To find part 1, go here.
I mention January 1st a lot when I talk about my faith. It truly was the single most defining moment in my relationship with Jesus, even more so than when I first invited Him into my heart.
Exactly 11 months ago, I wrote what I referred to as my first honest post. I wrote about the events that led me to the state that I was in that day. I won't delve too far into that right now, but since the original post is a fairly long one, I'll summarize to say that I was feeling broken.
January 1st was the first day that I went to my now church, Reality. In the post mentioned above, I talked about what happened that day. But I want to go a little deeper right now. I never want to forget the things that I felt on that Sunday.
I never want to forget that initial worship set, reaching my arms out as far as they could extend, simply trying to get as close as I possibly could to God.
I never want to forget the words "I'm desperate for you, Lord" playing over and over again through my mind. They weren't the lyrics to any songs that we sang that day, they were simply the words of my heart.
I never want to forget the realization that I couldn't continue living the way that I had been living. Realizing that if I ever wanted to be happy the way that I so desperately wanted to be, I would need to live the Lord's way.
I never want to forget the comfort that flooded my heart as I finally told God that I surrendered my entire life to Him. My relationships, friendships, Friday and Saturday nights. I begged Him to take them. To take them all, and do what He wanted with them.
I felt comfort in finally relinquishing control over my life to the Lord, because I knew that He would make something beautiful of it.
And no, it was not an overnight change. Changing my life to live according to the Bible has been and will continue to be an ongoing process.
But what did change in a single instant was my heart. There was no denying that this heart was transformed. Although I may fall short each and every day, this heart no longer lives for itself. This heart lives for Jesus. And I know this by the convictions that I feel when I do fall short. The beautiful convictions that tell me that I no longer belong in this world, but in His.
And so, where does community come into this?
Through out all of college, I made one strong friendship with another Christian, Kristen.
Just one, out of the many incredible friendships that I formed.
That one friend is who led me to Reality that day. In my broken state, I sought comfort from the Lord worshipping Him with Kristen and her roommate, my now great friend, Corinne.
Two people I knew in that room full of hundreds.
If there is one thing that I've learned, it's that as a Christian, it is so important to have strong Christian friendships.
As Christians, we are so privileged to be able to share God's love with one another. Any time we are brought together, it's an opportunity to feel Jesus' presence and His love. It's an opportunity to grow in our faith by just a short conversation on His word.
We show His love by loving one another. We hold each other accountable to help us grow closer to Christ. We truly are brothers and sisters, and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I spent the majority of high school lacking in community. I spent all of college lacking in community.
And I could have spent the rest of my life lacking in community.
But God said No.
And this year, He has blessed me with the gift of the second best thing, compared to His love.
The love of my brothers and sisters.
Who build me up when I fall. See me for the person that I want to be and can be, not the person that I am today.
And I am in no way saying that these friendships exceed my friendships with Non-Christians.
I am simply thankful for the gift of having friendships where I can share my love of Christ with someone who gets it, you know?
And the best part is, I didn't find these people.
God found them for me.
When I can't understand or fathom how incredible His love is, I look to these people. And I think I have an inkling of understanding.
Thank you Lord, that you did not design us to ever be alone. You designed us to embrace in the wonderful gift of community, and that in doing so, we can show the world Your love.