October 16, 2010

The Nicaraguan ABCs: J is for...

Jesus

This post was hard for me to write...

I realize not everyone who reads my blog is a Christian.  I hope my writings don’t offend anyone.  It would be difficult for me to separate my beliefs from my blog.

Here in Nicaragua, Jesus is Who I want to share.  Not the trinket religion, sugar-coated, bumper-sticker Jesus that's so often portrayed, but the authentic, change-your-life, He's-worthy-of-all-praise Jesus.  I want to share Jesus by teaching someone to read the Bible.

Today, in honor of "'J' is for Jesus," I just want to take a second to tell my story.  I’ll try to keep it short.  It’s terribly common, and doesn't have a very exciting plot, but my story, for me, is a matter of life and death.

I may have been 5 or 6.  Regardless of how young and “innocent” I was at the time, it wasn’t hard for me to recognize that I had an ugly side to me, and that I wasn’t perfect.

My “Grammy” was talking with my mom about Jesus (she does this a lot – talks about Jesus), and maybe she was talking to me, but that’s not how I remember it…I just remember pretending to be asleep in the back seat of the car.  I was listening though, and it all made sense.  I’m not perfect, so I can’t be with God (of course, at the time, for me, believing in God was easy), and Jesus died as a sacrifice, like a lamb that took away the Israelites’ sin, to take away my sin.  I could be with God in Heaven if I believed in Jesus and what He did for me.  So, basically, I did believe.  It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t forced, and it was pretty simple.

From there, I grew.  Over the years, I saw my parents growing, too.  I saw them reading their Bibles when no one was looking, and I heard how they talked to God like He was real, not just to keep good table manners.  My spiritual life was a roller coaster.  I wanted God so badly, but I wanted the world, and the two often collided.

I always felt challenged by the call to be "fully surrendered," "all-in," and having Jesus as #1 in my life.  I didn't want to have Jesus as an accessory in my life, I longed for a real relationship with God and for a faith with substance.  I wrestled with God – wanting answers, wanting to hear His voice, looking for “signs,” and sometimes yelling at the top of my lungs in desperation for Him.  I was a sincere youth seeking God, sometimes fervently, most of the time half-heartedly, but by His mercy, I made it through, still believing, and closer to Him.

Then there was college.  Some of my professors pretty much hated Christianity and made me feel like a fool for believing in Jesus.  I had to take a good hard look at “religion” and my beliefs and my attitudes, and I came out more sure of my hope and faith in Christ.  I was aided by the sweet fellowship I had with other believers in Jesus, who wanted more than religious traditions, but who wanted to know God and Truth.  I shed some of the artificial things that have gunked-up true Christianity in our culture, and I started to get to the heart of it all…Jesus.  The Bible became a treasure, not a chore; its pages would turn into mirrors that reflected the ugliest, rawest parts of my heart; its words would bring me an un-equivocal assurance that this is where the Truth lies, the one and only exclusive Truth.  The Bible’s words had me really talking to God.  I was sold out, all-in, dedicated, sure…joyful and full of peace.


This isn't to say that "I've arrived" and I've got my certificate that says I've passed.  I'm in a continual process of knowing Christ and learning to follow Him, and learning to submit myself to Him and His commandments that are in His Word.  I often feel like a total failure.  I often feel like a lame-o missionary, a lazy-bones-Jones, an emotional nutcase, and a selfish brat...because by myself I probably am :-)  But Christ hasn't given up on me yet, praise God, and I'm still chuggin' along.

I believe in Jesus.  I really do.  Not only that He existed on this Earth and did some amazing things, but that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, the One Who was before the beginning of time, and that He is Savior to those who would put their trust in Him.  Jesus is my life.  If everything were stripped away from me, I’ll still have Jesus, and I know in my heart that He is more than enough for me.  Sure, He’s done incredible things in my life – real and tangible things, and I could go on and on about how great Jesus is for me and for you…but even without all the “benefits” and blessings, even if life sucked, it wouldn’t change the fact that He is God and deserves all respect and recognition and honor.  I believe in Him, I fear Him, I love Him.  He never owed me a thing; in fact, I believe I deserved death, but praise God, He’s kind and merciful and loving, and He’s showered out mercy and kindness over me.

So that's my story in a nutshell.  It's so difficult for me to put all this into words, but I made an effort.  Thanks for letting me share.

Love, 
em

Next...is for Kiddos

2 comments:

  1. This is what it is all about. Thanks for sharing it. So many people need to hear this message and to know that it is real in others' lives. Personal testimony is so powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful! The coolest thing to me is that there's always so much more of Him to get to know ... It's like His depths are never ending ... He is so amazing!

    ReplyDelete

thanks for the comments - they make my day!

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