Going Through The Motions

Going Through The Motions

And how it lead me to Him.
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Much like many families I grew up with in the Bible Belt, I was raised in church. We were there every Sunday morning, rain or shine, and every Wednesday night as long as one parent was off work. The majority of the time I was excited to go, but only for my few friends that I had class with. It was never really about God or religion, but rather a social calling for me and required family time. As any good student, in class and out of class, I paid attention. I memorized Psalm 23, could distinguish different locations on a map and could tell you names of the twelve disciples. I went through the motions of being a believer for the sake of pleasing my parents. It was one of the best things my parents could have done for me.

Even though I was just going through the motions to please my parents, I learned a lot about Jesus and his love for the world. I would have never admitted it to them then, I probably wouldn’t have admitted it to myself either, but church gave me a lot of insight on life in general. By my parents making me go to church, they formed an incredible base for me, as an adult, to stand on. They taught me to pray even if I only did it out of selfishness when things didn’t go the way I wanted it to. They taught me to forgive even when every ounce of me said not to. And they taught me to have faith even in the midst of a storm.

But ever bigger than those things, they gave me hope for a better tomorrow. I stopped going to church sometime in high school. I was angry about life and how things had panned out. I had to move to a new town, make new friends, lose relationships, have my first heart break by myself and grow up in a matter of weeks. Everything about my life seemed awful. I even stopped praying. This went on for about three years. I didn’t start praying again until my world got turned upside down by someone I thought I loved. Again, I was selfish and didn’t pray until something didn’t go my way.

I spent years blaming God for deaths, for my parents divorcing, for my boyfriend not loving me the way I wanted him to, for basically everything that had ever gone wrong in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realized that all of this had led me on a certain path. Had none of those things happened exactly when they happened, I probably would have never met my husband. I probably wouldn’t have had my two beautiful little girls. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have found the best church I have ever stepped foot in.

Earlier this year, I was bound and determined to find a church where we belong. I wanted our daughters to have a solid base to stand on, even if they were just to go through the motions like I did. I wanted to be able to wake up in the morning and praise God for giving me another day to live. I wanted to be able to show my daughters the same kind of love that He has shown me. I needed for them to be able to know how to pray, how to forgive, and how to be faithful. Knowing God through a personal relationship was no longer a solo journey for me, but a journey that I wanted my family to be a part of.

It did take a few different church tries to find the right one. While I grew up in a church with less than a hundred members, somehow the church we fell in love with is big enough to need three different sanctuaries. We have been going to this church at least two Sundays a month since February, but we aim for every Sunday. I will never know how anyone actually makes it on time to anything with two toddlers and a husband, but my intentions are always pure. With me being in church, my life has felt easier. I’ve started praying more, letting more things go and enjoying the little things. Earlier this week I went to my first small group and was able to pray with a dozen other women on our personal requests. It was amazing. The amount of freedom I feel now that I have found the right church is amazing.

If you live in the Middle Tennessee area, this is me extending an invitation to try our church, World Outreach. Pastor Allen Jackson is amazing and always knows just what to say. You can feel the love running through the building every Saturday and Sunday. If you aren’t sure that the time is right for you, you can even find Pastor Allen Jackson on television, listen to his podcasts and share our journey from the comfort of your own home. And if you just want to start off small, find a small group that they offer. I’ll see you there.

Cover Image Credit: Patheos

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Since When Did Having Your Life Figured Out Become An Expectation?

There's no timeline for life, and there shouldn't be.

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Let's just cut to the chase. There shouldn't be an expected timeline of life that us, as humans, should be expected to follow. There isn't a certain age that we should be married by, or a time slot that we have to graduate in. It's just unrealistic because, well, life happens. And the majority of the time, we can't control it.

So then why does society pressure us into this schedule that seems to be looming over our heads? There's no consequence to not having children by 27, there's nothing wrong with having a steady significant other and not being engaged by 24. And really, nothing horrible is going to happen if your timeline doesn't match up with your best friend's.

A whole lot of things in life are out of our control. We don't know when we're going to meet "the one", or even if we already have. We don't know what job we will have after graduation, or if it will be a job we stay in for years to come. And guess what: it's okay. Because we have time.

One of the best lessons I have learned in my life is that we cannot control everything in our lives. We can't predict the future. Yes, you can feel as though you have your whole life planned out, but in the blink of an eye, everything can change. So moral of the story, don't stress about things that you can't control. Because all the time you spend stressing about them, is time that you could have spent enjoying the moment that you are in.

There's not a fairy that is going to come down and curse you for not having a job by 23, or forbid you from finding love because you haven't found it by 25. It's an unrealistic expectation. And guess what: life happens on its own, and we can't control all of it. Sometimes it may suck, and it can be entirely unexpected, but it's life. So put an anchor in the present, and have faith that you will figure it out.

Because you will.

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