Many different people know me from many different walks of life. Unfortunately many different people also know me by many different reputations too. Perhaps now it is only those that knew me, rather than those that know me.
For some I may never have the chance to make it right. For others, and for those who know me, my fervent prayer is that I need never say a word, but that my life will tell my story. For those that missed the chapter in between, this one’s for you:
Many people assume when you say that you grew up “in the church”, or in a Christian home, that you have walked your way with God by your side. For many years I was of the same opinion. From as old as I can remember I played an active role in whatever I could get my hands on – telling children’s stories or teaching youngsters lessons, taking offices in church and involving myself in the weekly routine. I was never without God, but at the same time, I don’t think I ever let Him within me. My life was my life, my choice, my consequence, and in my control. Sure, God was there. But riding on the roof-racks.
I think it’s relatively safe to say that I lost nearly everything I was fighting so hard to keep, everything I had wrapped my world around. And on my way down, I found myself by chance one night crumpled on my knees. While I’m down here, I thought, I might as well. I’ve given it all I’ve got. With every ounce of strength. I’ve tried my best, and this is what I’ve got. I’m not giving up yet. But if I lose it all – IF I lose it all – what’s left You can have. If You think You can do a better job, what’s left is Yours.
And even before I understood, I saw God picking up the pieces of what I was.
It was in that that I found want, desire, hope, love, promise – a deeper desire to know, to understand, and to be forgiven. I couldn’t understand why He would want to pick up the pieces. I didn’t understand how He could want me, love me, forgive me. But I was consumed by a hunger to know. In pursuit of understanding it, I began to catch a glimpse of Him.
And I don’t think I will ever be the same again.
Ok, you say. That’s great and all, but Africa? It’s not a little extreme?
Maybe for some it would be. But that all depends. You see, the story doesn’t end there.
My life changed – my ‘Road to Damascus’ experience sent me hurtling headlong into a much unexpected relationship with God. Not a hang-onto-the-roof-racks-here-we-go-again kind of relationship, but rather a “I’ll pick you up” kind of friendship. I started to learn not to hijack roundabout then too, and started asking where we were going, where He wanted to go, and how we were going to get there. Much like a regular friendship.
The concept of “courting” God came to mind a while back, where you get to know each other, spend time together, learn to trust each other, and fall in love. You try and test each other. You push and prod and find out what you’re really made of and then you lean on them, you commit to them, and you’re in for the long haul.
It all sounds easy. Unless you’ve been there. Because anyone who tells you it is, is lying. Because change takes time. Even change out of love. And you still sometimes leave your socks lying on the floor even though you’ve been married for the last 198 years. It’s no different – on your part. But it is on His. And He has never let me down.
Anyway. It wasn’t long before I started to listen better. It was round this time that God reminded me of the broken promise I had made so many months before, and I started to discover that He actually had a plan, a vision, for my life when He created me and plotted my existence in the eternal spans of time.
Now I get it that some do not understand a reaction out of love, gratitude and obedience. I don’t believe that I need earn forgiveness or pay penance for my sins – it’s in the very definition of grace and mercy.
“Get ready…” He said. “You don’t want me” said I. You can see where this conversation was going. All I know is that He took the time to help me understand that He had a purpose for my life, no matter what I’d done. That He already knew where I’d been before He created me to fulfil His purpose.
He was asking me to give Him all my life, all my days, all my trust, no matter what. No matter where.
I said yes.