Changing Tides

I haven’t known an adult life where Jesus wasn’t everything. Yet truthfully, He hasn’t always been. He’s always been more of an afterthought, with moments of pure devotion mixed in. I have not been the Christian woman I thought I would be, but it gets better.

When you’re young, it’s much easier to “be on fire for Jesus”. The more life hits you in the face, though, the less courageous you become in your faith.

Or, you become more courageous in other ways. You courageously decide to leave the faith, because for years, Christianity has been suffocating. You walk away because you don’t feel free. You want to be the person you want to be, without the strings of faith, church, and her messy past.

I get it.

I have admittedly had my moments of doubt. You know when they hit me the hardest? When the Gospel is preached to me loudest. The minute I start hearing the Gospel laid out before me in the language I’ve always heard it: Jesus died because He loved you. He loves you. He came back to life three days later because He wanted you forever. He promises us eternal life with Him. And the crowd says, “That’ll preach!” And it’s like snakes in my stomach. But…what if this isn’t true? Is it really possible for someone–let alone God–to love me that much? How could someone die for me knowing I would screw up on the daily?

And then I see the people I know or knew or knew from afar choose to leave the faith. People I admired. People I went to church with. People I cared about. And the snakes, like vipers, return to my stomach and my mind, and doubt makes a home within me where it was never welcome before.

When I first learned about this Jesus who loves me, I remember stealing the Bible out of my brother’s room (ironic) and flipping through the pages. I wanted the Bible to come alive, but I was staring at sentences I just couldn’t understand. So I picked out verses that sounded encouraging, peeled them away from whatever context they were in, and wrote them on post it notes. Doodled them on my journal. I picked out words from the book of life and invited them to breathe something anew within me.

But you know, Jesus never really came alive for me until I had reached a point of no return. For years I lived a life with no risk, and yet, I thought I was risking everything committing my life to love Jesus. It was more like in the quiet, I was loud in my faith, and in the public, I was just another face in the crowd.

The day came when we had hundreds of dollars in our bank account. It was when my husband had no income. It was when we had two kids and one on the way. It was when we were looking ahead and saw absolutely nothing. It was when we reached a point of no return, no backing down, and literally living the faith we so professed in our quiet spaces.

He came alive.

And you know, I disliked God greatly when He wasn’t letting me have the things I wanted. I wanted a baby in 2015, and that baby didn’t live past five weeks. I wanted comfort and financial security, and all I had was handfuls of prayers that a check would come in the mail and the torment of not knowing what we could afford that month. I wanted to feel free, and I only felt bound by what I couldn’t have.

It gets better.

He is faithful until the end. I haven’t reached it, but I know He won’t leave my side. He isn’t taking. He isn’t binding me to chains. He isn’t holding me back from being who I want to be. He isn’t worried that I’m going to run away.

And if I do run, He’ll come after me. He’ll free me. He wants freedom for me like He wants it for the birds, and He wants me to be the woman He knows I am capable of becoming, not who I think I need to be. You see the difference? His ideas surpass mine, and He sends me off to do things I’m scared to do. He does, I get to.

It gets better as time goes on. It gets easier to fall at His feet, to hear His voice, to want to obey, to long for His name to get the glory my flesh aches for.

The Gospel doesn’t quit. Jesus hasn’t stopped being everything. And in my humanity, may doubt keep me on my toes and keep me on the pursuit of His glory.

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