It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
I grew up “in the church” as many modern day Christians like to say. My dad was a pastor before I was born, and into my early years of childhood. We moved to Illinois where “he got a real job,” as most of my school peers said. He never stopped sharing his faith with me, and I never stopped asking. My aunt continued to share her testimony with me by bringing me to pioneer girl camp. I sang worship songs. I “accepted Jesus into my heart” at a young age.
I always knew God was there. I didn’t always know God. I learned the difference at Calvary.
I always struggled with my testimony. There was no a-ha! I had no radical conversion. My story seemed less interesting, and what little I had I struggled with whom to credit for my conversion.
You see, many helped me get here.
In reality, God changed my heart and I welcomed the change.
I never thought much about my testimony until I came back to Illinois after 3 years of being away from our home base.
I was pretty hardened by our sea tour in Hawaii. Deployment caused depression. My body kicked into survival mode with as busy as my husband’s work schedule was and how difficult a time I had juggling our home and family without him (thankfully I have my parents at my side). But the softening came. It didn’t happen at first for me. I got here and I mostly slept a lot. Then I went to the blend and the smell warmed up my insides. Like when you light a fire in a fireplace of a dusty cold room that’s been empty. Funny how smells can bring back old parts of you. Then I went to calvary on sunday, and I stood there looking up at the cross and thought about how much had happened to me and how different I was. Then I got this horrible feeling, like maybe I didn’t belong there anymore. Then Clayton started praying and I felt a little whisper telling me that I’m so very much the same. That I was different, but I hadn’t been spending quite enough time being the same old me. I had been a bit preoccupied with being the mom of 3 kids me.
And there she was, wiggling to be out of the Saran Wrap i had wrapped her in. Trying so desparately to let the feelings happen. This was a place where it was okay to be weak and weary.
When I was in high school, most of my struggles centered on trying to make Sebastian understand how compatible we are. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated, but that’s the base line introduction. I was in love and he wasn’t and the struggle was so very real to 14-18 year old me.
Deep inside it was a self love issue. If he couldn’t love me, maybe I shouldn’t.
That’s where sin creeps in. It wasn’t Sebastian intentionally making me feel that way. I’ve said it before, our feelings are our own. The sooner we take responsibility for them, the sooner we can work with God to change our hearts.
One day, when we were on good terms, Sebastian brought me to a youth group he had been attending. I met Clayton.
Clayton introduced me to having a relationship with God. Knowing Him instead of knowing of Him. He helped me hatch from my egg, as C.S. Lewis said.
Other people had told me this before, but God spoke to me there, at that moment.
There I learned that being a Christian was having a relationship. Just like all relationships, you have to invest time and energy and love into them.
I figured out how to pray, I struggled through devotions and making time for God.
It’s been about 7 years and I still can’t get a rhythm. Praying in public feels wrong to me, it’s a privacy thing that I can’t seem to shake. Making time for devotionals with 3 kids doesn’t happen daily. If I told you it did it would be a big fat lie.
Most importantly, I still struggle with the thought that God could ever have the time and energy to love little old me. To hear me when I struggle. I doubt him. And that doubt bleeds into my parenting. I see it. I watch it happen. I know it has to stop and I need to change again.
But if I told you my testimony as the happy story of always knowing of and eventually knowing him, but I failed to include my relationship with him now, well, it wouldn’t be real.
My relationship with God is real. It’s raw. And I’m working on it. And a testimony isn’t just past tense. It’s present. And future. When you recognize that He is with you, and was and always will be, that’s where it all makes sense. You’ve been writing your testimony all this time, and you’re writing it every day, still.
What is important to me is sharing this story. Letting others know that there doesn’t have to be a firework display and a big emotional finding of God. There can be. But your story, your relationship with God isn’t any less real because it was gradual.
On the steps of Calvary God made me whole. I walked up and down them many times and before I knew it, my soul was changed and my heart hungry for him always.