i’m a tweenager!

yesterday i turned 12.

12 years ago (april 15, 1997) i fell on my face and begged jesus to save me.  i was 14.  those who know me will tell you that i grew up in a ‘church home’ … both of my parents are christians and have been involved in vocational and volunteer ministry my whole life.  i went to sunday school every week, i won memory awards in awana, i went to summer camp, and i could run circles around people twice my age in bible trivia.  (still can … but that’s neither here nor there haha)  but all that was just stuff, just knowledge filling my head and not changing the way that i thought, lived, or related to the world of people around me.  i had known for some time what ‘salvation’ was, and that i didn’t have it … but everyone thought i did, and i wasn’t going to do anything to dispel the notion that i was a ‘sweet little christian girl who loved jesus and reads her bible every day’.  i mean, its not like i was a drunkard; i had never even so much as kissed a boy; i actually did read my bible frequently; and evidently i knew how to act and what to say enough so that no one questioned my spiritual state.  but somewhere along the line, i knew that i was acting.  i ‘acted’ the part for about 6 years … and maybe that’s why i was so good in drama in high school- i’d lived a double life for so long that being someone else was as natural as breathing.  but god has a funny of chasing us down … if he wants you, he’ll stop at nothing to get you.  and, thank god, he did want me.  and he chased me, hard, until i finally got so tired of running away from him and stopped dead in my tracks.  i stopped, turned around, and took a flying leap into this journey that we call the christian life.  i already knew what to do, so i did it! and at 9:42 on that tuesday morning, i sat down on the second row of the second set of bleachers in my high school gym and gave it up.  oh glory.

i’m not going to tell you that the last 12 years have been easy, or even that they’ve been all good.  scripture doesn’t promise me easy.  jesus doesn’t come with an easy button.  there have been days i was so bogged down in my sin that i could not hear him speak to me; weeks where i could not find joy; moments i have wished so hard that i could go back and re-do.  but i will say that that morning was a resurrection for me- i was dead, and then i was alive.

[It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!] -eph. 2:1-6, the message

it was a re-start.  life started over, new, the moment that i stopped living for myself.  the moment that i stopped fighting my own battles.  the moment that i let myself go.  i am not the same girl that i was on april 14, 1997.  or yesterday, incidentally.  at salvation i became a ‘new creature’- but every day that i keep choosing to walk under the authority and in the will of the god who saved me, i am new again.  my sins are forgiven and forgotten and cast away.

obviously, this past sunday was easter.  and during this season, we focus alot on the amazing sacrificial love of god that he displayed by sending christ to earth to atone for all the things we’ve done to separate ourselves from him. and this is incredibly important to know, to grasp, to dwell on, and live in light of.  but the story does not end with jesus’ sacrifice.  it doesn’t end in a man on a cross.  it doesn’t end with a body in a tomb.  the story keeps going: because three days later, there was no body in the tomb.  angels told people, and hundreds more saw with their own eyes and touched him with their own hands- he was dead, and now he’s alive.  and because of this- this undeniable, glorious, earth-shaking FACT- everything that i just talked about is possible and real.

we sang a song on sunday morning that i wanted to share with y’all.  i’d heard it once before, actually on the video below.  but hearing it in this setting, at this time, made it stick with me.  (and i don’t feel like i’m going out on a limb by saying that our worship leader [nic] did a fantastic job … maybe even better than the song’s author???)  lyrics below:

Come close, listen to the story

About a love more faithful than the morning

The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark

All creation felt the Father’s Broken Heart

Tears were filling Heaven’s Eyes

The day that True Love died,

the day that True Love died

When blood and water hit the ground

Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down

We were free and made alive

The day that True Love died,

The day that True Love died

Search your heart you know you can’t deny it

Come on, lose your life just so you can find it

The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The Earth was shaking in the dark

All creation felt The Father’s broken heart

Tears were filling Heaven’s Eyes

The day that True Love died,

the day that True Love died

When blood and water hit the ground

Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down

We were free and made alive

The day that True Love died,

The day that True Love died

Now, Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive

Oh, He is alive

He rose again

When blood and water hit the ground

Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down

We were free and made alive

The day that True Love died,

The day that True Love died

Come close, listen to the story


amen.  and amen.

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