God’s Light is in Our Hearts
Good Friday is here and Easter is right around the corner, I think I understand now.
Well, let me explain.
God continuously and constantly is pursuing us. This year I finally noticed and paid attention, I acknowledged my own personal spiritual decay.
When I was nine years old, I attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia and I experienced my baptism as a fourth grader. I would attend Sunday school regularly and participated in church plays such as the Fall of Babylon and Jonah and the Whale (my drawing I created in Sunday school made it on the cover of the Jonah and the Whale production).
During middle school and high school, I attended youth group events, dinners with our youth leaders, movie nights, and so on.
By the age of 18, I stepped away from going to church and being a part of a youth community group. My engagement consisted of going to church or hearing the word at a wedding, a funeral, Christmas, or Easter.
As an avid churchgoer for events only, I did not really know why I was there in the first place. I had no clue that God was pursuing me (and that it could happen in or out of the church; I continued to ignore and be distracted).
I was a person in the check box life of faith (because I was not claiming anything at the time).
Well, there are moments that I thought yeah I have faith this is intentional. However, still in the check box mentality. A few months before my wedding in 2002, I visited with a pastor. I remember going to meet with the pastor with my soon to be husband before we got married for pre-wedding counseling…
It still did not click for me.
Ten years passed and I was still engaged in the check box mentality: funeral, wedding, and celebratory holidays.
I found myself in counseling when my marriage was failing in 2012. God kept trying to reveal His presence but I was distracted, not listening, and giving my attention to outward distractions versus focusing on what was developing inward…
It still did not click for me.
Over the past five years, my encounters with God typically happened on solo ventures out hiking (I never contemplated this until I became diligent about reflecting over my encounters).
One I remember very well was a day I was hiking at a park. I found out the day before one of my students had passed away. My plan was to be out on the trails for a while. I hiked through the woods for about two and a half miles and came to a huge opening; the sun was beaming and striking my face and body.
No one was around and I looked up and asked WHY?
This related to the loss of the student as well as my own loneliness as a single parent and still not finding a community. I broke down in tears and literally cried aloud – letting all the pain of loss leave my body.
As humans, we experience so many different points of pain and loss. Hurting, but not really knowing why?
For a long time I experienced spiritual decay and this year I woke up. God constantly and consistently is pursuing us.
Knowing this will make for peace, if we knew.
I did not recognize God visiting me, He tried to bring peace and love into my heart. He wanted me to wake up.
If I am honest, I have to admit that I have in the past spoken words of dislike about the Bible and going to church. For a long time I could not find a place where I felt welcomed and always felt as I entered with a big “D” on my forehead for Divorce.
It was difficult to connect to a church community.
Back in April 2017, I attended a local park and came upon an event that Hope Church in Burlington, North Carolina hosted. I chatted with a few people and a member invited me to attend Hope the next Sunday.
I began attending later that month and I am about to celebrate my first year as a member of the Hope family. Many individuals at the church may not know this but my Hope community is my constant and is contributing to the woman I am becoming.
On my 40th birthday, October 22, 2018. I chose to accept Jesus into my heart. That day I received the best gift that nothing will ever match. I decided to make God #1, the priority not a priority. There will be times throughout life full of comfort that will prepare me for times of challenge to regain comfort and to face challenge again to find comfort again and to face challenge again and so on.
I will have to face times where I am distracted (and may feel there is no hope), I will turn to God for guidance and remember to pay attention, keep it simple, and do no harm.
I am blessed to have God’s light in my heart to endure and persevere for my light to shine. February 4, 2018 I was immersed in water to symbolize my acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior.
Today is Good Friday and Easter Sunday is around the corner, this will be my first true understanding of this long weekend.
I am no longer living in spiritual decay. I am awake, my heart is full, and God is #1.
God’s Light is in Our Hearts by…