My life has changed so much in the last year and a half. I have been blessed in countless ways. My relationship with God, while ever-present my entire life is stronger and closer than ever before, and I can confidently say that I am trying to live totally surrendered to His will. I remember sitting at Brian’s house one evening last summer talking about God’s will and the idea of complete surrender. We tend to have a lot of those intense, thought-provoking discussions…and this one was powerful. We talked about the meaning of the word surrender, what that would look like in practice, what a true commitment it was. That night, we prayed in that room – and we both vowed to surrender completely to His will in our lives. The initial feeling I remember is relief. It was like, “Okay God, I tried this life thing on my own and totally screwed it up – your turn.” And I imagine God was sitting there going “Well, it’s about time…I’ve got this.”
Since that day, there have still been ups and downs and struggles. That is life. Life is going to be hard sometimes. But the hard times are a lot better when going through them with God, rather than without. There have also been plenty of times that have been overwhelmingly good. I have opened up my life and listened to His plan for me. I have done my best over the last year to share my faith and my beliefs…but most of all, my love. I have learned that the best way to “teach” God to someone else is with love. The mission at the church I attend is “To love the people of Cincinnati into relationship with Jesus Christ and to give away to the world what God has given us.” I am honest when I say that I truly didn’t understand that until just recently. I read the words. I thought it sounded like a very cool mission statement, but I didn’t really understand the impact until I tried it. I have had the chance to “love” on people in my community and now I get it. I have seen that kind of love in action. I have seen people’s lives transformed by the kind of love God wants us to show, and in turn, my life has been transformed.
The task of “preaching” to others and explaining the Bible is daunting and scary to me. But I’ve learned that I can “teach” the story of the gospel by loving. I can “explain” Jesus by trying to love like he loved. I can introduce God to someone by loving like he loved. I have seen it happen in my life. When people experience that kind of love…they open up and listen. They open up and talk. The open up and learn. I understood this whole love thing in theory…and I knew what the word meant…but only recently have I truly come to a deep understanding of what it looks like in my life and in the lives of those I meet and serve.