Happy Friday, folks! This week was a long one for me, but I’m rejoicing because I got through it!
Something I’ve wanted to share for a long time is my faith story – how I met God and became a Christian. I’m calling this how I met God, Part I because I’m honestly sure that this post is about to get too long to contain it in one post. I’m not going to promise that it’s going to make perfect sense, but I hope you’ll bear with me for the ride!
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and did not grow up going to church. I had gone to church briefly here and there, but it was never a part of my life. The concept of God was utterly missing. Much of my past is marked with what I now recognize as lies that the enemy placed in my life hoping to keep me from God. When I was a teen, I struggled with depression, had a slew of unhealthy relationships, and overall was very stubborn and wanted to control my whole life. In reality, my life was completely out of control and I had no stability for a long time.
I struggled with destructive behavior, a lot of self-loathing, and wanted attention from anyone who would give it to me. Much of my teens was a cry for help that I didn’t even know who I was calling to. I didn’t know there was God who cared about me, loved me, and was with me in all those times.
It wasn’t until I met my now-husband that I started going to church, which developed my relationship with God. For whatever reason, we both agreed that we wanted to start going to church together, probably out of the obligation that we thought it was the “right” thing to do. We found one close by and started going for a few months. After a while, we decided to get baptized together. We were baptized together in February of 2011. We got engaged the next weekend.
Before being baptized, we took communion each week at church. At first, I had a hard time with communion because no one really explains exactly what it is supposed to mean. I specifcally remember one day being brought to tears in my prayer before communion, not feeling good enough to be in relationship with God. I felt dirty from my sin and completely unworthy. But in that moment, the Lord spoke to me (not audibly) for the first time and said, “You are worthy.” I took communion and left those feelings of unworthiness at His feet – a weight I had been carrying for years.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9
Although being baptized was a good start and it felt like what I needed to do to fully surrender my life to the Lord, I have to admit that my life did not feel that different for a while after it happened. I thought all the sudden I would just know God differently. But it took time and work on my part to get closer to God. Just because I was in that water did not make me different. It made me forgiven. And I knew I wanted God in my life. But it was not some magical “fix” for my sin or my relationship with God.
The time after that was a huge transition as I was planning a wedding and moving across the country at the same time. Learning to pray and spend time with God was hard in that time because I was doing it for the first time along with being very busy as well.
I said goodbye to my old church and moved shortly after being baptized there. Once we moved to Massachusetts, finding a church was top priority for us. We found one right away and have been going ever since.
My husband found the church, and the first day we went was quite commical. The church used to be held in an older office building that looks nothing like a church. It’s very modern and non-church-like. The first day we got there, I was a little put off by that and thought “this is not going to work out.” But it’s worked out so great. Not because we have a physical place to go on Sundays, but because that church has literally been the foundation and shaping of my faith for the past two years.
God has provided close friendships, truth, and depth to my faith since attending my church. The past two-ish years have been a huge transformation and time of growth for me in so many ways, but especially spiritually.
Before getting invested in a church community and really spending consistent time before the Lord, I never knew how much more I needed to know Him. I never realized that church isn’t actually a relationship with God, but just a place and means to help you get the relationship going. I’ve mentioned church a lot in this post, but really – it’s not about church at all. Church has been a vehicle to educate myself about the truth about God. Truth that I never knew existed because my life before was filled with lies.
And while I know much more truth now and seek Him daily, He is still uncovering those lies. He is still a constant work in my life, still speaking to me “You are worthy” like He first did in that special communion.
I have to say that knowing Jesus, specifically, really didn’t happen for me until quite recently. The whole God, Jesus, Holy Spirit thing can get confusing (I should probably blog about that later, huh? Note made.), but for a long time I just focused on God and left out the Jesus part, which is, well, kind of really important to the Christian faith.
Next week, I’ll go more in depth about how I really embraced Jesus as man, God, and the one that truly redeems it all. Oh, and why I actually believe that.
Thanks for tagging along for the ride. I hope these posts are helpful, inspirational, or at the very least, interesting!
I would love to hear about what God is doing in your life right now. Feel free to share any faith post you have from recently 🙂
Questions for You:
- Where did you meet God? Was there a distinct moment for you or did you grow up with Him?
- What impact has church played in your life? It’s interesting to me to hear everyone’s church story.