Whenever you talk with someone about the love of their life, be it a girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife, at some point the typical questions come up of “so, how did you meet?” and “when did you know they were the one?” It would be really strange if someone were to answer without certainty to either of those questions. It would be confusing, for instance, if someone were to ask “when did you meet your wife?” and I scratched my head or had to think long and hard to answer. Or, if someone were to say “when did you know that she wasn’t just someone, but the one?” and I acted as if I wasn’t sure I knew. I have great answers for both of those questions when it comes to my incredible wife, Leslie, who I am crazy in love with! But I also have a story of how I came to that reality with my first love, Jesus Christ. It is both a story of meeting and accepting him as my Lord, and a journey of love and discovery that is ongoing. I want to share with you the story of grace that God has weaved into my life, bringing me into a personal relationship with Jesus. He is my Lord, my Savior, and the one I want to be like.
I don’t have one of those radical stories you hear others share, and that’s ok, because this is MY story of how God personally invited me into His family. Certainly, for those that were rescued from drugs, violence, alcohol, or some other vice, theirs can be a powerful witness to the strength of God to save. But I was saved from a dark place as well – I was just spared some of the pain that goes with the trajectory I was on. Like everyone, I was born a sinner. I was rescued from an identity of sin and brought into an identity of being forgiven, and I’m so thankful for the blessing of that early childhood understanding of Jesus. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t just as much in need of saving, just that had the chance to meet Jesus and follow him at an early age. I was raised in a home with two godly parents who love Jesus and taught me who He is. As a parent now, I’m so grateful for that example as I sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” to my children each night. I accepted Jesus into my heart at a very young age, and I vividly remember sitting on the couch praying that prayer, understanding that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in order to die on a cross and be raised from the dead in order to save me from my sins. My spiritual rebirth took place that day, but my story of grace is a journey which has had many milestones and continues today.
As I survey my life, it is always incredible to me how clearly visible God’s involvement has been. He has walked every step beside me. As a middle school student, I had the chance to affirm that this faith was my own. I drew closer to God, read more of the Bible, and understood better what it meant to follow Him fully. In high school, our family walked through an impossibly difficult season filled with hurt and sadness, and I learned in those moments how strong God is and how faithful He is to His children. That’s what I am as a believer in Jesus – a child of God.
Through that personal relationship, God has graciously directed my steps. He orchestrated details of my life that I never could have on my own. He placed me on a path that allowed many of the most important components of my life to take place, including meeting my wife Leslie. He was clearly in those details. He also directed my steps in connecting me to a place in ministry, and in a very unique way. I began working at The Chapel as a part time employee with a group of other 16-18 year olds, doing mostly maintenance and grunt work. That is the church that I am still on staff at today, 14 years later. The steps He orchestrated to place me and keep me there is amazing, and God has been shaping me, stretching me, molding me, and growing me all throughout that time. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Jesus for guiding the steps of my life and setting things in motion, even at an early age, to call me into His ministry and allow me to serve in this capacity.
Jesus walks beside me through every step of my life. The great times, and the tough times. As a married couple, Leslie and I walked through our most difficult season together so far when we struggled through trying to have a baby. Sometimes you think that you can plan out your life and it will all fit into your plan and timing. But, after a long while of trying with no success, the sadness of this possibly not being an option for us began to weigh heavily on us both, especially on my wife. Certainly others have walked through much more difficult moments, but for us, this was an emotional struggle that was quite trying. And in that moment, Jesus was our strength. We realized that we can’t be in control, but need to fully trust him for the promise of peace and comfort. He provided that, and was so faithful to remind us of how secure we can be in our trust of Him. Eventually, God did bless us with children, giving us our incredible first born – a boy named Jackson. A second child followed 16 months later with no complication or trouble – an amazing girl named Mila. God has been so good to us.
Even now, we are walking through a season filled with some struggle and uncertainty. We are working through some medical complications that don’t seem to have any answers or solutions. And yet Jesus is our security and our hope. We know He can be trusted, and so we don’t worry or stress over the unknown. Following Jesus means He has it under control, even if we don’t see it all yet.
Jesus is my everything. Do I still struggle? Do I still have hard seasons? Of course. Is everything perfect? No. As I just said, we’re walking through some troubles even now. But Jesus at the center of my life means that I have hope – hope in a source of strength and direction in this life that is not my own. Hope, understanding that my life has purpose and meaning in Jesus. And, hope in a life to come. I don’t have to fear death, because Jesus has overcome it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came to this earth as a baby born to a virgin, ministered to many people as he walked this earth, willfully went to a cross to die in my place for my sins, and was raised back to life three days later in order to defeat the hold that death has on us.
Jesus can be your everything too. If you’ve never accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, I’d encourage you to! It’s the best decision you will ever make, and it will change your entire life. You can invite Him into your heart right now – just pray and speak to Him right now. Tell Him that you believe that He is who He says He is, and that He died for you. Ask Him to become your Lord and to save you, and He will!
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV)
You can begin a relationship with Him right now, and as you follow Him, He will guide your steps and walk with you through all of life.
I’m so thankful for Jesus. If you have accepted Him and want to know more, or aren’t sure yet but would like to talk about it, please contact me! I’d love to talk with you about that decision.