BLOG SERIES: MY JOURNEY
My relationship with God developed over time. In my youth, I knew about God but I didn’t really know Him. I believed He existed because I believed in the Bible, which tells us all about Him.
My parents (papa-C and mama-D) served this God and gave me my first introduction to Him. They took my brother (brother-T), my two sisters (younger sister #1 & younger sister #2) and I to church where we heard stories about Him, about His great love for mankind, and about His desire to save the world.
I believed God was real. But at the time He was still a distant God to me. It wasn’t until I had actually experienced God for myself that He became this real, tangible God to me.
How did I experience God? Through hardship and pain. Through the trials that came to test my faith. Through actually seeing Him at work in my life through the fire.
He wasn’t always a loud, clearly visible force during these times. He was more of a quiet presence for me during a time when I needed Him the most.
Things get turned upside down, broken, and scattered here and there. You can’t help but notice them, and hear them. You always know that they are there. And when they leave you find yourself asking, “What was that?” “What just happened?”
Then there are other people who when they enter a room, at first you are hardly aware that they are there. You may not have even noticed them walk through the door. But suddenly, you begin to sense a calm in the room and a change in the atmosphere. You don’t really know when this change first began to happen, but you know that it has taken place.
Suddenly, we are aware that a shift has taken place in the atmosphere. We begin to sense a change but were never cognizant of when this change first began to happen, but we recognize that it has happened.
This is how God showed up in the midst of my sorrow and grief when I was dealing with the after-effects of the death of my husband.
I knew I was in this deep, dark pit of despair. And at the time, I thought that I was all alone. But there were times when God would make His presence known to me. He would let me know, in subtle ways, that He was there.
I can remember a time when the grief was so thick in the room that you could almost cut it with a knife. This is when I would sit in the chair across from the window looking out, too paralyzed with grief to move. I sensed the darkness. The darkness was real.
During this dark period I would get up from my chair and go into the bathroom. And as I would walk past the mirror in the bathroom, I would suddenly stop and do a double-take.
As I would stand there looking at my reflection in the mirror I would notice that my face was shining, almost glowing. This happened a few times. At first I just brushed it off: “It must be the make-up.” But then there were the times when I wasn’t wearing any make-up and I would stand there looking in the mirror and my face would still be shining.
People would come up to me around this time and tell me that there appeared to be a glow around me. Well I didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t feel a glow. All I felt was hurt and pain.
Well a few years later, when the fog had lifted from my pain, I remembered back to this time when I would look in the bathroom mirror and notice that my face appeared to be shining. Then a light bulb went on in my spirit, and I knew that what I was really witnessing in the bathroom mirror was the light of God shining through the darkness of my grief.
God was present with me during this time but I didn’t recognize it at the time. But even though I didn’t recognize Him, He was still there. He had not left me alone to face this grief alone. He was right there by my side, where He remains today.
There was also another period, when Ahmed had contracted shingles, and two weeks later, as a result, I contracted chicken pox. One night in particular, I had gotten up in the middle of the night to apply more itch cream.
The last thing I remembered was standing in front of the bathroom mirror applying the cream. Then I must have passed out. I also had a slight recollection of hitting my head on the vent on the bathroom floor, but the memory was very faint.
The next thing I remembered was coming to as I was being lifted off the bathroom floor. Now normally after passing out you would think that you would wake up to find yourself on the bathroom floor and wonder how you got there. But this didn’t happen to me. I was literally being lifted off the bathroom floor as I was coming to. My husband was asleep the entire time. In fact, when I came to I went to wake him and tell him that I think I just passed out.
A few years later, I was thinking back on this time and remembered the night I passed out in the bathroom, and how I came to as I was being lifted off the bathroom floor. Suddenly, it hit me and I remember saying to God, “It was you wasn’t it?!!” “You were there with me the night I passed out?!!” “And it was you who lifted me up off the floor?!!”
God was there with me the whole time, even though I didn’t recognize it at the time. He protected me and lifted me up and gave me the strength to stand. And He is still lifting me, strengthening me, and giving me the strength to stand. God has never left my side.
God goes with us through the fire. We want Him to rescue us from the fire. And sometimes He does. But other times He lets us go through the fire.
I think that if we didn’t experience the fire sometimes, we would never learn to appreciate the rain. If we never experience sadness, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate joy.
If God stepped in and rescued us from every negative situation, we would become spoiled brats who walked around with a sense of entitlement. We would feel as if God owed us something.
God doesn’t owe us anything. He chooses to bless us because He loves us, not because we deserve it. (We definitely don’t deserve it.) We, in fact, owe God everything. If it had not been for God, we would all still be hopelessly lost.
My love for God developed over time. When I began to personally experience His great love for me, it made me love Him more. When I became acquainted with His presence, it made me desire Him more. When I saw that God was truly a God of His word, and that He always keeps His promises, it made me trust Him more.
My journey didn’t begin in a castle surrounded by beautiful things. Nor did it begin on the mountaintop. My journey began, similar to Jesus’, under humble circumstances.
My journey didn’t even begin when my parents met and fell in love, and came together to conceive me. My journey actually began before God spoke the world into existence. Before He created the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Before God created the universe, He had a plan for mankind; He had a plan for me. My destiny is wrapped up in God. And because of Jesus, my destiny is now secure.
My desire now is the tell the world about God’s great love. My desire is to tell them how God loved me back to life; how He loved me through the storms of life. How God held my hand and lifted me up when I didn’t have the strength to stand.
God is a very present help in the time of need. He is near to those who have a broken heart. He desires to take the broken pieces of our fractured lives and put them back together again.
I love God because He first loved me.
This is my story. The story of how a shy little girl fell in love with a King. (The King of Kings. Jesus is His name.)
The End. (Or maybe I should say “The Beginning,” because this is only the beginning of the great things God has in store for me, and for all those who love Him.)
Be Blessed. And Be Well.