I can remember this deep longing in me for as long as I’ve been alive. The feeling of belonging somewhere else, not belonging where I was, knowing there was more to behold and feel and experience. Knowing there was a deeper truth in the world that what I could see with these earthly eyes. I knew there was a God who created this layered tapestry of earth. I knew that he loved me because I felt love. And that had to come from somewhere. I didn’t know much else about him.
As a sixth grader, I went to camp with a friend. it was there that I learned about Jesus for the first time. It was as if my heart said
Oh, that’s who he is. That’s who has been there all along.
And I began to follow Him and learn about who He says He is. I was surrounded by loving people in our church, and loving parents who supported my choice even though they didn’t choose the same spiritual path. And yet- I always felt out of place. The other kids grew up with flannel-grams and Sunday School and Bible memory verses and Christian music. The first time I tried to look up a Bible verse we were assigned in Sunday in my borrowed Bible I brought it back the next next week and said “it’s not in there” because I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for or where to look.
I felt like I was always on the outside of an inside joke. A whole language and culture was created around what it meant to be a Christ-follower, and now that I was dwelling in this land I figured I better get my act together, don the requisite clothing, listen to the appropriate music (well, at least I opted for the indie Christian bands) and starting speaking the language. I thought being a part of the Christian culture was part of following Christ. I know that God graciously used wonderful and wise mentors in my life through this time and through this culture, don’t get me wrong. I have a deep appreciation and respect for many of them still, but I din’t know that I was being set up for a fall and that in growing my fledgling faith God would have to strip away everything I thought I knew about who he was and what it meant to follow him……
(to be continued)