Here I am on my bunk at summer camp trying to read my Bible. It was a King James Version, and to me, it was like reading a foreign tongue. But, despite that, I read on.
I was thirteen years old and in earnest. I wanted to know who Jesus is. It's like I had an unquenchable thirst to be forgiven and free from the burden of my sin.
The problem was, I was deathly afraid of God. I knew He was there, He was everywhere. I had sensed Him all throughout my life and known that He had rescued me from some pretty difficult situations. But, I couldn't pray. I just knew if I did, something terrible would happen to me.
It's like the situation in one of my favorite books, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis.
Near the beginning of the book, Jill, gets pulled into Narnia. Guilt-ridden after a terrible accident and at the same time, dying of thirst, she ventures upon a clear stream of water, but there was a lion blocking her way. She would die if she didn't take a drink, but she might die if she did. Was the lion safe? She did not know.
Like Jill, that's how I felt about God. Was He safe? I knew He wasn't; He was as wild and unpredictable as a lion. But, I had to go near Him to get to the refreshing water that would save me.
The last night of camp, as the speaker gave the invitation to pray to receive Christ, I couldn't stand it any longer.
"For He made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might have the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I closed my eyes and envisioned Jesus on the cross, when He died for my sins.
And, after I prayed, I no longer had God-phobia.
It was gone.
I could pray to God my Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, and I knew that I was a forgiven child of God.
That year in school, I started feeling anguish in my heart for a boy that I teased. He was from France and had a funny name. A friend and I made fun of him the year before. That's the extent of my bullying. But, it was enough. I didn't want to tease him ever again. It was later on, as an adult, I was able to find him through facebook and apologized to him. I'm not sure what he thought about that. I don't think I was the only one who bullied him.
Then, there was the boy who bullied me. He sat with me at the same table in homeroom in a shop class. The next time he said a crude remark to me, I didn't feel ashamed or angry. I looked right at him and shook my head, no.
It's as if I was saying, that's not you. I think you'd make a better friend than enemy. And, after that we were friends. We played table football during homeroom for the rest of the year, and I remember those times with fondness.
As time wore on, however, I seemed to lose my connectedness with God. I stopped praying, I gave up trying to decipher the King James Version of the Bible. I began to follow Christ at a snail's crawl.
As an adult, after college, after getting married, and after finding out I was pregnant with my firstborn, my faith was renewed. And, it was in community.
The Captain and I were invited to a Life Group that met in a pastor's house. There were about six couples who met together to talk about passages in the Bible (in many different versions) and about following Christ daily, and then we prayed. Something sparked inside of me during our prayer. It's like my spiritual life was like a candle barely burning, but it was ignited to full flame in the presence and fellowship of other believers.
That was carried over into fellowship in women's Bible studies:
And, then in my own personal time alone every day with Christ.
And, so, I challenge you, my friends. Do you know Christ? Do you have a fellowship that can fan into flame your faith?
I urge you to ask God to give you one.
This is the last day in August and here are the last seven Truths to sum up the #femaleaugustchallenge prompted by my Google+ friends, +MelanieBaker and +RaeBrooks.
Seven Truths for each day of the week. To say out loud in front of the mirror to convince yourself of the Truth of God says you really are:
I can press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)
I am strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might to fight unseen spiritual battles. (Ephesians 6:10)
I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins through His blood and by His grace which He has lavished on me. (Eph. 1:7,8, Col. 1: 13, 14)
I am an ambassador for Christ, entreating the world to turn back to God and be reconciled to Him by receiving forgiveness in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:20)
I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I have been bought by the blood of Christ, so now I want to honor God by taking care of my body and living in purity. (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 20)
I have a new mind, the mind of Christ. (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23, 1 Cor. 2:16)
I am filled with the love of God. (John 17:26)
Living Every Day With Jesus,