Today marks 20 years since I became a Christian.
While I was unable to have a party as the occasion deserved, I was glad to see some old friends and have some time this evening to reflect.
Life isn’t easier as a Christian. I don’t always have clarity. I face serious depression and anxiety, thankfully mediated by medicine and therapy now. The Church is not without its flaws either, and I often feel like an outsider in places I should feel most at home.
But through suffering and joy, God is still present. And God is worthy of my devotion.
As adolescents at summer camp, my friends and I memorized a large portion of Romans 12. Some of my favorite verses come from that passage.
In verses 11 and 12, Paul writes, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
That is my reminder today: To be joyful in hope, which requires as a baseline that I keep hoping. To be patient in affliction, even when I don’t understand it. To be faithful in prayer, always communing with my Maker, the one who calls me Beloved.
I know I’m not alone in my questions and experiences, so I hope the Church as a whole will learn that questioning isn’t to be feared but can lead us deeper into the heart of God.
I hope it will learn that the truest trust doesn’t always wear the smiling appearance of confidence. I hope it will learn to listen better, and to remain humble and kind.
You, dear reader, are made in God’s image and deemed worthy of love by the One who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17). If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll know God’s goodness both personally and through community.
Happy 20th “spirthday” to me. 🙂