OK, so my blogs name is 'Julie's Journey', so I think that maybe since its still relatively new, I would go back in time-back to the time when my journey as a Christian began.
I got to thinking about the time when I got saved...how I knew and believed that God was Lord, and that Jesus was the only way to salvation, but I wasn't right with the Lord. I knew all I had to do was accept Gods free gift of salvation, but I wanted to feel something! I couldn't bring myself to just 'get saved'. I remember sitting in the bathtub and thinking about how long eternity was, how it goes on forever and ever, and I knew I wasn't right with the Lord, but I didn't want to 'get saved' just to get saved--just because you were supposed to...I wanted the Holy Spirit to convict me...at that time little did I realize that it was the Holy Spirit trying to get me to realize that I needed to think about the future,who I was going to live my life for. I wanted to have a WHAM of conviction, get saved, and live on an emotionally spiritually 'high' and do something awesome for the Lord, without any temptations for downfalls. So, since I couldn't always 'feel good' I thought that maybe I wasn't convicted enough, and couldn't get saved. Also, I had heard some about Calvinism and pre-destination, and though I didn't find it scriptural, I wondered if maybe they were right...and I just wasn't created to be a Christian.
As all this was slowly taking place, I didn't realize how I got to feeling or thinking the way I did, it was just something that would come in my thoughts and I would kinda push everything to the back of my mind and think that someday I would make things right and get it all figured out.
Then one day I wrecked our new van and lied about it to mom and dad. I knew that my life was a huge mess without God. Up until then and even at the time I was a good kid, and everybody thought I was a Christian. I was at one time. I got saved when I was five and growing up through the years I had a good rerelationship with God. I had my ups and downs but slowly I quit reading my Bible and praying quite so much, and drifted farther and farther from God. I would look back and remember the feeling of having that unity with God, and trusting Him, and I knew I didn't have that anymore and didn't think I could ever get that back. I would remember how I had prayed a lot back then and couldn't hardly imagine it! And I really did want that back! Well, finally after the incident with the van I finally told God that even though I didn't (think)feel anything I was going to serve Him anyway because He was God and He was my only hope of Salvation...whether He would accept me or not. I would at least live for Him, and trust in Him for Salvation. I knew that my life was already a huge mess without God!
After making things right the the Lord, and my parents I didn't really want to tell anybody else that I 'got saved'. I didn't want them to realize that I was a huge hypocrite and had been for the past year or two. But, mom really thought I should tell them, so she went downstairs with me and we told all my siblings...The next couple of days were really hard for me. I think satan knew he lost me. He tried to make me think I didn't really get saved because I 'planned' to or because I didn't 'feel' anything. But the Lord was with me, and I found the power of prayer was super amazing! Many times I didn't 'feel' like praying, but would do it anyway and the Holy Spirit was there for me.Then he tried to use one of my sisters...If anything came closer to having me give up it would've been her. Anytime we would fight or if I wouldn't do something she wanted she would say she thought I was a Christian now. Or she said that I knew I would get caught for lying about the van so I had to make up a story. Or if I'd say something she'd say "How do I know your not lying? You lied when you said you were saved. AND I ALMOST GAVE UP! But there were times of peace and assurance in all this. Times that I knew I'd done the right thing, and believe me, there is nothing greater than having that peace and trust that comes with knowing that you gave it all to the Lord and accepted His gift of Salvation thought Jesus Christ! I felt so unworthy of taking that gift! Shouldn't it belong to someone like my one sister, who had told me before that Salvation had never been a struggle for her, that it always seemed so easy? But somehow God loved ME and wanted me! He showed me that through temptations we are made stronger. And guess what?!?! I started to feel something! When I would do the right-or at times- the wrong thing I could feel the presence of Him. I had PEACE for the first time in years :)
The Lord promised that if we draw nigh to him Him, He will draw nigh to us. And throughout this time even though I felt that I had done the right thing there were times when I didn't 'feel' anything, but as I kept plugging away...reading scripture and trying to apply it to my own life whether it felt like a wham of conviction or not, The peace and joy that I'd had in just tiny drops before became something huge! My cup started to fill up and it wasn't so hard to go to the Lord in prayer when I was mad, or just plain didn't feel like praying. He is so faithful and I praise Him for His grace as I was stumbling along in the dark! It did open my eyes to others too. A day or two after I had confessed to my hypocrisy, one of my brothers -whom I really respect for his Christian walk now- had talked to mom and dad, and told them that he hadn't been living for the Lord either. What amazing difference his life has been! I'm one of those slow learners, thought trial and error I make my way through life, sometimes wondering if there is any purpose to my life. But my brother! Somehow when he got saved you could just see the difference in his life from day one! Which brings me back to my own questioning, whether I have a purpose here in life. It has been amazing for me to think that maybe through me, My decision to let go of my pride and acknowledge that I wasn't living for the Lord. that I got my brother to thinking or even gave Him the courage to turn back to the Lord as well, and to see the amazing difference it has made in his life!
We all have struggles, some may seem so abhorring when voiced out loud, but through the grace of God, we can turn to Him and allow Him to help us walk through them in their each unique ways, and as we do that we learn to walk closer and closer to the Lord, leaning on Him at times when otherwise we would fall. Allowing Him to pick us up when we do!
I also hope and pray that if there are others out there who are in the same boat that I was in-those raised in Christian homes, but not experiencing the full joy of the Lord-that they can come in unto Him and have a relationship that isn't even comprehendable. I believe that circumstance has a lot to do with how you live your life, but me and only me alone can decide who I will become or if I will have a direct relationship with the Father, or if I'm just gleaning off of others relationships.
I want to encourage others that 'know the way' but don't have a personal realtionship. They can have a realtionship that is truly so amazing. I just stand in awe at the feelings I have sometimes! Do I always feel that way? No. And satan is still going to try to take subtle steps to get me little by little farther way from God but the longer I'm a christian the more I can look back and see how the joy abounds in such great measures when we hold steadfast unto the Lord, and how the Lord is so willing so wanting to pick us up when we do stumble. I believe it builds your faith so much more to see how you and He responds to such circumstances. There are so many times when I look at my life and think ugh! I am...so unworthy! Look at how many times I stumbled! Why do I always wind falling down when I finally think I'm doing so good? But thanks to the Lord, He has given me the assurance of Salvation, and this peace and joy that can only come with the Holy Spirit...who is the Lord our God!