Faith is not an easy journey. It is not all rainbows and butterflies and cupcakes, followed by hallelujahs and joyful dancing. It is beautiful, and it is mysterious, and it is incredible. It is more than anything I deserve. But it is not easy.
Good, bad, or ugly, life is an interesting phenomenon. One that will never be entirely understood. And sometimes, life is not at all what you think it should be. But the underlying fabric of it all, the knitting that weaves each and every one of us together can be found, in Christ and in the Bible.
I’m sensitive to the fact that for non-Christians, this is a gross oversimplification of a much greater concept. But as someone who has given my life to follow Christ, I know I can find my answers there. The Bible is my resource, not necessarily for religious knowledge, but more intentionally, to hear what God may have to say to me.
I’ve talked a lot about my faith here on this little blog, but I think an important part of my story is why I choose to believe in Jesus Christ. I was raised in the church, and of course that plays an integral role in how I came to be a Christian, but the story is far deeper than that. I believe that faith must be intentional; it must be an ongoing decision, a daily choice to follow and serve.
I made that decision for the first time when I was thirteen years old. I had grown up in catechism classes, I knew the bible stories, and I believed in God and Jesus. But it wasn’t until I was thirteen that I began my relationship with Christ. I was in a dark place (dark for a thirteen year old, I don’t want to overexaggerate here.) My parents were getting divorced, my poppy (my grandfather on my mom’s side) had just passed away, and it felt like everything was falling apart.
I remember the moment vividly. I was in my mom’s bedroom, and had been reading in her bed, when I was just overcome with sadness. I curled up in a ball, bawled my eyes out, and knowing where I could turn, I started to vehemently pray. It wasn’t out loud, but in my head I was screaming. Screaming for God to come and comfort me, asking for logic, asking for anything really. And in that moment, I felt his embrace. It wasn’t a physical touch, I didn’t audibly hear God Speak, but I felt him so vividly, I may as well have. That kind of experience is so hard to put into words, and so hard to interpret, but more than anything, it is so powerful and life-changing.
I found myself in a strange position when I went to college. I was surrounded by great people. Wonderful, kind-hearted, beautiful people. But I didn’t have a group of people with the same strong beliefs as me, particularly my beliefs on abstinence and marriage. It’s amazing how something so small can be amplified in the right (or wrong) setting, and make you feel so different. My faith was separating me, and in those times, felt so hard to want to follow. I prayed a lot in those moments, moments of weakness where I thought maybe I was wrong. Was I reading the bible wrong? Was I just a freak for not giving in?
I prayed for a partner in faith. I prayed for someone to lead me to spiritual growth. I prayed for someone to make me a better and stronger Christian. And after months and months of praying and (perhaps impatiently) waiting, in came Anthony.
Anthony was the first guy who “got me.” He respected my views, he didn’t pressure me into anything, and we started going to church together. He helped me to grow in my faith, and supported me in moments of doubt (because inevitably, in every faith journey, there will be.) We have pushed each other in our faith, trying to be better, and we have both grown substantially for it.
Faith plays a huge role in our everyday life. For a worrier like me, I am constantly trying to learn to trust God with his provision and his timing. That is my biggest faith journey. For as much as I espouse my faith and as much as I know about my relationship with God, I have such a hard time letting go of the reins of my life.
When you choose to be faithful, you are certainly not choosing the easiest path. You will face trials, and you will have to choose daily to obey the words you have chosen to live by. But the path to heaven is never easy. The reward, however, is more than worth it.