim Rutherford, and Bro. Terry Owen to help convince me of God’s teachings about love, mercy and forgiveness.

Bro. Greg Moffit preached a sermon at Grace Baptist Church that pierced my heart, it was out of Luke 18 and talked about how we trust in ourselves and have no need of the Lord. It talks about thinking yourself as righteous, and despising others. That was exactly how I felt. I thought I had everything under control and I didn’t want the spirit of the Lord showing me how sinful and what a mess I had made of things. I despised others that loved God and I thought everybody sins and I am as good as they are.

By this time, Kenneth and I were on the verge of divorce, I was at the point where I was ready to divorce and leave my kids. I wanted my own way and do my own things. The only thing that kept me from leaving already was I didn’t want someone else to raise my kids, I did not want them to be in a broken home situation.  I had no feelings for Kenneth, no love, I told him I wanted a divorce. Kenneth went to Bro. Claude and talked to him and told him what was going on. Bro. Claude started counseling with us individually.  He told me that my thinking was wrong and this is not what the Lord would want, and he felt like we could reconcile our marriage.

I had to get to know my preacher and trust someone besides myself. All this was a work of God in both mine and Kenneth’s life, drawing us to our man of God and teaching us to trust him. I was not in the right attitude about any of this to start with, I was still rebellious and really wanted my own way , but I wanted to do what was right for my kids and God eventually.  As I started hearing and obeying what Bro. Claude was saying about reconciling our marriage, the Lord opened my ears to what he was saying about reconciling to Christ. I started doing whatever Bro. Claude said to do. Kenneth and I separated and started all over, we started dating and trying to relearn each other, listening to each other and trying to sort things out. As I started to lower my guard and quit finding all the negative things about Kenneth and looking for positive, I saw that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. The Lord showed me how he had really taken good care of me over the years and provided all the things I needed, I was just not appreciative of it, a type of Christ in a sense.

Bro. Greg Moffitt preached a revival service for us and one night he preached about giving your problems to the Lord, he used the words throwing up or puking up our sins. I went to the alter that night and tried to do just that, I cried and puked up every distasteful sin I could think of that I had ever done, but I did not get saved that night, but I was doing some serious repenting. Some people were confused because it seemed I was broken and looked like maybe salvation had occurred, Bro. Terry Owen came to the alter and asked me could he talk to me and I said yes. He asked me did I not know that God was there for me, I said no, I don’t see him or feel him. He said you might as well go back to your seat, because God was there for me, but I missed him. I did what he said, I was not upset, I didn’t even know that salvation was near, I was just trying to get rid of my guilt and sin on my own once again.

A few weeks after that, I awoke in the middle of the night and the Lord told me to walk away and sin no more. It was so vivid and real, not like a dream. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t tell anyone for a few days, but it was constantly on my mind. So finally I told Bro. Claude what happened, and what the Lord had told me. Immediately he said do you not know what story that phrase comes from. I told him no.  He told me that was from the story of the adulterous woman in John 8, how the woman was caught in the very act of adultery, and the people brought her before the Lord and wanted her stoned, and the Lord told them whoever was without sin to cast the first stone and the Lord looked down and drew in the sand, and when he looked up, the people that brought her before the Lord were gone. He asked her where her condemners were, she said they are not here Lord. The Lord told her he condemned her not but to walk away and sin no more. I was like WHAT?! I said so you are saying the Lord does not condemn me and I can walk away and sin no more, forgiven by the Lord of Heaven. He said evidently, if that’s what the Lord told me. I just could not believe my ears. Why in the world would the Lord not condemn me, after all the things I had done to him? Well I just couldn’t believe it.

On August 27th, 2003, I went to church and Bro. Claude got up to preach and he read a verse out of the bible, I don’t even remember the specific verse, but he made the statement, that somebody in the service was a God hater, and we closed the service. It hit me like a ton of bricks, I thought I do not want to be a God hater, somehow through all the things that had happened in my life, I had learned to hate God, but at the same time it brought me to God and showed me how God had provided and taken care of me all of my life. I started to the back of the church to stack the chairs and put up the songbooks with all of these thoughts on my heart and mind. When I turned around to get another chair, the spirit of the Lord just sat down on me, I could not even stand up straight. Somehow I made my way to the pulpit where Bro. Claude was standing, by this time I was crying and I told Bro. Claude I could not leave the building that night without God and knowing that I was not a God hater. I was crying so hard I could hardly talk. Bro. Claude told me I just needed to get thankful, and thank the Lord for what he had done.  I was puzzled by this answer, I was like thank the Lord? I was not feeling thankful at that very moment.

Bro. Claude convinced me that I had already repented and it was time to be thankful, so I just started saying thank you Lord, and then the next thing I knew I was really thanking the Lord, for everything, for showing me myself, for sending me a preacher that taught me truth, for my husband, for my kids, for my church, for everything that he had taught me in the last 10 years, showing mercy to an unworthy sinner, for not killing me, grace and forgiveness of my sins and not condemning me, just on and on, I just couldn’t quit. I thanked the Lord for deliverance and salvation….SALVATION, yes the Lord had redeemed and saved me that night.  I worshipped for over an hour, it was unbelievable. I told the Lord that he was right about everything and I was wrong about everything. The spirit of the Lord not only moved on me that night but also my brother in Christ, Ralph Knighton, a birth of twins in the church.

The great physician had healed my heart, made me a new creature, gave me peace. I found the missing piece of the puzzle I had looked for. A great transformation had occurred that night.

My life has not been the same since, I love church, I love learning what the Lord wants and desires from me. Kenneth and I have a wonderful marriage now, he got saved 6 years later, and the Lord is still blessing both of us. When the Lord changed my life, it also changed the life of my family, our priorities changed, our decisions about where we go changed, everything is different, but better. Life for the Lord is wonderful, and he is still teaching us many things through the leadership of Bro. Claude and Faith Baptist Church. I would not trade my life with anyone.

Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.