I knew who He was, but I didn't really know Him. Though I saw images of Him almost every day as a young girl and I knew His life story, it's hard to believe that all that time He wanted to be close to me...be in my life and in my heart like no one else could, but that I couldn't see His wanting. It's not that I full on rejected Him, but I didn't know the truth about Him. Sure, as a kid I heard the stories. I mean, we were Catholic until I was 12. I went to Catholic school, Catholic church and all that, so I knew the story. But as I grew older and we came out of Catholicism, I was told that He was a great teacher...a prophet, if you will. I'd never grasped the former teaching...just memorized it...so it wasn't hard to convince me that He was a good man, but a mere man all the same.
Thankfully, one day it clicked with me though. Talking to Mr. Free...debating some topic that I've long since forgotten...he made the case for Him as my Savior. The one who was persecuted, beaten and died just so that I could be forgiven of all of my sins. All I had to do was believe who He was...that's it, no big ceremony or production...I just had to believe. Something stuck with me that day, He was real.
I don't recall the date or even the year, just that my curiosity was piqued in that moment. Hard to argue with truth. I began going to a different church, one that taught about Him from the perspective of Him being my Savior. My old church was good and helpful to me in a lot of ways and they had a certain reverence and respect for Him, but they called Him Teacher. Yes, He's Teacher, but they didn't know He is so much more than that.
This new church read the bible. I'd never really done that before. I knew a few verses, cuz my mom read and quoted it a lot, but outside of thumbing through my picture bible as a kid, I can't recall ever really reading it, but now I was intrigued and began to study it a little at a time. Mostly, though, I listened. And I watched. I listened to what the preacher preached. I watched what the other ladies did and I tried to emulate them.
Changed churches a couple of times, grew and gleaned new stuff from each one, but they were all basically the same.
At a certain point, I began to miss my former relationship with Yahweh (I still called Him God at that time, though). Seems He'd been more personal to me before. We'd been more in touch with one another and now I was beginning to feel, I dunno, disconnected or distanced from Him. I was still going to church, still praying, still going to bible study, conferences, 6am prayer and going through all of my usual motions, but I wasn't feeling Him like I used to. I wasn't looking for an emotional "feeling" either...there was plenty of that around my church and my circle of new friends. No, that wasn't the kind of "feeling" I was looking for. I was feeling like I was somehow off course. There was a lot of stuff between us now that had never been there before. I felt like, before I'd gotten into all of this, He and I had a real relationship. We talked. He comforted me. He and I were tight like that. I had a Savior now, though. Actually, I'd had Him all along and I sorta knew this from growing up Catholic, but I'd never tuned into it like I'd done now. But how come I had a Savior, yet was feeling, in my gut, I was out of tune?
I had religion, yet I longed for relationship...again.
Years went by. I had questions, but squashed them because they weren't the right questions. They weren't the type that you say out loud unless you want to be ostracized. I also had conclusions, but like the questions, I buried them in favor of other conclusions, even though my gut told me they didn't fit the truth...but they fit the church... so I continued to convince myself that they were true...I just needed to believe...blindly.
Still feeling somewhat out of sorts, though. I said disconnected earlier, but actually that's not entirely true. I knew He was there. Knew He knew me and I knew Him, but there was so much pretense between us now and it hadn't been like that before. I continued to study though. I grew stronger and, truly, was being taught more about scripture then I ever knew existed. I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time in church. Didn't quite understand how or even all of what the Holy Spirit is back then, but He fell upon me and I spoke...REALLY spoke! It would be years before I had that filling again, but I knew it was real and I learned about that filling in church...continued to learn. I traveled to Africa for missionary work and conventions, received the Holy Spirit a second time. This time, all alone, in a hotel room in Kenya. Was INSTANTLY delivered from sexual sin in that moment and I knew it. Can't explain it to you, but I knew it. The pastor had preached on the Holy Spirit in a service right before that. He prayed over all that were ready and willing to let Him in, but I wasn't filled in the little African church that hosted us...I was filled...slain, really...in a hotel room all alone. Wow! Just recalling that moment, brings back memories that I can't even describe. I know it was because the pastor taught and prayed and I was ready.
Church was a good experience. It nurtured me. Taught me. Prepared me. Disciplined me. I needed that discipline. Yep, I talk head about it sometimes, but there was a great purpose in me taking that route. I turned away from a lot of bad behaviors and was redirected, as a woman, to a much more pleasing way of life.
Love church. Disagree with a lot and don't go much these days, but I love it still and always will.
Had to pull out of it though. Things just weren't right. Pastors spending millions of dollars on cars. People judging by appearances. Traditions being taught as though they were gospel. Just too much to ignore after a while. Mr. Free got the unction at the same time, so it was time to go.
Now, though, I knew how to study. I knew my sins were forgiven and that I could go to Him in the name of my Savior and just chill with Him. I could ask Him questions. I could learn His truth. I felt free with Him, like I'd been before...before I'd been introduced to the dogma. No more people and traditions and made up rules and all of that "stuff" in the way. Just Him, Messiah, Holy Spirit and me. Ah, what a relief. I got through that phase of retraining of learning of refocusing and now it was time to refocus again, but in a new light.
Free At Last! Free Indeed!
Began to hunger to know the truth to forbidden questions...well, maybe not forbidden, but certainly not welcomed. Began to question traditions. Why don't we keep Sabbath? Why does Paul seem to sometimes contradict Christ? How come a whole new religion was started after our Messiah died in the flesh? What is marriage really all about? How come there are no wedding ceremonies in the bible? Is Yahushua (though I still called Him Jesus at that time) God? Stuff that my gut was telling me to look closely at, but I shunned because I believed what the church taught me and just, I dunno, felt I'd be out of the clique if I wondered too loudly about these things. I also wanted to know how we, me and the Most High, had a relationship before I embraced Christ? He'd moved on my behalf before and I'd seen Him do it for others who didn't accept Christ. That wasn't supposed to happen, was it? The church meant well and had a purpose, but I now see that purpose differently. So, the questions kept coming, but it was okay. He wasn't upset that I'd asked. He knew the answers and He began to share them with me...is still sharing them. I checked them out (the ones He's already given me), just to make sure I wasn't hearing what I wanted to hear and, yep, sure enough...it was all right there in the bible. Everything He was revealing to me was already there, He was just making it personal now. Ahh, what a relief!
He also led me to new discoveries. He revealed to me His personal name. Even though I'd heard it before, I wasn't ready to hear it then. Wasn't that I didn't love Him and didn't long to know Him better...more personally, but the church taught something different and they didn't deem it important to know His name, so neither did I.
I also learned His Son's name. Yahushua. Not only is He my Savior and my Messiah, but I can have a real...really real...relationship with Him. I'm delighted. To say that I love Him now just sounds cliche. It's true that I do love Him, but loving Him now means something different. He told us that if we love Him, we are to obey His commandments (John 14:15). I can't just give Him lip service, He really wants me to pattern myself after Him. And that's not a laborious calling like I used to think it was, cuz now I'm not doing it to please others, or for appearances, but truly because I love Him and want to please Him...I mean REALLY, REALLY want to please Him. So I study His commandments, His character, I listen to every word He has spoken, I pray for the Comforter to lead me to His truth just like He said my Comforter would do (John 14:26, John 15:26).
I also am in awe of Him. I want to know everything about Him.
Some Christians were upset once because I asked about His childhood...mainly His teen and young adult years. I wanted to know how He kicked it when He wasn't in public ministry. Who'd He hang out with? What did He do for fun? What did His parents think of Him and how'd they handle having the Son of Yahweh as their earthly son? Who were His teachers? Did He go to school? Could He even be taught? They said it wasn't important. But He's my best friend, He's my Savior, He's Messiah...everything about Him is important! But they told me I was wrong for even asking, so I shut up. He's taught me not to argue with people about Him. Sometimes it's hard, but I know that revelation isn't my job...I don't have that capacity on my own...He might use me to bring it to someone, but it's not my job or my call to make in any other instance. But I'm so amazed by Him. So enthralled with His teachings, His character, His wisdom and philosophy. As my Savior, He's awesome, but as a person...a flesh and blood person...He is the absolute coolest and I'm fascinated with how He walked, talked, handled friends, adversity, anger, prayer, leadership...I mean, the list could go on forever, because He's the single most intriguing person to ever live. With all of the other stuff out of the way...the interpretations, the denominations, the church services, the committees, the dress codes, the hierarchies, the bickerings, the motions out of the way, I take joy in reading about Him and letting the Holy Spirit reveal the truth of Him to me. He has truly brought His scriptures to life right before my very own eyes.
He's real. I feel so sorry for those who don't know it, but He is.
He truly is my rock. He is never not there for me. I embrace Him and long to grow closer to Him every day. I look forward to His return. I know His power and I know His plan. I know that the Father's will will be done through Him and I know that He'll judge the earth, free the captives, make the last first, stop injustice, war, violence, sin...all of that...once and for all. He'll bring wrath first though, but His wrath won't be directed upon us who believe, it's just necessary for Him to win that final battle and reclaim all that is rightfully the Father's. He is my Hero and I look so forward to that day. No more suffering. Just peace. How awesome it is to imagine that...just peace.
Yeah, I love Him. He's the captain of my journey. He's who I seek to follow at all times. He's all I need and I'm glad I know this now.
Yahweh, your love is beyond comprehension, but I thank you. You are greater than even the greatest minds can ever know or imagine, but that you've taken the time to give us even a glimpse of your Kingdom is most gracious of you. That you've taken the time to let us know your Son...our Savior...is most merciful. Thank you.
I fall short often. I don't always mean to, but it seems like I've got so much to learn, even when I think I know. So much about me is so imperfect...so polluted by this world...but you're teaching me. You're stretching me. You're showing me that there's so much more to You and so much more to me as your creation...as your child. Thank You.
From the bottom of my heart, thank You!
I love you,