by Charity

Have you ever struggled with religion, going to church Sunday after Sunday knowing that it was just some strange ritual you trained yourself to do in order to feel righteous for the rest of the week? Have you ever longed for relationship, something you could feel and touch, something satisfying and new, something worth just going crazy over? Well, that is my life story.
My earliest memories included church, Sunday school, vacation bible school, Christmas pageants, and sitting on hard wooden benches while the sermon stretched on for days (or so it seemed). I am a preacher’s kid! I was labeled by all who knew that of me, forever bound to the impossibility of living up to what everyone believed me to be. Really, I was just a lost kid searching for some kind of identity. I longed for something more than what I saw. As a child I would sleep through the sermons on my mother’s lap but as I grew up nothing really changed. I may not have been in my mother’s lap but my mind wander in so many different directions and I never really heard any of the words spoken in those Sunday sermons. They didn’t mean anything to me, so why should I listen? They were the same words that were ground into me since the beginning of my life. Sure, I believed that there was a God and that Jesus had died for my sins, but I didn’t believe He was alive today. There was no proof of it that I could see: no joy in the faces of the people around me, no hope and life for me in what my parents said they believed, and the songs held no meaning to me. As far as I could tell there was nothing living and active about being a Christian. As long as you did your Sunday morning duty you could live the rest of the week any way you pleased and still feel better about yourself than those around you. So I played the part of the good preacher’s daughter for everyone that required it of me, and more and more I started searching for something else that was real.

I was in eighth grade and somehow I convinced myself that people would accept me if I was the best. It didn’t matter what I was the best at as long as I took first place in something. So, I set myself to being the top of my class. I joined the band and chorus hoping for some amazing talent to spring forth. I picked up as many sports as I could and all the while I kept my “righteous girl” pose. I would do almost anything to feel important and have people notice me. If I had to I would cheat, or tell a lie, I even set myself up to be injured so I would look like a hero. Nothing really mattered to me except the opinion of those around me.

Then one day, a few months after my family had moved for the fourth time, a girl from my soccer team invited me to go to her church. I decided it would be nice to see something different, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. People were laughing and enjoying themselves. The room was a buzz of voices greeting one another. And when the music started they got up and danced and waved their arms in the air. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. People excited about God and talking about Him like they really knew who He was! This floored me! They were acting like God was alive. Could it be??

I spent about two years wondering, searching, and trying to figure everything out in my head before I heard the words Jesus had been speaking to me since my first breath. It came like a small voice echoing through an empty castle, you know what I mean? It seemed to resound off the walls and all Jesus said was “I want you to know me!” And instantly I knew Him! I was filled with joy like I had never known. I started jumping up and down and praising Him because that was all I had ever wanted to know and feel something real, to not have to pretend anymore but to believe so deeply in Jesus that I could go crazy for Him! And that's where I’m going!!!

In all my years at the Methodist church I never felt like Jesus was alive. But now I know He is!! When I finally stopped searching for the answers in myself He came and showed me the only answer! JESUS!!!! And I will never be the same! No more empty words on Sunday morning or singing songs that mean nothing to me. Now every day is filled with a fresh joy of knowing God and learning more and more about Him and constantly being changed to be like Him!!!!

And…I don’t have to be controlled anymore by the need to be accepted and do everything right. All I have to do is live for Jesus because He has promised to never leave me or reject me!!!

Now you’ve got to sing along...
I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!
And I know, I know, I know, I’m gonna be with Him.
WhooooaYeeeaahhh!!!! He is real!!!

Copyright 2014