I was twelve years old the first time I can recall being introduced to God. It was one summer when I was visiting my grandparents. It was one of those times in your life when your whole world would change, and that was just the beginning of something new, but was I ready for this change? You see my grandfather was an Assembly of God minister. This was my first encounter with God with the church.
It was a Sunday night service when my grandpa asked me if I was ready to accept Jesus as my personal savior. I wasn’t really sure what this meant, but out of respect, I told him yes. I began to recite after my grandpa – I repented for my sins and asked Jesus to take over my life. At twelve, I really didn’t understand what I was doing. I remember the whole church rejoiced in this decision I had just made and made publically. Why was everyone so happy? Who exactly was Jesus in my life? How was I supposed to navigate from this place?
I didn’t feel any different at that moment. Honestly, I had no understanding of what I was truly doing. I had been in church, but who was Jesus and Father God?
In John 14:6 Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Truthfully those were just words – the Gospel would not come alive for me until much later.
Summer faded, and we returned home and started school that fall. I began to realize I felt different. Something was missing…where did my relationship with the Lord go? I had gotten saved, but as we were settling into our classes, the enemy began to put doubt and unbelief into my mind.
Sadly, my family didn’t attend church, however; there was a church at the end of our street. Confused, lost and feeling alone, I would go to that church and look around. I was definitely searching for something… or someone. I liked being in the sanctuary because I always felt peaceful while there. Sometimes I’d bring my sister and we’d hang out in that empty church.
A few short years later, my little sister got terribly sick. When she died, I felt justified in being angry with God. Through my mind ran so many questions that couldn’t be answered. How could He take my precious Lisa and gobble her up in a grave? God, where were you? Are you even real? Why did Lisa have to die?
I blamed God, and when I wasn’t blaming, I would doubt His existence. The enemy used my precious sister’s death to deceive and distort my view of God. A part of my longing to believe in God and the things I learned from my grandparents so much, but I just couldn’t make sense of this terrible tragedy.
1 Peter 5:8-9 gives us a firm warning. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
As a young girl, I didn’t know this verse nor did I know I was under attack by an enemy trying to steal, kill and destroy me. I was ripe for the picking because I was just a baby Christian without a support system. I tried to stay strong, but I was a wounded soldier out on the battlefield.
I wanted to believe in God, but doubt and unbelief plagued my mind. I was a baby Christian soldier trying to believe, but the whispers by the prince of the darkness as well as the non-believers in my world spoke so much negativity and confusion set in. I was disoriented, wandering in the wilderness. My thoughts were consumed with insecurity and instability.
The next several years were extremely difficult for me. I was lost – migrating from one bad relationship to another. I was looking for answers and love in all the wrong places. I wanted immediate gratification and would seek out God when things would get hard. As soon as things took a turn for the better I would go about my merry way.
I didn’t understand that I needed God – every moment of every day. I thought I could do things on my own, but my life was spiraling out of control.
The worse my life got, the more I began to question if there really was a God. A part of me wanted to believe, but how do I believe something I cannot see? Back and forth I went. I believed, and then I was deceived and lacked the faith – only to swing back to believing. I felt exactly like it says it would in James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
Over the years I would have amazing even miraculous encounters from time to time with God. Through these experiences, I know God has to be real and tangible. The Love I felt from God was warm and comforting in the depths of my soul. I felt God tugging at my heart to come back to Him. Could I just let go of my life, give it to the Lord once and for all and let Him reign and rule in my life?
Matthew 16:24-26 says, “Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?'”
Wow, was I trying to gain the world by doing things myself?
One night I had enough of the world; I dropped to my knees and never looked back. I thanked Jesus for carrying the weight and torture of the cross for me. I could not continue on the path of confusion and chaos of the world. I wanted to be in God’s presence a place of all-consuming love and shalom peace. It was one of those pivotal moments that would change my life forevermore. I finally took that mustard seed of faith that Jesus promises us to use to grow our faith. I was going to take that seed water it and make it grow. In Luke 17:6, He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
I decided to give my life to God and stop listening to the accuser of doubt and unbelief. I was going to start listening to God’s voice. I started reading the scriptures and began seeing the living Word. The Bible became alive as I saw scripture differently than I did in the past. I would read and ask the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to know about the scripture. I wrote down what I thought I heard. It was beautiful what the Lord was speaking to my heart.
As a result, I fell in love with the Lord. A deep love because I understood finally God is my heavenly Father, Jesus is my Lord, and the Holy Spirit lives and dwells within me. I finally got the revelation of who I was in Christ. I was sold out! I believed, and my mustard seed was growing! I made a choice to reject the doubt and unbelief that had plagued me for years. When the whisper of darkness would start to creep in I would cry out to God and ask Him to help me.
He did help me because the truth is that even though we are not – God is faithful. I was consistently reminded He is in charge. Think about it… if He created the heavens and the earth – He had this!
Are you a believer who loves the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, body and spirit? Or are you struggling because, like me, you believed a lie that God wasn’t real? The truth is that God is real and tangible! God loves each of his children and is wooing us right this very minute.
If you are struggling in this area, may we kindly encourage you to every day get in front of a mirror and declare out loud in your own words, “God loves me? I am a child of the Most High God. I have inherited a rich legacy and am co-heirs with Jesus. I am enough. God is pleased with me.”
In time, those declarations will become the extinguisher needed to snuff out your doubt and unbelief.
Courageous one, if it time for you to stop playing tug of war with God completely give your life to Him and receive His love, to be assured that you will be His forever, simply repeat the prayer below, have faith in God’s truth and trust that God’s word will never condemn or harm you in any way.
Father God, I thank you that you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I recognize that I have come into agreement with the lie, I take responsibility for believing that ________________ (fill in the blank). I repent for entertaining negative thoughts and renounce the lie. Father God, I ask you to replace the lie with your truth. I thank you for your forgiveness and for your unfailing love. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I break any agreements I made with the enemy and ask for a fresh revelation of my identity in Christ. Amen!
Questions to pray and ponder:
Can you remember and describe a time in your life when you decided to turn your life over to God and then couldn’t completely commit?
Are there any lies you can think of about God that you might be believing that could be causing distance between you and the Father? What Bible verse could replace the lie with God’s truth?
What can you do to stay devoted to God and not follow the ways of the world? Challenge yourself to ask God a question, sit quietly and wait for Him to answer. Make this a regular practice and watch Him draw near to you as you pursue Him.