It’s my birthday today. Not the anniversary of the day that I was born, but the anniversary of the day that I asked Jesus into my heart. My dad has been a minister for longer than I have been alive so for a long time I didn’t know that people could actually decide not to go to church. I don’t remember not knowing Bible stories. I don’t know when I first heard that Jesus died on the cross, but on September 18th, 1975, when I was five years old, my first grade teacher told that familiar story in a way that my heart heard for the first time.
For the first time, I realized that I was actually part of that story even though I wasn’t there when it happened.. Jesus died on the cross, not because He had done anything wrong, but because I had. He died for me. He wants to have a personal relationship with me. He wants me to live with Him forever. That day, I knelt with my teacher at her desk and asked Jesus to forgive me for my mistakes and I entered into a forever relationship with Him.
It’s been a wild and crazy ride.
Today I was thinking about all that has happened in that relationship that started thirty-four years ago. I was thinking specifically about the last nine months. As I was thinking, I imagined a giant white board on which I had written all the information I know about God and my faith….my theology, if you will. Over the past few weeks and months, I feel like a giant eraser has wiped the whole board clean. I have re-thought and questioned every thing I’ve ever believed….from Creation to the End of Time.
Having your board wiped clean is scary. And unsettling. And a little frustrating. Several times I’ve started to rewrite what I think I believe and know on my board, but I just can’t. Instead, I’ve handed God my marker and I want Him to write on it whatever He wants to write. Want to know what He’s written so far?
So simple, so basic, and yet those three one-syllable words are beyond my comprehension. I could spend the rest of my life trying to scratch the surface of what that one sentence means. I thought that by this point in my spiritual journey I would be pondering deeper, loftier truths, but right now I can’t get beyond the knowledge that God loves me. I thought that after almost four decades as a Christ follower I would be a little more together, but honestly, I’m a mess. But that’s really okay with me because I know that God is working in my life. Like I told a friend yesterday, I’m a peaceful wreck.
Because although not being in control of my own life was scary at first, the crazier life has become, the more relieved I am that I’m not the one in charge of this mess.
I resisted strongly at first. He has drawn me closer and closer to Him and I have pushed Him away. Why would He continue to pursue me? Why, when after all this time, I’m so far from who He created me to be, wouldn’t He just leave me to my own devices?
Read my board.
He loves me.
I’m so glad His love is true. I’m so glad that I’ve had thirty-four years in His family. I don’t know what else He’s planning to write on my board, but I’m ready. As my Jewish friends observe Rosh Hashanah today, a day of remembrance and repentance and the beginning of a new year, I am also remembering what God has done in my life, returning to the path He has made for me, and am expectantly awaiting His touch in my life as we begin this new season together.
I was so excited when I heard Kirk Franklin’s remake of the Earth, Wind, and Fire song “September” because first, I love that song, but second, it fits my birthday perfectly. In celebration of today, I’ll leave you with this song to get my birthday party started. I double dog dare you to be still while you watch this:
Happy Weekend! and Happy Birthday to me!