Refreshed & Renewed
I’ve been experiencing exponential growth and I can’t take all, if any, of the credit. After starting my year bruised and knocked down, I had no other option but to lean on the Lord. For clarity, I’ve always been aware of my spiritual walk but I wasn’t disciplined. Church was an option at best, tithing was out of the question, and I was too busy to read the Bible. I wanted the return without the trouble of an investment.
I decided to get serious regarding my faith knowing that it would improve the other facets of my life. As it would be destined, opening my heart fully and sincerely to God allowed the mustard seed I’d always kept in my back pocket to sprout. All my burdens still remained, but the load didn’t seem nearly as heavy. I’ve continued going to church regularly including bible study, marveling at my own growth at times. I feel much more inclined to do right by God, myself, and the people around me. It seemed right to make the decision to not only join the church, but to also be baptized as well.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m getting baptized tomorrow for the first time and I'm pretty excited! The feelings I have are familiar and remind me of the anticipation I often had leading up to birthdays in my younger years. I was excited to have a chance to be celebrated with affection and gifts as I entered a new year. Tomorrow feels like a birthday and to a certain degree, I understand why. Tomorrow I get to celebrate the fact that I’m blessed enough to be on the receiving end of unconditional love and affection. I’m being gifted with grace and mercy that I’m nowhere near deserving of. I get to celebrate the birth of the woman who emerges from the water symbolizing my confession of faith.
Baptism candidates were asked to prepare a small testimony for the occasion and it’s been heavy on my mind since receiving the email. I wasn’t too sure what I’d write until it all came to me so clearly. My whole life is a testimony and a reminder that God has plans even for those who are broken. The devil has tried to take me out time and time again, but God has managed to block every attempt. The same God that I chose to be lukewarm about. The same God that I was too cool to talk about. The same God that I was too busy to spend time with. The same God that I had shunned at every chance decided to take a chance on little ol’ me.
Thank goodness that God isn’t of the world and loves me in spite of myself. There have been so many moments where I’ve questioned Him and His presence in my life. Even with the lack of effort on my part, He still showed up for me. There aren’t any relationships in our lives that are able to bear the full load of our burdens. It’s not to say that our loved ones don’t care, but they are human and ill equipped. There are some areas in our life that require additional care and this can only be provided by one source.
I often hear people, loved ones and strangers alike , acknowledge the fact that I’ve been through so much and have managed to stay so strong. This wasn’t done on my own strength and I sincerely believe I wouldn’t be in my right mind if it wasn’t for my faith. I cried to God so long praying for changes on things completely out of my control. I didn’t understand how He claimed the lives of sweet souls, but thought I was worth sparing. I didn’t understand why He added insult to injury by allowing my name to be ripped to shreds by my peers and strangers from near and far. I didn’t understand how He allowed me to go into a depression with what seemed like no escape at times. I felt like I was in a living hell, but God.
It may not seem like it in the moment, but God has the ability and authority to mend us back together. He has the craftsmanship needed to transform the most flawed and foreign pieces of us into works of art. The very parts of me that I tried my hardest to eliminate were elevated. God knew that He could only get to my core by breaking me apart. He used this as an opportunity to pour into those now vacant spaces what I had so desperately been missing His presence.
I’ll never understand why I’ve had to go through some of the things I have. Renewed faith has helped me question this a little less and rest in the fact that it’s bigger than me. I want to invite you to think differently the next time life doesn’t go as planned. Imagine that your pain is essential to your breakthrough or that of another. Imagine this as an opportunity to build your character and resilience in the face of adversity. Never underestimate God’s capacity to work magic in your life even when the rest of the world has labeled you as no more than discarded goods.