I’m amazed by the extraordinary stories of how people come to faith in God. Many of them have been extremely inspirational and demonstrate the zeal of their faith. My story is different. Some might even find it boring. I’m a Christian. I ‘ve been one since my baptism as an infant. I went to Christian schools through high school. I was confirmed in my faith when I was 13. I married a Christian man with high morals and a love for God which I had not yet experienced, despite my long connection to the church. It took me a long time to really understand who God is and how He has changed the course of my life over time.
I was the child that always followed the rules, but in my mind, I never felt good enough to be saved. I always felt that there was something more I should do or say or believe. My dad was very strict and often downplayed my importance so you might say I was verbally abused, but he was doing the best he could. He had no father figure in his own life, so didn’t understand how to be one. I looked at God the Father as I looked at my dad. I was sure I would never have a solid relationship with either of them.
In my younger years, I saw hypocrisy in the church. People would go and worship on Sunday and live totally different lives during the week. I saw my church build into a business rather than a house of worship. I saw a lot of human error, but later realized that we can only do God’s work with Him as the CEO. The minute we get in the way, corruption occurs. The pastor of my youth was a “fire and brimstone” preacher, and I was always terrified that I would spend eternity in hell. The fact that he spoke from a raised pulpit, put the fear of God in my soul, but not in the right way.
I’ve never experienced the vivid feelings of exhilaration or enthusiasm that I hear from new Christians. It’s always just been there for me. Many years and many churches later, I’ve learned that wherever the Word of God is taught, God is there. It really has nothing to do with us or our feelings or any kind of extraordinary revelation. God is there. For me, the journey has been one of slow and steady growth. I know that I’m a work in progress and the work won’t be completed until I join my Creator in heaven.
I believe that God crafted me before I was even born. He knew that I would have difficulty with my weight. He knew that I would have a dad that drank too much and used words to put me down. He knew that it would take me years to rely on Him and that didn’t matter. He knew that even though my self-image was in the pits, I’d one day feel beautiful and useful to Him. He also chose the right people to put in my life. I didn’t have a “born again” experience. I’ve had a “lifetime” experience being crafted by my Creator. God has whittled away at me – carving each little bit of my character – punching at the clay to form my life into what He wants it to be. He has given me challenges which I can now use to help someone going through the same difficulties. By creating a free will in me, He has also given me the ability to choose what I believe. I choose Jesus. I will die knowing that He is my Savior and King. I pray that I have a few years left to share how Jesus has woven His way into my heart – how He has mingled hope in times of despair – how He has held my hand when I was unsure – how He carried me through life threatening moments – how He continues to hold me on the last leg of my earthly existence – how He can make a real difference in the lives of those who don’t know Him yet.