Jesus has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a devout Christian home where I perhaps took faith in Jesus for granted. When my faith was tested in college, I realized I needed to make a personal commitment. I knelt one day in my dorm room and asked Jesus into my heart.
I grew to understand what it meant to live a Spirit-filled life, with the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ resurrected presence, living in me, molding and making me into more of what He wanted me to be. He was making me more like Him, but also more like my real and authentic self as He made me.
Through every stage in life since then, in marriage, in raising children, in preparation for and living out a calling to pastoral ministry, in the death of loved ones and a battle against breast cancer, in multiple mission trips and service opportunities in the US and as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and now in retirement, I have felt His presence and have been touched by his mercy and grace.
Though I don’t understand many things that happen in life, to myself or others, and there have certainly been dry and difficult times, I have always trusted His goodness and faithfulness. He seems to know my every need and provides in abundance. And He has shown me again and again that the secret to a full life is indeed giving it away, loving and serving especially those who are lost, outcast, needy and even difficult!
Why do I love Jesus? It is Jesus alone who helps me understand what God is like, what God’s love is like. Paul says in Ephesians 3:18 that God’s love revealed through Jesus is wide, long, deep, and high.
I know it’s wide because there were times I didn’t know if I could live with myself because of things I had said or done. His love was wide enough to forgive me.
I know it’s long because there were times when I’ve wondered if I could persevere faithfully and trust his promises until the end. His love was long enough to carry me through until what He began in me would be completed.
I know it’s deep because there were times I was unable to bear, times of troubles and sorrows, of illness and death and other losses, filled with despair and feeling forsaken and His love was deep enough to be in the depths with me and give me comfort and strength.
And I know His love is high because there were times of sheer joy when I could hardly take in all the goodness and blessing and beauty in life, surrounded by loving relationships that nourish and encourage me, achieving goals I never thought I could, taking many amazing trips around the world and now living on a river and savoring its beauties each day. His love has been high enough to show me His glory.
I know of this love because of the cross. If you draw lines from wide to long, and deep to high, they form a cross. On the cross I behold a love that went infinitely wide to forgive, infinitely long to finish the work, infinitely deep to be forsaken, and infinitely high into glory.
Only Jesus poured out a love like that! Only Jesus could make a relationship with God so real and intimate. And because He rose after death on the cross, I am assured that He is always with me in this life, and that this life is not all there is, but that I will see Him face to face someday in the life to come.
I love Jesus because knowing and believing in Him and seeking to live as He wants me to live in the power of His Holy Spirit is the foundation out of which everything else in my life flows. Glory to God!
More Faith Stories
I was laying in the hospital, and I didn’t really know what praying was at this point. I was just ready for life to be easy.
He said he would love to take my virginity from me. So, as my friend, Michelle, watched, he did, bent over me in the kitchen. It seemed as if only thirty seconds went by, and then it was over. I couldn’t understand the big hype. But I found out I could get pregnant in those 30 seconds.
I’d been drinking all day long and pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a with a woman and all of her children packed into this car. They T-boned me and at that moment everything went blank.
One Sunday the music director said the handbell choir needed more members. I thought, “No, I wasn’t ready to get involved.” At the end of the service I found myself volunteering for bell choir!
One Sunday afternoon I was sitting drunk in a bar, and I’m looking around. The only ones in the bar were the bartender, some shady looking guy in the corner, my ex-boyfriend’s mom, and me. I heard this voice in my head say, “What am I doing here?”
This past year I found a black dot on my thumbnail that looked like a pencil point. Nothing much to it. Then it became an abrasion at the end of my nail. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who found it to be malignant skin cancer.