I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. I was in church most Sundays and one of my earliest memories is being totally enthralled by The Wordless Book. When I was five or six years old I sat with my mom in our blue rocking chair and prayed to ask Jesus into my heart.
Yet sadly, for two decades, I rested in my eternal security, content to claim Jesus as Savior while stubbornly resisting Him as Lord. And my life was relatively easy. I wasn’t faced with any major struggles or heartaches and was well-loved by many wonderful people in my life. I met my husband, Will, my freshman year at Stetson University and to say that I fell hard for him would be like saying the sun is not cold — factually accurately but ridiculously understated. And wonder of wonders this rapturous love appeared to be mutual.
Will claimed Jesus as Savior and Lord, but his faith was almost as infantile as my own, and so even though there was a foundation for a Christ-centered relationship, that foundation had a surface area of about one square centimeter and we teetered and balanced as best we could on that little cube, but more often than not we slipped right off with predictably inelegant results.
So after we were married and the illusions of magic dissipated pretty quickly, I knew I needed something else. In retrospect, I think it was a spiritual identity crisis. Who was I? I claimed to be a Christian, but what in my life reflected Christ? Where was I headed?What was my purpose in life? Plus there was something unsettling about being the wife of Will Jackson because I was too prideful to be defined by him. And since he’s a pretty driven, smart, focused, disciplined, interesting, sure-to-be successful kind of guy, being defined by him felt like a real possibility.
By God’s grace, my sister happened to recommend that I try to find a Bible Study Fellowship group. Will and I had been going to church every week, and were even somewhat involved in a Sunday School class, but about nine months into marriage I started BSF and right away I knew what I needed. I needed to get my relationship with Jesus straight. I needed to make Jesus a priority in my life. And as soon as I made even the tiniest strides toward doing this, things began to change. I started viewing life through new lenses. Will was no longer responsible for making me feel treasured or loved or significant or important, because I had a growing recognition that the unconditional love and adoration of my Lord and Savior had been there all along.
Obviously, I have a long way to go, and it is a great comfort to me that Jesus doesn’t abandon projects like I might. No, he carries them on to completion (Philippians 1:6). In fact, He’s carrying me on to completion! He is always drawing me closer, and showing me that He is sufficient. Through the years I’ve learned that Jesus holds the best answers for all my deepest longings and most nagging questions. He explains where I came from and where I am ultimately going. He reveals the purpose for my life and through His example I know the morality by which I should live.
My childhood prayer in the rocking chair was really one of self-preservation. I wanted to escape hell, and while that is vitally important – because hell is a real place where real people go – today Jesus is not merely my means of getting to heaven, but the means by which I see the world. C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I want this statement to characterize my life — I want my belief in and obedience to Christ to be evident in everything I do. I will continue to falter, as I always have, yet I will cling to the wonderful truth that Jesus Loves Me through it all.