hope & encouragement

My First Love

Growing up, I thought going to church on Sunday was all about “being good” and dressing up nice even though I didn’t feel like it. I thought Christianity was all about rules – mainly what I wasn’t allowed to do. I was raised going to church every Sunday, but I always found it to be boring. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I found out who Jesus really is and what REAL Christianity is supposed to be about.

I had been attending a church that had just started a contemporary service for my age-group. I went to the first service, only because my mom convinced me to go. I loved it! I was going through a very rough time in my life, so I enjoyed going from week to week, because I felt like my life was getting back on track.

I was in the middle of a divorce I never thought would happen, and I was pretty lonely and devastated. After 6 months, or so, I joined a small group called, “Defending Your Faith”. I took the class in order to “prove” to my ex-husband that God was real. What ended up happening instead, was I discovered who Jesus really is.

We were given homework the first night of the class, and we were to go home and search the bible for scriptures that supported the gospel. For example, I had to find all of the scriptures I could that pertained to God loving us, etc. I remember going home discouraged, because I didn’t realize that this small group was going to include study time at home. That night, though, I opened up my bible (the only one I had since I had my first communion when I was 8 years old), and the words came alive to me.

For the first time, I experienced the life contained in those words.

I couldn’t get enough. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I went out to the local Christian bookstore and bought a new bible and everything I could find that would tell me more about Jesus. I was so hungry to learn about Him and what He wanted me to do with my life. I remember feeling such excitement in realizing He had a plan for my life. I wanted to know what it was!

I prayed to give everything in my life to Him and to follow after the plans He had for me. I gave my whole life to Him. I knew so little, but I was so eager to learn.

Back then, I didn’t work on Mondays during the summer. I started going out to a local park, and I would just stay out there for hours reading my bible and praying. I learned that I need to seek God for every decision in my life. I loved this idea, because I knew that God knew the best plan for my life.

I had real hope and joy in my life for the first time. It was such a wonderful time in my life, despite my circumstances with my ex-husband. He was using drugs more and more, and I constantly worried about him. (He died of a drug overdose 4 months later.) Learning that I could live a life of purpose no matter what was going on in my life was invaluable to me.

One lesson I learned when my ex-husband died, was that dedicating my life to Christ did not mean that I would lead a problem-free life. Knowing that God never changes no matter what the circumstances are, though, became something that I still hold onto dearly today. I know that no matter what happens in my life – God remains the same. He is not shaken!

Thank You, Jesus, that You want us to seek after You with our whole hearts.  You are not a shallow god who doesn’t want to know us intimately.  Jesus, You are my Rock!

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