In today’s Faith Story I have the privilege of introducing you to a lady whom I know in real life and online. Karen Hossink and I met at a women’s event in the mountains of North Carolina. She is a wife, mom, writer, and speaker who loves Jesus. I know you will be blessed by her Faith Story today. Your Faith Story is a way to tell the world what Jesus means to you and how He has worked in your life. Have you written it down? Would you allow me to share it? If so, go here to learn how?
I grew up attending church and believing in God. I did all the church things – youth choir, summer camp, Sunday school, and youth group. I knew the basic Bible stories, as well as the reason we celebrate Christmas and Easter. I even prayed the same prayer every night before I went to sleep. It makes sense, then, that I believed I was a Christian, doesn’t it? I mean, I sure looked like it on the outside!
Although I believed in God, and had no question that He was the Creator of this world – I had absolutely no idea God is personal and that He had any desire (or ability!) to make a difference in my life today. I viewed Him simply as a part of history. If someone asked me to describe God in a word, I might have said, “important” or “mighty” or “powerful” – but “personal” would never have come to my mind. He seemed way too distant to me to be personal.
THEN, I went to college. And I met a cute guy. And this guy asked me if I went to church. I quickly responded in the affirmative. (Never mind that I hadn’t attended church since arriving on campus. This guy was good looking. Besides, he hadn’t asked when I went to church!) And, just as quickly, I agreed to attend Sunday services with the aforementioned hunk.
Little did I know how my life was about to change.
This guy – I’ll call him “Brian” (because that’s his name) – and I began to talk frequently about church and God and Jesus. The more we talked, the more I became convinced I was not a Christian after all. Brian told me about having a personal relationship with God through Jesus. He told me about my need to respond to Jesus’ death on the cross. Brian explained to me that I needed to make my own decision to ask God’s forgiveness, to accept Jesus as my personal Savior, and to invite Him into my life.
Until this time had I thought going to church and believing in God were the things which qualified me as a Christian. But the Holy Spirit worked through Brian to help me understand it was a personal thing. That is, becoming a Christian was about me responding to God’s invitation for me to be in a relationship with Himself through Jesus. It was NOT about my action of going to church and doing church-y things. It wasn’t even about simply believing in Him.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. ~James 2:19
Realizing my need, I made my response. I confessed my sin and my need of a Savior. I asked God to forgive me through the blood Jesus shed on the cross. I asked Him to come into my life – to lead me and to love me every step of the way.
And that is when I began to understand that God was personal.
When I was feeling discouraged by my past and the sin which plagued my memory, God encouraged me that He had it covered:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ (s)he is a new creation. The old is gone. The new has come! ~2 Corinthians 5:17
When I was at the end of my rope and felt like I couldn’t carry on, God promised to handle my circumstance:
The LORD your God will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14
When I thought depression would bury me, God assured me He still saw me: If I say,
“Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. ~Psalm 139:11-12
Every day God demonstrates His presence in my life and my details, through the power of His Holy Spirit.
*He speaks a word of encouragement to me through His Word, or through a friend – at just the right time.
*I see Him orchestrating circumstances for my good, and His glory.
*Without exception, He meets me in the middle of my struggle and gives me grace to carry on.
While I once thought God was only a part of history (albeit an important part) now I understand He is alive and personal and relevant TODAY. And I don’t ever want to attempt this life without Him again!
Karen Hossink is a wife, mother, speaker, and author – who confesses she makes it through each moment only by the grace of God. She lives with her family in Okemos, Michigan where every day presents new opportunities to learn about trusting God and loving one another. To learn more about Karen, please visit her website www.irritablemother.com or her blog www.surviving-motherhood.blogspot.com.