Over 10 years ago, I was in a pretty bad place in life. Life wasn’t living up to my expectations and I wasn’t handling it well at all. I recall a lady I looked up to telling me to read the Bible more, read Christian literature and surround myself with good stuff on the radio and television.
If there is one thing I’m pretty good at, it is following directions. This lady was telling me that if I did those things I would see my life improve and I was willing to try anything.
Well, I followed directions and my life improved.
Up until then, I was not what you would call a real religious person. I was a spiritual person, but not religious. Religion equaled doctrine… And if there is one thing I had a hard time with, it was Christian doctrine, even after spending K-12 in parochial schools.
In middle school, I recall praying fervently. I remember crying out to God when my Great-Uncle died. I recall specifically asking the Lord to remove the emotional pain of middle school. I remember many times over making very specific prayer requests.
In high school and college, as I became more educated, my approach to God changed although the intent was always the same. I went down some very strange avenues, learning and dabbling in new age and shaman religions. HOWEVER, my intent was always to grow closer with God, never anything else.
Some people might think, “Jamie? Really? The same girl that we partied with had these deep spiritual thoughts and experiences.” The answer is, “Yes, yes I did.” Talking about God or your prayer life are not items for discussion at you local college bar. Frankly, I wouldn’t have discussed them anyway. They were private, very private and personal.
One might ask why I was not involved with the college campus ministries. The short answer was I was too busy “having fun.” I did not want to be reminded or told of sins I was committing. I just wanted to experience life without guilt. In my mind I created a place for God without all of the rules.
Thankfully my own husband steered me back to a more solid path before we were married and after we were married I became involved with our church.
The infertility experience was the best practice in “letting go and letting God.” To fully put all my faith that God would do what He will and everything would be fine. After we stopped trying to get pregnant, after three years of various infertility drugs, I became pregnant without warning. A complete surprise. Talk about taking notice of a prayer request!
It has taken me more recently in life to finally just be completely comfortable and outward with my beliefs. So many people in the world, and even in my little world, are off put by religious or spiritual discussions (and politics and religion are my two favorite things to discuss). Because of this, I don’t just offer these kinds of conversations. They are reserved for a very select few, and whomever decides to now read the blog.
On the same hand I will not be ashamed about it. If anyone is off-put by anything they read here, then they should not be reading it.
God has made my life what it is. He had provided for my family and me more than we require. He has answered my prayers, sometimes in a weird and twisted way or His timing has been WAY off (in my opinion. Why can’t He learn to do things on MY TIME??!!). He provides me insight and perspective and He speaks to me through His word, which doesn’t get read nearly enough.
For so many years I thought self proclaimed Christians were a different breed. I didn’t feel it was right to be outward about Christianity while still being a sinner. It seemed wrong.
What I’ve instead learned is that the most transparent and best Christians I know (and read from) will never ever deny being a sinner. They will never ever claim to be holier than thou. They will never place themselves on pedestals. They just try their hardest to live the best way they are capable of, love Jesus, and continue to seek the truth. And the bestest ones are those that encourage others to be better Christians too… To encourage and lift up others on this walk. I am so blessed to have those forever seekers, encouragers and just all around awesome self-proclaimed Christians as my family and friends. I learn so much from their struggles and am grateful they help me through my own.
My point in rambling is that I hope people who felt they once knew me still feel they do. I haven’t changed, I’m just embracing what I’ve always known and loved. I am still a goofball. I just want to live like Jesus said, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” Come shine your light with me!