|How he sees me.|
I have always considered myself a spiritual person, but not always 'religious' in the classical sense. It has only been in the past three years that I have really truly 'come home' and find myself having an honest-to-goodness relationship with God. In fact, I would have to classify it as a romance. God is wooing me. I can feel it. Despite the endless let-downs and losses in my life, I feel Him drawing nearer. As close as breath.
I went to an evangelical college. I felt like somewhat of a black sheep there. I was raised an Irish Catholic, but I also attended Hebrew School for a spell as my best friend was Jewish. My dad made me read the history of all the world religions during 7th grade as some kind of punishment, though I forget for what. It was easily a thousand page book, with photos. I think my Dad thought it would exasperate me. But it just deepened the desire I had to know who God was and how He worked in this world. All my journals, from age seven on up, are filled with painful pleas to Him to reveal Himself to me as He truly is. I didn't care what lead me to Him, I just wanted to get there.
In my twenties, I abandoned God completely, in my pursuit of what the world had to offer. I went through a short period where I must honestly classify myself as a complete atheist. But God woos and courts us like the deftest lover. He doesn't give up. He calls and calls until we can't help but answer. At least that is what happened to me.
Three years ago I went through a bout of depression that nearly ruined me. I thought I wouldn't survive it, and the only thing that kept me hanging on was my love and commitment to my daughter. I was in a dark unknown place and I couldn't extricate myself. I wept on the phone to my mother nightly. I cried out to God. I wept out every last ounce of energy I had during that time. I thought I would never surface. But one night I heard a voice. The voice comforted me and called me Little One. With this divine visit, the despair was wiped away in an instant. An instant. There is no explanation.There was even a physical sensation -- like a warm oil was being poured over my head. And I was enveloped in a feeling of complete and utter unconditional love. It was the most vivid experience of love I have ever had.
I lived a charmed life for a few months after that night. When I would pray, I would hear the voices of others joining me. I could distinctly hear my father's voice and sometimes the voices of my grandmothers. I began attending Mass again. I went every single day, not just Sundays. I felt a burning desire to be there, on my knees, communing with Him. It felt like a glorious fever that I didn't want to be rid of. Sometimes I would hear the voice, and it would tell me I was loved. It would call me Little One and Sweet One. Sometimes it even sang to me, a hymn.
Some of you might think I'm crazy, but I honestly don't mind. I feel an urgent 'nudge' to share this tonight, and I'm happy to do it for Him. God has reached out to me in such tangible ways even this week, that I couldn't possibly ignore that He is here, among us. Beside us. With us. And boy, does He love us.
I'm not a religious freak. I don't even feel comfortable sharing my beliefs at all, if I'm honest. I positively hate stepping on people's toes, and I have an immense respect and awe for so many different faiths. I have friends of every religious (and non-religious) persuasion there is -- Atheists, Agnostics, Evangelicals, Jews, Pagans, Wiccans, Muslims, Pantheists, and more -- and they would, every one of them, describe me as probably the most spiritually-accepting person they know. But I need to own what I, myself, believe -- for my own integrity's sake. I don't ask you to believe it. I'm certainly not proselytizing. I just want to be true to who I am. I want to say my truth out loud, and unafraid.
I am a broken, willful, stubborn, contradictory little soul. But He loves me. The Maker of All Things, The Speaker of the First Word, The Lover and Creator of All Things loves me. And I want to love Him back in all that I say, all that I do. And in all that I am.
So, friends, this is my my 'coming out' speech, as a follower of Christ. I will not call myself a 'Christan' but a Follower of Christ. Christian has way too many negative connotations these days and turns people off before you even open your mouth. But I am a follower of Him who has made Himself known to me, and I want to be like Him. (He was, after all, a Rebel!)
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,