My story can be summed up very quickly: I’m a mess who has been saved by grace.
Hi, I’m Denise Heidel and welcome to My Grace-Full Life. This blog was started in November 2016 and has since become a daily devotional. I also write a monthly column in Forsyth Family magazine under the same name.
I am a recovered prodigal. Long story short – I became a Christian when I was 16, and at the first significant trial I faced as a Christian, I failed miserably and walked away from the church entirely when I turned 18. I didn’t abandon my belief in God. It’s just the further I drifted away from Him, the more I loved my own way.
But just as the prodigal son returned to his father, so I returned to my Father. Though I maintained my belief, I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. The best way to explain it is like this…. I knew I had the Holy Spirit living in me. However, I relegated Him to the guest room of my heart. I didn’t let Him live within me. I heard Him tapping on the door from time, clearly asking me to invite Him to the living room of my soul. But I got very good at ignoring the tapping.
Until I wasn’t so good at it anymore.
I tried it my way for the better part of 18 years. Eighteen years during which I made poor choices. Don’t get me wrong. According to the world’s standards — I didn’t do anything totally crazy. On the surface, I was a pretty nice, well-rounded woman.
But I know the real me. The selfish me. The me who made bad decisions. The me who can mentally beat myself up like nobody’s business.
When I married my second husband, Wayne, I started going to church again. It was a superficial return to my faith for several years until I just got sick and tired of being lukewarm. I wanted more. I wanted to stop relying on myself and start relying on Jesus.
Learning to listen to God, talking to God, reading His Word, getting to know Him, thanking Him every day for His countless blessings, asking forgiveness… all of this has led to the most Grace-Full days of my life.
Life isn’t perfect, but I’m in the hands of my perfect Savior now. The Holy Spirit has been released from the guest room of my heart and taken up full residence of my life. I love Jesus with all my heart, and He comes first above all.
I’ve lived without Him and know that life is so much sweeter when He is included.
Today, I share my home in Clemmons, NC with my husband Wayne, a Labrador named Beth, and three cats (Gable, Dwight, and Jim). I’m a Jesus girl first, and after that, I’m a wife, a mother, a writer, and a coffee snob in that order. And a little bit of Crazy Cat Lady too, but writers are supposed to be cat and coffee people. Right??
I’m so thankful that you’ve visited My Grace-Full Life! Thank you for reading!
Wow Denise! This is wonderful and I’m so honored to know you, call you friend and have the pleasure of working with you every day! Thanks for sharing such a personal testimony and for your willingness to share this with others through your amazing blog.
Wow Denise! Thank you for sharing your personal testimony and for sharing your gift via this blog. I am honored to call you friend, sister in Christ and then get to work with you every day! I can’t wait to see where this will lead you! Love you!
Denise, your website is so pretty! And you are beautiful inside and out. So glad I have gotten to know you, girl!
You’re so sweet, Debbie!!! Thank you!!! ❤️
Love you and your story! You inspire me friend and give me hope for the prodigals in my life! 😘❤️ Website looks awesome!
Thank you!!! Love you!!!!
Thank you for sharing this. “Life isn’t perfect, but I’m in the hands of my perfect Savior.” This is a wonderful testimony! Praise the Lord!
Thank you for sharing your story-many similarities with my own. It is so comforting to return to the arms of the Savior who never leaves us.
Hi Denise! Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your article in July’s Forsyth Family on Remodeling: well -developed points and very encouraging! So proud of you- and what God is doing through you!
Thank you so much, Mrs. Bottoms! That means the world to me! HUGS!!!!!!
Good morning, Denise. I came across an image that had your website at the bottom – the one about Zacchaeus and the tree – so I decided to look you up here. And I’m so thankful I did. I cried through reading your testimony. I, too, want the Holy Spirit to reside in my living room 🙂 I love that you have daily postings and I will be a regular here, as I have bookmarked you as a favorite 🙂 Thank you for sharing your testimony. I have several that I share whenever God opens the door to do so.
Wow, how have I never known this about you?! I loved reading your testimony because it is honest and clear. This inspires me to put my own testimony into words and get over the fears I have of not communicating it perfectly. Glad to know you and now have this better understanding of our shared values and beliefs.
How great to know that you are a sister-in-Christ, Candice!!! I would love to hear your testimony, too! I love the infinite ways God redeems us and helps His children. While I regret the years I’ve wasted, I know that God’s love is mine because of His promises… Let’s plan to have lunch sometime soon!