1. Beginnings

Read Time: 5 mins.

I still remember the day that I really experienced Jesus for the first time. I was 11 or 12 years old, and was sprawled out on the living room floor on a sunny afternoon, quite contently playing with a LEGO truck that I had just constructed. As I imagined my multi-colored truck adeptly traversing the foliage of the shag carpet “jungle”, my older sister of 1 ½  years suddenly appeared behind me, bobbing up and down with excitement.

“Guess what I just did?” she said with intrigue. I started to ask what, but before I could, she quickly answered her own question. “I just accepted Jesus into my heart.”

I stopped what I was doing and looked at her. A desire I didn’t realize I had had rose to the surface of my heart, and I suddenly realized that I wanted exactly the same thing, and not just because ‘big sister’ had done it. “How?” I asked.

“Mom helped me. She’s upstairs.”

Clutching my beloved LEGO creation, I got up and began to rush towards the stairs, calling for my mother’s attention as I went. Following her soft response, I found her sitting on the edge of her bed, the afternoon sun softly lighting her face through the partially drawn bedroom blinds.

“Mom, I want to do the same thing as Kate.”

With a look of subdued surprise, she looked me in the eyes, seeing that I indeed meant what I said. She motioned for me to come and sit next to her, and briefly explained what we would do next so that I understood. I closed my eyes, bowed my head, and prayed as my mother led. I didn’t know what I was expecting to experience, but as I was saying the words “... Jesus, come into my heart”, I suddenly felt like my heart had ‘opened,’ and a warm feeling flooded out of it into my chest. I finished, and looked up at her, who I could tell was very happy that this had happened. I’d just experienced Jesus, and He was real.

It seemed like there was always something more I had to be doing to be who Jesus wanted me to be.

Soon after, God-loving and well-intentioned people began to express to me what following Jesus meant. Now that I had invited Him into my heart, it was important that I become more acquainted with the bible, engage in prayer and worship both individually and in a church setting, and share my growing faith with others. Now, these are hugely beautiful and important expressions of connecting with and sharing God. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. What would eventually become a problem was the way that I, and the many others around me, were learning to frame these expressions. When it came to how we engaged with and responded to one another, “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do?) was the measuring stick. The bible, and the principles contained within were to be my guide to life, and applying those principles were my personal responsibility to implement. I was shown a Jesus that was the perfect example of what “good” was, and increasing emulation of Him in word and deed was to be my primary goal. Prayer was basically asking him to give me ability to this end, as well as a forum for apology when I did something wrong, which frankly, was often. In fact, I failed more than I succeeded. I was told that there was grace of course, but I often couldn’t shake the feeling that I was disappointing Him. He had laid it all out for me, and I wasn’t improving very quickly at all. The general solution on offer was that I wasn’t doing enough _________ . Not enough prayer, not enough church involvement, not enough bible reading, not enough evangelism. What was the point of all this anyway? It seemed like there was always something more I had to be doing to be who Jesus wanted me to be. If I was being brutally honest, the result of this Good News didn’t really seem all that good. In fact, it kind of felt like my spiritual livelihood depended on me.

Slowly but surely, a gap started to open up between what I had been told was true and good in my life, and what knew was true and good, in the core of my being. As I moved through life, considerable questions and contradictions arose in my heart. One night, years later, when I was sitting in my room alone, rolling these contradictions over and over in my mind, I finally gave up. “I really have no idea what the truth about you is, Jesus,” I prayed. “I don’t know how to separate who you actually are from everything I’ve been told. You’re the only one that can show me who you are.” As if to say “well, alright then”, all of a sudden I sensed Holy Spirit’s acceptance and approval of that prayer.

I would come to realize through His kind intention that many of the expectations I had come to think Jesus and the Father had of me had never existed ...

What followed was a steady renovation of almost everything I had come to consider as true. I would come to realize through His kind intention that many of the expectations I had come to think Jesus and the Father had of me had never existed, and furthermore, what He had accomplished on my behalf and on behalf of the whole world was far far better than what I had initially realized. Holy Spirit was SO ready to show me what I had asked for! I LOVE Holy Spirit! Holy Spirit is the undisputed master at revealing the heart of God!

It’s this renovation and the results of it that this blog is about. It’s my desire to share with you all the things that God has been kind enough to show me about Himself, and about what life in Him really means. It is a beautiful thing. It’s GOOD NEWS. It’s the beautiful simplicity of engaging tangibly with the REAL Jesus that lives inside your heart, and has made Himself nearer to you than the air you’re breathing at this moment. It’s discovering and relating with Him in the unique and special way that he wove into you when He made you. It’s entering effortlessly into a new way of seeing and experiencing the world, one full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. If those sort of things interest you, then I’d love to have you along for the ride!