Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How I became a better... follower

I am in a series of Guest Posts by some people in my life.  Some have blogs and some don't, but they all have a story of how they became better.  I hope you enjoy a few other voices here on my blog.

Today I am excited to have my husband guest post for today.  Of course I think he is amazing, but now you can too!  He has a blog that he rarely posts on, so I'm not linking it.  He is a youth pastor and student, as well as keeping up with Ben when I'm still working.  He does so much around here!  I'm proud to be his wife and I hope you see why.

Get all your ducks in a row AND in step Photo Credit: Dawn Huczek

I can recall attending youth group very sporadically in my early teens.  It was there that I first felt a conviction upon the realization that I was not saved.  I’d love to be able to say that I humbly and obediently surrendered in the subsequent days and weeks that followed, when I would feel the Holy Spirit moving in me and weighing on my heart like a piano.  No, instead I chose to flee from God – much like Jonah upon receiving his commission to preach to the Ninevites.  This went on for a good 7-8 years, when I finally accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in the spring of 1999.  Again, I’d love to say from that point on that I truly had God out in front in all phases of my life, but I didn’t.  I went through a period of backsliding and truly re-dedicated my life to Jesus in early 2002.  I can honestly point to this as the true pivot point in my life because at that point, things really started coming together.   

Fast forward another 7 or so years to the spring of 2006.  I’m happily married for two years at this point to the woman of my dreams.  We attended church faithfully and were active, but we don’t know a victorious life.  We were living in the Charlotte, NC area and hated it.  We were working jobs we absolutely loathed.  Then, it all came crashing down.  All in a two-month span, one of my closest friends passed away in his sleep, my stepbrother committed suicide, another guy I had gotten to know online through a sports message board lost his battle with cancer, one of our family dogs grew ill and had to be put down, and my wife was being set up to be fired from her job.  This administrator was so vindictive, he cost her a chance at another job where we now reside.  We had truly reached the end of our ropes. 

We saw a ray of light one day when my wife saw a job opening in her hometown newspaper.  It was a position she had held previously before moving to NC, so there was a very strong chance of her regaining it.  Sure enough, she got the position, but this meant us moving back to the Midwest.  For me, it meant moving to an area where I had no ties.  I got to thinking about it and praying over it, and came to the realization that maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.  I could focus on God and God alone for the first time in my life.  The transition didn’t go without its hitches, but that is when we truly began to discover a victorious life.  The problem all along is that I knew Him as Savior, but I hadn’t truly accepted His lordship over my life.  I didn’t put my future in His hands.  My fears.  My doubts.  My dreams.

This was truly the dawn of a new day in my spiritual journey.  We pulled the U-Haul into a truck stop somewhere in Tennessee and as I’m waiting in line for the restroom, I notice an older gentleman evangelizing to people something fierce!!  Not in an annoying, off-putting way either – he truly had a gift.  He makes his way over to me and we make conversation.  All of a sudden, he says, “Son, you’ve got a great spirit about you.  The Lord is gonna do amazing things through you.”  Wow.  I can’t tell you how much that lifted me up when I felt my lowest.  And he was right on the money. 

It’s 2012, we live in western NC, a place that’s truly home to us, and are raising a beautiful 3-year-old son.  I answered my call to ministry a couple years ago, now serve God as a youth pastor at Sandy Ridge Wesleyan Church here in Hickory, and have just over a year until I graduate seminary.  I’ve never felt more victorious.  I wouldn’t want to re-live the year 2006 for all the money in the world, but those storms and those years in a tiny town in southern Illinois began me down the path to a victorious life in Christ.  At that point, I stopped equating victory with only spiritual highs and realized that we can have victory through the storms of this life and over them.  I stopped following Jesus when it was just convenient and started following Him faithfully.  That’s how I became a better follower.

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