Sometimes I hesitate when I want to talk about faith. I don't live in the Bible Belt anymore. Here in Colorado people don't talk much about church or faith or God. It is almost as if claiming your faith loud and proud makes people think you are a little extreme. Like maybe not so smart. Or a little nuts.
I was most certainly raised in church but I rebelled hard starting my senior year in high school. I have spent 17 years roaming. Trying to quench a thirst that I haven't been able to satiate. And believe me y'all, I have tried many of my own solutions. I have been at the bottom of the well, looking up and begging for mercy. I have dug many a hole for myself. I thought maybe God was done with me. "Put her on the hopeless list and move on."
But a few years ago the strangest thing started happening. I can only see now how God was working. How he was slowing putting me back on his path. I wasn't aware at the time but looking back it all makes sense.
Over the past few years I have met women that I love. Women that bring me joy. Women whose goodness I feel in their mere presence. I won't list their names here because I didn't ask their permission to tell this story. But I will tell you a bit about them.
I have two neighbors who aren't friends with each other but are friends with me. They both are kind and generous. I would classify both as good friends. Women I trust. Women who are not competitive. Women who genuinely want to see me happy.
In the fall of 2011 when Grace was still dealing with hip dysplasia, I met a gentle soul. She came into my life serendipitously. I believe she was sent at a time when I needed help desperately. I was broken open and she helped with my most precious gifts, my children.
Then just last year, I met a sweet young girl who babysits my children. They love her because she is barely a teenager and still relates as a child. She is young but I often think more mature than me.
What do all of these women, and others I didn't mention, have in common? They all are Christians. Not just faithful, not just God loving, but specifically Jesus believing women.
None of these women ever invited me to church. None of these women pushed Jesus on me. None of these women made me feel guilty for my lack of faith. And that is exactly what I needed. God knows me. I am stubborn and cynical.
A pushy approach would have just raised my hackles and brought out my argumentative side. Yet, none of these women hid their faith. They all just offered the example of Jesus in the way they walk through their lives. Giving of themselves to serve others.
This past January God must have known I was ready. I felt led to attend a Bible study. I learned so much. I am continuing to learn so much. This spring brought more women of faith. Women who love Jesus and for some unknown reason, seem to love me. Visits, Facebook connections, old friends rediscovered. All part of God's plan to show me what loving him is supposed to look like. Not what the world tells us Christianity should be, but living the actual Word.
And just today, I felt the spirit. I felt him telling me to be careful what I say. To be careful how I represent him. He isn't done with me. I have more knowledge to gain. I need to learn to listen before I start talking.
I know people are hesitant about faith. Believe me, I get it. But it really is so good to find the peace that comes with following God's will. I am hungry for the word. I am hungry to learn and grow. And I am thankful that God didn't give up on me.