I can’t tell you how excited I am to be writing this blog for the World’s Okayest Church. I love to write, and to be called by God to do this is a feeling I can’t even describe.
That must mean I’m the World’s Okayest Christian, right? Nope. Not even close. And here’s the thing: that’s okay. Let me back up a bit and tell you about myself. I grew up in church in a small town. I was a proud Methodist for many years (if you have any opinions, keep them to yourself). I was baptized and confirmed in the faith at eight and eleven years old, respectively. I loved going to church every week and sitting with my friends passing notes in the front row while the pastor told jokes. I was a soloist from the time I was eight years old, and sang in the choir with my mom periodically. I came from a family that a lot of people envied—a mother, and my grandparents. I had always dreamed of having a family of my own someday—complete with my own husband that would be a good and present father figure as well. I was especially close to my grandfather, or Grandpa to me.
But in 1998, when I was sixteen years old, things changed. Shortly after I got my drivers’ license—which was a big deal, because my mother doesn’t have hers and my grandparents drove us around until I got my own license—my grandpa found out he had lung cancer. In fact, before he found out, he actually asked me to feel the lump on his chest and see if I knew what it was. I didn’t understand why he would ask that of the youngest person in the house, but looking back on it, I think he was trying to tell me without hurting my feelings.
Fast-forward eight weeks. My grandpa died very peacefully at home with the entire family surrounding him, which was odd, because he had acted perfectly fine the day before. We all just happened to be together because my uncle was in town from Washington and we all wanted to spend time with him. Regardless, I was there when my grandpa died. *I physically watched it happen*. I was sixteen.
After that, I decided I was done with God. My rationale was that if God couldn’t be kind of enough to let my real father stay, and he would take away the one person who was my father figure, then I didn’t need that kind of God. As much as it hurts to say all of this now, I would go so far as to say that I hated God. To make an already semi-long story a little shorter, I spent the next 10-plus years doing everything I possibly could to slowly kill myself and run away from God.
Let me interject here and tell you that back in the day, I had a practice that if I couldn’t be the best at something, I just quit doing it. I tried to go back to church, but since I couldn’t quote the most scripture and didn’t have the best voice anymore, I gave up after a few weeks. But I was really good at screwing up my life, so I stuck with that.
I finally reached a breaking point in September 2012. I was going through a bad breakup, missing my grandpa badly, and I ended up—literally—on my knees with my hands in the air saying, “Okay fine, God, you win. What do you want from me?!?*” I think I asked that question rhetorically, as I had no idea how I was going possibly know what God was saying to me.
As it would turn out, God sent me a burning bush about a week later when I went to a church that I had found out about through a reliable source—Google. As I was getting ready to go in, the worship band started up with “How Great Thou Art.” That was my grandpa’s song. God was there, and He brought my grandpa with Him. I was convinced.
But I was still nervous. I forgot most of the scripture I knew, and I knew it would take awhile to get it all back. And I missed my voice. I prayed to not give up, to be patient, to get my voice back, to let me know He hadn’t forgot about me, and above all, to save me from myself. I wanted a heart change, even though I didn’t totally know that’s what I wanted.
I also still wanted my perfect, complete little family—complete with a knight in shining armor who would fight for me. And you know what? I have it. I met someone at the very beginning of my return to the walk with Jesus--who has become a very good friend—who gave me a verse that I haven’t forgotten:
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.”
Folks: the Lord fought for me. He’s fighting for you, too. He is THE knight in shining armor, because even though He’s always fighting for us, He will always be a gentleman about it. He’s not like one of those salespeople in the mall who will follow you around with whatever scented item will make you gag after 20 minutes trying to wear you down to the point you just give in and buy if it will make them go away. Nope, God is better than that. He has nothing to sell. In fact, He bought and paid for us with the blood of His own Son.
While I can’t think of a better gift than that, He’s constantly giving me one gift after another. One of my favorites? A family. He promises it in Psalm 68:6: “God sets the lonely in families.” And He did. He set me in the World’s Okayest Family at the World’s Okayest Church—no, I am not being paid and this isn’t a membership drive. As the song says, *“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God…”* (Great song, you should look it up.) While I would still love to have that earthly family I mentioned earlier, whatever happens will be so much greater than I could have ever imagined because He’s a gift-giver. Take the Toys ‘R’ Us catalog and multiply it by infinity, because that’s how good the gifts He gives are.
I could keep going, because there’s so much more I want to say—especially with all the new things He teaches me every day. I hope to get to share those things with you in future blogs. I invite you along for the ride.
As the World’s Okayest Pastor would say, “Come on, Somebody!”