God is a huge part of who I am. But He wasn’t always. I haven’t shared that piece of my heart with very many. It just doesn’t come up that often. It’s a good story, though, I think.
Typically, I need to be clobbered with something before I actually realize what I’m supposed to do. I need lots of teaching and lots of practice. Sometimes I need my intuition to scream at me before I’ll listen. My God story is no different.
God found me in California. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate – I finally noticed God was after me when I was living in California.
My life prior to May 2009 was a mix of maybe I believe and I like the stories in my Precious Moments Bible and atheism and I just don’t understand. I found myself truly curious about God when I was 25.
I was teaching at a high school in California at the time, away from most of my family and friends, and it was one of those times in my life where the same sort of theme keeps popping up in all sorts of ways. Many of my new friends/colleagues were Christians. A lot of the things I was reading and listening to and watching leaned that way. I found myself wondering more and more what this God thing was all about.
I flew back to Illinois for Easter and “happened upon” some books at the airport bookstore. I bought one (Plan B by Anne Lamott) just to see if I could figure some of this out. She’s an author I was moderately familiar with, so it seemed safe.
I devoured that book.
I’m not sure I’ve read a book quite that fast maybe ever. I don’t know what it was – the vulnerability, the honesty, the ease, the fact that she made it sound so much more human and simple and imperfect than I was expecting. I don’t know. I do know that I returned from that trip with my wheels spinning.
Naturally, I came home to find a church flyer in my mailbox.
I thought, “Okay. I get it. I’ll check it out.”
I looked up the church’s website. They didn’t seem completely crazy, so I went for it. And I returned almost every Sunday for the remainder of my time there.
I got involved right away. I fell in with the sort of crowd I needed, volunteered, got scooped up by an older gentleman and his small group, and cried like a baby every service.
What an overwhelming relief it all was.
But now I also had a problem, of course. Because change is hard…maybe challenging is a better word. I was confronted with all the things in my life that didn’t necessarily jive with what I felt God wanted for me. Also, my family hadn’t experienced all this with me, so it was a pretty big shock for them.
All I could do was pray and try to figure it out one step at a time.
I ended up back at my parents’ house, teaching at the school I graduated from.
I could share all the promptings and God moments that followed and led me here, now, but it’s been a very long and difficult road. That would make for a book, not a blog post. So, instead, I will just say that, while trying and painful (because life), this journey has been by far the most illuminating and most rewarding.
I honestly don’t even know who I was before I allowed God into my life. I know that sounds completely cliche, but it’s true. I was so broken and lost and confused.
God led me to my husband, to healing from childhood sexual abuse, through some serious grief and anger with all of our miscarriages, through unimaginable pain, to joy I could have never fathomed and love I can’t even put into words.
It’s so much. I still don’t really get it. I mean, I read my Bible and I’ve done some research, but He still blows my mind and defies all logic and reason.
I can say with absolute certainty, though, having experienced both sides, for me, life with God is far better than life without. Even when it’s not going the way I want or I’m so scared and angry I can’t see straight.
Now, my running theme is (pulling a line from The Santa Clause here) believing is seeing. God is everywhere, and I LOVE seeing what He has to show me.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.