I was raised in a few different households. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was running around on her. I was taken in by my father when my mom was deemed unfit to have custody of me. My stepmother was the woman my father had been seeing while he was married and saw me as a reminder of my mother, but played the part of caring mother to please my father.
I was beat, harassed, and ridiculed by my stepmother for the sole reason of not being her child. To her, I was a constant reminder of a burden that she had no intention to bear. I recall her taking me with her children to church on the “important days” of Easter and Christmas. She claimed she was a believer of God.
My grandmother, who had adopted my mother, got to see me every other weekend. I recall that she would take me to church whenever I was spending the weekend with her and worked hard to get me to see all that Christianity had to offer. She truly was a loving woman. When she was seven years old she was given 7 months to live and she lived to be 70, dying 7 days after being admitted to the hospital and 7 hours after I had last visited her. I did not see it then.
I was young and confused. On the one hand I had a mother figure that beat me for simply being born. On the other hand, I had a grandmother who went out of her way to show compassion and caring for others. Both claimed to be Christians. I had no idea which way was the right way or which woman was truly following God. It seems so simple now, but when you’re young, it is overwhelming.
Many times I had “prayed” for God to answer me. To come into my life and help me discern His way for me. I felt at times there were no answers and that God just simply wasn’t there.
I did everything I could to fill the hurt and the pain in my life. I chased women, drank heavily, and got lost in deep depression. What made Christianity finally click for me was when I visited my wife’s church. The pastor quoted the beginning of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, in which he says, “It’s not about you.”
I spent the majority of my life to that point focusing on myself. On my pain, on my struggles, on my circumstances. What never crossed my mind is that God was there with me through it all. I prayed that night with deep sincerity for God to come into my life and heal my wounds and forgive me for making my whole life about myself. God delivered.
I’m not a Christian to be trendy. I’m not a Christian because I don’t enjoy social conformity. I’m a Christian because I owe my life to my Father and best friend. While my father, mother, and stepmother in this world led me down a dark path, I always had God there with me. God spoke to me through my grandmother. He spoke to me in times I was seeking consoling. He spoke to me through the pain of losing my grandmother. No matter the situation, God spoke to me even if I was unwilling to hear.
Being a Christian isn’t about me. I don’t study The Bible for myself. I don’t blog about Christianity for publicity. I’m not studying Ministry to rectify regret. I do all these things to get closer to God and to understand Him more. I’m a Christian because I am perfectly content knowing that I’m weak, broken, and filthy. I’m a Christian because everything I did without God in it always had a bad result. I’m a Christian because even when I didn’t know God, He was there for me.
But most of all, I’m a Christian because God fills me with hope.
The world is centered on self. Everyone has to get the biggest house, the fastest car, the supermodel girlfriend, and the boatloads of money. They can have it. When you go after the superficial, you get lost in the world and lose sight of the bigger picture. Atheists place so much hope in mankind and so much value in self-worth. So sure that man can turn it around by themselves when history clearly says otherwise.
Being a Christian, to me, is the realization that even when I’m at my best, I am still nothing. The only things I do in my life that amount to anything are the things that glorify God. That put me in the background. That make me look helpless and hopeless without God.
I’m far from perfect. My body is full of holes from my flaws. But the holes in my body are where God shines through.
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