Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. – Psalm 107:1-2 ESV
Today’s post will be a little different than my usual style. Instead of going over a theological truth, I felt like I wanted to take a moment to live out Pslam 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”.
I am fully convinced that I have an eternal soul that was created before the world and will continue to live past this finite existence. I believe that I was created this way by God because He willed it. God put His beautiful creation, people, on to this earth to live and to give them an opportunity to choose Him. Unfortunately, they chose sin. Because of that choice, all people are now under the curse of separation from God. Loving His children and not wanting to remain eternally separated from them, He created a way to bring them back to Him. His Only Son, fully God, came to earth in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to break the curse from the inside out.
These are my beliefs, but now I’d like to share some of my story in experiencing those truths instead of simply understanding them.
I grew up as a conservative Christian in a loving home. I wasn’t a bad kid overall, but I wasn’t very connected with church or God either. When I was getting ready to go to college, my thoughts on church was maybe I’d find something, maybe I’d just enjoy sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Guess which one I chose.
College was a rough time of learning to adapt from my conservative background to the world of academia. Because I wasn’t connected personally to God, I stepped away from pretty much all beliefs. I never questioned that God existed, but I didn’t know what to do with Jesus. I threw out the Bible as I thought it was a tool of manipulation, not truth. To be even more honest, I only thought about religion when pressed. I enjoyed a good religious discussion if it came up (from the perspective of not agreeing with it, of course), but I wouldn’t generally start those conversations on my own.
My choices at the time were not the greatest ones and I ended up blaming all of college for the bad few experiences of a bad relationship and not fitting in to my chosen major. I couldn’t wait till graduation and all my focus was on surviving till then.
After graduation, I ended up doing the one thing I really hadn’t wanted to do: move home. My dreams going into college were to become a great opera singer and move to New York. Ha! I realized that music wasn’t the move for me, so I took a year and worked and tried to figure out life. I didn’t want to go back to my conservative friends and upbringing, but I didn’t have a lot of friends in area that weren’t in that group.
I looked around for ways to make new friends and get involved, but I felt lost and adrift. I was also ready for a relationship and was ready to meet a guy who wasn’t a jerk (unlike my last couple choices). I thought about the guys in college that I’d respected and who treated their girlfriends the way I wanted to be treated and they had one thing in common: they were Christians. Not being a dummy, I decided to get myself a Christian boyfriend. However, I couldn’t say that I was a Christian, but I thought that I could get a good guy and then convince him to stop going to church when I got bored with it. Not even kidding.
My plan was to attend a bunch of churches until I found one with a fun group of young people and go from there. I opened the newspaper and found the first non-denomination church on the list, called the number and got the service times and address (this was before I had GPS or even a smart phone!), and showed up Sunday morning.
There was one thing I hadn’t anticipated, however. That was that the church I attended had a real and passionate love for Christ and their worship was wonderful and moving. In those first couple weeks, I felt the power of God like I never had before. God was in their sermons and their songs and their prayers. By the end of that summer, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior and committed my life to serving Him. I didn’t even mind that this church had absolutely zero in the young people activity department! Instead, I soaked up God every Sunday, joined a small group, and started learning to live in Him every day.
That’s the story of how I recognized that I needed to be redeemed and stepped out in faith. This is just the beginning of my story. I used to think that my salvation experience would be the number one important one for me, but I’ve learned it’s simply the romance that started an amazing relationship. Every day since then I’ve learned more about the Lord and experienced Him deeper and more powerfully. That’s the story that I want to say, and I’d say it to the whole world if I could: This relationship is real and worth it! I am redeemed!