I’m not new to Jesus.
You know how people say they grew up in church? My father is a Pastor and I literally grew up in church. I spent almost every day of my formative years at church. In elementary school, my school bus stop was 2 blocks from my church. I walked there everyday after school and helped the church secretary fold bulletins or read hymns to myself, pretended to teach lessons, choreographed praise dances, whatever to pass the time until I could go home. I went to service every Sunday and twice on 4th Sunday for baptism. I went to bible study Wednesdays and choir rehearsals on Thursdays. I went to all the programs and any other service around the city where my Dad was ministering. Someone reading this thinks this sounds dreadful but listen, I LOVE(D) church. My very first friends and chosen family are people I met in church. Thankfully, my church was fun and progressive. We always had some kid-friendly activities happening, so going to church was just life for me.
Aside from being the churchiest kid in Louisville, I mean it when I say I’ve known Jesus my whole life. I mean technically I was baptized October 6, 1996 (yes I remember because churchy) but I cannot remember a time not feeling connected to Christ. I was taught very early who Jesus was as a person and as an extension of God. I prayed and believed in my heart that God heard me and loved me and that Jesus’s life is proof of that. I was a very spiritual child. Always looking for signs that God is real, always asking God to show up for me. There were things I felt as a child that, although I didn’t think much of them when I was younger, I would realize much later that God and I have a special relationship and that things I said and did as a child helped to cultivate that relationship. I’ll get more into that as the blog continues.
All in all, I had an awesome childhood. My parents worked hard to make sure that I lived a carefree life as a child. Outside of school, which I excelled in, and normal childhood responsibilities, I had no worries. Here’s the hang up. My entire life, I didn’t have very many things to pray very hard about. Like, I prayed but my prayers were reflective of my lifestyle. There was nothing that I prayed for, that if God told me no, would dramatically alter my life. But, of course, I didn’t realize that at all. As far as I was concerned, God and I were just on good terms. Of course I did regular teenaged stuff (Mom and Dad skip the next few sentences), lied, stole some small things, snuck out of the house, Snuck people into the house, hung out too late, experienced some things too early but still within “reasonable” boundaries for myself because I had things I wanted to do and people I wanted to impress and I couldn’t do that addicted to drugs, pregnant or dead. If that statement comes across judge-y, that’s because it is. I meant absolutely no harm by that mindset at the time, but things were supposed to happen a certain way for me and I was very in tune to what was happening with everyone else and how other people reacted. I just could not have that.
People expected certain things from me, therefore I expected those same things from myself. So, I went to school k-12 and did well. I was active in the church and community and had everything under control. In the fall of 2008 I was off to college and I was determined to make things happen the way I imagined. I was convinced that everything I wanted, would happen because I had already told God that’s what I wanted. I told God, and I did it in Jesus’ name.
Here we have identified my problem; a problem I would only recognize years later in retrospect.
Again, I am not new to Jesus. I’ve known God my entire life.
However, the realization that I need him in a much different way than I’ve ever needed him is very very new to me. This post ends here but my journey had just begun.