I went to a women retreat this past weekend. As per usual I was filled up with good info to once again save the world. Not really, but that was my first thought and I liked it. It was all about “our story” and how everyone’s story is important. We heard from different women about their testimony. How they came to know the Lord and the backstory of their upbringing to their current phase in life. I was able to share my story and well it gets easier the more times you share. We also watched a video series by Greg Laurie. He said a lot of fantastic things but the one thing that stuck was this:
If you were a beggar and you found a pile of food, wouldn’t you tell the beggar beside you where to get the food too?
That is us with Christ. We are beggars and we all need Christ. If you had knowledge of a never ending source of food, wouldn’t you share it? Or would you keep walking by knowing they are starving and knowing full well you have the key to an everlasting life! I have beaten up myself because I, over and over have been the beggar that walks right by you, while you sit and wait for food. Now, before I go any further this is just an illustration that spoke to me. I know there is a real crisis of people actually needing physical food, the food I am sharing about will fill you forever.
I am a big skeptic of all the things….what a hoax I would have said in my previous years. How silly it is to talk about such fairytale stuff. It wasn’t until my stone heart began to break did I realize my need.
Let me take you back…..a short version, well this may be long as I write, from age birth to 25. I was born and raised in a Christian home. I always knew of the Bible and God and was able to tell you stories that were in the fat intimidating book! We would go to church and what not and for the most part I can remember we were a good family. I don’t remember a whole lot of Jesus in my knowledge but didn’t think it mattered or didn’t apply or whatever….I have a few memories growing up and well most of them were pleasant. Fast forward to parts I do remember. My parents were going to get a divorce and well that just shook our family up a tad much. Things no longer were predictable and well in my memory it was hard, sad, and sucked. Life changed a lot and I went through a lot of change for a 12 year old. We left our church and that gave me a sour taste in my mouth for so called “christians”, 7th,8th an 9th grade were all different schools, my mom was getting remarried, we we were moving to the US. I mean seriously wouldn’t any kid smoke pot to subdue that much change. It really didn’t unfold just like that but somewhere in my 8th grade year I made some choices that put me on a path that wasn’t healthy they’d say. From age 14 to 21 I have a mix of memories. To summarize I had gone to a few rehabs for drug addiction, had an amazing eating disorder, had sex far far far far far far far too early, and well a long list of shameful crap that no one should be proud of. I don’t know what I thought of God during this time. I acknowledged there was a God but I really didn’t want to hear about Him or have anything to do with Him and I would not enter a church that was for sure! ( Meanwhile I had a faithful mom who prayed and prayed and prayed). Fast forward a few more years and Brent and I got married! He insisted he wouldn’t date a girl who used drugs so I ended giving that up in the name of love….besides I could just drink more then right? To add to the mix I had been dealing with depression and anxiety since well forever it seemed. Medicated or not it makes life hard. Period. A few more went by and now we had 2 beautiful boys…Miles and Nolan, my hearts. I was married, had 2 kids, and was able to stay at home with them. My life was perfect or I thought I should have felt perfect. I mean I had all I ever wanted in front of me and I was LOST. I didn’t get it. My priorities began to change as did my lifestyle with 2 little ones. I was wanting to go a different direction, I needed to. I had a strong conviction of the choices I had made and I knew I didn’t want to be her anymore….In previous years Brent had mentioned here or there we should try church. I was resistant but decided to have Miles baptized in the church Brent grew up in. That was all fine and done but had no idea why we every even did it…..other than just a thing to do. Baptized the little man….Done! We knew Brents grandma attended a church near us and somehow God brought us there one day. I remember jumping in with 2 feet and I never looked back. I didn’t know how church would affect me if anything but I was desperate for help and change. Since I stayed at home with the boys I was able to attend a thursday morning Bible Study where they watched your babies while you hung out with other moms and had a snack. Yes Please. I don’t care what we learn about, I just need a break, and Im tired of my life…..For months and months as I attended this study I would ball everytime, especially when it was time to pray, something I had never done, and something I didn’t understand really at all. I was so broken in so many ways and I realized somewhere in those months my need for a savior. I had a few girls approach me and I couldn’t figure out why they were so nice to me and the boys. I thought it was creepy and kept wondering what they wanted from me and why are you so nice???!!! Over the next several years things really have changed and still are. I can’t imagine my life without my church family. Here is a list of what I have learned so far…
- Life is still hard. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have a easy life, it actually will become harder in many ways. The crap still happens, the disappointments continue, illness still creeps in. What we have though is HOPE. We have a Father in Heaven who will help you through life instead of doing it on your own…which is exhausting. We can understand the trials better and know that this life is temporary.
- Jesus really loves you. He has been seeking you. Each one of you. If you are open to Him entering your life he will show up! But those who refuse to believe and have hardened their hearts towards the Lord,he will leave them alone….it is a choice.
- With God at the wheel you can truly surrender your whole life too him. You will be able to look at life through Gods eyes and let him carry you.
- The primary way God speaks to us is through The Bible. Yes, reading it is really how you grow and understand what a life following Christ is really about. The sermons, the studies, the songs, all play an important part in your Christian life, but nothing compares to reading and studying God’s word. I can say for years I didn’t read my Bible even though we were going to church….I figured the sermon was enough. Well if you really really want to hear from Him open that book. 5 minutes a day to start cannot hurt or kill you. This is not a lecture fyi, it is just what I have learned.
- Jesus died on the cross for all our sins. Picture it. That was for you. By believing in Him we can live eternally in Heaven with Him! How’s that for love?!
- Being a good person is great but it is not a ticket to Heaven. Once you know and see How much God has done for you our natural response is good deeds, but deeds on their own cannot save you.
- Good deeds become different if you do them for the Lord. There is an amazing thing how giving becomes better than receiving.
- God hasn’t called us to be comfortable in our lives. We are made to disciple others and get dirty. Find your passion and HELP. We each have been given gifts to serve the Lord.
- Our God forgives over and over. We are going to screw up, like a lot because we are sinful humans. We have a God who is full of compassion and will forgive us if we repent of our sins. God knows your heart. He will know if you are sincere.
- NO ONE is beyond the touch of Jesus. That child molester, that murderer, that unfaithful wife…. all can be forgiven and live with God in eternity.
- Creation is fascinating. We were each created uniquely. Think of the billions of people in this world and no two are alike. How the brain works, how we have babies, how animals live, how the sun rises and sets each day. Someone created that, It wasn’t just here or it wasn’t just a big bang:)
- God has a purpose for each one of us. Seek Him and He will answer.
- Lastly, because now this post is super looooonnnnnngg Satan is real. His demons are real. He is working day and night to add people to his kingdom of darkness. He hates God and will do many things to get us to stray from believing in God. He twists scripture, which can be very confusing if you don’t know the word of God.
- oh and I have learned more but the list has to have an end.
I pray for you and ask that you take time to consider his gift to you. Who are you living for? If its not for God, its ends up being the Devil. Sounds harsh, but its true. Im learning more and more everyday about the Christian life. FYI I had my days of mocking Bible bangers and making fun of “church people”. I am still a sinner, and will continue to make messes through my journey. I don’t judge you. I long for you to hang out with me underneath the passionfruit tree in Heaven. I often am scared to talk about my faith. Why? I am scared of rejection or judgement. I don’t want to smother you…i have a list of excuses….but in all seriousness one beggar should not pass the other beggar and not let him know the source of food is right there.
Also-if anyone ever has any questions about any of this I am super pumped to talk about it. AnYTime!