My Story

>> Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sometimes I feel a little down about my story, especially when I compare it to the other testimonies I read and hear. Thinking about it, however, brings me to the conclusion that I shouldn't compare my story to everyone else's story. My story may be a different type of story, but it is still a demonstration of God's glory.

I've never been as "lost," per se, as some people (Yes, I know everyone is equally sinful and broken and we are all born with the same need for God). What I mean is this: I've never been abused or even really depressed. I've never been into drugs or sex, and I've never contemplated suicide. Mine is a story of apathy.

Ever since the day I was born, I have been blessed to be surrounded by men and women who love the Lord. I went to church every Sunday when I was a kid, and loved it. When I was four, I told my mom I wanted Jesus in my heart. I remember that night distinctly. I prayed an innocent four-year-old's prayer, but I wasn't changed. Four-year-olds seldom are. When I was seven, I prayed again, and was baptized, but I didn't change. Seven-year-olds don't really understand everything they pretend to understand.

I suppose my first emotional encounter with the Lord was when I was twelve. I was at Pine Cove, which is a FANTASTIC Christian Camp. The worship there was excellent. I remember telling my counselor I had no idea if I were going to heaven when I died. The nightly talks made me feel closer to God, and the praise and worship sessions gave me a feeling of joy. At this point, I finally began to understand what "being a Christian" meant. For a while after this, my relationship with God was about feeling something. I didn't really go out of my way to find God in everything, but I started to learn what it was to praise God, if not to truly worship. After about six months, I sank into a lull of apathy: church was routine again, and reading the Bible was not a habit.

When I started high school, I started a class called Worldviews. In the period of the next three years, I examined all different kinds of belief systems, and in the process, had to determine what I, myself, believed. Without Worldviews, I would not be where I am right now. It was because of this class that I began to make my faith my own and grasp my identity in Christ.

In 10th grade, I met a boy. He was nice, and we had so much in common. He lived three hours away, but I really liked him. We talked every day, until the day he disappeared. From that day forward, I had trust issues. It took me a very long time before I could open up to anyone, even a little bit. The spring after I met this boy, I got into a relationship with one of my theatre friends. I thought he was in my life to teach me how to love people I didn't always agree with. This may have been the case, but being in a relationship with him was not the way God wanted me to learn this. This brings me to the first time I heard God's voice. He kept me awake one night at Pine Cove. I told my counselor (who, praise God, was the perfect person to be with in that period of my life) about my dilemma, and she told me to pray and to DO (Not just hear) whatever God told me to do. I asked God what to do next, and I remember a clear, distinct thought: "Get out. I will take care of you." So as soon as I got home, I obeyed God. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but the amount of relief that came from it was like nothing I'd ever felt.

About this time, I started writing letters to Melodie Pruitt. She has since become one of my very best friends. We were going through similar patches in our walks with God, and she was so encouraging (she still is!). We shared verses we loved, told stories about God's work in the world around us and in our hearts, and prayed for each other. I'd never really had a friend like her, and I still thank God for her whenever I think of her. The problem was that I wasn't being real with myself or with God... I wasn't seeking to glorify God in everything just yet.

Last September, my grandparents died. Until this happened, I had taken them for granted. I had never realized how important they were until they were gone. They were in love with the Lord, and because of that, never fell out of love with each other. It was strange. I was heartbroken that they were taken from me, yet I had such peace and joy in my heart. I knew where they were. I wanted to be just like them. At that point in time, I sought to find my strength in God, but as before, I soon lost my fervor.

In March of this year I went to a discipleship weekend. I was feeling very discouraged because I hadn't felt God's presence in a long time, and I knew that I was not chasing after him. The Spirit of God was there in that church, and it was overwhelming me with both grief at my own brokenness, and joy in the glory of the Lord. I remember weeping and crying out to the Lord, asking him to light a fire in me. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I meant every word I said. My leader came to me and wept with me and prayed over me in tongues. I have never heard anything so beautiful, foreign, or terrifying before nor since then. The Spirit gave her this song to sing to me:
I see you where you are.
I know you.
I see your gaze.
You've caught my gaze.
She told me not to worry about what I was or wasn't doing, but to follow after the Lord and seek his word, and most of all, to delight in Him, and he would use me for his glory. At that moment, something clicked in me. It was like I was seeing color for the first time. I saw God's beauty in everything and I was filled with unspeakable joy.

It isn't always so intense, but I'm still learning to see God in everything. I'm learning to love the way God made me to love. He is enough for me. I can't find satisfaction in anything else. I obviously have periods of time where I stray a bit farther than I ought, but God is teaching me to desire only him. I simply want to know him and be known by Him.


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