books, horses, creativity, music, movies, cheesecake, big sweaters,
...and most of all, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I live in the beautiful state of Oregon with my wonderful family. In total we number seventeen, but six have already been called home; five before knowing the world, and one at nineteen years old.
“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin” ~Francis Chan, Crazy Love
That quote changed my life. It awakened me to the truth that I didn’t love God. I didn’t care about spending an eternity worshipping Him. I didn’t want Him. I just wanted out of Hell.
“Are we in love with God, or just His stuff?” (Francis Chan)
After reading that, I devoured the rest of the book, desperate to know how to fix this. What was the key to genuine Christianity? Yes, I believed in God, I believed that Jesus came and died to take away my sins. But from what Francis Chan was saying, I got the impression that there was more to Christianity than that. More than that, I wanted more.
Chapter six held the answer to my question.
“I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed.” (A.W. Tozer)
After reading those words, I knew what I needed.
I needed to love God.
I was twelve at the time of reading this book, and I spent the next two years trying. Trying so hard to love Him, to feel affection for this God-man who endured agony and willingly bled out His life for me. I wanted Him; I wanted Him so badly, but it always felt like He was just beyond my reach. I read, I prayed, I endeavored to fix myself, but to no avail. I felt nothing in my heart. I couldn’t love Him.
I was so confused. How could I possibly not love Him? He who had given up His life to save me – a sinner? I felt like there was something seriously wrong with me, and I had no way of knowing how to fix it.
May 5th, 2012 – ten days before my 15th birthday – my nineteen year old brother Joshua drowned in the Rogue River.
And it was then that God decided to show Himself to me.
It was not a radical, instantaneous transformation. I wasn’t suddenly filled with a passionate love for Jesus. Instead, it came in the form of peace. Never before had I experienced such deep, genuine peace. It truly surpassed all understanding. I still hurt; the pain was incredible, and most nights I was awake until the wee hours of the morning sobbing and missing my brother. But my heart was at peace; I knew where Josh was, and I knew that he was taken there for a reason. God knew what He was doing. It was okay.
And then I felt it. That love – the kind of love that only God can give. So full, so deep, so boundless and free and magnificent, that I couldn’t help but reciprocate.
I loved Him back.
I wish there was a way I could describe it to you; this peace, this love, this relationship. I wish that there were words to express what the presence of God feels like. I know that if you could just feel it, even for a moment, you would drop everything and run into His arms.
But only God can reveal such wonders.
Life has been anything but easy since that day. I have suffered from deep depression, grappled with the grief of losing a close brother, fought self-loathing, and a host of other things. And to be honest, that whole sentence should be in present tense. I still struggle with all of those things. But despite how broken I am, I know that in Jesus Christ, I am whole.
There is so much more that I could say, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d love to hear from you.
Stay strong, weary soldier. God bless you. ♥
“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God as long as I have my being. Let my meditations be pleasing to Him; as for me, I shall be glad in the Lord.”