Thursday, November 19, 2015

44 and Counting

Forty-four years ago, while driving home from college for a long Thanksgiving break, I made a decision that forever altered my life.
It was the BEST decision I have ever made bar none.
November 19, 1971 will forever be etched in my mind as the day I asked God to take over my life.

I was raised in a Catholic family. So I always knew about Jesus. I never questioned that He was the Son of God or that He died for my sins. I knew that I was a "sinner" since I was a young girl when I would do some not so nice things to others and was aware of my own selfishness.

What I didn't learn from the Catholic church is that Jesus wanted to be involved in my life EVERY SINGLE DAY. This was news to me. And even more astounding is that I would no longer have to go to a priest to confess my sins seeking forgiveness. I could go to God Himself. That was so comforting to me as I was at the stage of life where I was partying and beginning to dabble in sex. Not having to see a priest look at me, wondering what he was thinking always bothered me.

My walk with Christ has changed over the years. It has evolved, just as I believe we all evolve in becoming who we are.
The one thing that has never changed is His consistency and faithfulness to me. God has always been there. Usually for me, when I don't "feel" His presence, it has been me who has moved and not God.
I have learned to experience God in the mundane of my everyday life and also in the traumatic times. God has upheld me and comforted me through the deaths of both of my parents. He was with me when I lost 4 babies by miscarriage. Understood my pain and was present when my children experienced heartache, rebellion, mental illness, the desire to end a life. Christ gave me strength to be present for my best friend when she lost her son. Jesus has always been present, whether I knew it or not.

The blessings He has poured on my life are too numerous to count, but a marriage to a man who pursues Jesus and loves me is at the top. Having four children who as adults are trying to follow Christ each day and who marry spouses who do the same is the second and most important. The grandsons-well don't get me started on them; they are truly the joys of my life. The life long friends I have known are my support system, my people; the ones who are with me in the greatest moments and the worst. I could not imagine my life without them. The friends we have made through Young Life, whether it be staff friends, leaders, committee or my college buddies-they have each played an enormous impact on my life.
Two careers, one in nursing that allowed me to minister and care for hundreds, which will always be a part of me and the other working with college friends, trying to impact their lives to journey with Christ over a lifetime are gifts that I will bring with me wherever I go.

I have changed in these 44 years. My faith has shifted and changed. I see that as growth in becoming the woman that God envisions me to be. Things I once held true, no longer do. What I have learned is that no one can tell me exactly what my LORD thinks about certain controversial topics. We have the Word of God and are to pursue the mind of Christ, but what others say is not necessarily God's thoughts. My goal is to pursue Jesus, seek His wisdom, ask Him for direction. I may or may not receive answers in this lifetime and I have learned to be ok with that.

I have learned (finally) to go to Jesus first in most things. That was awhile in coming, but whether or not I hear directly from Him on matters that weigh heavy on my heart, at least I am confident that He hears me. 
If you know me or have read anything I have written, this will not surprise you to hear again that I absolutely love the Word of God. I never get bored reading it, probably because before each time I read the Bible, I ask God to show me more of Himself to me. I assume that this is a prayer He answers, because every single day I am impacted by His Truth.
Oh, these 44 years have been a journey. Sometimes the road is flat and straight and everything is peachy keen. Other times, the road is winding, full of curves I cannot see around, and is very scary. The thing is: it always straightens out again after a period of time and my breathing becomes easier once more.
The constant in this 44 years is Jesus Christ Himself.
I cannot fathom my life without Him. I shudder to think where I would be or what I would be like. I know that I am never alone.
That fact centers my life.
Thank you LORD JESUS for allowing me to know you, to walk with you through the many ups and downs of my life, and to be loved by you now and through eternity.
THAT IS MY GREATEST BLESSING and the hope that keeps me grounded.
44 years and counting.

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