A few weeks ago, a reader contacted me through Facebook to ask about my faith. I have been praying on how best to share my faith. Here goes...
First and foremost, above all else, above being a wife and mama - I am a follower of Jesus Christ.
I believe that God made in the world in 6 days. I believe He sent his only son to die for our sins. I believe that at the end of this life I will go Home to praise Him forever.
What church/denomination do I belong to?
I am a United-Methodist Christian. I first started, regularly, attending a UMC church in middle school. It was my decision to become confirmed in this church and have continued to attended UMC churches each place I have lived (Evansville, Louisville, Camp Lakeview, and now in the Indianapolis area). I am not opposed to attending other churches and do so while visiting family or on vacation. If you are interested in learning what it means to be a United Methodist and/or what our church believes please visit the UMC Website.
Did I grow up in a church?
Yes, I grew up attending church with my family. My parents were raised in two different churches and chose a third to raise us girls in. We attended that church until the year 2000 when we switched to a UMC church. I am thankful to have attended one church as a child, a different kind of church school, and even different churches as we went with my grandparents. This showed me that all churches that are Bible based and true to the Word are basically the same. It helped me to be less attached to my specific denomination and more attached to Christianity as a whole.
When did I begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
I do not remember the exact moment that I became a believer but I know about when it happened. I was 12, I was in the midst of an awful developmental phase, and attended summer camp. I remember laying on the tennis courts, looking at the stars and realizing, maybe for the first time, that God made those stars. It hit me like a ton of bricks - He made them. He made me. He loved me.
Although, I had grown up in the church, going to Children's Church, Sunday School, and VBS it was always just what we did. That summer my faith became more than just something I did - it became integral to who I am.
I think back often to that summer and thank God for allowing my heart to soften to His Word during really key developmental years. I returned to school, 7th grade, after that summer and I was very sure of what I believed. I really think my strong convictions helped me to walk a straight and narrow path while so many wandered around me.
How did my faith change how I lived?
My faith helped me make key decisions over the years.
I strove to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
I made the decision to not drink alcohol or use any kind of drugs.
I made the decisions to be very intentional about the friends I had and what activities I chose to do with them. I am thankful to my parents who said "no" to things like rated R movies and certain social gatherings as I now realize that they were helping me avoid situations that definitely could have led to trouble.
At 16, I realized that I wanted to wait to kiss only one man. I am thankful that decision came to me on December night as waiting for my husband was one of the best, and most precious, decisions I have made in my life.
Why don't I drink alcohol?
I do not drink alcohol because the Bible warns against being drunk (Ephesians 5:18 is one example). Many will claim that merely having an alcoholic beverage is not the same as being an drunkard. That may be true but everyone who is a drunkard started with just one drink. I do not know of any one who drinks alcohol who can honestly say that they have not ever gone too far while drinking. I believe that at all times we should be seeking to do the will of God. For me, that has included my high school and college years, my 21st birthday, our wedding, and many others times when so many that I know have taken things too far while drinking. I want to be very careful and intentional with my time and I do not want to squander time. If I were to drink, even socially, I would be missing an opportunity to share God's Word, to be a good friend, to love on others. I will not allow my own body, mind, or relationships to be ruined by a substance.
What are some times my faith changed my life?
-- First of all, knowing that I was created by THE Creator, knowing that the One who put the stars in the sky knows my name, knowing that God thought the world needed me - that's pretty life changing. It humbles me each time I remember that when God loved the world enough to send His son (John 3:16) to die on the cross, He thought of me. He died for me. It's incredible to think.
-- When I was 17, my Mama suggested I take a look at the University of Louisville as a college option. I had always wanted to go to a small, Christian school and I didn't want to go far from home. That summer we drove to UofL, pulled into the parking lot, and I knew it was it. I felt this incredible calm, I heard a voice say "This is it." And it was. I had an incredible three years of college at UofL (two hours from home and a huge public university) and feel so incredibly blessed by the experiences I had, lessons learned, and people encountered before graduating and moving on.
-- When I was 19, I was having a conversation with a camp co-worker. He and I weren't even really friends. I heard a voice say, "This is the man you will marry." I prayed over that statement for days and when the resolution didn't seem to be changing, I began praying that God would indeed prepare me to be his wife someday. I married him 3 years later and being Mark's wife is such an incredible honor.
-- After Annabeth was born, we realized that we would eventually outgrow our first little house. We spent about 10 months looking for houses in three different towns. I finally gave up, convinced we would never find the right house or even the right town to move to. In my quiet time, I kept hearing "submit." Every devotional I read, every verse I read, pointed to a wife submitting to her husband. About three weeks into that, we saw a friend's house for sale. It was okay to me but Mark loved it. He said, "This is it!" We looked at it again, I still didn't have a real feeling about it and I wanted/needed to have that feeling to be sure. I prayed and prayed and never felt sure. I just kept hearing "submit" and so I did. Mark's decision to move us to our current house in Franklin was absolutely the right choice for our family. We have made such incredible friends in this town and we have a wonderful group of neighbors that we really share our lives with. I am so thankful that I trusted Mark and God with the decision on the move because they were so right!
What I hope my children know about my faith:
I pray for my children and their salvation daily. I pray that they come to know the Lord. I pray that they know that they are loved unconditionally, made intentionally, and saved eternally.
It brings me incredible joy to be a child of the King of Kings, to have been saved by my precious Lord. That joy can also be yours, it is yours, if you just believe. If you have further questions about my faith or are in need of resources, please reach out, I pray daily for those who read my blog and pray that each reader would come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Amen.