Honor Thy Father and Mother

I know the commandment is to honor your father and mother, but what about honoring the children? I am fortunate to live in a community where most people know who I am, primarily through my parents. There are countless times people have come up to me to share the impact that my mother has had in their life since she was a teacher for 40 years in this community. People also tell me all the time about how my dad influenced their life when they were on his basketball youth league team or just as a member in the community.

It is truly a blessing to know that my parents are out there making a difference in the world and it sets an example for my siblings and me. I’m not a parent nor am I anywhere close to that stage of life, but it is encouraging and sets up a mindset for me to start building that kind of reputation for myself now for the children I hope to have in the future.

Definitely honor thy father and mother all the days of your life, but parents must also remember to honor their children.

I spoke with both of my parents today. On a phone call with my mom I was greeted with, “Do you need something?” She was implying that she was busy with Meals on Wheels, and did not have time to talk. As I mentioned, my mom retired from teaching after forty years, and how does she choose to spend her retirement? Serving the community. She is constantly setting an example for me. Monday I made a surprise visit to my parent’s house where I found my mom sitting at the kitchen table reading her Bible and journaling. What is better than knowing I was raised by a Jesus loving woman who has been faithful to growing in her relationship with Him her entire life? I am truly blessed.

This afternoon I received a phone call from my dad. No big deal, but he’s in Japan right now serving a community of long-term missionaries. What an adventurous way to serve God! I’ve watched him over the past few months struggle with the call to exit his comfort zone and to walk into ministry in a completely foreign capacity. It is incredibly encouraging to have a God fearing father who walks in obedience to Jesus Christ.

More is caught than taught,” is something I often hear from my wise pastor. What are your children catching from you?

Maybe you don’t have any children or your parents are no longer a part of your life. Even still, everything you do as a Christian should have Jesus’s name on it. All the days of your life you are still representing the name of Jesus wherever you go. Whether it’s in our community or across the world, my parents are honoring God. I am beyond proud to be in their family.

Regardless of your status as a parent, and whether you’re cognizant of it or not, you are influencing people around you. More of what you do and say is caught through their observations of you than by what you say. What are people catching from you?

 

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Testimony/Starting Line

So, I have a desire to share my journey with Christ. I do not have an intended audience nor do I expect that anyone in particular will read this. I just feel like I have something to offer and maybe it will shed some light for someone else while I clarify and organize my personal thoughts.

I have been journaling since January and I might share some of those writings at a later time, but I’d like to start with my testimony, because that just seems like a logical place to start.

Also, this quote:

“Whenever the Holy Ghost sees a chance for glorifying Jesus, He will take your heart, your nerves, your whole personality, and simply make you blaze and glow with devotion to Jesus Christ.”

-Oswald Chambers

My testimony:

The beginning of 2013 found me at an all time low. I was lost and broken to bits. Practically every relationship in my life was in shambles and I didn’t know myself or my God.  Thankfully I was blessed with an amazing friend, Sarah, who led me to my new home church, Coastal Community Church in Yorktown, VA.

Some context about my journey with faith pre-2013: I was raised with a small Wesleyan Church in my neighborhood and rarely missed a Sunday service, Sunday School, or youth event. In my teenage years, I went to another youth group at a larger church in my county where I met a bunch of great Christian friends and grew with them over the years of middle school and high school. Also, I was involved in a youth choir for two weeks out of the summer for three summers (2005-2007), which was when I was the closest with my Heavenly Father.

However, with this foundation I had for most of my life, I got to high school and into a relationship, and I lost it. I stopped focusing on my relationship with God and put everything I had into earthly relationships- now I have nothing to show for those years of being lost. I continued to dig myself into a deeper godless pit in college. I ignored the guilt and convictions to attend Christian functions on campus or to go home to attend church. It was not until God had to physically remove all of my friends and support and things that brought me joy in life that I realized that I needed him- I so desperately need him.

back to 2013:

I first attended Coastal on January 6, 2013. I remember Sarah drove me. I remember being nervous. I silently cried for the 20 minute drive. I was concerned that the roof would collapse if I walked into that building because there was no way there was room for me and my sins in there. I was greeted with a rush of energetic music that flooded the atrium and a warm, welcoming smile from an adorable short woman who gingerly handed me a bulletin and beamed at me with compassion. (I later learned that her name is Mary and she gives amazing hugs as well.) I was shaking as Sarah and I found our seats in the second row. I remember feeling self-conscious… could these Christians sense that I was lost and was not worthy to be in their presence? “Marvelous Light” was the first song I heard. I could not even sing because the lyrics were too powerful for me to even utter a word. A few minutes later was the song “Rescue”… some of the lyrics to that song include “this world has nothing for me”.

They definitely had my attention.

Pastor Shaun concluded his sermon with this: “The things of this world and the sin you are pursuing will never satisfy your heart. Ever. It will leave you parched and weary. There is a song by Tenth Avenue North called  ‘Worn’, and I think it sounds like a prayer of someone who is worn. Take a listen…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zulKcYItKIA

The synopsis of this sermon was this: reflecting upon the idea that if you acknowledge the truth of who you are and of who Jesus is, you will be free indeed!

This sermon, song, church, and consequently the people that I met from joining a small group and the greeter team have molded me into an authentic follower of Christ.

January 7, 2013

I was home alone and reflecting on my miserable life. I realized that I believed in God, shoot- I had been baptized in 2006 for my 16th birthday- I wasn’t a stranger to faith or the doctrine or the Bible. But there was someone who I was a stranger to- Jesus. I knew about him but I didn’t personally know him. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I instantly wept and cried out for God to forgive me and to embrace me in my brokenness and to fix me. Make me right. Use me for His purpose. Then I text Sarah the most important text message of all time (I might be a little biased). It read:

“Hey Sarah, I just had an awesome moment. I don’t know who else to share it with so I’m choosing you. I have been baptized and chose to live my life for God when I was 16 but I realized that I have been living for only myself.  I’ve decided that I want to live my life for Jesus and I need your love and help.”

God used her and so many other people at Coastal to help me. I was in dire need of a new foundation, walls, roof, decorations, everything! God provided. I joined a small group in February. I grew deeper and deeper in love with God and pursued a relationship with him.

I started to connect with other Christians by  attending the Thursday morning small group and I began serving by joining the greeter team and helping out at NOW! youth group on Thursday nights. I was really out of my comfort zone, but I know that God convicted me to serve him and this was where I was needed.

March 31,2013 Resurrection Sunday (Easter)

Easter usually meant going to my Nanny’s house for a large feast with my dad’s side of the family or dyeing eggs with my sister and of course going to church on Sunday to sing and worship the miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead. But I never truly understood what Jesus had really done for me. I knew he had died and was risen, but I did not understand that by dying, Jesus justified me in God’s sight. I began to pursue a friendship with Jesus.

April 21, 2013

I was really sad about the Spring semester coming to an end because it meant that my supportive small group would not be meeting for the summer. I inquired about a summer small group but there wasn’t anyone stepping up to lead one for my age group. It was proposed that I lead one. “What?!” I asked God. “Are you sure? Not me. I can’t do that. Sorry.”… was the conversation in my head but, “Uhhh, ok!” was the response that came out of my mouth. I was shaking after that conversation. I did not want to do it. I was terrified. A few days later I met with Pastor Jeff about leading and I seemed to pass all the requirements for leadership, so I got the green light and started to advertise my group.

May 19, 2013

I was a mess as I got to church at 6pm… small group started at 7pm. I was excited but I had low expectations and pretty much expected no one to show up. To my delight, 12 people came and we started a beautiful journey with God together.

My friend brought up a concept that has changed my life. We’ve all heard of tithing our income, but my friend introduced the concept of tithing time. Spending 2 hours and 24 minutes a day with God sounds challenging… and I like challenges. So I started to wake up before the birds to work out of a devotional- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It’s a funny thing that once I started to tithe my time to God I found an abundance of more time to spend with Him and doing extra things I wanted to do outside of summer classes and working. I continue this as well as other biblical studies and reading Christian based literature.

And this is kind of where I am now.

I am so excited about this opportunity God has given me to repent from the first 22 years of my life and allow 2013 to be the starting line for the rest of my life spent walking with Him.

I am very open about discussing my past and present and I hope that my transparency is useful in some way.