I know not everyone who reads my blog shares my faith, and most of my entries involving topics of faith are non-controversial. I never want to come off as a "crazy Christian" or a "know-it-all" or a "hypocrite" or any other phrase that unfortunately too often characterizes people who (claim) to follow Christ.
That being said, for recent weeks I have this feeling in my gut that the end is near. That doesn't mean I think Jesus is for sure coming back tomorrow (although He absolutely could be); it just means with all of the intense recent events (everything transpiring in the Middle East, today's huge earthquake in Japan, financial crisis all over the world, etc.) things seem to be lining up for the end.
I have so much on my heart right now that I do not even know exactly how to get it out or where to begin. I guess today I just want to write about why and how I started identifying myself as a Christ-follower.
I grew up going to church. We went every Sunday and Wednesday when I was little. I remember earning a prize for memorizing the twenty-third Psalm. I still can sing almost every kiddie song from Sunday school (and do to my boys). I knew all about Jesus from an early age.
But when my parents got divorced when I was in middle school, I was very angry at God. How could God let all of this happen? There are still situations in life when I ask that and honestly I do not have concrete answers for those questions. I just know that by the time I was fifteen I knew something was missing in my life. I started attending a youth group with a girl from my English class, and that summer I made a decision - to ask God for forgiveness for my sins and to trust and follow Him.
And I would love to tell you that ever since that July day in 1996 everything has been perfect and lovely. It hasn't. My life has had tremendous ups and downs. I have had disappointments and frustrations with people, situations, my faith. I have had moments and seasons where I have let people (and myself) down in big and small ways. I still ask a lot of why questions. I don't accept cookie-cutter answers from "church people."
But the thing that remains constant in even the worst of times is the peace that God has provided and continues to provide me. I have lost friendships over the years, yet He has remained faithful. I have dealt with seasons of clinical depression, but He has brought me out (with also the wisdom of doctors and medicine) to seasons of joy. My miscarriage was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me - I still do not understand it - but I felt His presence even as I was so incredibly angry and sad.
I guess this is all to say I have a relationship with Jesus because He is good and He is trustworthy and He can handle every emotion, every question I throw at Him, and He still sticks around.
I know not everyone believes the things about Him that I do - that He is the Son of God, that He died and rose from the dead for our sins, that He is Love, that He is coming again - and I would never push my faith on anybody. But I could not shake the feeling this morning that I needed to share what He means to me because maybe someone out there in blogger-land is looking for a God who can handle anything he/she throws at Him, for peace in a storm, and for hope for the future.
Feel free to comment - even if you disagree with me.