It's been six weeks since I first introduced you to Eve - and what an incredible six weeks it has been!
Eve and I have heard from so many people who have been touched by her story. This past Sunday at our church, Firm Foundation Ministries, we were honored to be able to share her story and how God desires to redeem each of us. I wish you could've been there! It was beautiful!
So who is Eve?
On the day she was born, Eve’s parent’s gave her a name that means peace. I do not believe that this is a coincidence. For in my friend I see just that. I see a woman who found peace through the gift of Redemption.
Her name means peace, and we call her Erin. I'm proud to introduce you to my friend, Erin Eve Schwartz!
I asked Erin if she would tell us how her life has been since that night at the flagpole. So, ladies and gentlemen, here's Erin Eve!
Now I Know…..He love even me
A Letter from “Eve”
That night under the flag pole, when I finally gave in to God and stopped telling him who I was not. When I feel into his loving arms and let him love on me. That is really where the story begins, at least the good part. Because you see, at that moment, my old self died. I was remade new and washed white as snow. I knew that God wanted EVEN me!
From that point, I was like a new baby Christian. Learning to crawl and walk, learning to hold The Lord’s hand and Trust in God. That summer I worked as a waitress at a hometown restaurant and it was there that the man God had been molding just for me walked into my life. I knew this handsome, sweet guy who looked oh so adorable in his ball uniform was not from around town. Something drew me to him and I was bound and determined to be his waitress every time his ball team came into eats each week. I knew something was very different about this mysterious sweet guy whose name was Tobey.
When He asked me out the very first time, it wasn’t to go to a movie or dinner. He coolly walked up to me at the salad bar and with a twinkle in his eye, he said simply asked, “would you like to go to church with me?” My heart skipped a beat and I might as well have been the gravy sitting there on the buffet. I knew this adorable, sweet, hunk was a gift that only God could send me.
We began emailing often once I was back at school, we didn’t even have a date yet. We communicated by email only for 3 months before I actually called and spoke to him on the phone. That conversation lasted 3 hours and I knew when I hung up that this was the man for me. Before he hung up, he asked if he could pray for me! As exciting as it was, there was still terror in my heart, because he didn’t know ALL about me. God began working on me and Tobey would send me scripture that was exactly what I needed to hear for those particular difficult days that would come. I had told him I had just recently given my heart to the Lord and was a new Christian.
I kept going to Campus Crusades and drawing near to God. Baby steps….it was exciting, everything was so new and there was so much to learn, but through it all God was walking along side me for the times I would fall.
One glorious yet defining weekend Tobey picked me up and took me to Nashville Tennessee with him to visit his brother who was living there. We had only had about 2 dates back home when I was home for some various weekends. The sheer excitement and exhilaration of just simply riding next to him in his pick up truck was almost more than I could handle. I wanted to shout from the Grand Ole Opry stage that I was in Love, a love like I had never known. Tobey showed me all the sites and held my hand on a rainy carriage ride around the twinkling town. When he told me he loved me, I thought I’d explode with joy! I loved him more than I ever thought possible to love. In his arms was the only place I wanted to be. There was a severe blow to my heart as he drove us back to drop me off at my apartment at State…..I knew then that I’d have to tell my dream guy what I had done. He had to know my most hidden secret before this relationship got any deeper.
I remember Tobey asking me if I was okay on the way back. I told him I was just taking in all the great moments of the weekend, and I was tired. In reality I was praying to God to help him understand, to someway let him still love me if I tell him. I can still remember how I trembled and feared the worst…..that I would lose him. He put the truck in park in front of my apartment. This was it…I had to tell him before I got out of the truck and he drove back up north.
When I unhooked my seat belt and said I must tell him something, He took my hand and looked at me with those warm dreamy eyes and said “you can tell me anything.” I blurted it out and sobbed in his arms as he held me. He didn’t kick me out of the truck and leave me there on the curb as I had feared. He hugged me close and told me that I can’t see it now, but someday you will be able to help so many others who have the same hurt. I was quite shocked, I’ll admit. I sort of wondered if maybe he was a little crazy! What was he talking about? He brushed back my tears and prayed with me that God would heal my heart and that I would trust in Jesus when times are tough.
I remember him pulling away that night as I stood on the sidewalk. I was smiling up to the heavens, thanking God for that man he had sent into my life at the most perfect time.
December 22, 2001 was one of the happiest days of my life. I became Mrs. Tobey! What a life we have built together. We now have 2 precious, amazing boys that we thank God for daily. I can’t imagine my life with out them I truly know, without a doubt that they are gifts from God.
It hasn’t always been peaches and cream since that night at the flagpole however. You see, I left a huge pile of chains laying there on the ground. I was no longer in bondage to my sin. I accepted Christ into my heart and life, but I continued to carry in each hand a long dirty chain. They would clank and grown heavy at times and I would think that I HAD to drag them around with me daily, but guess what? God spoke to me as I began to press in to him. I began to read the Word, the instructions he gave me as a new baby Christian. I came to a pretty shocking revelation when I realized that I had been slapping Jesus in the face! By holding onto chains of unforgiveness of myself. Not receiving and believing God’s forgiveness, either by not confessing sin or by holding onto a self righteousness that says “I can’t forgive myself,” is prideful and ungrateful. It places our own evaluation over God’s. When we’ve been forgiven by others but do not accept it, that says that their forgiveness is not adequate.
When God forgives his children, it is FINISHED, signed, and sealed and EVEN forgotten!
Maybe you did what I did, or, maybe you were the drug addict, or the porn addict, or the adulterer. Or, maybe you were like the Jim in my story. When I wanted to be punished and I wanted to die, the shame and regret and guilt were at times too heavy a burden to carry. But I’m so excited to be able to tell you that when the enemy said that I deserved a punishment, God touched me with his grace.
Every sin – no matter how large – can be forgiven and swallowed in God’s infinite ocean of grace. If you don’t believe me, if you are like I was all those years ago in the back of campus crusades and you need to go look it up, by all means please do it! Go find 1John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus purifies us from every sin.” It does not say “SOME” it says ALL!
When my amazing, beautiful Woman of God friend Lynette asked me if I’d be willing to share my story on her blog, I hesitated. She and Tobey really were the only one’s who knew the real story, all of my story. She seemed so relaxed and calm about it. She gave me the peace that I needed to share it and that there are surely more stories like mine that can help set people free from the chains we sometimes carry around. I grew a strength and bold courage that only could come from God. I saw that I was a child of God and that my darkest hour could be used for his Glory! He was telling me to go tell.
I want to encourage anyone carrying chains that they can not let go of, to drop them at the foot of the cross. There is power and Freedom like you won’t believe in the sound of falling chains. Press into God and stop telling him who you are not and let him be God.
Hugs, blessing and Love to you all,
|Erin with husband, Tobey, and sons, Logan and Cooper|
|Cooper and Logan|
Thanks Erin, for telling your story! This journey together has been more incredible than I anticipated! I know your testimony will bless thousands - it already has, I'm sure!
I had seen something deep beneath Erin's lovely, happy spirit a couple of years ago - some deep hurt. I had no idea what that might be, but a couple of months ago as we sat together in a coffee shop, she told me her deep dark secret. My immediate response was, "Erin, that only makes me love you more!". I wish all of us could find the courage and strength to say, "that was then, but because of God's love for me, my 'now' looks a whole lot brighter!"
Erin and I went on to discuss some of her struggles over the years. One being the loss of two more babies through miscarriage. She and I also have both have our stories of dealing with infertility (I know, doesn't look like it anymore, right!), so we connected on that level as well. She went on to tell me about a song her sister-in-law, Carma Schwartz Kelley from The Schwartz Family, wrote called "Until I Can" - speaking of losing a child. (I wanted to have the song playing on here for you, but am having some difficulties getting it to happen.)
Erin said each time Tobey's family would sing this song, she had to leave the room.
Today, though, she celebrates the life of all three children who are with Jesus. She shared yesterday at church that she knows Jesus won't be running to her with open arms when she gets to Heaven - instead, He'll be carrying three babies as He comes to meet her!
If you would like to contact Erin personally, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org