G is for.....God
my history and feelings on church, what it should be/can be and is to me before.
But I guess this is where I should stress that while some people see church and God as synonymous, I don't. I may have been raised in the church, but my faith on God has not come solely from church. Likewise, while there have been numerous times where I have shied away from church, I have never wandered from God.
I thought about making this post more about church, and then I realized my relationship with God has formed me as a person more than church. Perhaps this is because it's been hard for me to completely trust churches. They are man made- they are imperfect because they are run by humans and humans have flaws. However, God is perfect and being God in the flesh, Christ was perfect as well. This is why I have so much more faith in God and my relationship with Him than I do in church. People mess things up, get confused, and hurt each other. God does none of these things, but instead loves us and forgives us for all of our many mistakes.
So this is my story- the story about how God has taken my life and made it what it is. Of why I chose and still choose to believe in Him.
My relationship with God doesn't have a start date (or at least one that I can remember like a lot of Christians). I don't remember the day I started believing in Christ or even when I asked Him to come into my heart for the first time. His love and presence is just all I have known. But I do remember when I was baptized. I remember several occasions where I've asked Him to come into my heart and make it new- make me whole again. And I do remember the most pivotal time of our relationship- the moment I knew there was a God and that I was utterly lost without Him.
Twelve years ago I had the worst day of my life. I was waking up out of a horrible dream at my best friend's house. It was the first day of high school and I had just dreamt that my dad had been lying dead on his living room floor. When I woke up, it was still dark outside and I heard a car door slam shut. I waited several minutes until finally my mom came through the front door. Even then I kept hoping for good news. There had to be another reason why my dad hadn't answered my phone calls all weekend, or why he hadn't picked me up on our usual Sunday date. Then my mom told me what had been my worst fear- my dad was dead.
The first week after my dad's death is still a blur. I remember sleeping in my mom's bed, unable to leave her side. And I remember my friend Kim bringing me makeup homework. But that's it. I don't even remember crying (except for the funeral). I think it just took awhile to sink in. Then, when I found out my bad dream had been similar to what had actually happened, I felt raw.
It was during this time that I struggled the most with my relationship with God. I was angry that my dad had been taken, both at such a young age and without any warning. I was confused why I hadn't been allowed to say goodbye. And I was scared of what life without my dad would mean. I remember knowing that my life was at a crossroads and I contemplated which way I wanted to go. I could fight what was happening and be the troubled teenager. I could just give up caring and trying and it wouldn't hurt as much (or so I thought at the time). Or I could pray. I could turn it all over to God and let Him take away my hurt and pain. This would of course take a lot of faith and while I knew it would be an extremely tough decision, it would also mean an easier life for my mom.
It didn't take as long to decide as I thought it would and I quickly decided that while it would be a difficult road, I wanted to lean on God. I knew within it all that He would guide and love me through all of it. For the next 4 years I was tested on this choice, like I knew I would be. It wasn't easy to take that leap of faith and leave it all to God. When my dad died, our monetary support was gone. We struggled for years to keep food on the table, but my wonderful mom and I both put our trust in God. We knew that He would be with us. Things may be tight, but He would never fail us.
Finally, when I turned 18 things changed for us and we no longer had to worry as much about money. It was such a blessing and it was then that I knew this blessing was God's gift for following Him and trusting in Him to provide.
And He has been providing, guiding, loving, and forgiving me ever since. It was a decision I have never regretted and one that I remake everyday.
Following God has never been easy. It hasn't always been popular. But it is the most fruitful. I have never had more joy in my life than when I have followed God's will for me and my life and trusted in Him. I may not always be great at it either, but every day I keep trying my best.