Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

My Journey to God: My Great Awakening

on April 16, 2014

photo - IRELAND - doolough-co--mayo-ireland-1186276-m

Over the years I’ve seen many of Julia Roberts’ movies, like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Runaway Bride, Ocean’s Eleven and others. I’ve watched her on awards shows and read about her in magazines. But I’ve never met her in person or had a conversation with her. (Now, that would be fun!) I don’t know her personally.

Knowing about a famous athlete or celebrity—like Michael Jordan or Julia Roberts — is one thing; knowing him or her personally is quite another.

Likewise, many people confuse knowing about God and with knowing Him personally — getting introduced and having a relationship.

What an honor. What a joy! Only, I never knew that was an option … until I turned 17. Here’s my story:

I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We lived in a ranch house on an acre of land. Where our land ended, the forest began. It was green and lush in the summer and blanketed with pristine white snow and icicles in winter. I loved growing up there.

As for my spiritual life, we attended a denominational church every Sunday as a family. I knew about God. I knew He existed. I knew Jesus was God’s Son and I was familiar with a few Bible stories, like Noah and the ark. However, while life may have looked idyllic on the outside, things were crumbling on the inside.

The summer after I finished eighth grade, my parents divorced. We moved to another city and the trajectory of my life changed forever.

It was autumn of my senior year of high school when my best friend, Lisa, and I went out for lunch one day and ran into the young man who was painting her house. He sat with us and shared about Christ in a way I’d never heard before. I was intrigued and wanted to know more.

The God he spoke of was kind. He was interested in our daily lives. He cared. This was new to me.

The painter, who was just a few years older than Lisa and I, invited me to church. It was the first time I heard that Jesus loved me, that He had a plan for my life, and that I could know Him. I pondered all of this.

A few months later Lisa invited me to her denomination’s youth conference. Imagine 18,000 high school kids in a large conference center!

One night, speaker Josh McDowell gave an altar call — an invitation to come to the front of the auditorium and accept Jesus as your personal Savior. I was sitting with two other friends and they went down; I stayed back.

Suddenly, a woman I had never met tapped me on the shoulder and asked me why I didn’t go with my friends.

I said, “I don’t know.”

She asked, “Do you know Jesus?”

I was very confused. I had a lot of new information in my head, but I didn’t know what to do with it.

Thankfully, this kind stranger explained the Good News to me simply and clearly in about ten minutes. I prayed to accept Jesus as my personal Savior with her in that auditorium.

The Good News, I learned that day, is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth for you and for me — for the entire world. He came to help us, heal us, and give us the amazing gift of forgiveness. When we come into a relationship with Christ we have a connection to the ultimate source of love, power and mercy. We get to know Him, not just about Him. We get to do this hard and messy life together and know we are never alone.

God loves us each so much that He sent Jesus Christ, who died to overcome death forever and rose again to life! Because He did that we are forgiven and free, when we accept that gift He has to offer.

God is reaching out to each and every one of us; it is our choice to reach back.

So I accepted that wonderful offer that day at the youth rally. And decided to attend a Christian college so I could learn more as I furthered my education.

I’ve learned a lot about God since then. I continue to be amazed at His goodness, faithfulness and His love that never leaves. I have experienced firsthand His provision and protection.

God, the One who loves you most, is there for you, too. Why not take a moment now and talk to Him?

Your life will never be the same.

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