Today, being older, I can understand that my undying faith and trust at that stage may have largely been based on the fact that I was young and innocent. But my memory of how I looked completely lovingly and trustingly at my "Daddy" is something that I can only aspire to do now. The faith that I had as a child is the closest thing that I can imagine to what it will be like in heaven.
I owe a lot to my parents. Without the solid grounding in faith that they gave me I would not have the faith I have today and I will always be grateful for this.
Up until the time I was 11, my family and I were attending a church nearby to where we stay. Unfortunately, as in many churches, political issues forced the church to split. There were a lot of political issues and the church eventually split. As a family, we went with the minister to a church that he planted but the split had. This caused some pain amongst the congregation and despite remaining spiritual, my family eventually stopped attending church.
At this stage I was 13 and although being Christian and having immense faith as a child, I did not really have a mature understanding of what it means to live out a life as a Christian. I went to church simply because my family had and I followed them and stopped attending too.
Through my teenage years, we faced some really rough times as a family. It was a time when I was learning who I was and growing up. I made my own fair share or bad decisions including a bad relationship
In truth, I had turned my back on God. Its hard to explain what I was feeling spiritually at that point but a part of me wrongly believed that God - , knowing all my thoughts and choices - could not possibly want or love me. I truly feel that the lack of a relationship with God in those years had put a moderate sized hole into my heart that I was unsuccessfully trying to fill with external things.
When I got out of my long term relationship at the time, I was quite bitter and miserable. It had been a bad breakup and it forced me to confront this hole that I was feeling. I could not explain it... I had everything that seemed important: - a family that, despite having gone through rough times, loved me immensely; good grades that would allow me to continue in my dream to be a vet and good friends. I still somehow felt like I was missing something..
I was 18 when I hit that realisation, and made the choice to try find religion in my life. I was not sure at the time if looking for God would help, but I felt I needed to try anyway.
I attended church with a friend of mine and they were playing Casting Crowns' "Who am I?". As I was listening to the words I prayed that if God- who knew every bad choice and every bad thought, and who I could offer nothing to- wanted me as I was, that He would come into my life and fill the emptiness that I felt.
I didn't hear any heavenly voice booming from the sky. No white doves or ringing bells. What I receive was an overwhelming sense of God's love and acceptance. It was my own "Prodigal Son" -or daughter in my case- story.
I can't tell you that since then, I've had unwavering faith or that the world always makes sense and I have every answer. I can't tell you that since then my spiritual walk has been free from bumps or rocks. What I can tell you is that I know with all my heart that nomatter how far off His path I may feel or how many mistakes I feel that I have made, God truly is waiting right behind me with arms wide open. He's simply waiting for me to turn around and let Him welcome you home.
I pray that in sharing this story, God can use me for His good. If not, then I know I can use it to simply remind myself of His constant, undying love for me and for all of His children.