On a relatively cool, cloudy morning in August, I made a simple, yet life-changing decision. I made the decision to stop trying to do everything by myself. I made the decision to believe that life would be better if I trusted my worries to someone else. I decided to accept that someone greater than me wanted something greater than me – for me.
Nearly twenty five years later, it has been proven to me time and time again that the decision I made was the greatest choice I could have ever made.
I’ve had many friends in the last thirty years and some of those friends have stuck with me for ten or even twenty years. These friends have been there to listen when I needed to talk, to speak when I needed advice, to laugh when times were good and to cry when times were bad. I’ve been blessed not to have to endure many of the hardships that my close friends and family have – but even in my struggles, these friends have been there for me.
On this (partly) cloudy Thursday morning in August 1990, my mother did virtually the same thing she had been doing most mornings, and read out loud a couple of chapters from the Bible. To be completely honest, I have no idea what she read that morning. I probably should have paid more attention than I did most days. I don’t know how we got to talking about me, my heart, or the condition of my soul – but I do know that from the moment I choose Jesus Christ over myself, everything would be different.
Popular books teach us not to sweat the small stuff — but sometimes it’s the small stuff that speak loudest to the unlimited strength of God. In times when nothing else could help me, it was Christ’s love which lifted me up and strengthened me to carry on.
Throughout the years, Christ has proven to me that He loves me and will never let me go. He’s shown me more mercy and grace than I deserve and shared with me more blessings than I could have imagined. With God, life is not instantly easy, and it’s not always perfect – but I’d rather be with Him than against Him. With Him, all things are possible. With Him, I am strong. With Him, I can be confident and courageous. With Him, I can know and share true love.
Many times, people have asked me how I can be so sure that what I believe in is real, or what makes it different. Sometimes, I ask myself the same thing. Being different than my surroundings is easy for a day, or even a week. Being different for life requires much more practice, much more effort and frankly – requires God. He is the hope that is within me. He is my reason for living.
In a world where so many standards are changing, Christ stands firm, unwavering, ready to clasp the hand of any who seek His help. Sure, I could live a “good” life, or I could just try to love others and hope for the best. For those who do this, that’s great, it’s a start. For me, it wasn’t enough. God is not a crutch for me to lean on, He is the healer. God is not a tool I use to build, He is the blueprint. God is not a figment of my imagination, He is the object of my inspiration.
Many people have told me how they have stopped going to church because of the feeling of “organized religion” and the way they felt they were treated. They’ve shared how that leaders of the church have done something wrong or offended them in some way. They’ve shared how that other people don’t seem to respect them or truly show them God’s love. For all of those bad experiences that have turned you off from God, I’m sorry. Those people and those places don’t reflect the God that I know. My God loves. My God is gracious. My God is just and merciful.
“Don’t judge me,” someone says. “The Bible says you shouldn’t judge others.” You’re right. It’s not my place to tell you how to live your life. I will gladly share what I believe is correct, but at the moment that my attitude changes from sincerity and helpfulness to judging — I’m wrong.
I’m telling you all of this to say – God loves you. In the darkness and sunshine in your life, God will gladly stand by your side, if you let Him. For me, when nothing else could help, His love has lifted me. His magnificent love lifted me.