So today is Halloween… a day much of the U.S. observes and has fun with. Hence the two pictures I post – Konnor with a pumpkin and both boys dressed up in costumes. I think you can figure out that Konnor is Spiderman but if you’re unsure about Callan, he’s a cow. And I know that because Konnor ran up to me Monday stating, “You should see Callan in his costume. He’s just adorable, Mimi. He’s a cow and he’s so adorable!”
So while the world gets busy with Halloween preparations, I find myself busy today with a homework assignment from my Bible class. In it, I need to share how I came to have a life with God. And I need to do this without speaking “Christianese.” Meaning, I need to just tell others in plain language, in a way people can understand.
Sharing my God experience with others who share a similar experience is comfortable and easy. And yet to share this with those who may not understand makes me a little nervous.
Yet this is just what our class is learning about – how to relate your story to others. So guess what? I’m going to relate it to you. See what you think and feel free to comment. This is my story, written from my heart, and the purpose is so that anyone reading this can understand my experience and know a little more about me. So here goes…
Have you ever watched those stories on TV about adopted people searching for their birth parents and often times feeling an instant connection with them when they finally meet? Though I wasn’t adopted, something like that was about to happen to me.
I was 14, had grown up safe, secure in my parents’ love for me. I experienced no need or want that I was aware of. I was happy, had friends, and enjoyed life. I was a fairly typical teenager.
My little brother was in a summer vacation Bible school program that had a closing event which my mother forced me to attend. You know the kind—where you watch little wiggly kids on stage singing the songs they just learned and performing skits.
Turns out vacation Bible school isn’t just for little kids because during the event that night a girl my own age stood up and talked about God. But she talked about him like he was a real—a person and her friend.
To me God was a concept and very far away. You thought about him on holidays and when you said your prayers at night, but to this girl, he was personal and very involved in her life. And while she talked, her words rang true and something changed inside of me. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s as if I began to realize I was created to be just like her – a friend of God. There was no persuasion needed; I simply knew the truth: that God loved me and wanted me to know and love him.
So I didn’t consider God out of a great need to change my life; I didn’t consider him because of terrible circumstances; I simply had an instant understanding that being part of His family is where I belonged. So just like an adopted person finding their birth parents and also finding that connection they had been searching for, that is exactly how I felt—connected to God. It was right; it was good; and it is where I belonged!
Instantly I also felt a connection to other people who loved God and right away I started going to church and Sunday School. It was there that I began to read the Bible and discovered what had happened to me. I had become a follower of Christ – someone who now loved God, who wanted to please him. I was now someone who felt remorse over sinful things, something I had never felt before. And with that remorse came the realization that when I sinned I didn’t feel close to God anymore. And yet this wonderful God already knew sin would disconnect us so he provided a way to restore that friendship – by taking care of the separation caused by sin through his son’s sacrifice on the cross.
I didn’t have to do anything to get this forgiveness but instead it was something God did for me. And by believing it, I was not only free from the condemnation associated with sin, but I had a clear conscience and knew that this also meant I would always be a part of God’s family, even after my life on earth was done.
Yes I was still 14; I was still a young teenager with questions about everything and with worries galore about my future, but one thing I never worried about ever again was my place in God’s family. In a heartbeat that night I knew I belonged to God and that he loved completely.