I Hope You Can Agree
If someone were to ask me to choose the most fulfilling place I could ever be….where everything was absolutely perfect; a place where I could live in the fullness of love, joy, and peace forever…without hesitation, I would tell them: In Christ. I wouldn’t choose my dream getaway for a full week of pure relaxation. I wouldn’t choose the perfect summer vacation spot where I could bask in the sun for hours upon end and experience the simple joys of life. I wouldn’t choose an exotic island miles and miles across the country to marvel over and capture as perfect snapshots for lifelong memories. I would choose Christ. Every single time. His presence is Heaven to me. He is my ultimate fulfillment. He has changed my life. He is my life. I feel safe with Him. I feel protected when I am nestled in His arms. I feel secure when I know He is near and watching over me. I feel loved when He speaks to me various times throughout the day: during commutes in my car, during my devotion and prayer time with Him, during church service or bible study, in the room when I am ministering to clients…I feel joyful when He wakes me up in the middle of my slumber to speak to me as I struggle to remain focused and retain it all. I feel powerful and ready to face the world when I communicate with Him through prayer – as this strengthens our relationship and builds faith and trust. I feel validated when an answer to my prayer shows up in my life – in His timing, not mine. I feel free when I know that He is my sole protector and provider, and I have no need to worry about anything. I feel at ease when I can trust Him with my deepest, darkest secrets without judgment. I feel relaxed when He can tell me more about myself than I or anyone else can – and when no one else seems to know – and I smile….because it’s true. After all, He created me. I feel confident in knowing that He is the one guiding my footsteps and directing my path. He is my leader. He is my strength. He is my anchor. He is my strong tower. He is my refuge. He is my comfort. He is my everything. He is my LORD.
When I reflect on the one pivotal moment in my life that altered my relationship with my Heavenly Father forever, I am in complete astonishment. It hasn’t been one year just yet, but it is a moment that will never get old for as long as I live. He is still teaching me things from that chapter of my life. I am in awe about my Father’s undying love for me. Words simply aren’t enough to describe His love. It is a miracle; a wonder. He never stopped pursuing me, even when I turned my back on Him and chose worldly pleasures over His perfect love. He never stopped whispering in my ear, telling me that He loved me and to turn back and do the right thing. He never stopped loving me when it was clear that I wasn’t loving Him or myself; He never stopped loving me when I was losing hope in Him, and in the future He had planned for me. He never stopped showing His love for me in the subtle, quiet, and mundane moments of my life, even when I didn’t deserve to see them. There was a point in time where I was SO far away from Him; I was devastatingly sinking in sand. And to think….that He had to watch a child of His slip away right before His eyes. I know it must have been heartbreaking. Father mode kicked in. Even if He had to practically rip my life apart and tear things away from me in order get his daughter back (to which He did), He was willing to do it. What kind of love is this? What kind of love is this – that a man would lay down His life to save another? And die to prove it? Perfect love. The love of Jesus Christ.
I lost everything in that particular battle of good and evil, of life and death. It hurt badly at the time. Everything I loved and cherished, everything I once knew, everything I worked hard for – gone. There was nothing left of the life that I once knew – of the life I had created for myself. I literally died to self. In order to be born again, there must be a death. And the only way to die while living is by dying to yourself. You must become a new creature. You must die to your old life, and your own way of doing things – and choose to live in Christ. I lost it all, but soon it wouldn’t matter much to me once I healed – because I gained the one thing that really mattered: Him. I lost it all, but I gained two things that are priceless – true salvation and wisdom. It doesn’t matter how wisdom is achieved, and the route you may take to gain it. All that matters is that you’ve gained it. Same with salvation. He doesn’t care how you get there, as long as you do. He still desires to see no man perish.
As I mentioned before, it hasn’t been long since I closed that chapter of my life for good – and decided to forsake all and walk with Him. I still could have chosen another route. I could have been angry at Him for allowing my world to be turned upside down. I could have rejected Him for not coming through on His promises on my time. I could have given up on my faith and on love. But instead, I saw undeniable beauty in what He had done, in what He had sacrificed. He had already paid the price for me. I praised Him. I thanked Him. I worshiped Him. Genuinely. But, it was a long road up from there. I was in such a dark place that on one of my many days of sadness and desperation, I cried out to Him. On that particular day, I vowed that I would forever worship Him and give Him the glory for everything in my life if He would just give me the grace I needed to get through THIS. I told Him that even if He never did anything else for me, I would be forever grateful. He promised me that He would get me through, but what He didn’t promise is that it would be easy. There is a cost to picking up that cross and following Him (Luke 14:27-28). We must always weigh the cost before we choose to pick it up. Because if you pick it up, then drop it and turn back around…..
It has been one adventurous yet rewarding journey. A journey filled with all kinds of emotions. I went through a series of tests and trials right after the vow I made. It was almost as if I was being tested to make sure I really meant what I said when I cried out to Him that day. Everything true will be tested for its authenticity – including your faith. It was hard. He had to make sure – and I had to make sure – that when things got rough on the road to righteousness, and it looked nothing like the road I chose, that I wouldn’t look up one day and say, “I give up. This is too hard, I can’t do this!” And He is still taking me through these tests today.
Previously, I had been worshiping people and things that were clearly unworthy of the glory that belonged to Him alone. I had believed in myself, and not God. I thought I had my entire life in my own hands, and everything under control. I had it all mapped out. He came to show me that I had it all wrong. And when he showed up and I resisted his authority, He showed up again, and again, and again….and continued to show up until He broke me all the way down. I regret that it took all of this; but I marvel at the fact this His grace and mercy followed me even when I was at odds with Him. This gives me peace and unspeakable joy. Choosing to pick up my cross was what I owed Him. Christ picked it up for me. And it has been the absolute best thing I’ve ever done, but also the most difficult. But here’s the thing: I’m not just doing this for me; I’m doing this for my bloodline. I’m doing this for everyone who is connected to me in some way. I’m doing this for the people I serve; for the people I minister to, for the lives I need to touch. Which is why I must stay the course. I want them to see Christ in me. I want them to know that there is a source of my faith, my love, my joy, and my hope – and it’s Jesus. I can’t possibly possess or maintain any of this on my own.
I was used to walking my own path. I was used to leaning on my own strength. I wasn’t used to being vulnerable, and surrendering to authority as an adult. As soon as I reached legal adult age, it was over. I struggled with resistance and rebellion practically my entire adult life. It started very subtle, then it began to reveal itself in more damaging and painful ways. Looking back, I am amazed that I survived through it all. I can’t explain to anyone in words everything that I went through for my ministry, for my testimony. You would simply have to be me or God to really know, understand, or comprehend it. But I know one thing: I wouldn’t change the broken road that led me to Christ. It was all for a purpose. So I can’t give up now. No matter how difficult it is, I must keep going. Because it’s not about me.
Christ has always relentlessly pursued me, and always will. The difference is that I am now pursuing Him as well. That’s a true relationship. I’ve always known Him – but now He knows me. We now have something that has been tested, tried, and proven to be true. And this is just the beginning. Yet, He still loves me in spite of my flaws, in spite of my imperfections, and in spite of the mess I sometimes still make of my life. He didn’t die for perfect people. I may not have done what you’ve done. I may not have committed the same sins you’ve committed. But guess what? Christ died for all of humanity. I was once lost, now I’m found. I was once disobedient, now I seek to please Him and be obedient in all things. I was once an offense to God, now I’m appointed and chosen. You can be too. Why wouldn’t I choose to be fulfilled in the One who truly completes me? Why wouldn’t I choose to rest in the arms of the One who saved me? Why wouldn’t I choose to be completely satisfied in Christ? In my eyes, there simply is no other option. And my prayer is that if you don’t already agree, I hope one day you can agree.
Repent and believe. He loves you so much.
Signed With Love,
A Daughter Of The King
What is your personal story of redemption in Christ Jesus? I encourage you to share it with at least one person this week. Blessings!