I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. For me, this is more than just a sweet little tune that you hear at Bible camp or you sing your kids to sleep with. You hear it ringing from the children’s choir and in backyard vacation Bible schools. We sing it at church to invite those unbelievers to come stand forward with a little more encouragement and take on the Lord. But for me, this is a battle song.
April 2014, I decided to follow Jesus. And it wasn’t as if I didn’t know the Lord. I had grown up in the church. I went to private Christian school my whole life. Believe me! I studied all of Matthew Chapter 5, “The Sermon on the Mount” when I was in high school. I knew Jesus! Well, that is to say I knew about him. But there is a difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing and choosing to follow them.
I can be someone’s greatest fan. I can have all their music albums, know their birthday, their place of birth, and where they are going to be next on their tours. I can be a groupie like no one’s business. I maybe could have even scored some sweet back stage passes on the last leg of their tour and gotten to meet the band! But unless you are actually standing in real relationship, you text them to tell them your kid has a soccer game tomorrow, do they want to come? Or that you just ate the worlds most amazing pizza at this local pizza place. Or that you were thinking of them and just wanted to see how their day was going. Unless you’re actually in intimate relationship with that person, it’s difficult to say that you really know them. It’s more that you know of or about them.
So in 2014, I decided to actually stop following after me and start following after Jesus. And I wish I could say that the day I started to actually pursue a relationship with the Lord, that the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit ascended as a dove to rest on my shoulders and that the heavens opened up and God himself announced that this was His daughter with whom He was well pleased. None of those things happened.
What actually happened was that a broken and sad, scared girl sat down on the front porch of her home in Denver on a chilly spring morning with her coffee and her cigarette (yes, Jesus loves smokers too believe it or not) and started reading her Bible.
This life isn’t easy. In fact, plainly speaking, some days it really sucks. April 2014 was the end of the rope for me. I had caught my husband once again having an affair and was broken down. Rejected. Our son had just turned 2 and I didn’t really know where to go from here. I didn’t want to leave. I loved my husband as deeply as his soul (and I still do), but I was trapped. I had listened to the enemies lies for so long telling me that this was my life. That I was stuck in this marriage with a man who would not control himself. That I was stuck raising a son who would fall into the same iniquities as his dad. That to be a good wife, I had to remain faithful, even though my heart was broken again. That I had to submit. And that submission meant allowing sin to creep into my life as well, in hopes that it would make my husband love me more somehow. It is heart breaking honestly now to think about how lost I was then.
So my story started on the porch, cigarette in one hand and a bible in the other. But God spoke to me. Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” That little verse gave me a guideline. I was in affliction. I was in so much pain. But God was asking me to be patient. On that day, God promised me a restoration would happen. He promised that one day, my marriage would be restored. That my husband would not be recognizable as the man he is today. That something would break in my heart and that God would be with me in my darkest times. That there was hope. Not earthly hope, that the world promises, but can not make good on. There was heavenly hope. Hope for a future that God was working on in this moment for me. And that I should be joyful in that. And no matter what, in all circumstances, to be faithful in prayer. Every day. My daily bread. I have decided to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, still I will follow. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. NO TURNING BACK!