Then I felt as though God say to me, share your story, how did you get to this point. I am sure many of you think I have been a Christian since I was a young girl, but that is absolutely not true. I knew of God, I believed in God, but in no way did it qualify me as a Christian from God's Word (or would it get me into heaven). I think that many people out there are walking around thinking they are; but they don't know the real Jesus, and that breaks my heart! I know I didn't and that was where my struggle was. I have only been a Christian for less than a third of my life, not even half. I was baptized as a baby, I had my first communion at sixish, I attended CC classes on Wednesday mornings before school started until 8th grade (that was at a time the schools allowed us to go to our churches to attend class), I was married in a church, I have gone to church for funerals and weddings. I even recall praying a few times when I was scared or worried, or at holiday meals. But none of those made me a Christian. It took me having my heart-torn apart and feeling like I had nothing, that I started searching for why and what?
I am so thankful for my grandma who took me to church and introduced me to her pastor. My grandma bought me a Bible and I started meeting with the pastor one-on-one, and we went through the Bible. He shared with me, who Jesus was. That was the first time I ever had a Bible or read a Bible. You see those classes I attended when I was young, did not teach me to read the Bible or have a need for one, we used a book. I learned a lot, also had to relearn some things I was taught that were not right (even though I thought they were). After almost half a year of meeting with the pastor, I made the decision to accept the Lord Jesus as my savior. Now, I didn't wake up the next day and everything was perfect! That isn't how it works (remember Jesus said we would have troubles in this world~John 16:33). However, I did feel I had hope, that I was totally loved, I didn't have to worry, that I can live in peace here, all because of Jesus! Now, do not think for one second I have this Christian thing all figured out. I still worry from time to time, have trouble at times with feeling peace, struggle with impatience, get upset, and make bad decisions. But God, is transforming me, and I have been forgiven. This transformation process started out slowly for me, but God had a plan and always does.
Shortly after being saved, I started helping out in youth ministry and studying my Bible on my own, but still didn't attend church much. I felt I didn't really need it, I was good on my own so to say. Then I married my husband and we moved out of state. Life changed greatly, new surroundings, culture change (yes moving from a small Minnesota farm town to Houston is a culture change), no family, no friends, no career, and a husband who worked a lot. Yes eventually I made friends and got a job. But it was a few years before I got back into church. It seemed like God just ripped all the things that I felt I needed, things of comfort, but what I see now, is how much it grew me. God was making me go through a transformation and HE still is transforming me. I tried a few times to attend church, but it was so awkward going by myself, so I gave up. After I had my daughter, we moved once again (oh and several times before that too) to a small town in Texas. In walking distance was a church. I met a woman, who became a friend, and was invited to MOPS. It was just what this mama needed. God put me in a circle of Christian women, my faith took off in leaps it felt. I started attending church regularly, I got involved, I was asked to be on staff at the church. I tell you that was the best couple years of living in Texas, I was ready to call this place home! But God, again had another plan. We ended up in Kentucky! I know what you are thinking because I was, what is in Kentucky? Well let me tell you there are some awesome people their! God put us in a Baptist church when we moved there, it was a church again in walking distance. I went in to ask about AWANA for my daughter with no intentions on attending that church, but you know God He can sometimes be funny (that is a story for another day)! So yes, we joined church their. God led me to start a mom ministry, because there were none in that area. However even greater than that God led me to get baptized. You see when I accepted Jesus 16 years ago, I never got baptized, that wasn't something the church I attended didn't practice. However, after reading the Bible about it and praying, I knew it was the right thing to do! Even better than that, a couple years after that my daughter and husband followed through. Let me tell you this journey of faith, has been a wild ride at times. There have been times I didn't follow God closely or believe HIM, but HE never gave up on me.
I am so thankful to God for my grandma for taking the first step to get me their. For the church for taking me in and helping me to grow. For my husband, for putting up with me and who works a lot of crazy hours where it is hard for him to be at church, without his sacrifice, I am not sure I would have come to rely so much on God, the church, and see the need to raise our children in God's way. For the pastors and churches I have been a part of, for the women who have reached out to me and become my friends or mentors. The story is not done yet, we moved to Tennessee not too long ago and now a new chapter has began in my story. I already see God working and am thankful that HE placed us in a wonderful homeschool co-op and church, moved us by wonderful neighbors, and we are making some great friends.
So I share this story with you, I know it is a bit of a long read, so if you are still reading, I encourage you to share your story. Stories help encourage others and who knows what your story may mean to someone. They may say, me too, I thought I was the only one. I still struggle but when we are open and honest with another it will make a difference. God doesn't want us doing life alone, especially us Christians. If you are not sure you are a Christian I encourage you to seek out someone that reads their Bible and is following Jesus. I encourage you to pray to God (prayer is powerful), I encourage you to seek out a community of believers, and be a part of the church where you are (particularly a Bible teaching church)! I encourage you to not give up on your faith! If you don't know who or don't have someone, reach out to me. It would be a blessing to pray with you.
It's Wednesday, mid week! Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up 💕 and
From Messes to Messages