Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why Jesus?

I admit it.  I was rebellious and angry toward God for a long time.  My parents took me to church from the time I was born.  I got baptized at 9.  I guess I just didn’t really get it though.  Anyone can claim to be a Christian, but what does that really mean?

A lot of not-so-good things happened in my life.  No one lives a perfect life.  Actually, one person did, and I’ll talk about that later.  My life….having to deal with a mentally ill parent who when she had episodes would kind of be fanatical about Jesus.  As a young teen this was hard to see and understand.  I think it turned my sister and me off to religion.  I lost someone dear to me when I was 18 to a motorcycle accident.  I might have married the guy had he lived.  My friend’s mom tried to comfort me with religious words.  But I was angry at God and didn’t understand why Eddie had to die at 17.  I hated my mom for being sick and trying to control every aspect of my life and thoughts.  I went into a really bad part of my life after that. My friends who went through it with me remember. My dad was a strong support to me from that time on.  I attended a Presbyterian college but wouldn’t step foot into the chapel.  I was rebellious, angry and got into all kinds of un-godly things. 

Like many others, I was looking for the meaning of life and understanding.  I turned to the New Age movement, meditation etc.  This continued through my move to Boston.  I lived in a teacher dorm my first year at the boarding school.  God had placed a few Christian women there who helped to soften my heart.  One night during a meditation class these words came into my mind so strongly I could not ignore them.  “This is wrong!”  That night I let go of the New Age movement and went back to God with the help of Christine across the hall.  I attended church with my friends off and on and in between relationships. 

After my move to California, I didn’t have time to go to church.  I wanted to, but with working 6 days a week and Sunday being my only day off, it just didn’t happen.  I thought of myself as a Christian, but at that point was still pro-choice.  Why should someone want to bring an unwanted kid into the world.  Why didn’t those pro-lifers just adopt all those unwanted babies if they were so against abortion.  What was the big deal about aborting an unwanted pregnancy anyway?  That’s what we all were told by television and magazines we were supposed to do.   I got married and we struggled with infertility for some time (see "Babies, Babies, Babies"). 

Again, God was faithful and placed a Christian in my path.  I met Eileen while at the park, who had a newborn baby like me.  She invited me to her Bible study again and again for about 2 years.  I finally agreed and went.  Through the study I learned about God’s word and how to apply its truths to my life.  I had never really studied it in depth before.  I had kind of looked at passages here and there but didn’t understand a lot of it.  During this time God changed my heart toward many things. I realized how every life was a precious gift, even a little tiny baby.  It wasn’t just a bunch of tissue like some would suggest.  God handcrafted each one of us individually in our mother’s womb.  Even a child with Down’s or any other “defect” is His child and loved by Him.  I had a blood test come back positive for Down’s when I was pregnant with Jack.  I was devastated, but knew I would not be able to abort him if it were true.  Well, these stupid tests can be misleading and wrong.  Jack turned out to be a normal little guy.

So, why Jesus?  Because He saved my life!  He changed my heart and gave me a new life. He gives me hope for eternal life with God our Father.  How is that possible, you might ask?

Jesus lived a perfect life when he walked on this earth.  He interacted with people who did lots of bad things, just like me.  He showed them love.  He accepted them “as is”.  That’s not to say he’d be okay with letting them continue doing those bad things.  Jesus required his followers to leave their lives full of sin and repent from them.  Now, we have been separated from God because of sin.  It goes back to the Adam and Eve incident. None of us are good enough, pure enough, smart enough, or can work hard enough to be worthy of being with God for eternity.  But God had a plan.  In the Old Testament days, animal blood was used to cover the sins of the people.  That was only a temporary fix, like patching up a flat tire.  God sent His son Jesus to be a one-time sacrifice for sin to cover anyone who put their faith and trust in Jesus.  Jesus was put to death on the cross, but defeated death by coming back to life.  People saw Him, and interacted with Him after he was resurrected, and wrote accounts of it.  When someone believes in Jesus and what He did, that person is given a new heart.  The Holy Spirit is given to you as a deposit for your upcoming eternal life with God.  The Holy Spirit helps to change you to become more like Jesus.  It’s like letting someone else take the wheel and drive you through life.  You get to know Jesus through the Bible and learn to trust Him because of what He did for you.  You allow God to work in your life and mold you into what HE wants you to be.  It’s not easy, especially if you are someone with a very rebellious spirit like me.  It’s hard to make changes in behavior and thinking.  It’s hard to admit that you might be doing things that go against God’s character. 

I stopped hating my mom just before she died.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.  I know that. God changed my heart toward her, and helped me to forgive her for all that she put us through.  God freed me from all that anger and resentment.  I’m not the same person that I used to be, even who I was a few years ago. I’m still a work-in-progress like all other believers.  Followers of Jesus trust Him to mold us into His image.  And it is a choice.  No one can force you to follow Him or to believe in Him.  Maybe you don’t feel you’re good enough for Him.  You’ve done lots of bad things.  Jesus will meet you where you’re at right now. When you trust that He is who He says He is, and that He died FOR YOU,  you will be saved.  It's the beginning of a new life.  And I am so very grateful for the new life He gave me.

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