Have you ever wondered about someone’s story? Someone’s background, upbringing, trials, successes? It’s so easy to sum people up when we meet them, but deep down we know there’s more.
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I was 5 years old and sitting in my LDS (Latter Day Saint, or, Mormon) Primary class for children, singing “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” wondering why Jesus would want me to be a piece of the sky.
I was 8 years old when I was baptized into the Mormon religion. I remember stepping down into the warm baptismal font in my neck-to-ankle white suit knowing my sins were about to be wiped away. My last thoughts were, “Wait, I’m not ready. I wish I could sin more, and THEN be forgiven.”
On my 10th birthday, we had a family pizza party. I didn’t wear shoes the entire day as I played outside in the green Spring grass. Dad gave me a black “Coleman” sleeping bag and a “MagLight” flashligh. Always one for emergency-preparedness (including everything from cold Colorado temperatures to bear attacks to Y2K) it was an awesome gift. (To this day I favor the MagLight brand over any other flashlight.)
I was 12 years old and snuck into the Youth Dances held in the gymnasium of the Mormon church I attended. The appropriate age for a dance attendee was 14, but I snuck in with my sister (who was 17).
I was 14 when I house-sat for a friend and got drunk for the first time. I walked home with my “boyfriend” and kept repeating that I thought I was going to die.
I was 16 when my sister went to college and I snuck into more dances. My mom and I ate Twizzlers and listened to Backstreet Boys on the way home from visiting my sister at Southern Utah University.
I was 17 and on top of the world. I was on the high school swim team, had a college scholarship waiting for me, had a cute boyfriend, and was a rock solid believer of the Mormon religion. I attended early morning Seminary classes and was very active in my church functions.
I was 18 when I converted my aforementioned cute boyfriend to Mormonism.
I was 19 when I knew something was missing for me- spiritually speaking. I withdrew, (most of my rebellion happened around age 14) and stopped believing in the Mormon church.
I was 21 when I partied like a “normal” (worldly) college student.
I was never raped, hit, or shockingly hurt, but I was lucky, on many occasions.
I was 22 when a coworker told me about a Christian radio station she listened to during the day for encouragement. I looked at her weird, but knew something was different about her.
I was 22 when I saw a woman in the shaving cream aisle of Wal-Mart wearing a cross necklace. I thought to myself, “I want that. I want to be so bold for God, that people see me and know me as one of his.”
I was 22 when I moved away from my college town and took my dream job in Arizona.
I was 23 when I started attending a Baptist church every now and then. One day, the Pastor was preaching so hard, his fake front tooth fell out! This was truly my first introduction to a non-Mormon church. The people were friendly, the food was good (Baptists are known for that) and the friendship was genuine.
I was 24 when I asked Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior and I gave my life to him. It was September 12th, and I was sitting on my bed. I had met with my pastor many times to ask many questions. I had previously submitted my paperwork to the Mormon church requesting they destroy my record of membership (a requirement in order to leave the church.) On September 10th, I received confirmation that my request had been completed.
I discovered that what was “missing” for me was a true relationship with Jesus Christ. More than following a religion (Mormon or otherwise,) it was about the personal relationship.
I got on my knees, resting my elbows on my bed and prayed the prayer and read the Bible verses my pastor gave me. Nothing happened. Lightning didn’t strike. In fact, my condo was eerily quiet. I called a friend from my Baptist church and asked her if I did it right.
She told me it wasn’t a matter of right and wrong, but it was an act of submission to the Lord. She said that in time, and with exercise in my faith, that I would start to feel new.
September 13th I woke up and felt new. I was not ashamed! (Romans 1:16) I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was now a believer of Christ.
That day I left for a work trip to Tucson, where I was able to find a church to attend. I worshipped like never before, since I was a new believer, and knew no one. The praise and worship was very moving. I knew I had made the right choice to give my life to Christ. I knew I was never going to be the same again.
A must see video. Please see the YouTube page for proper specs. (Truth is I have had nothing to do with the production of this video!)
I will say that I believe we should all be fighting false-religion, not necessarily religion itself. This video is not aimed at anyone particular person or religion, just a mind-opening perspective of the church.
Powerful; I dare you to pass it on.
WE MADE IT! Sorta. I actually scheduled this post to be published this morning, (and then I accidentally sent it to your email box early – DUH!) so I might not have made it to today. The way my week went, I wasn’t sure I would make it.
First of all, I have to tell you this: My hair is falling out, thanks to my double-dye job. OMG I am losing so much hair I’m afraid that soon I’ll have all those short frizzies, and nothing long and pretty. POUT! (Thank you, GNC, for your hair, skin and nails pills. I hope you work super turbo fast.)
Life is a beautiful exchange. Think about all the things we exchange. Looks and glances, words, (positive, negative, loud, soft) hugs, material items, written documents, items to a store… life is full of exchanges.
Take a moment to think about the exchange between you and Jesus. How often is there communication back and forth? How often do you meet him when he is waiting for you? How often do you reciprocate the love he poured out for you? Do you exchange your experiences and thoughts on God with others?
Sometimes the hardest person for me to invite to church is the person I’m good friends with who has different views on God. I am a very accepting person, and I do believe a bit of “to each his own.” If you know what you believe already, I respect that. Heck, I respect you even if you don’t know what you believe. I respect you if you don’t believe the same thing as me, but I will encourage you to exchange views with someone close to you. Someone who might be a little awkward to communicate “churchy stuff” with. Someone who might make you feel a little embarrassed that you went for such a long time without bringing up the subject.
Take the opportunity to share what you believe. I am forever grateful to the woman who invited me to a very different church than I was used to. Although she is not in my life anymore, her impact on me was far greater than I could ever express my thanks for.
I have an anniversary (not wedding) coming up, but more on that later.
Exchange…exchange…exchange. Meditate on that word. What does it mean to you? Who will you exchange with, and what will you exchange?
As you may have noticed, there’s something different about this blog.
I decided to import all of the posts from http://www.creationdivine.wordpress.com to this blog. Soon I might not even own creationdivine; I haven’t yet made that decision.
The idea when I originally started blogging with WordPress was to have a blog based around my walk with God, and one about the regular, every day things I experience. After a few months, those two things went hand-in-hand so much that I was having trouble separating them. I’m pleased with this fact, and not ashamed. God is the biggest thing in my life. He’s the most important person, yes, even more than my husband. Because of God, our marriage works. It was God who brought us together in the first place. Never in a million years would I have met my husband, if it weren’t for God shifting things around and having a plan for me.
The reason why I originally made the two blogs was actually for you, my readers. I was trying to be sensitive to the fact that some of you do not believe in or follow God, or that we have different opinions of “God,” religion, and faith. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have as many readers if I only had the one blog, instead of two.
I got some lovely advice from a fellow blogger, who said “Your readers know if they are going to continue reading your posts by the time they read the title/first paragraph, so why worry about who’s reading what?”. I concur.
I was so caught up on wanting more readers, more readers, more readers, and since faith is a touchy subject, I didn’t want to lose readers or offend anyone. Let’s face it, out of the many blogs I subscribe to, I do not read every single post by every single blogger, therefore, I shouldn’t (and won’t) be offended if not everyone reads every single one of my posts (though I’d like to continue living in denial of this fact).
So I made the big leap by merging the two blogs into one. I feel so liberated. It’s like I had two personalities (some of you might actually believe this…) and combined them. I played the two-face game for a LONG time growing up while I was forced to attend a church I didn’t believe in, and forced to fit into a mold that wasn’t made for me. The two-face game is exhausting, and I’m incredibly over it, and confident with exactly who I am today.
If you decide not to read a faith-based post of mine, that’s fine. I’ve accepted that fact. Just make sure you come back to visit, because there will still be stuff to entertain you, just as I’ve done before with CollectiveDisclosure.
Blessings to all, and thank you for reading.
“Take hold of my words with all your heart…” Proverbs 4:4 (NIV)
How lovely is this verse. When our world is spinning out of control, we can keep God right in our hearts so he can be our compass.
Early in life I was taught to memorize scriptures so I could defend my religion. But years later, a pastor taught me not to recite the word of God to be prideful or vain, or simply to recite it. He also taught me not to cast stones at those who are different or who are sinning (glass house theory here… I’d have a lot of broken windows in my house) but to open my arms in welcome and to invite them to get to know God with me. Now I see that it is important to know the word of God so that in desperate times of need, anger, fear, or temptation, I can call on God. I can call on my rock, my refuge, and crawl into his hands for safe keeping.
My heart embraces his word. What a lovely, full feeling it brings me.