God's Sweetness in My Story

I used to think my story started with birth. I was born in Ohio to Christian parents who loved me, played with me, taught me to work hard and save money, took me to church every time the doors were open, and homeschooled me K-12.

Or maybe it started when I was eight years old. For years I had lived selfishly, disobeyed my parents, treated my brothers rudely, cheated in school, and lied to my friends. A lot of adults seemed to think I was a pretty good kid, but I wasn't. I knew where my actions were leading (hell) and that something needed to change. But I couldn't change myself. I knew someone who could help me; for years I had known, but I had treated Him as a casual aquaintance to call in emergencies too big for a kid like me to handle. That day at the kitchen table, during a family devotion, I silently told Jesus I was sorry for my sins, and that I believed He had died for me, and I asked Him to save me and make me His child.

Sometimes I think it started with my family history. Or key events in my childhood.

Maybe my story began last fall, with a Facebook post that rocked my world and sparked a journey to discover the truth of Christianity and my own faith. What is true? Is God real? Of course - I could look out the kitchen window and see the beautiful world obviously designed by Someone; and I remembered all the times He had been there for me throughout childhood and answered my prayers.

But was I His? Was I really His child? When I cried out, He reassured me with a song over the radio, "Tell me once again who I am to You: I belong to You. I'm the one You love, and that will be enough for me." Over the next few months God began to show me just how bad and undeserving I was and  how much of a grip certain sins had on me. But at the same time, He showed me in a plethora of ways just how much He loved me and that this love would always be there. It was like the showers of love increased even when I was at my worst.

This didn't make sense to me, because I had always lived by rules. I followed the rules to please everyone around me and to please God. I tried to deserve His love. But it wasn't enough. I never felt good enough, and I always envied the girls who were obviously imperfect (they didn't pretend) but seemed to have real relationships with God. That's what I wanted, and now God gave it to me - even though I didn't deserve it.

Grace began to be amazing. Why did God love me so much? Why was He so good to me? In romantic movies, if a guy really likes a girl and the girl either doesn't trust him, doesn't like him, or downright rejects him, what does he do? Forget her? Walk away? No, it doesn't even cross his mind. He just keeps finding different ways to prove his love until eventually she melts and falls in love with him. God is like that. He never gives up, just keeps pursuing us until we have to give in and accept His love. It's only a matter of time.

In early April 2012, a Bible study leader explained that if God keeps showering His love on you and you keep putting Him off, that's not a real relationship. One-sided love is not a relationship. So that night I decided to stop holding out, accepted His love, and began learning to love Him back. And He is so good!

I realize that my story did not begin in my lifetime or my parents'. It began before the world began, when the Lamb of God was killed for me, and when the Father lovingly planned every detail of my life.

And my story will not end when my body lies in the grave. It will continue through all eternity, when I join the whole family of God in Heaven and meet the Father of grace who made this undeserving girl His friend.