It's no secret that I'm a Christian. I talk about God a lot here on my blog, but I realized I have never really shared WHY I am a Christian. My heart is that you get a glimpse into why I have chosen to love and serve the God of the Bible. It's not just because I feel like it's the "right thing to do." It's not because I'm old-fashioned. But it's because God has lovingly pursued me and been so intimately involved in my life, that I couldn't help but give my life to Him.
I was raised in a Christian home. I was blessed to have a mom and a dad who prayed for me and sought to cultivate a heart for God within me. When I was 7 years old, I was at a Bible program at our church and I “prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart.”
I believe that was the moment that I decided God was the one for me, but I did not come to fully know Him until several years later. I guess it would kind of be like a courting relationship… I made the commitment to be His, yet I didn’t come to a place of intimacy with Him yet. Does that make sense?
All throughout middle school and high school, I lived for myself. I got caught up in being noticed and being popular. I found my self-worth from the guys I dated or the friends who sat with me at the lunch table. I battled depression and anger, and I always accused my parents of not loving me enough. I professed to be a Christian with my mouth, but my actions didn’t always line up with that statement. I was committed, but not fully committed.
Then finally, in my senior year of high school, God really got my attention. He told me that I had a choice – to live fully for Him, or to live fully for myself. I chose to live fully for Him, and it’s been a journey ever since.
God started taking all the ugly parts of me, and one by one He started cultivating them into something beautiful.
He started taking what was insecure and replacing it with strength and security.
He started taking what was afraid and making it bold and confident.
He started taking what was depressed and making it youthful and joyful.
He started taking what was dead and making it alive.
He started undoing all the lies that I had believed about myself for my entire life.
He started showing me the depths of His love. He started showing me how patient He is, and how He loves people SO MUCH that He patiently awaits for them to turn to Him.
He started showing me that with His help, my life could become characterized by the things He is characterized with: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Out of ALL the religions and gods in the world, Yahweh, the God of the Bible, is the only one that is characterized with so much goodness and amazingness.
Where some religions teach that you do what feels good for you, God teaches us through the life of Jesus Christ to die to ourselves, always putting others’ needs ahead of our own.
Where some religions teach that you force people to convert through violence, God teaches us to be peacemakers, and to love people and serve people so that they can see a glimpse of Who He is.
Where some religions or philosophies teach that you can do whatever you want and that there is really no right or wrong, God lovingly places boundaries around us, just like a father would do for his child. Just like a loving father would train his son not to play in the middle of the street, so God has given us boundaries to guard and protect us from harm’s way.
Where some religions teach that salvation is based on your performance, God teaches us through His Son Jesus that He has done it all for me, and He accepts me just as I am, imperfect and all. I just have to accept His gift.
Who is this God? Why would the Creator of the world even want to have anything to do with me?
Yet since before time began, He knew me and admired me. He sees me as His precious child, and His thoughts about me outnumber the grains of sand on the seashore. The God of the Bible is the God who formed me in my mother’s womb, who knows the number of hairs on my head, and who has actively loved and pursued my heart, despite all my failures and shortcomings and yuckiness.
The God of the Bible is the one who sees my weaknesses, yet believes in me. He calls me to a higher standard of living, a greater level of creativity and a deeper degree of love.
God is not sitting on a throne, distant from us, waiting for us to screw up so that He can smite us. No, He is here. Actively pursuing us. Hoping that maybe, just maybe with this sunset, He will win another soul to Himself. Hoping that maybe, just maybe with this flower blooming, someone else will see His handiwork and give their lives to Him. Hoping that maybe, just maybe with this gentle whisper that there is more to life than this, someone else will turn their lives over to His hands.
Have you ever wanted to be the source of someone’s affection? Has your heart ever desired to be loved and pursued? God, the God of the Bible will not let you down.
Yes, there are still many things that I don’t know about God. There are still many things that I don’t understand. But God doesn’t ask us to understand Him fully. He just asks us to trust Him and let Jesus be the Lord of our lives.
When I look back over the course of the last 26 years of my life, I see how God has patiently pursued me, guided me and molded me. When I gave my life to Him, He did not come in like a dictator and demand that I live life this certain way. No, that’s not how a loving daddy acts. He did not stay up high on a pedestal and demand me to try to climb up to Him. But rather He left His throne, His high place in Heaven and took me by the hand and has walked with me every step of the way. He has provided for me again and again. He has protected me over and over again. He has filled my life with a peace and security that neither money, possessions nor people could ever give me.
In my times of battling depression, He is the One who lovingly whispers to me that I am free and redeemed and victorious and gently helps me out of that pit.
In my times of fear at night, He is the One who patiently reminds me over and over again that He is with me, and that He is not going to let my foot get caught in a trap.
In my times of worry over our finances, He is the One that sweetly reminds me that He is our source of provision.
And in my moments of utterly excruciating pain, like in labor with Etta Jayne and like when my cyst ruptured in May, He is the One that held me close, breathed His peace on me and brought me comfort among discomfort.
This God, this God who is by definition LOVE, is the God I serve. And this is the God that I have given my life to. God gave it all for me, and I want nothing less than to give myself to Him fully and completely.
No greater love have I ever known. Not from my parents, not from my husband, not from my children or my friends.
And that is just a glimpse into why I gave my life to Jesus. The decision to accept God’s pursuit and make Jesus the Lord of my life has just been too amazing of a decision for me to not share. And that is why I wanted to tell you about the God I know.