Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Preach It, Sister!

So, I was recently sharing with a kindred Jesus-sister my testimony.  I haven't done a whole lot of that in the past.  As a Christian, I've never had one of those intense conversion stories that people drool over while hearing.  Mine is one of calm (and I've never been a calm person, go figure).  I was thinking about the fact that although my testimony isn't mind-boggling or sensational, it is beautiful all the same and worth telling.  As I shared with my friend,  I have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember.  My first images are blurry watercolors from my Children's Bible.  I remember carrying that Bible around (and mom said I got it when I was 3) and though I couldn't read the words, the pictures spoke deeply to my soul.  Then the day came that I COULD read those words, and Oh, my!  I couldn't stop.  I can clearly recall dragging that storybook Bible everywhere.  Everywhere.  My kiddos all did the same with theirs as well, and it warms me up inside just thinking about it.  Once I graduated to a big kid Bible, I read it all the time and always had a quiet time.  After all, my childhood background of the Nazarene and Wesleyan traditions cultivated in me this devotional-style reading.  I can't remember NOT reading my Bible and even had a subscription to a youth devotional magazine.  I was proud of my worn and torn Bible.  It was the place I turned (the literal pages I turned) to meet God.  I became fascinated by doctrine/theology during college, and it became such an obsession after taking several different Bible courses for my Children's Ministry minor, that it actually got in the way of that love I once had with God's Word.  It became a burden trying to figure out what everything meant, and trying to get it exactly right!  Sadly, it even led to some legalism.  I am now a recovering "legalist", and I have been experiencing the reinvigoration of exploring God's Word in depth but with great joy.  Doctrine and theology are important.  However.  They MUST NOT get in the way of God.  We do that a lot, don't we?  Put other things before God?  Doctrine, theology, denominational distinctions, rules, rules, rules, excess and unbalanced grace -- you name it.  I needed to be that little girl again that read, trusted, and obeyed.  I want to be her.  I do love studying God's Word, and I am very prayerful and careful to not distort God's Word for my own selfish purposes, but there is nothing like opening up His Word, reading a passage or book in its entirety, and letting it wash over you.  Cleanse you.  Lavish you.  Teach you.  Rebuke you.  Encourage you.  Equip you.  Oh, I love the written Word.  I love the Living Word.  I love sharing on paper the deep truths the Holy Spirit is showing me.  I love getting out of the way of what HE wants me to see, rather than what I want to see.  Simplicity.  Why do we complicate it?  So, my testimony is steady, even, and sure.  I'm so very thankful for that.  I've loved and known Jesus basically my entire life.  We have had our ups and downs together, and I know one thing for certain:  He is a covenant-keeping God who cannot lie, who will never leave you or forsake you, and who walks right alongside you and will continue to do so until that face-to-face.  And, guess what??  You will know him.  You will hear his voice, and you will run into his arms because you took the time to get to know him.  Read on, sister, and know your Jesus!
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27. 

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