Whatever the case, I still want to keep all 3 of my readers updated :)
So, you get good old-fashioned bullet points...
Following this decision of surrender, I took the next step in faith and was baptized publicly at my church. This was no easy decision for me. I was baptized into the Catholic faith when I was 5, so when I chose to be baptized at the age of 17, there were some issues with a few family members who felt I didn't need to be baptized again. But, for me it was about it being my decision. So, a few weeks ago, when I realized that I had surrendered things in my life, but not myself, and had never let myself belong to God, I knew I needed to make it public. That is the command that we find in the New Testament. Jesus was even baptized. So, why was it so hard for me?
Well, one reason is that I was still wrestling with the fact that I had just thrown in the white flag and told God, "I can't, but YOU can." That was a lot for my crockpot-of-a-mind to process. The second reason is that I was struggling with a little bit of fear of what people would think of me. What about the people back home that thought I was living a surrendered life? What about my family? What do I tell them?
It all came down to the fact that no matter what people would say, or think, I needed to honor God. He would help me sort out the rest. And He would give me the courage to step out in obedience. In one of my times of prayer, He specifically told me, "Whatever I call you to, I will go before you and prepare the way." Good enough for me.
I am SO thankful that He and the people close to me pushed me to be obedient. Three separate lives were changed after hearing what God did in my life. Two accepted Christ that morning, and another is a work-in-progress. I was so humbled and grateful that God chose me to share my story.
If you want to watch the baptism service, you can check it out here. I am the second story, about halfway through the service.
I have a boyfriend. Yes, it's true. Nope, I wasn't planning on it. In fact, I had several conversations over the past few months that included me saying, quite boldly, "I feel so content right now being single! I feel like maybe I could be married down the road, but I don't even know if I want that. I could be single forever and be content as well!" Yeah. Haha!
So, here's a brief play-by-play with how my relationship with Jeff started. When I moved to Lynchburg in December, I decided to give online dating a shot. It had gone well in the past in Ohio, so I figured it would go well here too. WRONG!! It was so very frustrating and I didn't seem to be able to find quality Christian men that I was interested in. So, I threw in the towel around May. I didn't delete my profile, but I also stopped visiting the free site I was using.
Every now and then, I would get an email from the site saying, "Hey you! We have a match for you!" or "Hey! Did you forget about us? We miss you! Check out these dudes...!" And I would delete them or ignore them. Around the end of July, I decided that I was tired of getting emails from them and signed on to deactivate my account. Low and behold, I found that I had a message (I'll just tell you now, so you're not in suspense: it was from Jeff). This message dated a month earlier! Crap! I immediately felt awful for the poor guy and quickly replied with a message telling him sorry and also that I thought it would be cool to get to know each other as friends. See, people, I wasn't sold on the whole dating thing yet. I was happy as a clam making a pearl in Singleville. I didn't want to mess that up.
But, emails led to text messages which led to hanging out which led to more talking which led to the date. The date is where I knew for sure I was interested in moving past the "We're friends that met on an online dating site" stage. That was a huge step for me, because usually I have walls sky high, trying desperately to protect myself from said potential boyfriend.
Fast forward to present day.
Things are not perfect, and we have absolutely NO idea what we're doing! But, we're open and honest with each other about that and have been inviting friends and trusted people into our relationship to encourage us and help us figure out the hard (and sometimes not-so-hard) stuff.
Oh, and did I mention that he's cute? Tee hee. He is! Possible pictures and updates to follow :)
- Bible reading
One of the struggles that I had when I surrendered my life to God is wondering how the Bible is going to be any different to me. I have been reading the Bible on and off for 14 years. The pages are heavily marked, and I have tons of head knowledge. Not bragging, I just do. It's also what I got my degree in, so that helps as well.
I bought a fresh, new Bible to be able to look at the pages and read as if I have no clue what I'm reading. God has been so faithful to come alive in His Word!
I just prayed, "What do You want to show me, God?" And things started jumping out in Galatians. God made it so clear to me that I am free. I. AM. FREE. Free from the law. Free from sin. Free from the world. In turn, I am a slave to Him. But, people, what a trade off. I am FREE indeed!
Another area that He has been speaking to me is in my identity. I want to know who He is, and also who I am. What does it mean to be a Christ-follower? I'm not asking "What am I supposed to do as a Christ-follower?" I'm asking, "What is my identity? Who does God say that I am?" Brothers and sisters.... my eyes are being opened to an entirely different view. I am a child of God. I am an heir. I belong to Him. I am redeemed. I am chosen. I am forgiven. I could go on and on and on. And those are just a handful found in Galatians and the first chapter of Ephesians so far.
My mind is being blown open wide by the grace of God. He knew that it would take me 30 years to surrender. And yet He kept chasing me. Kept pursuing me. Kept loving me. Kept sending me people. Kept whispering to me. Kept instructing me.
And like a Gentlemen, now that I am finally His, He is not throwing my years of running in my face. He is simply holding me and whispering love to me. And kicking my booty when I need it. But it's all in love. Every last drop of it.
So there it is.
The three B's.