I am not new to blogging. But I am new to blogging for a purpose. My purpose in this particular blog is not just to share my faith in God, but to explore that faith, to invite discussion on questions of faith and, hopefully, to reach someone, somewhere who is on the fence or just hasn't had a personal revelation about their own faith. I am not here to preach. Heaven knows I am not qualified nor equipped for that. But I had a conversation with God this morning, and he told me what to write about. See, a friend of mine mentioned on Facebook this morning that she was enjoying her Blog. And I thought, you know, I haven't touched mine in like a year. Maybe I should start blogging. But then that question came up again. What on earth would I write that someone else might even be interested in reading? And as I was getting dressed for work, it hit me, like a voice booming through my head: "Write about God. Write about your beliefs, your testimony, your love of Christ. The journey you have been on through life and continue on." Wow. So I thought about it. I was still thinking about it when I got in my car to drive to work, and throughout the drive. And then, about a block from the office, one of WMHK's ministry minute blurbs came on from The Lighthouse Report, and what did he say? "Write your testimony where others can read it." Sure, he was inviting listeners to write their testimony on the Lighthouse site, but it was like a bell ringing. I don't believe in coincidences, especially ones like this. So..here I am, 12 hours later, writing my first entry in Faith Walking.
Why did I name it Faith Walking? Because that's what it is. I had a few other ideas, all related to songs I listened to throughout the day, but this one stuck. Our lives are one big walk through faith. Faith in God, faith in ourselves, faith in friends or family. Or lack of faith, too. I have been traveling this road for many years now, and not always in the light of God. It took hitting rock bottom and being scared out of my mind about losing everything we had worked so hard to gain, to come to my faith. And in doing so, I realized that all of that didn't matter. My family mattered more than anything material, and God was at the head of that. God answered all of my prayers that year. We ended up not losing anything, but I lost most of that fear. It still rears up and spikes me in the head once in a while, and usually because I have strayed being strong in my faith. I am learning, oh Lord am I learning.
Most people who know me, do not realize that I am actually a deeply spiritual person. I have been for most of my life, even when I was away from the Church. I spent a good number of years away from the Church too, declaring I didn't believe in 'organized religion' and a few other declarations. More on that in another post, but here as an introduction.. I am not perfect by any means, and as a Christian I might as well be a brand new Christian because I don't have a lot of that biblical knowledge. I am however exploring and learning, and so I invite readers to join in and to learn and grow with me. Or to help with that growth even. As I said, I am no expert. But I wonder, is ANYONE an expert when it comes to God, Jesus and faith? We have experts in Theology, but even those experts do not know everything there is to know. Only God knows that. :)
Anyway, back to me being Spiritual.
As a child, I fought to go to church. My family was Lutheran, but my parents stopped going to church when I was in early elementary school thanks to a falling out with their pastor. A year or three later, a church bus was making the rounds on a Sunday and stopped by my house. I think I had a school friend who was attending that church, and was on the bus. I was invited to join them the following Sunday, and my parents said it was ok. So..here I was going to a Baptist church in the fourth grade or something (I honestly don't remember). I attended that church for a few years actually, until I moved up to 7th grade and my family moved, just a few miles away. And, get this, practically in the back yard of that very church. But I didn't go. I had actually stopped going to church a few months prior, but I don't remember why. We moved into a house next door to a Methodist pastor named RC Warren. Brother Warren. He had two boys a few years older than me, and they invited me to THEIR church several months after we settled in. I rode with the boys (I was in Jr High, they were in High school and college). I fell in love, with the church, the youth group, and with Jesus. I had an incredibly spiritual encounter during a prayer vigil sometime during the first year at Trinity UMC, and it stuck with me for a very long time. Until I became an adult. Funny how things change when you get away from your church. We had moved again, and I was away for about a year. Brother Warren had moved on to another church. So I went to visit, met the new pastor, and then the following week, I got an uncomfortable surprise. After attending this church solidly for about 3 years, and sporadically a year after that, it turns out I was never a 'member'. No one had invited me to become an official member, I had never taken confirmation (it wasn't even offered during those years that I knew of), and no one had never suggested to me that I was anything BUT a member. I was shocked. I was hurt. And I didn't step foot in another church for 15 years.
Children HUNGER for knowledge about Jesus. Looking back on my childhood I see that now. Because it was denied to me by my own parents, perhaps I wanted it more, I don't know. But, that hunger was real. And yet, I failed my own children. For reasons I will go into in another post, my children were also denied a church upbringing. Where I had found a way to go to church without my parents, my kids didn't get that opportunity. They were denied God. And now, they are teenagers and that hunger has abated. For my son, it doesn't exist at all. And so I ask myself, where was my faith THEN? WHY did I not at least introduce them to God when they were young enough to hunger for Him? My daughter is a believer and an active member in our church youth, but my son? He is his dad made over. And it is MY fault. That is something I will have to reconcile myself with, in this walk of faith that I am on.
Does it make me a bad person? Is it nonredeemable? I don't think so. I believe God forgives, but we have a much harder time of it. Even in forgiving ourselves.
I end this initial post with some song lyrics, from 'Walk by Faith' by Jeremy Camp:
Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do