I grew up in the church excited about Jesus and His promises. At the tender age of six, I asked Jesus in my heart. I knew I would be in heaven with Him one day and I told all my friends about it. I even got in trouble a few months later in kindergarten for talking about my faith too much. Using words like heaven, hell, only, always and forever always sparks controversy no matter what age.
But just a few months after Jesus and I became intimately acquainted, my daddy left our home. My parents announced they would be divorcing. My world collapsed and with it my precious little girl heart broke into a million jagged pieces.
I reasoned that if God loved me, He would send my daddy home. My daddy never came back to our home and in my faulty little girl thinking I lost the hope found in God’s perfect love.
It was obvious to me that God didn’t care about me quite as much as His more “special” girls and I began living my life of second best. I never doubted my salvation and I knew that God still loved me, just not quite as much as everybody else. I was second rate to Him, a bench warmer, a B team player.
The eighteen-year-old college girl was tired of living on the B string. Disillusioned with rules I couldn’t follow well enough, promises that rang hollow in my heart and all the grown up worldly knowledge I could muster, I stepped outside of God’s promises with two feet. Now I had played dangerously close to the line and even poked a toe outside of His best but never had I decided to walk a different direction. As a freshman in college, I did.
After only a few short months, I knew this wasn’t working either. The world was just as hollow as God said it was. I felt like a total failure. I wasn’t a good Christian but I could never fully walk away from the truths that were buried deep in my heart. I decided I was destined to live a miserable existence.
Then I was invited to be a counselor at youth camp. Our church had just gotten a new youth pastor. He really understood me for some reason. He and his wife encouraged me like no one else I’d ever met. Just to be around them a little bit more, I said yes.
I sat in my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning the weekend before we were to leave. I told God this, “I’ll give You one week. If you are who You say You are change me. Use me and change me. I am available to You.”
I don’t know if that’s the end of the story of just the beginning but needless to say, I’ve never been the same again. The verse God used that week to show He could and would change things in me is found in John 14:14
From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do.
I found it interesting as I read today that later on in the same chapter, Jesus addresses the very fear that was holding me back in my relationship with Him. Being abandoned by my father. (Now for the record, my dad continued to be involved in my life and I saw him regularly but these are the impressions left on a young girl’s heart.)
This is how The Message puts it.
I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught. John 14:27
That’s a message this lonely little girl’s heart never gets tired of hearing. My Father will never leave me.
“be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
This morning I spent a majority of my time praying for Sarah. We are traveling to see her and Brian get married today. They are so special to us and we are excited. Sarah is an amazing servant. She thinks through things before acting and serves with her whole heart. My prayer is that she will enter into marriage the same way she has everything else in her life, with passion, gusto, inquisitively with a desire to learn and with a giant heart to serve. I can’t wait to watch this family grow in love for each other and the Lord. The Smith’s love you Mr. and Mrs. Langhoff!! She has blessed us so much with her coordination of the prayer wall and her design of the Pray for Lisa magnets. Please take a second to pray a blessing for her on this special day and go bless her.
Happy weekend ya'll!