Today, I want to share a little bit about my faith. What God has done in my life in the past year. Because it's been a lot. And it's been a beautiful process.
I've written about this process a decent amount on the blog here. It's been a huge part of my life in the last year, so understandably so, it's a huge part of my inspiration to write.
Today, I want to talk about community.
I've mentioned that I was saved in High School. On a summer church retreat to Catalina, to be exact.
I will never forget that weekend that I was first introduced to the Lord. To His love for me.
I will never forget the hikes into the Catalina mountains where for the first time, I would sit alone with the Lord. And let His word guide my thoughts. Marvel on how wonderful He is.
I will never forget that for the first time, I felt a sense of confidence in who I was. I went on the trip with one friend, and ended up forming an entirely new group of friends instead of hanging out with her and hers. For the first time in my life, I could feel the Holy Spirit inside of me attracting others to become my friend.
My freshman year had been a whirlwind. My closest friends were a group of girls where drama was a regular on our daily agenda (Bless their souls, those of us who are still friends laugh about it today). My house burned down in January of that year (I was home alone at the time, and very directly related to the cause of the accidental fire). While living in a temporary house, my mom found out she was pregnant with my much younger, beautiful blessing of a sister (But let's talk about adding stress to an already stressful household situation). I got in trouble at school (for the first and last time). I had my heart broken (for the first and not last time). And I developed an eating disorder (that I have struggled with ever since).
Jesus gave purpose to every part of that insanely stressful year. Jesus redeemed me, removed the shame from my life, and simply loved me.
My sophomore year was spent completely consumed in Christ. I was involved with the High School youth group, going to events on around 5 days a week on the reg.
It was wonderful.
I will never forget what it felt to learn about Jesus, and to really learn and be interested, for the first time in my life.
I will never forget what it felt like to have friendships based on Christ for the first time.
To have role models to look up to, Godly role models.
However, after getting a job at 16 that often conflicted with church on Sundays, my relationship with God started taking a back seat.
When I was at church, my heart belonged to Christ. But Christ certainly did not lead all other areas of my life. When I transitioned from High School youth group to normal adult service, I began going to church alone.
And to be honest, I think I liked it that way. When I would sit in service, I would see others my age in groups, and I could tell that I wanted a sense of community. But I did not actively seek it out.
I think I was just comfortable with my relationship with Jesus being a personal thing for me. Sundays were my time to be alone with the Lord (even while surrounded by so many other Christians). And I grew content with that.
So through college, that continued. Although my church attendance drastically dropped.
I went to church on my schedule. And to be honest, I only sought out the Lord while going through difficult times. Funny how that happens, huh?
Again, I would see groups of college students going to church together, and I felt a longing for that. But I didn't know how to find it. I wasn't ready to change my lifestyle, I was afraid of what that would entail.
So I went to church on the occasional Sunday, and I returned to my normal routine immediately after. My friends were not believers, so that was that.
To be honest, there are of course times that I wish I clung to the Lord through out college. Because I realize now how incredible it is to live for Him. I recognize how there is absolutely a fine line between living in the world, and living for Jesus. And I never want to go back, not after tasting His goodness. So of course, a part of me wishes that I hadn't wasted my first 7 years of being a Christian.
But, I would not change a thing.
I love my friends from college. And who knows if we would be friends had I been walking in faith in every aspect of my life.
I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't walked the walk that I did. I maybe would not appreciate the incredible gift of community that I have been blessed with.
And now that I see how long this post is going to be, I'm going to split it into 2 parts.
This is where I was. This is the life I lived until January 1st, 2012. I was a lover of Jesus, who had no idea what it looked like to walk with Him.
I knew what I wanted out of life, but I thought it was unattainable. I thought there was no way that someone like me could be as Spirit-filled as the leaders that I saw in church.