I have had a relationship with Christ since I was a little girl, as long as I can remember really. I remember the day I came home from church and went into my bedroom closet to invite Jesus into my heart. I remember being baptized in a lake in Upstate New York. I remember always knowing He was with me. I attended a Christian school, always went to church, always surrounded by other Christians. I am so thankful for my incredibly normal, safe upbringing in the church and for my godly parents, family and friends.
As an adult, I never strayed far from the church or from God. I made mistakes, for sure. But never had a desire to wander away from the church. But going to church, praying at the dinner table and bedtime, raising my own kids in the church, going to ladies Bible studies, reading the Word, and just generally being a 'good Christian' was the extent of my faith... I always felt like I was missing something but just didn't what know it was. So I acted like I had all the answers, and was so judgmental of other Christian denominations. That's sad and embarrassing to say, but true.
I rarely had the opportunity to tell people about Jesus because I was surrounded by only Christians all the time! By choice! I would pray for people when they asked me to, and where I saw need. But I never felt any real power in my prayers, although I always believed in the power of prayer. Prayer was just part of this lifestyle.
I would occasionally encounter people who were really sold out and on fire for Jesus - I wanted what they had but I didn't know how to get it. I just chalked it up to personality. Some people are just more 'bubbly' about their faith, I figured. I'm not bubbly. I'm more reserved, so that must be the difference... Christianity was just a way of life. It was HOW I lived, but there was no power in it.
Then March 26, 2015 happened.
That's the day Jesus decided it was time for me to wake up out of my safe and sleepy Christian lifestyle. That's the day my world began to look different. That's the day I was given a choice to really follow Him, or go back to sleep.
I chose to follow.
This meant walking in murky waters where I could not see my feet. This meant opening my eyes, my mind and my heart to things I had flat out rejected and denied previously. This meant putting FAITH in the unseen and misunderstood. This meant rejection by those close to me, who couldn't understand why I was walking this path; who thought I was being misled into something dangerous. As I searched for biblically sound proof of what I had witnessed on that day, I realized that I had to make a gut decision to follow even though I couldn't actually find the facts or confirmation I was looking for at the time. I joke with people that making this choice to follow Him into what we now affectionately call "Crazy Town" is akin to the scene in The Matrix, where Neo is confronted with the choice of the Red Pill and the Blue Pill.
"You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland,
and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes."
I chose the Red Pill.
And here is how my life is different because of it...
Now, I am 'bubbly' for Christ. More than that; it's literally all I want to talk about. I can barely stand to be in conversations about the mundane... the weather, work, traffic... He's in everything and I can see His presence there and just want to point to Him all the time and scream "Don't you see Him, right there?? He's right there - in the weather, in the traffic jam... at your job! He's right there!!!" Before, I always had the feeling He was with me, it was comforting, yes. But it was personal, not something I would rave about to others around me. I want to rave about Him. All the time. Like a schoolgirl, crushing hard... He's all I can think about. All I want to talk about. Giddy schoolgirl with a one track mind...
Now, His Word is alive to me. New understandings just about every time I read. I hear Him prompting me to read this... ok now read that... ok put those together... He gave me this vision of us sitting together at my table on the screened porch where I often study and read. It was more like like a glimpse into the reality of what's happening than it was a vision. The Bible makes sense in ways it never did before. He has opened my understanding, and continues to do so. One new thing learned building on the last thing. He leads me through His book. And I have so much still to learn...
Now, there is power in my prayers. I am seeing people healed and delivered. Barely a week goes by when I am not directly involved in something crazy amazing and miraculous. I am aware of the spirit realm, and how it affects us. When people ask for prayer, I can ACTUALLY help them. I can pray with authority, knowing that my prayers make a difference. My kids have seen victory and power in prayer. Long gone are the days of those routine prayers at the dinner table... We talk to Jesus at the dinner table like He's sitting there with us - because HE IS!! And we are ALL aware of His presence. My youngest son reaches out to hug Him in the morning when he wakes up. "Good morning Jesus!" he says...
I have had to update my beliefs about so many things... I am optimistic about this world. This is my home, I was created to live in this place - literally designed for it & it for me - and I - WE - have authority here! It's time to take this authority and use it to drive out the darkness we see. Everywhere our feet go, belongs to us, to Him. We have the power and authority to change the world. It's up to us to advance His Kingdom here. He gave us everything we need to do so. Get up Christians!! Take your place on His team of ambassadors and stake His flag in your area of influence!
OK - so what made this change in me?? Read about it in the next blog post... Post #2.