As I write this entry I’ve just spent an entire weekend with my family celebrating my amazing little girl’s 1st birthday. The fact that most of my family is here is a complete miracle. Let me explain…
In “My Story” I wrote, “With the truth now revealed to me, I chose to leave everything I knew to follow Jesus.” In that post I wrote about being part of a religion that held me in fear, constantly thinking I was on the edge of hell with every wrong step I made, and how by the grace of God, I had come to know the truth of His word and His love for me. This new understanding demanded I make a choice:
- Stay in the religion I grew up in that was leading people away from the truth about Jesus, or
- Leave that false church and walk in the truth to chase after the things God has for me.
While it may seem obvious that option 2 was the only reasonable choice to make, it was not a choice haphazardly made. The Bible says to count the costs of following Jesus (Luke 14:28).
|Option 1||Option 2|
|– A life of comfort
– Maintain relationship with my family
– Cannot share my new found faith
– Cannot marry Brian
– Continue to practice a false religion
– Hear things that went against the Bible
– A fake, but a comfortable life
|– Devastating my family
– Rejection and persecution
– Lose most of my friends
– Uncertainty about familial relationships
– Unlearn everything I had been taught
– Hardship & pain
– A fulfilled life pursuing God’s best
After weighing the costs, I decided that Jesus was worth it. I decided that following Jesus was the only way to truly live. I’m reminded of what the apostle Paul said to the Philippians: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ ” (Philippians 3:8).
I wish I could tell you that everything worked out perfectly, that my family completely understood and accepted my change and that following Jesus has been all unicorns and butterflies. But that’s just NOT the case. My worst fears were, in-fact realized, and worse. I was rejected and persecuted. When Brian and I got married, only one family member came to the wedding, and the invitations were ignored. I didn’t speak to most of my family for over a year. I was left out on my own. Brian was my only real friend. “Leaders” of that religion came and stalked my home. They also came to places they knew I’d be and cornered me, trying to convince me to return to the “true church”. Crazy, right? There was much pain and heartache. But as I mentioned, God performed such an amazing miracle through the restoration of my relationship with my family, that they came across the country for Eliza’s birthday party.
It hasn’t been and still isn’t easy. Though our relationship IS restored, we still don’t see eye-to-eye on things, so I’ve continued to hold on to these verses:
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecution) and in the age to come, eternal life.
(Mark 10:29-30, NIV)
Reading these verses brings me to tears as I think about the incredible faithfulness of Jesus. At the risk of sounding boastful, we have so many friends that we consider family that it is sometimes overwhelming. If we were ever without a home, I know most of them wouldn’t even bat an eye at having us stay with them. I have spiritual mothers and fathers to turn to for wise counsel. Jesus restored everything that I thought I had lost after leaving that church. My life has been changed for the better!
Maybe you’re considering doing something that will cost you big, but maybe it’s the exact thing you need to do to jump into the best God has for your life. Maybe you’re “on the fence,” but now it’s time to choose where you stand and take action. Whatever you’re wrestling with that you KNOW God is calling you to do, YOU CAN. He will empower you. Sure, it may be difficult, and some people could become angry in the process. But that all pales in comparison to the beauty of really LIVING instead of surviving. You only have one life. Are you going to continue to walk on the fence? Or will you pick a side and pursue it with passion?