Thursday, January 22, 2009

from the top

It seems the best place to begin this blog is at the beginning of my walk with God. Here is my testimony of God's love and faithfulness:

I really haven't been Christian all that long... it's probably in the range of five or six years. In fact, I can't remember the exact moment I crossed over from being a non-believer to a person who recognized Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. For so long I adamantly refused to believe that Jesus was more than a person of historical significance and that God even existed.

walking away...

As a child, my first memory of church was not a good one. I remember my parents leaving me in the child care room and I was not happy about it. It's not that there was anything scary about the room or the people assigned to take care of us. In fact, I grew to really enjoy being in there, but perhaps I initially felt abandoned and resentful. I believe that experience colored my perception of the church - and God - well into early adulthood. Growing up, though my parents became involved in the various ministries and fellowship of the church, we didn't have an active relationship with Christ in our "regular" daily lives. When we moved from Canada to the U.S., we started going to a church with an outwardly similar look and feel to the one we left behind, but the fabric of its community and fellowship didn't match with what we already had experienced. This, combined with seeing my dad lose his enthusiasm for attending church and the fact that I was 12 and wanting to be more independent, caused me to stop going to church.

in darkness...

About this time, I also began questioning God's existence. As I learned more about our world from science class in school, I foolishly started thinking "Well, that clears up the question of whether God exists. Scientists have proven He doesn't need to exist because the world was created on its own. Besides, the Bible doesn't say anything about dinosaurs, so it can't possibly be accurate or reliable." This line of reasoning gradually progressed until I moved from being an agnostic to fully atheist. Hearing about and seeing the hypocrisy within the church and with many Christians didn't help matters. My other fallible thoughts on the subject of God included: "God is only for people who are weak and not strong enough to get through life on their own." "I'm a good person, even if I'm wrong and God does exist after all, He'll see what a good life I've led and let me in anyway." "When you're dead, you're dead. All this talk of life after death is nonsense." "I believe a man named Jesus did exist, but was he the Son of God? No way!" “Believing in God is like Greek mythology…people need to invent something to explain the unexplainable.”Worse, I would make fun of people who believed in God, try to put them down for their beliefs, and at perhaps the lowest point, even ended making the sign of the cross with flicking God off. My heart now breaks when I think of the pain I caused Him in that moment. That He could continue to love me and want to draw me to His heart speaks volumes about His grace and mercy.

a glimmer...

God was patient with me though and when He knew it was the perfect time to change my mind about Him, He slowly began drawing me into His presence. The first glimmer of hope and a moment I now see as God’s first act in wooing me back to Him, was the afternoon before the first date with my husband. I was at work and thinking about the upcoming date and I began to grow nervous as I remembered times before when I would like a guy, and then, as he began to show interest, I would decide I didn’t like him after all and would end up confusing him. I knew I didn’t want this to happen with David and so I prayed what was probably my first real prayer in many years that I would not hurt him. At the time, it didn’t register with me that I was actually praying to a God I professed not to believe! A few months later, God used the death of my grandfather to get me to start actively thinking about the probability of His existence. It began with the realization it would be quite depressing if death were really the end of it all and something inside me began to believe that there really is life beyond death. Leading up to this, both of my sisters and my mom had begun to experience personal relationships with Christ and would share their faith and challenge me in my non-“beliefs” (which annoyed me to no end, but for which now I am extremely grateful). As God began softening my heart toward Him, I believe He led my mom to give me the “Left Behind” book to read. Though the Left Behind series has drawn as much criticism as praise, it stirred in me a desire to experience the kind of faith and relationship to God that so powerfully brought the characters in the books to their knees.

into the light...

God continued to lead me to Him gradually and through many ways
from that turning point…in an answered prayer on my wedding day, in my marriage, in the pregnancies and births of each of our children and in leading me to a church which resembled the one of my childhood. It was hard not to cry as I walked in those doors for the first time because I felt God saying, “Welcome home.”

And's a daily learning experience to walk with Him. Sometimes I feel so close to Him and full of joy and other times I am overcome with grief at my sins and for the lack of feeling Him tangibly with me. But I take heart in the fact that He is faithful and He loved me even when I hated Him. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6 NIV)