When you ask Jesus into your heart at the ripe age of 3 and grow up in the church and in a good family with parents who love and serve God, sometimes you get lazy about developing your own relationship with God. Sometimes, you (or me) count on others to give you the Message and occasionally peek into the Word to read a paragraph or chapter and think, "Oh, how nice. I've heard that before." After awhile, honestly, you (or me) feel like you already know it all. There isn't a story or major concept you haven't heard. And then, something happens and you have to start searching yourself, either to prove or disprove or justify something that's happening in your life. And that's when the Word comes alive and becomes real to you.
I have been on a journey of faith in the last 10 months and I might be ready to share some about it. It has stretched me, scared me, and caused me to grow more than I ever could have imagined. When I read the Bible now, I devour it! I want to know exactly what God is saying to me through His Word. I'm not through and I don't have it all figured out, but I'm farther than I was.
Last fall, something happened to me that caused me to doubt. In a major way. I don't know if anyone understands the full extent to which this particular event caused me to doubt God and to doubt things that I had seen happening in the church all of my life, but it was very traumatizing to me. And if those things weren't real, was God even real? Was everyone lying or disillusioned? Your mind can quickly go down this path when just one, tiny seed of doubt is planted.
For awhile, I just stewed in those feelings. I was doubtful, I was discontent, and I was angry. I didn't want to not believe in God, but I wasn't sure what to believe either.
Then, this thought kept creeping into my head: "Maybe everything you've ever been taught is wrong. Maybe you've been serving Him wrong this whole time." I had listened to some messages and read some things that made me panic, thinking I had not pleased God for 27 years.
At the same time, I was hearing things from another source that were raising red flags in my spirit, because they were messages and ideas I'd never heard or seen in the Word. Satan was attacking me from all sides, causing me to doubt, making me confused. So, I started digging in the Word, going back and forth everywhere, trying to find what I did and did not believe, because frankly, at that point, I had no idea.
Suddenly, for the first time in my life I think, the Word became really alive to me. Things I had skimmed over and thought, 'Oh, how nice,' had profound meaning. I wanted to know more, understand more. I read and read and read and read and prayed. And read and prayed more.
And I learned something: most of what I have always known to be truth is truth. Jesus is still my Savior. He is still the Son of God. He died on the cross and rose again. He has given me salvation from my sins. He is coming again. God made me and loved me enough to send His only Son to die on the cross for me--Me, who was not a part of His original covenant, but who has been grafted in because of His love and mercy and the sacrifice of Jesus. I'm ready to shout right now! Such awesome, amazing things I've learned and read.
He has reminded me of some things and changed my perspective on some things: even though, Jesus obtained mercy for us through His blood and all we have to do is believe in Him to be saved, we should be so changed by His gift that we want to do everything in our power to make Him happy. He is a holy God and we should be a holy people. If we love Him, we should want to do everything in our power to please Him.
Another thing I've been learning from Him lately is that much of the time, we make our worship of Him all about us. We are so self centered that we sometimes turn our worship inward: how good can God make us feel, what new, exciting manifestation of the Holy Spirit can He give us, what blessings can He give us? We just want to sit forever and let Him do things for us, when we should worship Him FIRST and seek His face FIRST. Actively, not passively.
I have learned and am still learning so much more that I will share about later, but for the first time in my life, I'm so excited about reading the Word. Not reading the newest devotional or watching a preacher on TV and finding out secondhand, but just reading His Word and asking Him for wisdom and understanding. He'll give it if we ask.
Something I've been doing that has really helped me and been encouraging for me is that I took a notebook and divided it into a bunch of different topics: Loving God, obeying God, praising God, salvation, Holy Spirit, etc and as I'm reading the Bible, I write down Scriptures that fit under those categories. That way, I can go back and read them when I need them.
I started this blog after Kade was born when God was doing so many new things in my life. I've been through several seasons in life since then. Sometimes, our wells get low and sometimes, they even go dry, but He can always fill them back up again! Praise God, who is able to do much more than we could ever ask or think!