It’s no secret, we are Christians… A label that carries so much weight and judgement and I completely understand why.
With statements like; “Christians are boring. They are “know-it-all’s”, thinking they know best. Christians are hypocrites, believing they are better than others. They always stick their noses in other people’s business. Christians are mean and judgmental. I don’t like Christians…”
All of the above is true.
There are a lot to be said about Christians because above all Christians are still just people. Infinity flawed, all with their own strengths, weaknesses and issues. Making the same mistakes as everyone else.
I have a past less than perfect and I sin every single day.
My upbringing was pretty much a mess. Child of divorce at 8 years old I was moved from a typical “Christian home” – we prayed before we ate, practiced Bible study on occasion and attended church on Sunday – to my very conservative grandparents. Here things were different… The Bible was studied daily, church wasn’t just attended, you needed to be an active member of the congregation in some way, whether it was attending the youth program, helping with church events or singing in the choir.
Of course, I rebelled.
High school was a time of exploration, self-destruction and dating guys way too old. I was acting out, being the ultimate teenage cliche and had totally turned my back on religion. I had all kinds of fancy reasons for my selfish, destructive behaviour. Looking back, I now know how God must have loved me even during this time… The way I was protected and kept safe in some of the most dangerous situations is a testimony to the power of prayer (and not my own but those of loved ones unwilling to give up on me).
I remember fooling myself into thinking “I’ve got this”, I was in control of my life and my destiny. Feeling strong, powerful and confident – I was a good person. In truth I only cared about myself.
Life was fun but it was also lonely and really sad at times.
Partying, drinking and doing terrible things… Acting way too old for my age but thinking I was so cool. Today I know it was actually sad. Reading this you may think; “How bad could things have been?” – you met your husband at 17… How “out of hand” could things have gotten?
Honestly, very bad. A destructive teenager can do a lot of harm in a small amount of time. Being expelled didn’t even change my ways… I actually thought it was pretty “bad-ass”.
I met my husband while working in retail (I sold him some pants).
We ended up attending RAG – yes, I was under aged, but early physical development, plunging necklines and makeup had me covered (since the age of 15).
My husband was amazing. A cute nerd, I started dating because he had a car. And there was just something about him… He attended church and was a typical Christian. I made sure he knew I was an atheist – strangely enough he never questioned me about it and I was never pressured to attend church with him.
Our 1st 4 years together was a whirlwind of parties, drinking, arguing, making out and making up. We had a passion almost impossible to control and one that got us into trouble countlessly. We got married but seeing as we’d been living together for years before, life did change much. It was only after Alec lost his father that we realized how precious life really is and how foolish we’d been living it.
We started talking about starting a family and soon afterwards Eliana was born.
She was our game changer!
Being parents is the ultimate humbling experience. Loving someone that intensely, instantly, changes you forever. I wanted life for her to be better. We wanted her to know love and never feel alone.
Life can’t be explained and no matter how hard we try, we can’t replicate human life.
Having a child is the ultimate testimony of God existence. In an instance I “got it” because I felt it and it was undeniable. Every fancy piece of me has been stripped away by motherhood and I’ve been changed and reshaped into someone new. I “get” God and I love Him.
Sending His only son to die for all our sins (even the non believers) must have been an indescribable hurt. It’s one that I am however eternally grateful for. For years I had been carrying the weight of a tainted past with me but His forgiveness freed me from everything. Hate, sadness, fear and judgement. In Jesus I was given a second chance, a new beginning and the promise of an eternal life.
Since becoming a believer life hasn’t gotten easier, in fact times have been harder but I’m not looking for an easy, happy life. In fact, I’ve stopped searching for happiness. It now resides within me.
I once heard a phase “I don’t believe because I want to, I believe because I can’t afford not to.” – I couldn’t agree more.
Happy Easter to you and your loved ones from me and mine.
PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana Nel Madison and West.