For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
I don’t remember the first time I set foot in church. As a child, I don’t remember any grand thoughts of God… or any at all for that matter. For my family, church attendance was more of a social activity. There was more discussion about where to eat lunch afterward than there was about God. So, the only worship I ever experienced was over the mouth-watering joy of eating fried chicken after church.
God lived at church on Sundays, and He apparently was never invited to go home with us after. So, I believed in Him (that He existed), I just did not know Him at all.
At home, and throughout my extended family, I was surrounded by rebellious siblings, drug addictions, alcoholism, abuse, dishonesty, and an overall lack of morality. I had every excuse to live life with the same reckless abandonment, and no guidance to do otherwise. But God had other plans for me.
It wasn’t until high school that I started going back to church by myself. Some friends at school started inviting me to youth group activities and I found myself more interested in God than I was in fried chicken. That’s sayin’ something. I found myself getting to know God and starting to believe Him, not just in Him. God started to mean something to me. His Word started to mean something to me. And when something starts to mean something to you, it has the power to change you. So, words like Jeremiah 29:11-13, started to affect me.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.
So, I sought Him, and He gave me a future far beyond what I was destined to inherit without Him.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
It turned out that I didn’t have to think much of God for Him to think much of me. That’s the beauty of His grace. I wish I could say that I loved God first, but the truth is- He first loved me. And I wish I could say that I am now perfect for God. But I’m not. I struggle with sin in just about every breath I breathe. And so I cling to Christ, because He makes me perfect before God.
I was nobody. I am nobody. But He gave me a gift. And I am somebody because of Him.
My desire is, that despite all my sinfulness and flaws, I can somehow honor Him through sharing my stories of His work in my life.