God Makes People
Carmen H., February 2007

My name is Carmen, I am 32 years of age and I'd like to tell you about how God revived me to a new life and gave me a new heart.

All those years before I found Jesus, my life was shaped by deadheartedness. It's a miserable thing to walk through life without emotions or feelings. To feel no emotions, to have no sense for love, not being able to give love, not even to maintain firm relationships - this is indeed a poor life. But now, I feel all the more showered with God's grace after Jesus having healed me at that point, and even beyond that point!

But let's go step by step...

I grew up in a family that gave me warmth and protection on one hand, but on the other hand, never confronted conflicts and expressing feelings or emotions was a dangerous thing to do. Like this, throughout my childhood, I never learned to perceive emotions, let alone expressing them. All in all, I was a very performance-related girl, always did well at school, was popular with teachers and classmates. My first grade teacher knew me and my brother and used to say about us, "The name Hirschl stands for quality". This was the first outside experience to tell me who I was. I defined myself by my performance, by my schooling.

Already as a young girl, I felt as if I was called for something "higher", not "just" a mom and housewife. But I didn't have any clue either, of what else should be with me. Despisingly, I looked down at everything that had to do with family and kids.

I was strictly brought up catholic and instructed to submit to authorities. But soon I realized that I desired freedom and wanted to determine my life by myself.

After ending my first longterm relationship, time came to embrace that kind of freedom that I always longed for. The call for freedom was stronger than any of the relationships that I had back then. I broke up with my family and my boyfriend and created a space for myself where I could simply be and try out whatever I pleased.

I got involved with men, went out partying and to openairs every weekend, drank excessively and smoked not only cigarettes. It was that kind of freedom I thought would make me happy. I had a big dream at that time which was traveling to Italy alone and work there or just be on vacation. So in September 2002, the year of the big floodings here in Germany, I made for Italy. I was always thinking that one had to go for one's fortune alone, and so I went in search for it.

What I did find though was even more coldness and a big deal of loneliness. By the end of my vacation I wandered through Rome and didn't feel any joy at all. I saw everything yet I felt indifferent to eveything. However, what I learned in those times was that there is a time for everything. That there are things you want and head for, but in vain, while those same things at a different time are very easy to achieve. I told this to a Dutch pastor who I met on Assisi's town square and who was playing praise music with a band there. He lauded my wisdom and gave me his email address.

During this time in Italy there was something though that kind of warmed me. Two of my work colleagues had given me an envelope with slips of paper in it, a Bible scripture written on each one of them. This love, that proven me by this action, did warm me up indeed at night and I became aware of the fact that I will never be happy alone and that I am in need of others in my life. As I use to call it now, I was socially starved and for the very first time in my life, I was thankful for my family and friends after I had come back from Italy five weeks before that.

One of these colleagues that had given me those Bible scriptures, invited me to an Alpha Course at their home in December 2002. In hindsight I have to admit that I had to declare my inner bankruptcy, had someone asked me. At my workplace, I was very often stressed out, even burned out, I was very superficial in my relationships - nice on one hand, yet very suspicious and reserved inside on the other hand. Depressions piled up. Often I felt very sad and lonely and my relationships with men became more than unedifying. I was not able to fall in love with any of them. I saw no future for my life. I was only 28 at that time.

In this former colleague however, I got to know a Christian lady, whose love that she had inside of herself, was tangible on her outside. Whenever she lifted her hands in worship at church, I felt my heart beginning to burn. I never had such feelings before in my life. Although I rejected at first all that I heard concerning faith contents, since I had heard of it throughout all the religious education in my childhood, I became very curious to learn what I did not know yet - this soft, holy, painfully longing in my heart which only the Holy Spirit can produce.

God became a tangible experience for me. He came into my life with His forgiveness, His love and His joy and I became aware that I was born into a Christian family. I was no more alone. God was always with me. One day, at a church service, a woman said to me, "Carmen, now you are not alone anymore. You are four now: yourself, God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That makes four of you!" I had to laugh!

Little by little, all my values and attitudes changed. The fellowship with other Christians became very important to me, even though I was still quite unsecure. I was able to experience God's love for me, and that He causes miracles and answers my prayers. I began to love Jesus with the emotions that started to grow in my heart. For the very first time in my life I was able answer to the question of what love is and how it feels like.

Looking at my colleague's life, I could see that marriage and family life can be something wonderful and from that moment on, I began to desire a godly man for myself with who I could be joint through Jesus. Suddenly I got aware that I was well able to love a man, for now, I was at the source and God would always give me as much as I needed.

My desire for freedom and independency has changed into that now I enjoy pleasing God, doing His will, even though I sometimes don't manage to. I also got ready to give myself in and become integrated and take up true relationships.

Last May, I became to know Thomas, a Christian, and love has banged in! At some point, we got engaged and coming summer, we plan to get married. With him I have found that place that God had promised me a year prior to that. I am still trying to figure out that I am loved without merits, yet I don't manage to. However, I can sense it. In church, I have found new brothers and sisters and friends. I feel God's wonderful friendliness and His promise to give us a new home here in Bavaria.

I am so thankful to God for what He has given me. He took my heart of stone and gave my a fleshly one. Beyond this, He gave me much more. I don't need to render performance with Him. He simply loves me! This is still quite incomprehensible to me. I am not living to myself any longer, but to receive God's love and to give a certain part back to Him.

I hope He will keep me from going astray, away from His love.

In His Love,

The Christian Counter