This is the story of my life. I was inspired to write it at Desert Challenge, and here it is now:
I don’t belong here writing this today. None of us deserve to be here. God could have ended the world on page 2 of the Bible. But He didn’t. Why? Because He wanted something to love. He wanted something to glorify Him. Looking at the world today, you wonder how many people love Him back, and how many people glorify Him.
I’m not here to preach to you. I’m here to tell you my story, and how God has worked – and is still working – in my life.
I was born to Christian parents who loved the Lord and raised (and are still raising) my and my siblings to follow Him. They also wanted to serve God in the Middle East, so when I was two, we went to Jordan, where my parents learned Arabic. We expected to be back in a few years, when we left for the states in ’98. However, my dad needed more flight time to work as a pilot there, so we moved to Michigan and worked among the Muslims there for eight years. When I was eight or so, I “prayed the prayer.” I knew what Jesus had done for me, and was glad he ransomed me. I was baptized when I was nine, and though I’ve turned my back on God since, he’s always brought me back to Him.
I guess the main thing I want to share about my and my walk with God is a series of events that lasted from December 2005 to the present.
The first is my dad being laid off from North West, the airline he flew for in the states. We had known since November and had been able to prepare for it. By the time January ’06 came around, he had two interviews in the Middle East lined up: one with Qatar Airways and the other with Emirates. My friends and I talked a lot about this, and prepared for our possible move. My dad got both jobs. For a month, we faced this decision, weighing the benefits and hardships each job/country had. Finally, we decided in Dubai. The next three months were a blur of preparation for both our move and the upcoming dance recital. The recital came and left; I left Milligan School of Ballet behind. Only a week or so after the recital, my parents took me out for dessert. I had no idea what was coming until it was upon me: due to a hip tilt, I could never go on pointe without overworking myself. It was then I realized that God wasn’t really the first thing in my life anymore. In my pain and agony, I found myself turning to Him and crying out to God for help. Thankfully, I’m over it now, but I had at least a month where I was devastated. Less than a month later, we watched as all of our earthly possessions were loaded on to a huge container bound for Dubai. A week later, my dad left Michigan for training in Dubai. The next six weeks were spent in Skype-calls with my dad, farewells, and packing. We left Dubai on August 8th. Though excited, both Cait and I had a little pang of sadness for everything we were leaving behind. The first month in Dubai was great, other than the heat. But sometime in September, I had my first huge wave of homesickness. It lasted until NYPE Dubai, a big event at Youth Group, when kids from Al Ain come out. At NYPE, I gave up all my troubles to God – and wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier. Mid-September I had started dancing (partially the cause of homesickness), but by November, I was sick and tired of the school, the syllabus, and the students’ and teachers’ technique. I had my last class December 16th. Over Christmas, I struggled with what to do next. I was blind to see God’s direction in my life at that time. Desert Challenge came, and it changed my life forever. Since then, I’ve wanted to be with God, in his presence, wanting to fill up that longing for Him that’s inside of me. And there, there I gave my whole self up to God, to serve and love him with everything I am. It’s not easy – already I’ve failed Him. But I’m so much happier walking with God than alone with myself. I reached my decision about what to do next sometime last week: instead of doing ballet, I would do Highland Dancing. Going to OSAS would be hard; the majority of the dancers are skinny and dress immodestly. But I know God can use me there.
If you’re not a believer, I have something to say to you. You probably got lost in what I’ve written so far, but please, if you get anything out of this, get this:
When you have problems, remember: you're not alone. I have problems, too. A few times, I've also seriously considered cutting and other hurtful anti-depression things. But then I remembered - I have Jesus' love. He heals me every time. And when you feel like you can't let go of cutting, it's as if you're a slave to it. You know what? You've been set free.
Jesus came as a ransom for us. God sent his ONLY SON to die for us, so we could be free from sin. You've sinned, I've sinner. We've all sinned. We've all fallen short of God, and we can't get to Him and heaven on our own. The good news is, since Jesus came and died for us, taking away all of our sins, then rising again to show God's great glory and power, we don't have to go to hell. All we have to do is to believe.
God loves you. He sent Jesus to die for YOU. To ransom YOU from your pain and hurt.
You are loved - more than you could ever, ever, EVER imagine.
All you have to do is accept God’s free gift to you and to mankind. It’s that simple. We’ve fallen short of God. There’s only one way to come back to Him, and that’s why Jesus had to die for us – to crush death, and its sting.
For my brothers and sisters in Christ: Colossians 1:22-23 states: “He has now reconciled (note the past tense – we’ve already been reconciled – if we accept it) in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if in deed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which, I, Paul become a minister.”
IF. Be sure you do your part of the promise: continue in the faith. Don’t shift from the hope of the gospel.
And go out into all the world!
One last thing before I end. A poem I really wanted to share with you:
When I say "I am a Christian"
by Carol Wimmer
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"
When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt
When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught
When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it
When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name
When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved
So what about you? What’s your story?