Admitting something is wrong
I can remember like it was yesterday. I don’t exactly remember what day it was specifically but the last week of June 2018 I can literally remember feeling empty inside. Feeling lost and confused with no sense of direction. I was driving in my car and thinking to myself that there has got to be more to life than just……this. I was mentally tired. I was drained from the every-days of life. Becoming victim to a routine, walking around like a zombie with no purpose or plan for my future. That’s where I found myself this particular day. To be honest that’s where I found myself most days. But on this day I finally decided to admit it to myself. Don’t get me wrong I had a typical regularly good life. I had a family, I had a house, car, good job, weekends off, all the things people typically want…but I can still remember feeling empty inside. I remember talking to my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) in the car and asking, “Isn’t there supposed to be more to this?” I kept getting trapped with this thought that I have everything I ever wanted, and now that I have it, I’m still not happy! Why aren’t I happy? Isn’t this what I wanted? The next thing I said, was more of a joke but surprisingly serious at the same time. “Maybe we need Jesus” that’s what I told my husband and that’s when he mentioned a church he went to before, and said we could check it out the following Sunday.
JULY 1, 2018
That weekend looked quite different for us. We would usually stay up late on Saturday, and sleep in Sunday. That Sunday we woke up early, realizing we were already dreading it, got everybody ready for church(realized we had no church clothes) put on the best thing we could find and went to the 10’oclock service. I remember being uncomfortable, I remember feeling awkward, feeling out of place and not knowing really what to think or what to expect. I previously went to church a few times as a young kid with some friends but overall I don’t come from a church background. I was way out of my element but let me tell you I will NEVER forget the pastors sermon. He was telling a story about when he was younger, his grandmother would drink coffee. Back in those days they would have the coffee cup on top of a saucer so when the coffee would spill over, it would land on the saucer. He said his grandmother would let him drink the coffee that would leak over the cup onto the saucer. He started relating that “coffee” spilling over onto the saucer as the same as our “joy”. He said that having a relationship with Jesus will provide so much joy in our hearts that it would overflow onto others! I remember thinking I WANT THAT JOY! I couldn’t even imagine so much joy that it would be overflowing out of my heart! At that very moment I barely had joy for myself let alone others! I knew right then and there, that I wanted that! I wasn’t sure what “that” was, but I knew I wanted to have it. That day forward I started pursuing that type of joy. I wasn’t quite sure how to get it, but I wanted it, and I was willing to change anything that got in the way from getting it.
A New Normal
From that day forward, we attended church every Sunday. Our children started getting involved in the classes and the activities, and they really enjoyed it. We met SO many loving people, people who seemed to generally care. The church offered so many classes, classes that we really needed and we started getting more involved. Reading the word and spending time with God became normal in our house. Starting the day in prayer, thanking God for all he’s done for us became the routine. We quickly realized that this is exactly what we were missing. Surrounding ourselves around positive people, people who prayed for us, and really cared about us. LOVE!! We were missing LOVE! Of course we loved before we attended church but we didn’t have much INTENTIONAL love. The kind of love you do on purpose. This is exactly what God is. LOVE! It really didn’t take long for me to literally start overflowing with joy. My attitude was 10x better, I was excited to start my days, and I was truly enjoying spending time with my family every moment I got. I became GRATEFUL for life. I was reminded that life is a gift, to not take it for granted, and to love with all your heart. Way too often we treat life like we will never die, or acting as if we decide when we want to go. When you realize that you are only on this earth a short period of time(compared to eternity) you start to value your life much more, and you start to want to make the best of your days while you’re here. That’s what the church did for me. It showed me a different life. A life worth living. Every time someone we know dies, it’s a reminder of how fragile our lives are and how quickly it can and will be taken away. It’s a scary thought about dying and leaving the people you love behind. This is something I struggled with also so when I discovered what Jesus represented for death I quickly realized how powerful he is and what that meant for me.
Before I started pursuing Christ I was bitter, angry(half the time had no idea why) and constantly struggling to find purpose. To be honest I wasn’t even aware that I was struggling with these things. I never paid attention to my emotions long enough to know. Discovering that we were made for God’s plan and not our own puts things in a whole new perspective for me and it changed my life. We become God’s clay, to mold us and shape us into what He wants us to become and I was more than ready to allow God to do so. So that’s what I started doing. Praying, reading the bible and learning God’s word. Learning who He is, and how to follow him. I used the bible app that has so many different translations and it made it easier to actually understand what I was reading. There really was no excuse not to read the bible, and I actually enjoyed it. God gave me life again.
I’ll be honest, pursuing Christ isn’t easy. There’s days you don’t want to pursue Christ. There’s days where you want to do life your own way. But doing life ‘your way’ will never be as satisfying as following Christ. I did life ‘my way’ for 27 years, and all it got me is a lot of hurt, a lot of regret and in a lot of debt. We’re always trying to make things happen in our own power in our own time, and were often frustrated because we don’t get very far. God says to take from his power. His power never runs dry. We as humans only have so much energy. God is limitless. He tells us to draw near to him, and he will draw near to us. Learning that God cared about me and truly believing it for myself was ground breaking. One of the amazing things I love about God is he doesn’t force us to follow him. He gives us the choice. He gives us free will. When we come to him it’s because we want to and not because he made us. At the end of the day you have the choice to follow God, or to follow the world. I now choose to follow God and it really is the best decision I’ve ever made.
I can’t go back to before knowing God and I don’t want to. There’s days where I slip up and not be my best of course and that’s okay. There’s many days where I have to acknowledge the ugly inside of me and the things that are wrong. The Word of God forces us to look inward at ourselves first instead of constantly judging outward onto others. When you read the Word of God you quickly see you have no right to judge others. We are imperfect people. You learn the power of forgiveness. God forgives us of our sins, he’s gives us mercy and grace everyday when we don’t deserve it, and he asks us to give that same forgiveness to others! That’s hard for a lot of us. It definitely was for me. If somebody hurts you bad enough, the last thing you want to do is to forgive them. I completely get that, been there before many times, but I quickly realized that not forgiving someone else, only hurts ME and nobody else. I’m currently taking a class in my church called “Resolving everyday conflict” and in the book it says something so powerful that really changes the way you think about forgiveness. The quote says “Unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping someone else will die.” In other words If I don’t forgive I’ll end up being the bitter one, angry because of what somebody did to me, hoping that by me not forgiving the other person, they will hurt like I do. All i end up doing though is carrying the pain with me in my current and future relationships. God revealed to me the pain I was carrying all these years because of not forgiving and helped me to truly forgive.
January 6 2019
This is the day my husband and I got baptized. We were ready to let go of the old and become new. This day was my commitment to live my life to the best of my ability for God and not for myself. After only five months of going to church, I knew that I was ready to give my life to Christ. I knew that I was ready to start living for something bigger than myself. I was ready to do what He had called me to do. It really has been an amazing journey so far. Definitely not saying that it’s been easy sailing because it hasn’t but I’ve seen God in my life everywhere, as well as in my past. Looking back on my life, I see where he’s been protecting me. When things were meant to destroy me it didn’t, I now thank God for. I don’t consider myself lucky anymore or say that anything is of coincidence. I have a creator who has been with me way before I knew that he was and I’m so grateful for that.
My favorite story to tell that is so special to me is ONE MONTH after I got baptized, February 6, 2019 I found my sister. My mother gave her up for adoption when she was born, so my whole life I knew I had a sister somewhere. I looked for her for years, and had no luck. Exactly one month after getting baptized I found her. I reached out to her, having no idea if she would even want to talk to me. I prayed to God, hoped for the best, and gave it to God to handle the rest. To my surprise she wanted a relationship with me. Since then just recently September 2, 2020 I met my sister for the first time. We cried, we laughed, we got to know each other and now have a relationship that I hope to continue to grow.
September 5, 2020 I married my best friend, something that would of NEVER happened if we didn’t allow Christ into our lives. Before Christ, marriage wasn’t a topic we talked about. We couldn’t even get along half the time but even if we did, marriage wasn’t important to us. Society made marriage seem pointless and hold no value. Society took that away from us and God gave it back. Something the world had taken from us was restored. We learned the true meaning of marriage and how God intended it to be. After 6 years and 9 months we became one.
I’m a better wife today. I’m a better friend, better daughter, better mother and now can be a better sister because of the decision I made to follow Christ. My love is intentional. I care more. I value people. I have purpose again. With all the chaos in the world around me I can stand still knowing God is in control. It brings me peace the world could never give me. It’s exactly what I was looking for that day in the car.
I’m nowhere perfect and never will be but I’m becoming perfect in who God wants me to be. And that’s something I want for everyone. To know they have purpose. To know that there is more to life than what this world tries to give us. It can’t be seen, it can’t be touched, but you can FEEL it. The best things in life can’t be seen but they hold the most value. Before Christ I was too focused on the things I could see. A nice car and nice job with weekends off were supposed to fulfill me. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t satisfied. Those things pretend to be the bread of life. Their only temporarily happiness. They don’t satisfy for long. Their nice to have but they don’t hold much value. WE ARE VALUABLE. WE ARE THE FULFILLMENT. We are God’s masterpiece. Everything I ever needed has been right here with me. GOD. He is the one who satisfies. He is the fulfillment. He is our creator. He was the Joy I was searching for. He really is the bread of life.