My Story // Part 5: The Start

The day after I was baptized I really wanted to find a way to tell others about my change of belief.
I sat down and created a video, which I find embarrassing now due to my lack of editing skills, but then I just wanted something to post.

What End When This Pandemic Does (10)

My mom shared it on her Facebook shortly after I uploaded it to my youtube account and it wasn’t long before it had ten likes… and hundreds of comments. 

All of our old friends and people we use to worship with were commenting that we had joined a cult, that we had been tricked into legalism, and that we were brainwashed.

I found the last comment interesting because looking at and evaluating everything, I realized I had been brainwashed into never thinking for myself for years, not the other way around.

It was overwhelming.

Then a few of the men and women from our new church started responding to those comments with verses, Greek words and definitions, it was amazing to see how logical their responses were versus the knee-jerk reactions of “This is untrue! How could you?”

I got a text from a friend, “Hey, I heard about your baptism… my parents and my siblings had a bible study together today, I don’t want to really talk about what you believe so our friendship isn’t ruined, but they warned me that you would try to convert me.” 

I didn’t really know how to respond, that wasn’t the last time a friend told me that their parents had “warned” them about me and my “cult”.

So Grace, do you believe the rest of us are going to hell?” Became a question a few people would ask me in front of everyone. 

The first time, I was taken aback, “I am not God,” I told them and the people listening in, “I do not see your soul. Have you obeyed the Bible?” 

“You know, according to what you believe now, your dad is going to hell because he hasn’t been baptized like you and your mom.”  they retorted.

“I have to get to class.” 

I noticed that a lot of my friends started keeping their distance.

“Where’s everyone else?” asked one of my friends as he walked up to me in the hallway.

“I don’t know,” I told him.

I looked up and noticed that he was staring down at me, “You seem different, have you seen my friend Grace? She’s super short with curly hair, freckles, and usually is sad and making sort of funny jokes.”  

“Nope, haven’t seen her,” I told him, and then added, “I became a Christian over Christmas break.” 

He looked confused, “Weren’t you already a Christian?” 

“I was wrong about a lot of things. We should sit down and talk sometime.” 

“I’m pretty sure you’ve been a Christian, but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy, and I’m glad you’re finally happy.” He told me, patting me on the shoulder.

I opened my mouth to say something, but he stopped me, “I’m not interested, sorry, Grace.” 

IMG_2560

Obviously, when I heard that my congregation was going to have an evangelism class, I jumped at the chance to join.

I not only wanted to know how to tell others about the truth, but I wanted to know how to respond to my friends when it seemed like any conversation about the Bible with them was just a minefield.

“You’re doing too much,” my therapist told me one session,

“allow me to play devil’s advocate: you right now are on a high, but are you ready for a low? Are you ready to crash?” 

That was my second to last session.

Her words rang in my ears though as we drove away after my last appointment.: “You’re doing too much. You’re on a high. You are going to crash.” 

Did I crash? 

I’m not going to lie and say that I healed automatically.

I’m not going to lie and say that I never spent another sleepless night, crying, and struggling to breathe because it felt like my chest was caving in along with the world around me.

I’m not going to lie and say it was easy. 

Going to services was hard, being around people who grew up in truth and didn’t seem to understand that I hadn’t, was hard.

“Who doesn’t know that?” people would scoff in Bible class, and I would sit there quietly because it was the first time I had ever heard anything like it before in my life.

“I wish I was like you and hadn’t grown up in the church,” someone told me once. 

“No, you don’t,” I told him.

Sometimes I felt like I would never catch up, sometimes I still feel that way and forget being a faithful Christian is a marathon and not a sprint. 

There were so many times I cried to my mom because I felt so alone like no one understood how confusing it was, and how hard it was to lose everything I once held onto.

I’m so behind, it’s evident that I’m so behind. I feel too jaded to be among some of these people. I don’t feel worthy to be here. Those were all thoughts that went through my head when I walked into our church building. I don’t think people understood why I cried through a lot of the hymns, I was so thankful but tired and discouraged at the same time.

IMG_2551

I started using the evangelism class I was taking. 

My first study was with my dad, throughout studying with him, I couldn’t read him at all. He said very little. I couldn’t get him to talk about religion, when I did, he would refer to it as “what your mom and you believe” and leave it at that.

I’ve always been close to my dad, he was the one I went to with all my problems, my rock, my foundation, and not being connected to him in the most important way, and knowing that every time he left for work could be my last to ever see him in all of eternity, was so hard.

I would cry and beg God for him to listen during church after every study. I would beg for God to give him time.

One day, I was riding with him and we had been riding in silence as usual, when he broke it. “If it’s true, then what about Billy Graham? What about all the people who I know are way smarter than me and know their Bible better? How can they be wrong when they are so much smarter than I could ever be?” 

“It’s the Bible versus the doctrine of men, Dad.” 

He didn’t say anything again for the rest of the drive.

“I don’t think he’s even listening or reading his Bible,” I told a friend in tears one night after worship.

Months passed.

One Wednesday night, I heard the sound of water filling the baptistry after services, “Who is getting baptized?” I asked, but no one knew.

“Grace,” an elder walked up to me and hugged me, I looked at him, confused, “your dad is about to be baptized.”

I stared at him, what?

I felt my whole body go numb. It didn’t feel real as everyone found a place to sit back down in the pews, I looked across the room and made eye contact with my mom, she was in shock as well.

I felt disbelief and joy as I watched my dad get baptized for the remission of his sins that night.

“I was listening to the sermons and to you and your mom,” my dad told me afterward, “I’m sorry for being so stubborn.” 

It was surreal.

Our family was fully a Christian family, finally.

signature

Coffee Dates: In Every Season

Hey, how are you?

It’s been a second since I’ve done a post like this because I’ve just been empty when it comes to inspiration, and every time I start writing something it comes off in the wrong way.

However, I’ve realized that what I have been trying to write and keep deleting can be summed up in two sentences: 

It’s hard to be content in every season, especially the lonely ones. 

Right now, I am really struggling with being happy with where I am. 

Wow, that wasn’t so hard to write, I don’t know why I’ve had around ten drafts of me trying to say that… 

Coffee Dates In Every Season

Seasons can be tough.

Maybe you’re like me and you’re in one that you don’t really want to be in right now.

People tell me to enjoy this season of my youth, but as I’m sure you also know, that’s easier said than done. 

It’s hard to be content in a season of singleness when you don’t really want to be single.

It’s hard to be content in a season of youth when it feels like your age (or lack of it) is the only thing people see when they look at you.

It’s hard to be content in a season of little close friends when you crave connection and to be needed by others.

It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that to everything there is a season, which means yes, there is a season to be single, lonely, and young, and even though sometimes it can be hard to understand why, we can still understand that we need to keep going.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”-Galatians 6:9

How can the season we’re in be used for good? 

For me, a big thing I realized was time, I have a lot of time, especially since COVID. Sometimes I think that I have way too much time because I often spend it overanalyzing things.

However, I have so much time that I wouldn’t have if I had a social life or a boyfriend, which might sound depressing, but that means that right now, I can wholeheartedly study the word because of how little distractions there are in my life.

Not only I am capable of getting into that habit now when it’s easy versus trying to dedicate myself to it when I’m in a busier season, but I have no excuse. 

I should always make time for God, but right now, I don’t really have to. I already have so much time that I can give to Him instead of using it to worry or wish that I had other things to do.

And you know what? I have come to enjoy parts of this season.

I enjoy being able to read my Bible on my bed while drinking coffee in the morning, I enjoy reading my Bible in the evening, I enjoy being able to go on evening runs, and watching the sunset over the fields. I enjoy talking to my mom late into the night, I enjoy driving back home from work with a little bit more money than I had that morning. I enjoy the quiet of this season.

So, what should you and I do in these seasons? 

We need to refocus and…

  • Seek the kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
  • Understand that we need to be content where God has put us even when it’s hard (Philippians 4:11).
  • Know that God is with us (Romans 8:28).
  • Know that we are stronger than our struggles when we are with Him (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • Understand that there is more to life than the things we are currently wanting (Luke 12:15).
  • Trust in the Lord (Psalm 91:1-16 ).

 

The world may tell us that we should always be wanting more, that we are not where we should be at our age or place in life, but the Bible says: 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”-Romans 12:2

The world may tell us to seek after our own selfish pleasures, but the Bible says: 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”-Matthew 6:33-34

When seasons are hard, we really need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Am I living this season for me or for God?”

And then: “Who should I be living this season for?” 

let's chat

How are you doing with the season you’re currently in?

 

signature