“We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”-2 Corinthians 5:7-8*
This month, I am focusing on faithfulness as part of my study and reflection of my 2018 word “devotion”. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines faithful as “steadfast in affection or allegiance**.” I decided in order to discuss faith or being faithful, I needed to ask the question, “When did I discover my faith?”
All people have faith and believe in some type of idea whether is it a religion, a concept, or a theory. I believe in God as my father, Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit who is within me. I am not here to pass judgment on those who don’t believe like I do but to give background on what defines my faith.
I grew up in a Methodist Church, baptized as an infant, attending services, Sunday school, confirmation classes, and church camp. I loved the singing of hymns, the activities we did in Sunday school and going away to camp for a week. When I completed my confirmation classes, I understood the personal relationship with Jesus and believed everything I was taught. This is where the seed of faith had been planted.
I left for college at seventeen, and didn’t think about going to church or being involved for the first few months I was away from home. Initially, I didn’t understand why I was feeling out of sorts and had this gnawing sensitivity inside me. A few more months passed and someone invited me to their church one Sunday morning. As soon as I stepped into the worship area I felt a warm wave of love and peace wash over me. I was home and it was well in my soul. I did not make it back every Sunday, but when I did, my time spent in the church was a way to ground myself and re-center my priorities.
Scott and I married when I was nineteen at my home church. We decided when we moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, we wanted to find a church for us. Early on we visited different churches but would not commit to joining one. I did pray daily and God answered me sometimes obviously and other times not so much. I was faithful in keeping conversations open between us but felt guilty for not making my Christian walk more evident to others.
In early 2000, I was pregnant with my third child and a girlfriend invited us to her non-denominational church. It was a new and exciting surprise because this church offered a Saturday night service which fit our lifestyle. Scott and I dropped the two older children off in the age-appropriate children’s church and walked into the worship center, which sat about three thousand and it was packed! We found my friend and sat down when all of the sudden the music team started playing a song from a famous rock band of the 60’s to open up the worship time. This was the hook to catch your attention and prepare you for the series, which was about getting your groove back in worship. I don’t remember the details of the pastor’s message but let me tell you, it made a huge impression on Scott. He was excited about going back to church and joining due to this one visit. In hindsight, I know God was presenting the opportunity for us to put skin in the game and plant ourselves in a church. It gave us the little time we had left to build our relationships back with Christ and allow me to build the necessary connections in the church to support myself and the kids after Scott’s death.
Scott’s death was my pivotal point in recognizing and living out my faith. I made a choice the night he died, to turn towards God and all He could afford me because losing Scott was unbelievable, unbearable, and unendurable.
The harder I leaned on God, the stronger the Holy Spirit uplifted me.
The more I left at the foot of Jesus, the more God provided for me through others.
The angrier I became at God and my situation, the more inner peace I experienced from the Holy Spirit.
I have constantly believed in my God. In the last seventeen years, my belief has deepened into an unwavering faith and a personal relationship with Him. I strive to learn more, pray more, serve more, and share more of my experience with others. Someone once asked me, “What if you have spent your entire life worshiping, giving, and praying to God, and when you die you experience nothing. Don’t you feel like it was wasted time?”
My answer is no.
If I spent all my time going to church and giving selflessly of my time and my money to others, I don’t consider it a waste of time. I have enjoyed all of these activities, improved my character, and helped those who are less fortunate. My faith has been with me for a long time and becoming a part of a church family, learning wisdom from the Bible, and serving others has only deepened my commitment and devotion to God. This life is full of challenges and blessings and I am content with the lessons I have learned. I know how my faith started and continues to grow and mature with every day I am privileged to live out here on earth. And I know where I am headed on the day my last breath leaves my lips because of my faithfulness in Him.
* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
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