I probably first heard about Christianity from my mother. I have vague memories from when I was real small of these people who used to come to see her at our house for bible study. When I was a little older, a friend of my mother’s took us to a local baptist church, where Mom, my sister, and I attended up to about the time I was twelve. I’m not sure how long we had been going there, but the next thing I can remember after Mom’s friend first took us to church with her is when Mom was baptized, I still remember the dress she had on (It was pink) and that she had her hair cut short and curly back then.
When I was about nine, one day in Children’s church, the church leader asked if anyone had any questions. Apparently, I did, because I rose my hand, and they took me in a back room and we had a nice talk. I think I was trying to understand what they had been telling us that day. Anyways, I said the sinner’s prayer and got to go to the big church and scare Mom; she thought I was in trouble. All the grown-ups kept smiling and hugging me and shaking my hand. I was baptized on Easter. There was a breakfast before hand, at which I puked on my aunt’s shoes.
Things went well until I graduated from Children’s Church, probably when I was eleven. For the next year I struggled with going to church before stopping altogether. The last straw had been the youth group,which was my new class; I felt horribly out of place. My sister and I did the Christmas play, and then stopped going.
School had always been hard for me. So, middle school wasn’t that horrible in comparison. My grades shot up; so did my self esteem, even if my social life was still nearly nonexistent. Before the only place I had felt okay about myself was at church. Spiritually, I practically comatose. I knew plenty (or thought I did) about Christ, but our actual relationship had fallen to the lowly bed-time prayers. I think I said the exact same prayer every night for like five years. I began coming out of this in the tenth grade, when everything in my life began changing. The climax of that year was when one day in the middle of the hall way I turned my life back over to Christ, finally realizing I couldn’t do it on my own. I’d been pretty depressed that day. After that mental out burst, I felt better. I’ve since realized giving our life to christ is something we have to do every day.
The next turning point in my walk came last year, when my friends invited me to go to their youth group with them. When I did, I came to a startling revelation: you were supposed to get something out of church! This youth group was very different from the first. Besides the fact that I was older, Rockhouse is Pentecostal, not Baptist (my roots). For the first time, I began to understand a few things that had baffled me about the holy spirit and worship as a child. I’ve grown a lot, as people keep telling me. I’ve discovered what it feels like to worship with the spirit, what it means when they told me long ago to have the Spirit reside within the heart. God had finally awoken his light burning within me, stirred the River to flow out and surround me. No matter how I feel coming into the sanctuary, I always feel at peace and joyful by the time I leave.
So, if you’re present church isn’t quite doing it for you, don’t give up on the faith, find another church. God has a spiritual home out there for you, let him help you find it. Give your life to Christ. He can manage all those pesky details that will give you a heart attack otherwise in twenty years. Trust me. He’s the best “manager” I’ve found.