Have you ever found something from your past and because of it, learned something about yourself you’d forgotten? Friends, I made such an interesting find tonight and I’m a little shocked by it.
Tonight as I rummaged through old stuff to sell in a yard sale, I found a letter I had written about 7 years ago. While that in-and-of-itself is not all that exciting, the things I wrote about were actually pivotal moments in my growth and coming to know the Lord predating my coming to Christ by over 5 years (though I don’t think I realized that at the time).
In September 2006, I was just coming off of one of the darkest periods of my life and, at the same time, was facing a bit of a medical scare; I’d been very sick for quite a few months. My doctor suspected I might have had gall stones and I was scared to death of surgery. I had many conversations with the friend I’d written the letter to who had been raised Catholic. And… well, I’ll just quote the letter:
“I was washing my hands [at work] when I got your text asking me if I believed in the power of prayer. And no lie… I backed into the wall and slid to floor and just cried. I’m crying now just thinking about it –
If I may side-track for a moment: quite a few months ago, I hit a really low spot and I was stuck in a rut. It was awful. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. It was so hard. And I felt as though I was alone. I wasn’t sure if I believed in God and I felt if there was no God, who was watching out for me? [My best friend] came over one day and I spilled my heart out to her and she gave me some inspirational advice and told me I should call [my step mom] because she’s really [spiritual] and could help me find my way. We also got online and printed out the Serenity Prayer. It’s the one prayer I feel comfortable saying. It actually represented everything I was asking from God. I said it every night. I went to church a few times. I believe it did work. I know in my heart that prayer got me through everything I had going on. The only problem is I am such a skeptic. I don’t know what to believe. Science has put too many questions in my head and I’m one that needs answers. However, when it comes down to it, I would die without faith. And I cry because I have questions. And I cry because I have doubt. I wish I didn’t. I wish I had faith like [my step mom], or your parents, or those people you see at church that raise their hands to God when they’re praying. Those people are moved. They have accepted Christ as their savior, and I wish I could but I don’t know how. I envy their relationship with God… I have been instilled with doubt that prevents me from fully believing. Hence why I said I do and I don’t believe in the power of prayer and why I said I’m still forming my own beliefs. Like [my step mom] said, I’m a little lost but I’m not a lost cause.”
Further down the page, I actually wrote a prayer to God in the letter saying, “God, I don’t ask you for much. In fact, I hardly ask anything of you… ever. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken and I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done and I’m sorry for the questions I have and my doubt in you. But right now, I need you…”
And at the end my prayer reads, “I feel a little selfish because I’ve asked so much and I don’t do right by you on a regular basis. But God, I am trying. I’m trying very hard. I hope you know that.”
As I sat here and read that letter tonight, I teared up as I glimpsed my own heart. You know, so many people assumed that my following Christ had something to do with my ex-boyfriend or whatever – but this is 5 years prior to that. There was so obviously a deep longing in my heart for the Lord, even then.
My heart breaks for the me I used to be. My idea of my walk with God always goes to just a few weeks up before I was saved in 2011 – but this just proves it goes so much farther back than that. I’ve always needed the Lord and I’ve known it for years.
Too, it just proves to me that there really is a God-shaped hole in all of us. Though I desired that relationship with Christ in 2006, I still would not know it for 5 more years. I ran. I needed Him and I knew it, but I wasn’t desperate yet. I think we’re all a lot like that.
Me though, I ran from God and dove farther in to sin than ever – but God never gave up on me. He knew my heart and He pursued me, even if only quietly for a while. He let me entertain myself with other idols and let me break His heart for a long time… and when the time was just right, He came back to me and wooed me to Himself and I was ready to be His.
I’ve never realized for how long my God waited for me. Imagine loving someone, knowing they want to love you too, and getting so close… and then watching them walk away for 5 years before they finally committed to you…
That is what I did to Jesus. I was such a fickle teasing bride to an amazingly patient groom. And He waited for me, and He’s loved me so passionately for a year and a half before He even revealed to me just how long He waited and just how patient He’s been.
I wish I had more words to express just how my heart feels about this find and what Christ is revealing to me through it. It’s such an overwhelming thing… I’m speechless.
I don’t just follow Christ – I love Him. The things He’s done for me, the way He’s waited for me, the way He’s changed me… how could I not?