Encounter To Faith: Part II

Hi Friends 😀

Last Saturday, on the prelude to this article, I wrote about my nephew and His stance on God, Christianism and Faith, and how a story he had read in school actually led to him opening up about his opinion on everything Christ related. Although it hurt to hear what he had to say, his stand came as no shock to me. Well, once upon a time, I had shared the same sentiments as he did because I’d seen how judgmental, uncaring, unforgiving and the lack of giving some people who claimed to be Christian had presented either directly or indirectly towards me in my past life, which honestly contributed to my lack of interest to even doing anything Christ related. The picture presented to me wasn’t one of which I wanted to be a part of, I told myself that if being a Christian meant all this, then I would rather not be one. Well, I felt that way because I had not been properly taught about what it meant to be a follower of Christ. However, once I encountered Christ myself and began to converse with Him, read His word and share it with others who like me had once wandered off but found their way to God way before me and had grown in spirit through Christ, it is then that I began looking for and finding my way.


Having been raised in a family whose moral basis was Christian founded, you would assume that I would have taken that up instantaneously- unfortunately not! However, a seed was planted in me regardless even though it did not take root right away. This seed remained inside me and I believe it grew by day through the teachings I received through my unfortunate detours in life, because though I had allowed God to take a backseat in my life- He on the other hand never reciprocated that with me; instead He maintained His position- within, beside, behind and ahead of me. It took quite some time for this seed to come into bud because, then I had not embarked on the journey to acquaint myself with Jesus Christ, accept Him into my life and connect with Him through prayer and meditating on His word. Only after had I committed myself to Him, did that seed take root and yield fruit.


God was at the core of everything in my family (well, He very much still is), and we participated in all things associated with Him. We attended church religiously so, but I, unfortunately, went to church without a purpose; I went there because my family expected me to. They, on the other hand, understood the importance of gathering with other believers in Christ, but for me, it was just a matter of tagging along- I was a churchgoer but wasn’t gathered with the rest of them in Spirit and in the Name of God. My family was quite dedicated to God and they expressed this through meditating on His word, praying, keeping the Sabbath and abiding by the precepts of God. We prayed all the time for literally everything. You would visit my maternal grandmother at her house for lunch perhaps and before you leave she would instruct you to close the door, start a chorus and she would pray thereafter. This was the norm my entire childhood right through to her passing away in March 2019- God rest her soul! In any case, she believed that God was at the forefront of everything and if you had Him on your side all would go well. I did not understand it then but after my encounter with God and ensuing on my journey with Him, reading His word, it was only then that I grasped and acknowledged the fact that His word was a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. After having realized that and exercising my faith as well as putting into practice that which I had read in His word, I truly understood why my grandmother always read the word and prayed all the time. Now, having dedicated myself to God I’ve come to understand that truly things in-between work out well if you begin your day with His word and prayer and end it as such as well.


I read or heard once (honestly, I don’t remember which) anyway, it was a statement about how we have all survived and achieved things in our lives, yes through grace but most times it was through the constant prayers our mothers made on our behalf. Well, I think this person made a reference to mothers because of their nurturing nature which in spite of us being completely divergent most times, they never stop interceding on our behalf, cherishing us and hoping for nothing but the best for us. Essentially, they hope that we eventually choose the right path in life. In truth, when I first heard/read this, I paid no attention to it because it carried no meaning for me until a time when I reflected back over my life and appreciated the fact that although I may have been emotionally scathed, I survived regardless and I was able to bring that broken soul to God to mend. Though my natural instinct to survive was weakened at times, I think that if the “mothers” in my life hadn’t been interceding on my behalf, I would have succumbed to my emotions which at that time were very much not inclined towards living.


As previously mentioned that despite all my family’s teachings and us having been brought up in such an environment, I will admit that our behaviour, did not depict that. I think we all wanted to navigate life on our own accord and find that which truly mattered to each of us. Well, I think for me, I believed attending church and of course, being in agreement with my family when they prayed meant that I was a Christian and that was it. I did not understand that there was a lot more involved in being a follower of Christ. I thought that was enough and I was a nice person, kind to people, helped out where I could, well what else could have been lacking? Anyway, as I grew older I started attempting to understand what Christianity was, what a Christian was, principles to live by, etc. I did not know how to pray really, but I believed prayer had to happen when I needed something from God, I did not fathom the fact that I had to honour and pray to God in all circumstances. Yes, I had the first-hand experience in my family of praying for everything good or bad and I did not understand that part of actually praying even when it hurt, I mean what was there to be thankful for? In any case, they did and that was ok but I chose not to go that path, instead, I prayed when I wanted something. I think my misconception about prayer stemmed from the fact that, since I prayed for good it always happened and I suppose I just went along with it from then until a time I learned the truth and began doing the right thing.


I encountered God during my breakdown in 2013 of which I have discussed in one of my articles published here. It was a dark time in my life and music also formed a part of everything which carried me through that time. Music is life! The words musical artists put together most times express the emotions we feel deep within but cannot find the right words or voice even to express it ourselves. During that time, I listened to and fell in love with Kari Jobe, who is a contemporary Christian musician, a worshipper actually whose albums are phenomenal (I have listened to all of them) and her music is anointed. I swear her 2012 album (Where I Find You) was written for me. Man, did that album bring healing to my life! And Steady My Heart was one track which spoke to my wounded heart and broken soul. This song reassured me that in spite of the pain I felt, I was not to worry because God had me inside the palm of His hands. In fact, He steadied my heart through it all and everything that was good or had been broken, happened the way He had planned. This song pulled me out of that hole bit by bit, and as her music continued to minister to me I drew closer to God. Her music spoke to me, to my circumstance, to my heart and connected my soul with God. To this day, Steady My Heart is one track I tune to when life overwhelms me and things don’t go my way. It reminds me that, God’s got me and because of that, I need not worry for He Steadies my Heart!


Before my encounter, I did know of God, actually, I knew that there was a spiritual force involved in our lives that determined the order in which things should happen. Well, that much I knew but knowing doesn’t mean understanding just as hearing doesn’t mean listening! I knew but I did not understand what it all meant. You know sometimes we hear things in passing and they don’t make any sense at that time. However, in time it hits us again which is then that it fully becomes comprehensible. Years ago I heard one pastor on the television saying that as much as you may have grown up in a Christian faith family, that did not mean you were a Christian. In actuality, you had to find God yourself because your parents too had encountered God themselves and accepted Him into their lives because they had understood the principle of what it meant to be in Christ. Well, unfortunately, that could never be inherent, rather it was something that you had to find yourself and make the conscious decision to take up.


Being a Christian and abiding by Gods precepts doesn’t come easy at first because you have to forsake it all and devote your entire being to Him. I will admit that letting go of earthly pleasures is hard especially once you have indulged in them. It took so much time for me and I pray on a daily basis asking God to give me the strength to not be weak when temptation leaps around me because,e in all honesty, the enemy will always tempt you with all that you like and draw you toward it. I meditate on different scripture every day, but after each reading, I always go and read Colossians 3 to inscribe the lesson found in that scripture in my heart and I pray that God helps me put it into action. My pastor always says the devil doesn’t have any power, rather he uses various tactics to destroy you but those ploys should not worry us because if we are firm in God no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). And besides, God gave us the authority to overcome anything (Luke 10:19).


So, as you continue your walk with Christ and feeding your soul with His word and spending your time with Him you grow in the most inexplicable way that people often wonder how you are calm in stormy circumstances and how in spite of everything you exude joy. Since committing myself to God, my life hasn’t been the same. Yes, I have had to persevere here and there but having God by my side gave me a sense of peace, sturdiness and great faith as well as the wisdom to understand that it is for my good and it will work out for my good. Knowing that has kept me going and strengthened my relationship with God all the more. His blessings and grace have surpassed everything I could have ever imagined and He has carried me through the most that looking back I don’t know how I would even have survived if He wasn’t in my life. That said, I think my encounter with God during that dark period in my life saved me and it was the first time that I saw Him for who He was; a father who loved me unconditionally enough to accept my brokenness, piece it all together and gracefully make me whole again. Knowing that He did not judge me or use my past, shame and pain against me drew me closer to Him and despite me having forsaken Him, He remained the same and accepted me back as I was.


Grounded In Faith 😊💚


Gcie


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