This year I will have been a baptized member of the body of Christ for 20years. Twenty years! It seems almost unbelievable. How blessed I was to be introduced to a loving relationship with Jesus from childhood. Really, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know God…or a time when I didn’t have an awareness of His love for me. He’s just always been there for me and I’ve been blessed to know it my whole life!
Spiritual struggles during the first decade of my life involved things like overcoming fear of the dark and developing patience towards my siblings. God helped me through all of them! One time, someone had to go and close the gate after my Dad had come home from work and my sister said she was scared to go alone so I went with her. As soon as the gate was closed, she ran off back to the house, leaving me all alone in the dark. I remember praying and asking God to give me peace in the knowledge that He was with me. He came through! After that, I was never afraid of the dark again.
So when I see children make decisions for Christ, I know, from my own experience, that God is working in their lives. He can give them strength to overcome character defects, even in their under-10 yrs, as they ask for His strength. It was such a blessing to know Jesus from my childhood – I don’t know how I could have made it through the first decade of life without Him!
The church finally relented to baptize me at the age of ten and that marked a new phase in my Christian walk. There were several different struggles, but probably the biggest was the buzz over boys. It was such a struggle to focus on my studies (which is what I knew God was calling me to do) instead of thinking about boys all the time. haha. So silly when I think about it now, and yet a very real struggle! Actually, it’s a struggle that just morphs and matures if it isn’t overcome from our youth. It just manifests differently in grown women…but maybe more of that in a different post.
For me, the struggle shifted from boys to books in my early twenties when I realized that God was calling me to commit my life to full-time ministry. This was way out of line with what I had envisioned for myself. So much of my identity and self-worth was wrapped up in my academic pursuits. So I struggled to put down the books and pick up the Bible. So intense was the struggle that it came down to a decision between Christianity and atheism.
While wrestling with the call to join CAMPUS’ Missionary Training Program instead of taking what seemed like the perfect job, it became clear to me what God was asking me to do. Then I realized that I did not want to do what I knew God was asking of me. But what would be the point of calling myself a Christian if I was unwilling to obey the One I called Master? To disobey God in light of His clearly defined will would be to deny Him. I couldn’t be a Christian i.e. a follower of Christ, if I refused to follow Him. By His grace, I chose to follow Him!
This year marks thirty years of walking with Jesus…struggling to trust Him completely. It marks twenty years of formally being a part of the remnant church…figuring out my place in His work. And I am so thankful! If twenty years in the church and more than that in a relationship with Christ has taught me anything, it’s taught me that the Christian life is a struggle. Really, it’s a struggle to trust God, to surrender to His will – but a struggle nonetheless.
As I look forward to my thirties, I’m curious what the hallmark struggle will be. I have an inkling…but we’ll see 🙂 Hopefully, Jesus will have come before I reach the precipice of my forties with reflections on my thirties though!
Anyways, there’ll probably be a bunch of blogs coming up that are somewhat reflective on my life so far just coz I’ve been giving a lot of thought to turning 30 this year. I’m super stoked! And, like I said, thankful for the struggle that is my Christian journey with Jesus!