Taste and See - How I Came to Know Christ for Myself
Probably like most of you, my walk with Christ begins with early childhood memories of my mom and I attending church almost every Sunday. Growing up, I watched my mom sing in the choir, spearhead music activities during VBS (vacation bible school), teach Sunday School, etc. And she had me in just about everything, too. I was a part of the children’s choir, then youth choir. Once I got a little order I began praise dancing. I even attended the church’s private school, located right across the street from it. So, needless to say, we were faithful members. However, just like some of you, I wasn’t experiencing God the way I do now.
I knew about Him, and knew that hell was not the place for me, but that was about it. I just knew it was something we had to do on Sundays. As I got older, I feel like I started to grasp the concept of having a relationship with Him a little more. But, for a while, I viewed God and our “relationship” as rules-based. I had the angry-God view for a while. I always thought He was mad or disappointed in me. If only I knew then, what I know now; that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, he desires for me to make better choices, but never does His love decrease/fade away because of something I did. If anything, I think His compassion towards me grows even more, because my weakness is evidence of how desperately I need Him.
“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”| Psalm 145:8
I would say that I didn’t begin experiencing a true relationship with Christ until my mother passed away my sophomore year of college. She was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer, going into my senior year in high school. So, I think I began really trying to have a relationship with Him then. Or at least, being more intentional about it. So I began to pray more and pay more attention to the sermons in church, etc. But yeah, as far as it really taking off and getting to the nitty gritty of it all, it wasn’t until she passed.
Nearing the end of my mother’s battle with cancer, my prayers started to change and I prayed one of the hardest prayers I’ve ever had to pray; “Lord, your will be done.” Up until then, my prayers were filled with the desire for her to be healed on this side of heaven, and that the Lord would do a miracle in her, because He’s still in the business of miracles..at least that’s what I kept hearing everyone say. However, when the news was broken to me, that the doctors had done all they could do...I knew the focus of my prayers needed to shift. I was beginning to realize more and more, how out of my control this situation was, and how in control God was.
Before this shift, my prayers were coming from a place of selfishness. I wanted more time with my mom..there were so many milestones left for her to experience with me. She couldn’t leave me yet! But on November 15, 2014, the Lord called her home and I was a wreck. Even after praying for His will to be done, and knowing that ultimately there was a possibility she would no longer be here, I still wasn’t prepared.
I questioned God and I was angry. I didn’t open my bible and didn’t go to church for a while. But one day, it clicked; there was no way I was going to get through this without Him. All of those Sundays that mama had me in church, built up a foundation for me to fall back on, in times like this. I am forever grateful to her for that! I may not have wanted to have much to do with Him, but He was there. He was always there.
Slowly but surely, I began praying again and reading my Bible. I slowly started going back to church and even attended a small group, which was led by my friend, Ashley. I didn’t know how much I was going to need that community of ladies, until I did. And I am so grateful for her obedience to start the small group, and inviting me to be a part of it. They embraced me, were patient and compassionate towards me, when I had my moments. Most importantly, they taught me the importance of having a tribe of like-minded women in your corner, cheering you on and praying for you. Along with other friends and family, they were a major part of my healing process.
Anyhow, from that moment on, I really started to be more intentional on curating a relationship with God. I attended church a lot more regularly, which is where the whole “relationship” concept was really introduced to me. The pastor broke it down so well, and stressed how important it was that Christianity not be about rules, because it’s not about rules, but about having a relationship with Christ. And from that relationship, your obedience to His commandments is birthed out of your love for Him. It took me some years to grasp that concept, but I’m so glad I did.
Let me be clear, my problems never disappeared. I was still coping with the loss of my mother and dealing with some family issues amidst that. I also had to make sure I finished the semester strong. There were people who I thought were friends, walk out of my life. I mean it was truly A LOT. But the difference was, I’d reached a new level of relationship and dependency on Christ, that empowered me to get through all those things.
I’m still growing and maturing, spiritually, but I see how far I’ve come and am truly amazed and grateful. I still struggle with in my walk with Him, regarding my sins and how he feels about them. I tend to isolate myself. So I delay praying and asking for forgiveness, because I know I’ve prayed about the same thing countless times before. But the fact of the matter is that He sees all and knows all, and I desperately need His grace and mercy...both of which He desires to give me. No matter what it is, He’s always ready and waiting with open arms to welcome me back home.
And that goes for you, too. I’m not sure where you stand with your relationship with Christ, but my prayer is that me sharing a glimpse of my story, encouraged you to begin one...or nurture the one you already have. It’s never too late. He knows your innermost parts and still desires to have a relationship with you. He wants to be your everything! Your healer, protector, provider and so much more. If you’ve turned away from Him because you’ve lost a loved one, or life just hasn’t always been kind to you...know that He’s been there with you through it all, and trouble won’t last always.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”| Revelation 21:4
We don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but with God’s help I promise you can make it. Just try Him and see for yourself. You won’t regret it.
I’m here for you always.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”| Psalm 34:8