I wasn’t raised in a Christian household, and I thank God for it every day.
My experience with faith has been one of struggle and pain, of unknown territory and constant questioning. I have never felt comfortable, nor completely safe. This is something I rejoice in every single day.
God calls each one of us differently, and plants Himself in our hearts at our own divine moment. For me, it was the summer after seventh grade. I was 12, excitable and a little bit of a homebody. I was about to embark on my biggest experience yet: two weeks away at summer camp. I had committed to going after my sister, who had gone the previous summer, explained that it would change my life. Looking back now, I see how beautifully God spoke through her.
Those two weeks were jam packed with everything I wasn’t used to – I was away from my mom, learning to sail, and I attended that magical thing called worship for the first time ever. I was surrounded by daughters of pastors and missionaries and girls who could recite the entire book of Matthew if I had asked. There was so much fire for God that I could barely feel my own spark igniting.
One day we had a particularly moving worship session. I remember feeling overwhelmed and embraced and just so loved. I felt like I was shedding my old self and being made new, right there in the girls’ camp dining hall. I ended up sobbing on the steps on my Bible study leaders’ chalet. I didn’t understand much of what was happening, but I knew I had been doing life wrong by myself, and all I wanted was to do it right in Him. She squeezed me tightly, praying for my heart and my faith. That was the first time I knew I had been changed in His glorious name.
It’s been almost 9 years since that transforming summer, and looking back now, I can’t help but catch my breath and smile. How beautiful is it that God meets us exactly where we’re at, even if we don’t know where that is? How intense is His love flowing into an empty and tired body?
God’s timing is a funny thing that I don’t think we’ll ever understand. I used to get jealous of all my friends who grew up in Christian households – how lucky they were to have supportive parents in their faith and how magnificent it must’ve been to know Jesus from day one.
But I see what God is doing in me through His plan. I know he Has a personal and detailed story for my life that is so much different from every other person I know. I know how much He has grown me through pursuing faith communities and opening my heart to new people. I know how thoroughly He has opened my mind to His word, even if it was a few years later.
I thank God for our unique stories and His unique love – that it is never the same for two people, but it is just as unwavering.
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