Twenty years ago this week, I finally noticed that Jesus had been walking with me for twenty-three and a half years. Twenty years ago this week, I began to try to walk with Him.
As I look back over my life, I can see time after time Jesus tried to get my attention. I learned about Him at the church I grew up in – not a Bible-preaching, Gospel-centered church, but still, we talked about Jesus. We sang songs about Him and I memorized the 2rd Psalm. I saw faith in my aunt and uncle who were born-again, going to church with them occasionally. I had a good friend in junior high and high school who was a “hardcore Christian,” as I labeled her. I could see that her faith in God was very, very different than mine.
I heard snippets of truth in the cult-like church that tried to suck me in after high school, as I did from my 2 LDS friends. I felt His love from a Baptist minister and his wife every Saturday night when they ate at the restaurant where I worked in my early 20’s. And I began to really feel His presence when Christian friends prayed for my health at age 23 when the eating disorder ravaged my mind and body, causing me to lose 35 pounds over the course of a summer.
Jesus became real to me through the music and life of the singer/songwriter, Keith Green, and on January 4th, 1999, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.
It’s easy for me to look at my life and see the deficits. I see my continual besetting sins. I see the idols in my life. I look at others and all they have been able to accomplish. Keith Green only followed Jesus for about 7 years before his death, and look at the impact God enabled him to make. Oswald Chambers was my age when he died, and yet his book My Utmost for His Highest is one of the most well-read devotionals of all time.
I could list many other “successful” Christians, as well as so many other personal flaws. But that’s not what God sees when He looks at me. He looks at me and thinks, I’m so glad you’re Mine.
It’s not about what I’ve done or accomplished. It’s not how many times I’ve read through the Bible, or how many books I’ve written (or even how many books I have in me, waiting to be written). It’s not how often my songs are sung or heard.
God looks at me and loves me. He is honored in my daily decision to once again surrender my life to Him, to ask Him to be the center of my life, my every day, my trials and victories.
He is glorified in my imperfect obedience. His power is perfected in my weakness. He is honored in my decision to choose to surrender to Him, day by day, for two decades.