How I've made my faith my own...
For those of you who have come to know God in your life, you know the moment you make that decision will stick with you for the rest of your life. Last week at bible study, Josh was asked to run the group discussion. I am fortunate to have someone by my side that is so strong in his faith and is there to help me with any questions I have and to encourage me as I grow as a Christian. Now, from the outside looking in it may look like Josh is the only reason I am a Christian for people that don't know me and my journey. When Josh asked the question "Have any of you ever had the feeling that you rely one someone else's faith besides your own?", I was quick to answer with many other members of our group. Before I tell you what I said, let me explain where my walk begins.
My senior year of high school, a young man named Christian Stover passed away from an ATV crash. Christian was 16 years old at the time of his death and a sophomore at my high school. When Christian died, our entire school was devastated and it changed our lives completely. Personally, I didn't know Christian all too well, but our paths had crossed a handful of times and I was fortunate enough to had exchanged words with him a couple of times. From what I knew, he was an absolute sweetheart with an insane amount of friends that respected and loved him. He was a sprint car racer with an enormous amount of talent and a bright future ahead. When Christian died, the hardest adjustment for me was seeing so many of my close friends experience so much pain and knowing that he wouldn't be there to pass in the halls and wave to and I wouldn't see that big truck of his every single school day. I attended Christian's funeral at Shadow Mountain Community Church along with hundreds, if not thousands of other people. Sitting in that church, I heard the pastor and so many of Christian's friends and family talk about God and knowing Christian is in heaven. I then decided that I wanted to have a close relationship with The Lord and that I wanted to know him on a personal level and feel his presence in my life. Growing up, I always knew who God was and prayed quite often but never dove deeper into what Christianity was or what the bible was about. A couple days later, I called my grandparents who I knew attended the very church Christian's service was at. With tears in my eyes, I asked my grandmother if I could start attending church with them and I have never heard her so excited about anything in my entire life. For about a year straight, I attended church with my grandparents and pursued a walk with my savior Jesus Christ. I learned about him and that he died on the cross for our sins and realized the amount of love he had for me. Due to health reasons, my grandparents decided to start watching Pastor Jeremiah's services from home and I vowed to do the same. Unfortunately, I fell short of that promise. I continued to know God and crave a relationship with him but I never put forth the effort.
It wasn't until I met one of my best friends Anna that I began attending church occasionally again and talked about God openly with someone. Yes, before I met Anna in October of 2012, I had a walk with God but not one that I vocalized. I had some friends that helped me and encouraged me along the way but it wasn't until this time in my life that I wanted to learn more. As I said, I attended a couple of services with Anna and her husband Luke along with her family and asked as many questions as I could. In March of 2013, my best friend Addie decided to set me up with her boyfriend's best friend and that's how I met Josh. Our first meeting was at Yogurt Mill in El Cajon and Addie was in attendance. Addie was by far more nervous than I was because she had only met Josh one other time before and her boyfriend was still up at school in San Luis Obispo at the time. When Addie (so smoothly) got up to get her mom some yogurt to take home, Josh and I began talking and our conversation quickly switched to the topic of God. Never had I ever discussed my faith with someone so soon yet alone with someone i'm interested in before, so I knew this was the start of something good. An hour later, Josh left and a few ours after that, I got a Facebook message from Josh asking me out on a date. We planned it for that Saturday night because he was only here for Spring Break and headed back to school at Montana State University that Sunday. I spent all of Saturday at work with a stomach full of butterflies. Finally, at 6 o'clock that night, Josh picked me up and we went on our first date. Long story short, we sat on the beach eating sandwiches and talking for three hours about our families, school, our futures, and mostly about God. Right then and there, we both knew this was meant to be pursued and we made the decision to talk, Facetime, and write while he was away in order to get to know each other better. In that time, my relationship with God and Josh grew at the same time. Ever since that day, God has been at the center of our relationship and Josh has helped my faith grow in ways I didn't even know possible.
So many questions have been asked of me since we started dating. Is Josh my only reason for having faith? No. When Josh and I first started dating, did I rely on him and his love for God? Most definitely. Is our relationship perfect, absolutely not. We fight, we bicker, we laugh, we cry, but most importantly, we love each other. What I want people to know is exactly what I said at bible study that night. "When Josh and I started dating, I relied on his knowledge of the bible and the fact that he grew up in a Christian household and was taught the word of God from a young age. Because he attended a Christian High School like many of you, he knows the stories of the bible far better than I do. I relied on him far more than I should have in the beginning, but I truly believe that my faith is my own. I have had the chance to study the word and grow in my faith on my own and I have had the chance to build my relationship with God with the help of Josh and all of you."
I have so many people in my life at this very moment that have contributed immensely in my walk with God. My parents, my family, Josh, Josh's family, our friends, and my bible study group. Without them, I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am today spiritually.
Like I've said on my blog before, I want everyone to know that when I share scripture or quote anything from the bible, i'm not claiming to be the perfect Christian. What I am doing is learning and encouraging. As part of that, I would love to open up the comments section to anyone who has a prayer request. If you would rather send me an e-mail, please do! Again, I am not claiming to know everything about Christianity or the bible, but I am doing my best to share what I know with all of you. I hope that you all can love and respect that and know that you can ask me any questions at any time about my walk. I would love to share with you all, especially those that want to begin a relationship with God.
This was an emotional post for me and I would be lying if I said there weren't tears shed. I hold this topic very close to my heart and as promised, I want to share these types of feelings with my readers. If I couldn't be completely honest and open, I wouldn't share my story. Thankfully, I am able to do so and be unafraid in the process. I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
"She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." -Proverbs 31:25 (The verse I live my life by.)