Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love that toothless grin!

Ben FINALLY lost a tooth! He actually decided to go over and above and lose both of his top teeth in a two-day span. (Of course, one was "helped" a little when he fell into the armchair.)

I just love this toothless grin!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Story

Everyone has a story, a story that tells why you are who you are today, why you stand for the things you stand for, and how you hope to grow and change in the years to come. Our church challenged its congregation to put our personal stories to paper in 700 words or less. I will admit I have procrastinated organizing my thoughts and words into a story. That was until this past weekend. Jason and I were asked to share our testimonies with our new small group. Our group is made up of five couples and we have all been taking turns sharing our stories. Necessity trumped procrastination, and I finally took on the challenge. Written below is my story. My story is a story woven together by the grace of God. Why He would take the time to even notice me blows me away. But, this is the God I serve and will serve from today into eternity.

If you haven't taken the time to write your story, I encourage you to try. It can be a very therapeutic process, but my greatest reward in committing it to paper was another reminder of how amazing God is and how much I need Him and need Him to know how amazing He is to me.

I cannot tell you the exact day that I became a Christian as it seems like I’ve always believed in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. I’ve known as far back as I can remember that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that my salvation comes through faith in Him. I was baptized when I was 10 after walking down to the front of the church and accepting Christ publicly as my Lord and Savior. I have loved Him as long as I can remember and have experienced His presence in my life for just as long.

My family attended church regularly, sitting on the front pew every Sunday. I was active in Sunday School, church choir and youth group and became the church pianist when I was 15. Church was a big part of my life and became a place of refuge from living in a very dysfunctional family. My home life was a place of conflict and emotional abuse. My faith in God was all I had to hold onto at times, and I prayed to Him frequently.

The Lord provided a way for me to attend a small, private, Christian university and it wasn’t too long before I realized that my Christian walk was very shallow. I didn’t really have a true personal relationship with Christ. For the first time in my life, I felt free from all that I had lived with, and I no longer really needed God. I kept Him at a distance, calling on Him occasionally if I needed something, but most of the time, living my life for me. I made poor choices with my behavior and sacrificed my moral standards. However, the Lord never let go of me. He was always there to rescue me. I know He placed me in that environment to learn more about Him and to grow closer to Him.

During the summer before my senior year in college, I decided it was time to stop living for me and start living for Him. I ended the unhealthy relationships, began spending time in His Word and praying regularly. I took to heart the words of James 4:8 - “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” My relationship with Christ began to grow as I made time for Him in my life.

Having a relationship with Christ does not guarantee that life will be easy and free of hardship. In fact, the Bible tells us that we will have hardships and James 1:2 even says “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kind.” I have endured many hardships in my life. I lived in a home that was very unloving and unkind. I have felt the pain of loneliness and depression. I have suffered marital strife as well as financial troubles. I could not have gotten through these things without my relationship with the Lord.

Although I sin daily and the distractions of life can pull me away from actively pursuing my relationship with Him, my desire is to be pleasing to Him and for my love for Him to grow stronger every day. Words cannot express how grateful I am that God loved me enough to sacrifice His own Son for my sins, and I know that I will spend my eternity in Heaven with Him.