And it didn’t stop there. I bet some of you can still relate…
Then comes college. I had the freedom to make my own decisions, and unfortunately, a lot of these decisions weren’t good decisions. I was physically grown, but mentally still a baby. I had a lot of growing up to do.
My parents would try to tell me that I was going in the wrong direction and I didn’t listen. I didn’t care. “I can do whatever I want, I’m an adult and I don’t have to answer to anyone”, was my mentality.
I can’t imagine the sadness and frustration of my parents seeing their child go down the wrong road and not being able to do anything about it (which is part of what led me to write this blog).
Did I go to church? On Easter Sunday, when my mom made me.
Throughout college, I was continually taught evolution and anti-Biblical theories that eroded my faith to pretty much nothing. At one point I even proclaimed “I believe there is something, someone out there”, but that was about as far as my beliefs went.
I questioned whether there really was a God, and thought that maybe we did just randomly appear and evolve. I also questioned why God would allow bad things to happen? It didn’t make sense to me. I had a lot of questions and the only “answers” I received were those of our mainstream society – a society that I feel steers people away from Christianity.
By exposing myself mostly to mainstream society and unbelievers, instead of the Bible and the church, I was getting skewed answers…which made my faith spiral even further…
I continued to grow further from God. I would occasionally pray at night before I went to sleep, but only if there was something I needed from Him. I would even start my prayers by saying “God, if you’re really out there…”. That’s how little faith I had.
But I wanted there to be something, someone out there. And I had that longing, that empty void…
I tried to fill it many different ways, some sinful, some not sinful, but nothing worked. No matter how happy I looked on the outside, there was always an empty spot that I couldn’t put my finger on. When I sinned (deliberately, especially), I felt so guilty, like my conscience was trying to tell me something, but for the most part, I ignored it.
And my faith kept spiraling, and spiraling…
And then I met my future husband. He is one of those kids that went against the statistics and never veered away from God. He lived on his own, yet went to church every Sunday morning because he wanted to, not because his parents made him. This was very, well, odd to me. I didn’t really know anyone around my age that actually went to church because they wanted to.
He asked me to start going to church with him, which I did, but I wasn’t a big fan. I basically went to appease him. I got bored, I felt like I was being judged (out of my guilt, not out of others actually doing this).
Little did I know at the time, this was actually the conviction of the Holy Spirit bringing my sin to the forefront. I continued to ignore it…
I still felt that void…something just wasn’t right. I was irritable, prideful, jealous, a perfectionist, judgmental. I was unhappy but I couldn’t figure out why. I had my dream guy – the guy I’d always had a crush on, I lived in a great city with a great job, did things I loved to do, had a great family. What was missing?
I kept thinking “maybe once I get married it will get better, maybe once I have kids it will get better, maybe once I make more money, it will get better, etc…” But the fact was, none of those things were going to make it better – there was only one thing that would make it better – and I just hadn’t found it yet.
So my future husband becomes my husband. We decide to move back to where we grew up – an area that is very Christian-based, or as some people know it, the Bible Belt. At first, I was hesitant for that reason alone – I didn’t want to be judged for my sins, I didn’t want to have to straighten up my act just to fit in – but what I didn’t realize is – the Christian way is to not judge.
The Christian way is to love people just the way they are – before they accept Christ and after. I later found this out.
We found a wonderful church where I felt so welcome. I experienced Christianity for what it really is – no judgement, just love and desire to guide others to Christ. I also noticed that these Christians put others before themselves and were so incredibly nice and seemed to genuinely care about me.
Then this desire came upon me… (I didn’t realize at the time that it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit) – I wanted to start reading the Bible, I wanted to know more about God, I’m craving an interest in this whole God and Christianity thing. Then I wanted to go to church even more, I wanted to become more involved and become closer to God.
I still felt lost, however and confused about God – is He really real? And if so, why can’t I just wrap my head around all of this? Why am I still having doubts? So one day, I come across a devotional that talks about doubting and when in doubt, to ask God for wisdom, because “when you seek God, you will find him”.So that’s what I did. Every day, I prayed for wisdom…and did He ever give it to me!
God started speaking to me in ways like never before. Everything started to make sense. The Holy Spirit showed me that He IS real and got more interested in the Bible than ever before. The more wisdom I received, the more I wanted, and the more I wanted, the more I received.
I then asked Jesus to come into my heart, forgive me of my sins and to let me spend eternity with Him. I got baptized not long after that. From then on, I knew where I was going to spend eternity and I wanted to become even closer to God before I got to eternity.
Everything was going great, but then one day, I started questioning my faith and having doubts. “Why are the teachings in the Old Testament so different than what we are taught in school?” I wondered…
“Is there historical evidence for creation?”
“Is there historical evidence for the Big Bang and evolution?”
“What’s really true?”
That’s when I started digging.
That’s when I started praying for wisdom.
And once again, wow…did He ever give it to me. There is so much evidence out there for Biblical creation, and so much confusion among the “discoverers” of evolution and the Big Bang Theory.
I also learned that this is why most kids are leaving the church today. They are misled to believing something against what the Bible teaches, and the normal way of thinking is “If the Bible isn’t completely true, if we are picking and choosing what we believe as truth, then where does that picking and choosing stop?”
That’s one of the ways, we as imperfect humans come up with inserting our own rules into the Bible. Picking and choosing what we want to believe and how we want to live.
I want to do this for our children and for the next generation, so that they can learn the truth and spread the love of Jesus to others.
As a Christian who is being molded to what God wants me to be, He taught me yet, another huge lesson in life just a few short months ago:
I have had a fear ever since my I gave birth the first time: that my children wouldn’t come to know Jesus. I wanted to do everything I could to be a good Christian example to them and to teach them and help lead them to Christ.
I labeled myself a “good Christian”. I went to church regularly, read my Bible, prayed, read Bible stories to my kids, took them to church on a regular basis.
I was doing everything I could do to be a “good Christian“, or so I thought.
Then God spoke to me. I was talking the talk, but I didn’t always walk the walk, especially with my kids. I became a Christian in 2011, but I had only partly given myself over to God. I was still holding onto my own ways about certain things.
To be honest, deep down, I didn’t want to fully surrender everything to Him. I had been taught that as a Christian we needed to “give it all to God”, but honestly, at the time, that was a scary thought.
That would, um, completely take my control away of my life. What would happen if I “gave it all to God?”” What would He do?” As hard as it was for me to give up myself to Him, I knew it was what He wanted. So, I repented, and told Him I wanted to give Him all of my life, not just part. I asked Him to completely mold me to what He wants me to be, no matter what that means.
He was leading me to completely follow Him and to portray the fruits of the Spirit, especially to my kids.
When I started feeling snappy or impatient, I would ask myself “does Jesus act this way?” Will my kids really want to follow Jesus if the person teaching them to follow Jesus is acting rude, snappy, materialistic and impatient? Probably not.
This is what I had been guilty of: talking the talk but not always walking the walk.
God showed me that in order to teach our children what it means to follow Jesus, we must first completely give ourselves over to Him. This will allow Jesus to work through us so that we can portray the example He has set.
So as I write this, I want to ask you as well. Are there certain areas of your life that you haven’t yet given over to Him? He wants to be Lord of ALL of your life, not just the parts you are willing to give up, and I will tell you from experience, once you do give your life completely to him, the joy and peace that comes with it is oh so sweet.
So that is my story. And my conclusion is this: I am 100% certain that not only is there a God, but a God who loves us very much and is reaching out to the lost – wanting them to find Him.
And maybe, just maybe, through the help of Jesus, we can change the world. One parent at a time…
I thank God for giving me the gift to be able to spread His Word to others through writing, and for not only filling that void in my life, but making it overflow with joy.