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July 25, 2015

I had the awesome privilege of growing up in a Christian family. It wasn’t your typical childhood by any means. Dad was the pastor of some fairly large churches. Mom was a stay-at-home, piano playing, great-cooking, always laughing, entertaining mother. So many people came through our churches out of troubled backgrounds. I remember hearing tear-jerking testimonies of people who’d left their bar hopping, biker gang ways to follow Jesus. It was truly exciting, but I remember selfishly thinking, “I’ll never have a testimony like that to share.”
If you had asked me then I would have told you out of pure jealousy that I wished I had a story worth sharing. I truly had no idea how good I had it back then. It may have been naivety on my part, or it may have been as simple as wishing it was about me. I’ve since learned through life’s trials maybe those wishes are what wound up giving me a testimony to share now.
You see, somewhere in my teenage years I got to a point I think many of you may be right now. I started believing the Christian life was about how well I followed rules. Like Eve in the garden(Genesis 3), I got focused on the one tree God said no to instead of realizing the rest of the garden was all good for me. Yes, there are rules to follow, but they aren’t to keep us from enjoying life. They are there to protect us. Don’t be so focused on the no that you can’t see all the ways God is saying yes all around you. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 tells us the message of Jesus was not yes and no, but in Him they are yes!
Do I wish I had to lose my license, job, dozens of “friends” six years ago? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t do it again, but do you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing either if it meant I wouldn’t have figured out this walk with Jesus is about loving Him, not myself. So many doors have opened these last few years and I believe it has everything to do with His love for me. Just the fact that I’m still here, not behind bars. Now I get to serve Him in so many different ways. No, I’m not doing it vocationally, but yes, I am looking to show the love of Jesus in situations all around me. I love volunteering at church, participating and leading small groups who want to study God’s word and even volunteering when I can in the community.
The ironic part in all of this to me is the testimony I was convinced I’d never have as a kid I actually do have now! It’s amazing when I look back. It’s truly the grace of God that’s carried me this far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future!

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