And I was honored to be invited to be a part of her journey in sharing the gospel.
If you missed it, here is a little big of me, going deeper…
. . . . .
I used to think I didn’t have a “Faith Story.” You see, I’ve been a Christian all of my life.
Born and raised in the deep south….and going to church every Sunday.
I was christened in the Methodist church before I could sit up.
Thinking over the past 27 years I don’t have any dramatic life experiences and I haven’t lived a life of struggle. Isn’t that what it takes to have a REAL testimony???
But as I’ve grown up I realized that just because I don’t have any major setbacks,
doesn’t mean I don’t have a story.
Because God is writing my story, and let’s face it, He doesn’t write boring ones.
I grew up in a small town and graduated public high school with 53 other classmates. My whole life in this small place where truly everyone knows your name, I was one of those kids who always did the right thing, and so the right thing was always expected. I didn’t want to mess up, I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, I didn’t want to disappoint those in my life, and I definitely didn’t want to disappoint God. I always associated being a Christian with not making mistakes and always doing the right thing.
I went off to Auburn at 17 years old.
But what I didn’t know at the time, was when I went off to school my faith was my parent’s faith.
It wasn’t until college that I feel I truly took on my own faith.
I invested in GREAT friends, a place of worship, I wrote in a journal, prayed about life and trusted God with my future. I surrounded myself with positive influences. Those four years are some of the best of my life.
However, I still struggled with the false idea that God desired perfection.
And that to be a Christian you must go to church, pray, be a nice person, read your bible, not cuss, save yourself for marriage, not drink, and the list could go on and on and on.
I continued to feel the pressure of perfection, and because I felt it, God must expect it.
An idea that made me lean a little more toward justice and a little further away from grace.
I was hard on myself, and therefore also hard on people, but didn’t realize it quite yet.
It’s been almost six years since I left the Loveliest Village on the Plains (Auburn).
And I’ve continued to mature in my faith and learn more about what grace really is.
There have been two BIG impacts in my recent growth: My husband & Atlanta.
4.5 years ago I moved to Atlanta. Talk about culture shock.
I’d lived the better part of my first 23 years of life surrounded by people just like me.
I call it the bubble syndrome.
My whole life up to this point had been spent in this bubble.
Atlanta opened my eyes to a world a lot bigger than what I had once known. A world where people go hungry, children don’t go to bible school, and young girls are forced into a life not of their choosing. My heart breaks for these people who, unlike me, weren’t taken to church every Sunday and given the gift of a great support system. There are so many people out in our world, whose eyes are not open to what it means to be loved by a God whose arms are always open. While there are others out there (myself included) who strive to live a life worthy of the calling they have received and fall short everyday. But they aren’t quitting the race. They are continuing the journey one step at a time. What a wake up call! There are these two groups of people…but God doesn’t discriminate. The same grace God gives to all those who hear his name and choose to follow, he gives to me, and not because I have done ANYTHING to earn it.
Grace. What a simple word, with a HUGE impact.
It’s a gift given freely, expecting nothing in return.
Our God is not a God who loves and saves us based on work (and perfection).
He is a God who “while we were yet sinners, sent his Son to die for us.”
He is the God to those who believe and BECAUSE of this belief He produces good deeds through us. My desire to “do what I am suppose to do” isn’t a path I’m taking to earn God’s love, it’s a path God leads me on because of my faith (and I’m allowed a few wrong turns).
The other huge impact on my faith is my husband. My other half that fortunately leans a lot more towards grace than justice. He’s showed me what it’s like to love despite faults, and to give people the benefit of the doubt. That mistakes are okay. He has been an tangible example of God’s unconditional love. A child of God is constantly changing and I too am daily being molded into the person God has called me to be.
I know I will still struggle.
I will struggle with control.
I will ask the “What if’s?”
I will strive for perfection and have to be reminded that God loves me, even when the cookies burn.
I do have an exciting story.
Because God is writing mine, and he doesn’t write boring stories.
Okay, that was hard, but well worth it! Thanks Amber so much for having me :o)