In my younger years, I was challenged to put to paper, my spiritual journey, my testimony. I did that, but thought that my story lacked pizazz or the ‘prodigal son’ emotion that many of my friends could boast of. But one day, probably about 15 years ago, a friend made a remark that I have not forgotten. As I ‘lamented’ my boring story, she looked me squarely in the eyes and said, but Kim, look at all that God has spared you. What a gift that you have not lain drunk somewhere, or gotten lost in a frat house. What a blessing that you did not stray from your parents guidance. You, of all of us, should be on your knees, thanking our amazing Father for His power in your life. My life changed that day.
At a recent discussion with friends, I was asked to recount my story. My first recollection of God was that I was sitting in a Sunday School class in a Lutheran Church where I had been baptized. I just knew that God was God and I knew that I was His. I can’t explain that, but I remember it vividly. A few years later, though, my parents made a profession of faith and our family life changed. We began to pray, to listen to Christian music and most importantly, we read the Bible. My mother played the organ and was hired at a Methodist Church. At this church, the pastor spoke of having a personal relationship with Christ (I honestly don’t remember the sermons at the Lutheran Church, so I am not making a commentary on the preaching of the Lutheran ministers). I remember wanting to know Jesus more, but still didn’t have any idea of what faith was. In high school, I wanted to be in the ‘cool crowd’ and struggled to be a Christian. I continued to read my Bible, pray and believed in the gospel message.I knew that I was a Christiana, but when I went to college, I really began to learn about faith. My roommate took me along to an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting and I never looked back. I was introduced to Bible Study, searching the scriptures inductively, reading great authors of faith and spent time in discipleship relationships. I would later go on to work on a college campus as a paid staff member with InterVarsity and later as a volunteer at a campus in Maryland. My burden to see students come to Christ and to grow in Him continues to be strong.
But my journey did not end here. In college, I was introduced to the ‘reformed faith’ and spent years struggling through that. I attended a charismatic church, a Bible Church, another Methodist Church (all with people who REALLY loved Jesus!), but once married, settled in a Presbyterian Church (PCA and OPC). And I would like to tell you that my journey of faith has ‘leveled off,’ but it hasn’t.
So, I come to the crux of what I REALLY want to communicate. Folks, our journey should NEVER level off. Honestly, I thought I knew a lot, and had answered many faith questions. Then we enrolled our children at Christiana Homeschool Academy and my life was once again changed. Challenged to work side by side and arm in arm with Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, Lutherans and Independent Church folks, I began to see that God was continually breathing His life into all corners of Carroll County. I began to have conversations with other moms who had questions about God, about faith, about why my church did things a certain way. And I had those same questions. We are told in Philippians 2:12: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." I began to sense that God had brought me to a place where I could work out that salvation even further.
This summer, I had the distinct privilege to meet weekly with three dear CHA friends, three Catholic women, whose faith I have admired for quite some time. They had questions about some of my ‘reformed doctrine’ so we set out on a journey to read a book by a Protestant and a book by a Catholic priest. As we read, we really discovered the many ways we thought alike. But we found things we differed on as well. And it was those things that we researched, trying to understand the ‘why’ of those things in our churches. Without writing a novel about our experiences, we have been drawn closer together through these conversations. The purpose was not to convince the others to ‘jump ship’ on denominations or doctrine, but to truly understand and look for truth. My view of God has grown so much because I had to study, read scripture more carefully, seek primary sources. Out of all of this, God has gotten bigger, more powerful, more loving, more sovereign (don’t get me wrong…he has always been this way…I just haven’t always understood it!). I still don’t have all the answers and may never have them. But, I am acutely aware of His working beyond anything I can understand or imagine. So, I would encourage my friends of faith to keep ‘working it out’ – your faith, that is.