Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nine Years Ago...

I can’t believe that it has been nine years since I became a Christian. I was eight years old, and I remember everything about that day so clearly. For months, I had been taking long walks around the neighborhood with my parents discussing all the aspects of God that I wanted to understand. I remember how on May 18, 2002, there was an urgency in my spirit that was crying out. I went to my parents and asked them with big tears in my eyes if I could be baptized. We invited some of the most important people in my life (my grandparents, first-grade teacher, and my family) to share in the celebration of the biggest decision I ever made.
This year has been a tough one for me. Between learning how to handle college-level courses, growing up, and getting treated unjustly on several different counts, my relationship with Jesus has grown in three main areas: Faith, Prayer, and Compassion.


#1 – Faith.

I am not proud of the way I handled a lot of things this year, but I know that the tears that I cried late into the night were all for a reason. My college level classes stretched me not so much academically, but in learning how to deal with real-life situations. It was hard for me to go to class, hear all of the negative comments, foul language, and sad life-stories and not come home depressed or overwhelmed. Having a teacher that disagreed with me on almost every count did not help, either. However, I learned through this experience that, even in the hard times, it’s okay to let God take the lead.

There were about two weeks in April where I literally just lost it. I cried every day, and decided that I did not want to be a nurse. I screamed and shouted at God, demanding that he change the plan he has for me. I decided that college was not a Biblically sound choice for a woman and that if I went, I wouldn’t learn anything, and I would only be wasting time and money. And I decided this all in a two-week period where I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Yeah, that wasn’t a smart idea. Then one night, I listened to Britt Nicole’s song, “Have Your Way” at least eight times on the way home from work. I got home and just cried out to God, asking him to help me. I gave up my will, my wants, and my way and let him once more take the lead. Taking a leap of faith is not something I like to do, but I felt God call me so clearly, that I knew there was no other way. I had exhausted every other path, and come up with nothing but heartache and confusion. I do not know if God is still leading me to nursing, but I am confident that I can trust him, follow him, and let him lead me through every area of my life, whether I like it or not!

#2 – Prayer

I think prayer is the area of Christianity that I struggle with almost constantly. I get so distracted when I pray out loud, but I don’t go very deep if I only journal. I feel like I learned this year how to pray almost constantly; in the shower, in the car, at work, during school, and at dance. When I see someone who needs prayer, I have tried to just stop right there and pray for them. Maybe my prayers are not very long, but I try to make them meaningful. There have been countless opportunities for me to witness in the past few months, and I have been trying to take them all, making sure I reach the people who are in need. I know I will always struggle with prayer, but I am glad that I can always come to Jesus with the situations I am put in!

#3 – Compassion

I am not always a very compassionate person. Well, that’s not completely true…I can be very compassionate to young children, but I am not good at being compassionate with my siblings or adults. Inside my head, I often think, “Oh, brother…” or “Just get over it!” and I know these thoughts are not from God. I have tried to focus on being sweet and full of grace in every situation. Believe me, it’s NOT easy, and I am still working hard on it!

I saw a video clip this year entitled, “Every Life Has a Story.” It really enlightened me to the fact that those who treat me unfairly do it because of something else in their life. Perhaps they are only taking out their anger on me because they are truly angry at somebody else. I hate being treated with disrespect, and I have had too many instances this year in which I have gotten angry and lashed out at someone, only to find out that what they are going through is much worse than my situation. It hurts when people hurt you, but I promise, if you love them instead of retaliate, you will not feel awful later. This year, when I have been treated unfairly, I have asked God to rain down blessings upon that person. Somehow, asking God to bless, instead of curse, these people has helped me realize that their story may explain the reason why they are choosing to hate me. I may never know why, but if I choose to show compassion instead of hatred, I will be satisfied, and God will be pleased.


May 18, 2011. My ninth spiritual birthday. Wow. God has helped me through so much in these nine years, and I can’t imagine what I will be able to say I have learned by next year.

I want to make an apology to my family. Mom, Dad, I’m sorry I’ve been disrespectful and scared about college and what I think God has in store for me. You are more often than not right about life, and I really will try to listen to what you have to say. I love you both so much. To Noah and Lexi, I love you both, and will try to show compassion toward you when you need it. I would do ANYTHING for you, and I pray we get to spend some quality time together in my last year of high school! To my Grandma and Grandpa, thank you for the extra love and care, and for taking me out to lunch to give me some good straight talking! You have no idea what an impact it has made on me.

And last of all, though certainly not least, I’m sorry Jesus for not trusting you. You are my God and King, and I will serve you until the end of my days.

Amen, amen!