09 May 2013

My Story

I grew up in a little town in New York State with my older sister, little brother, and both of my parents. I attended church growing up and learned many Bible stories as a kid. I even remember one of my Sunday school teachers would use a felt board and little felt men to illustrate the Bible story. I have fond memories of Sunday school and church. I loved going to church to hang out with friends and to learn about Jesus. Nevertheless, there were times that attending church on Sunday was not something I wanted to do. I don't recall ever missing church for a long period of time, but I do remember not wanting to go to church on occasion. Around fifth grade I began to develop more in my faith and I was baptized at the age of 10. I don't think I fully understood the meaning of my baptism at the time. I understood the concept of it but I didn't completely grasp the weight of its meaning. That I was joyfully proclaiming to the world that I am a follower of Christ. When i was a kid I began to attend a Christian camp. It was at camp that I learned about the importance of being serious about my faith, the Bible, and evangelism. However, I got lost somewhere in my teen years. I was going to church and doing all of the good Christian girl things, but it was more about doing Christian things, than it was about being Christian. In High School, I took my faith seriously but still struggled with legalistic ways. I strove to do my best sharing my faith at school. Though I found it difficult because I didn't know all of the answers to their questions. I just knew that I wanted very badly for my friends and family members to be redeemed. I wanted them to experience the everlasting, unfailing, never forsaking, love that God had given me. When I went off to college my entire world changed. I was excited but mostly nervous. I was excited because finally I was able to be me, whoever that is or was at the time. I finally had a chance to make new friends and just be Hillary. I wanted to be comfortable with my friends and less reserved than the shy Christian girl I was known as growing up. Indeed I was no longer the shy Christian girl. My freshmen year I was the very definition of a "freshmen". I was exuberant and lively. I jumped and sang down the halls in my building and made friends with just about every girl on my floor. I also learned the joys and sorrows of being a roommate. But most of all I began to thrive in my faith. I loved attending chapel twice a week (most days), going to church Sunday with my friends, and also participating in campus Bible studies. Not to mention the everyday encounter with Christian life in my classes. I have to say that going from public school to Christian school is a strange transition. All of the sudden it was normal to pray in class and to write about Jesus in all of my assignments. At first it was uncomfortable, but it became to be the very thing that I love about Spring Arbor University. At college I not only discovered my passion for people and my desire/calling to be a social worker, I found my identity in Christ. I continued to do the doing tasks of Christianity, but it finally became a passion rather than a daily grind. At school I learned the "being" of Christianity both in and out of the classroom. I still struggled with legalism in my faith, but at least I was making progress. Throughout my life God has proven his faithfulness over and over. He has provided for me, answered desperate prayers, and led me in the right direction. He has never left me on my own, and I KNOW that he never will. Now that it is almost a year to the date that I graduated from my beloved Alma mater, God is still proving his faithfulness. At graduation I couldn't have told you where I would be a year later. Now that I am here I'm thankful that God keeps his promises and has guided me right where he wants me to be. I am a graduate student working on my masters in social work, living in a house with beautiful people, and have finished the first of three challenging semesters. THE most important thing I have come to better understand this semester is God's grace. I've learned that no matter what I do (legalistic or not), I cannot get to Heaven on my own merit. Only by the gift of grace from God am I able to enter his kingdom. For that I am truly thankful. I don't know why it has taken me this long to figure out that legalism isn't it, but I am glad that I understand now. It is my prayer and hope that you will know the great love of God. I also pray that this blog helps you in your journey, wherever you may be in it. Keep seeking God, you will find him when you seek him with all of your heart.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” - Jeremiah 29:12-14

1 comment:

"Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24