Growing up I always would have told you I was a Christian, and believed in God. But I thought that was all there was to it, and gave it little to no thought throughout most of my life.
A little over a decade ago I was going through some rough times and had some friends that had just become “born again”. They encouraged me to go deeper into my relationship with God. Well nothing else was working, so I figured why not? At that time there was really nothing here at the church to enable me to do that. We didn’t have any active Bible studies, or mission work going on. So I signed up for some classes at another church. That got me interested in reading my bible, and over the next 10 years I did probably 10 studies and accomplished reading the entire Bible cover to cover. But I knew there was still more.
The Christians I had surrounded myself with outside the church were what I’d now consider VERY conservative Christians. And their influence had deeply affected my views and understandings. Then a few things happened at our church that pushed me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to develop my own view points based on heart felt research of the bible and MANY conversations with God. The first obstacle came when we decided to hire a female as a pastor! So now finally we get to the part about how THIS church has impacted my spiritual journey! My friends outside the church do not support women pastors. I asked Pastor Deb about Paul’s words and her answer did not supply me with piece of mind either. So I read. And I prayed. And I FOUND what I was looking for! What an amazing concept! I could go to God with questions and He would lead me to a deeper understanding, if only I let Him. This may have been the first time, but it was not the last. And as we welcomed Karen, I not only saw our church changing, but myself changing.
I view our church completely differently than I did back then. Back then it was a building I came to, mostly out of obligation, to sit with other Christians and fulfill my weekly duties. Now I still come to a building, but I sit with my faith family and praise the God that walks with me in every step of my life. The God that forgives me the many, many times I screw up each and every day. The God that rains down compassion on me, even when I’ve ignored Him for days on end. The God who carries me through times that are much harder than I ever could have imagined I’d face. The God who Loves me.
Now when I think of myself as a Christian, it has a new meaning for me. A DAILY meaning for me. My faith life has become an exciting journey with new things to uncover all the time. Time and time again I fall down, God helps me back up, dusts me off and encourages me to just keep going. My biggest wish is that Jesus would just come back now!