God, Are You There?
Updated: May 21, 2020
I was prompted to write about this topic tonight after having an in-depth conversation with my family members a few nights ago. Does anyone else start off having fun and lighthearted family discussions but always seem to end with the more meaningful ones? I'll tell you, my father is good for dropping golden nuggets. Well, tonight's entry will be just that. Here lies the testimony of how I discovered God to be real in my life and how my faith was cultivated.
As always, my prayer is for someone out there to be touched, encouraged in some way or set free by the transparency I unapologetic-ally give for God's glory to be revealed and his name to be lifted in all the Earth! SO LET'S DIVE IN!!!
*Disclaimer: Tonight's blog entry is in no way meant to demean, belittle, falsify or make fun of anyone who may believe/have a different religious background than I; or for anyone who feels the complete opposite of what I do. This blog entry is solely written and based off of my own life's perspective, experience and opinionated viewpoints.*
First, a little backstory..
I've always grown up in the church.
My family and I attended church faithfully every week (shout out to VOH :p ). My father served as a deacon, my mother danced on the dance team, my siblings and I were always a part of the children's ministry. We were a very active family of believers. Every Wednesday night in our home, my parents gathered my siblings and I together for our own family bible studies. My father always led them. As a child, it was the greatest feeling to be together and talk/learn about who God is. I remember countless times where I'd wake up early in the morning and walk to the top of the staircase because I heard weeping. I later learned that it was my mother praying and seeking God in her own time. One early morning, I decided to be bold. I went and laid down on the living room floor next to her and just listened. I postured myself the way she did. She was on her knees, her head on the floor and a blanket wrapped around her. She didn't notice I was there for a few minutes (I was starting to get cold too lol) but once she did, she wrapped me inside of her blanket and she continued to pray aloud as well as pray over me. I loved listening to her prayers. Some of which I never understood (her heavenly language) but it was always so beautiful. I even remember asking my mother questions about God as an adolescent; her response, always appropriate for my age...
She'd say "If you obey God's commands, you can have whatever you ask him for."
"Even ice cream?" I questioned.
"Even ice cream." She smiled and repeated.
So as you can see, the conversation about God was always being brought up in my life in some way. After some time, I almost felt robotic at one point because everything happened the same. I already knew what my week looked like ahead...Until one year I received devastating news. My parents were divorcing.
The FIRST Visible Sign of God's Presence In My Life
After settling into my new reality, I went through a few things. I was old enough to understand that God was always with me, I just never tried hard enough to talk to him. To be honest I was afraid to hear Him talk back to me. Questions like "What does His voice sound like?" and "If I ask Him to show me a sign of his presence, will he?" was always in the back of my mind. One night before Christmas, I was over my mother's house for the week. I slept downstairs by our tree and woke up almost suddenly when I heard footsteps walking down the hallway (She had an outside family member staying with her temporarily). My stomach dropped, I began to feel nauseated. I had to think quick on my feet. There was nowhere to hide so I threw the covers over my head and did what I've seen people do all my life. I immediately started praying... "Lord save me, don't let him get me again. Stop this Jesus, please." I heard the footsteps creeping down the stairs. I squeezed the covers around me and continued praying in a whisper. All of a sudden I heard faint voices talking in the dark. It was my mother and him. All I could hear was her asking him what he was doing up. I heard my name and then I heard silence. Needless to say, that was the last attempt and I slept peacefully the rest of that night. In the morning, I woke up and recognized that God really heard me, and He answered my prayer.
The Building of a Relationship
Years had gone by and within my teenage years I became more and more curious about what God was about, what exactly Jesus went through, and what the Holy Spirit had to do with the two. After my father's recommendation, I read the first 5 books of the new testament in the bible. Then I read the first book in the bible, Genesis, to see how God created the heavens and the Earth. After that, I read a few stories about how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. I read about the many wars. I read about and admired David's confidence and faith in God so much so, that he was able to defeat Goliath! That blew my mind! I read so much about the disciples and adored their devotion to Jesus. I read about Saul (Paul) and how his encounter with God was literally life-changing. There is so much wonder in the bible. I wished countless times that I could feel the way they did. I wished that my devotion could be as strong as theirs. In my naive mindset, I thought the exact same things had to happen to me in order for me to trust God the way they all did.
(Imagine me walking around with stones in my pocket ready to throw them at someone ha!)
Faith- Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV)
It took some time for me to stop praying what I heard everyone else praying.
I adopted a routine where I thanked God for the obvious/systematic things (waking me up, food on my table, clothes on my back etc.). Although it is important to thank God for everything, I grew frustrated with repeating the famous cliche's like "Won't He do it" and "God is able!" without really knowing if God would or that He is.
It wasn't until I began going through my own tests and trials that I grew closer to God and my faith in Him began to develop. Although I'm young and haven't been through what most adults have in life yet, it doesn't minimize my testimony about God being real to me. For example, It took me nearly losing to my car to realize God is a provider. It took me seeing my father come home from the hospital to realize that God is a healer. It took my heart being broken 3 times to realize that God is the greatest love of my life. It took me losing my friends because of my depression to realize that Jesus calls me His friend. There were so many personal instances that God allowed me to go through in order for Him to reveal to me that He is my Savior, I couldn't possibly list them all. I trust you understand what I'm trying to say.
The Golden Nugget
Many people question God's existence. It's a normal feeling and a normal thought to have. Although there are incredible stories about how God showed up for people in the Bible, it doesn't mean He isn't showing up for you in your daily life. No, everything doesn't always have to be extreme in order for you to see that He's always with you; however it's when we need Him most that He shows up greatly. Tests and trials bring us to our knees. On our knees is where we find God.. And after those times, it gets easier to trust in God because you were able to visually see Him bring you through once, so your confidence grows in the thought of Him getting you through again. That is called Faith.
If we just take the time to humble ourselves, be honest about our struggles, be honest about our questions to God...he'll answer us. You can't have a one on one conversation with someone blasting music in the background. You have to be able to hear the person; quite naturally you go to a place where it's quiet. It's that simple. A lot of people believe Christianity is a jigsaw puzzle of rules we have to follow in order to get into Heaven. It's not. It's a relationship with the Creator. I'll never stop encouraging people to give God a real try because He's in the teaching business!