When Jonathan and I were called to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our life changed. Mainly, because our priorities changed. We no longer wanted to live for ourselves, we wanted to live for God. Interestingly, many people we know now mistakenly believe we made this commitment a long time ago. Not so. Jonathan and I were born again and baptized in 2003.
We both were raised in the church, but it was a shallow, nice “churchianity” that took place in our head and not our hearts. We went to church with our folks on Sundays to spew out memorized prayers, listen to boring sermons, and be frightened into temporary obedience. After the hour of church service (and boy, did the minister/priest hear it if the service was one second longer than one hour), we went home and essentially forgot about Christ and His teachings.
We both grew up, graduated from high school (we didn’t know each other and lived in two distant towns), and commenced living our lives for ourselves.
For about 10 years, we each, in our own way, flailed. Picture Lake Michigan on a day of six foot waves with a person in the water who thinks he can swim, but really can’t. Lots of kicking, gulping and splashing. That was us. Little fish in big water.
Then one day, the Lord led us to one another. We stopped and looked at each other, and saw our futures through a hazy midst. It was like recognizing an authentically friendly voice and seeking it out in the fog. We could sense such hope and promise in each other, and we were tired doing life by ourselves. Both coming from failed marriages, we knew we had to take a different approach if this one was going to work. So, we sought out a church — one that was different from the unfulfilling ones we grew up in. We found a non-denominational fundamentalist church led by a forty-something-year-old man who had a gift for preaching. The church was in a warehouse setting with a “rock” band. We were uncertain when we walked in and stunned when we walked out. It was nothing like we had experienced before. We went back.
Shortly after we started attending, the church began the Purpose Driven Life campaign. We joined a small group and read the book. The first sentence hooked us– “It’s not about you.”
“If it’s not about me, then who is it about?” we asked. God answered, and Jonathan and I were transformed. It was mid 2003.
We began to make changes. Some large, some small. Slowly but surely we tried to become better people. We continue to try to be better than we were/are. We try to love more. We try to be more like Christ. And we try every day, and sometimes, it is a moment to moment struggle.
This blog began as a recounting of our journey to adopt a baby from China. But, unfortunately, due to some new regulations China has issued and some old sins, it appears that isn’t going to happen in the near future.
So, like so many times before, God has made a course correction. And despite so much evidence of the Evil One trying to distract us from our mission, we plod on. Sometimes with our chin down, but mostly with our chin up.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…