Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bringing Faith to Life

I'm so excited about this awesome new link up that Erin from Blue Eyed Bride, Kelly from Kelly's Korner, Jennifer from Life in the Green House and Courtney from Lil Light O' Mine are doing!  I've wanted to do something like this for a while and I was thrilled with this opportunity when I read about it last week.


I consider myself blessed.  I was born into a family of faith and have parents and grandparents who have served as great examples for me.  From an early age, my parents instilled in me both a love of God and of church.  I distinctly remember the moment when I asked Jesus into my heart to be my Savior and Lord.  I was eight years old.  I knelt down, with my grandfather beside me, in my pink bedroom and asked the Lord to lead my life.  I can still remember exactly how I felt and the joy I had in my life in that moment.

Growing up, I was always really involved in church.  My grandfather, a retired minister, was the pastor of my church at the time, and now, my mom serves as the minister of music in that same church.  I went from being active in children's choir, GA's and youth group, to being a member of the handbell and sanctuary choirs, leading the youth group and directing Vacation Bible School.  Even though I was in church practically every time the doors were opened and I was involved in many things, I realized, even then, that it doesn't matter how many times you go to church or how much you do because what really matters is your heart and the relationship you have with Christ.  {Now, granted, as a Christian I want to be at church and I want to worship my Savior with a group of Believers, but I know that those things by themselves are not what matters most.}

From a young age, I can remember reading my Bible at night before I fell asleep.  When I was in middle school, I started writing down my prayers. I have dozens of prayer journals filled with joy, sadness, requests and thanksgiving. To this day, I write my prayers.  These moments with my Savior - these journals - are the story of my faith.

There have been times over the past few years where I have pulled some of these out to read. Some from high school, others from college and still others from only a year or so ago. Reading through the pages of these worn out journals, I relived answered prayers, laughed at some {not at the time} silly requests and thanked God for bringing me through some of the most horrible times in my life.

As I've now become both a wife and a mother, my faith has become even more important to me.  Since I was a young teenager, I prayed for the man that God had chosen for me. Today, as I see my husband, I am in awe. My prayers have now changed from this person that I was praying for who I didn't know to prayers for my husband. I believe that as a wife, one of the greatest things I can do for my husband is to pray for him.

From about that same time, I also began to pray for my future children.  I didn't know that I'd be blessed with children in the way I have been.  Though they are not my biological children, I love them and treat them as if they are. In my eyes, they are no different than the children I hope to have one day that are connected to me biologically.  Each day, I pray for K.C. and Kaden and our future children. I pray that they will be happy, healthy and feel our love, and I pray that they will be filled with the desire to get to know Christ and serve Him with their whole lives. I pray these prayers along with many others for them and I believe in faith that these things, according to God's will, will come to be.

By nature, I'm an optimist and a happy person.  But I'll be the first to tell you that my life is not all roses and rainbows.  And I've made {and continue} to make my fair share of mistakes. I think some of my "glass is half full" perspective is almost hereditary, but I think, really, that's it from God.  Because of my relationship with Christ, I have joy in my heart and I pray that this joy radiates from my life all the time, not only when things are great, and that it's this joy that shows others my faith.

Life is challenging. It is. Being a wife, mother and working all day means I have very little "me" time. There are so many other jobs that have to be done, too, like cooking, cleaning, bathing, and preparing for the day ahead. There are also these things like running, the gym and practices that have to be done. Often times, the most important thing, time with the Lord, is checked off of my to-do list last.

Those days when that time is checked off first, I'm much better. I need time with my Savior to talk with Him, get out my worries and thank Him for His very many blessings. I need my relationship with God to pull me through the dark, valley times {like we've been experiencing in 2013} and help me to continue to soar in the happy, mountainous times. I need to keep God's Word in my heart when we're rushing out the door in the morning, when I'm in a stressful meeting at work and when I'm just so plain tired that I can't see straight. I need that time with Lord so that He can lead me, guide me and direct me in the ways I need to go, so I have the knowledge of how to love and support my husband and children well, and lead the boys to the cross.

I feel like my greatest responsibility in this world is to show Christ's love to our boys. To train them up in the way they should go so when they are old, they won't depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Each night, we read a Bible story from our Jesus Storybook Bible.  We have three stories left and then we'll start over using Kaden's Beginner's Bible. I love that the boys ask for their Bible story each night and that K.C. can find the exact page where I need to begin reading.

We also say our prayers each night. Kevin and I tend to take turns saying them. We always pray for our family, schoolmates, teachers, church and friends. We thank God for our blessings which tend to range from everything from our family to our house to our toys. The boys chime in with things like "help Daddy to have a great birthday tomorrow!" and "I love you, Jesus, I love you, God." My heart swells with joy when I hear these sweet words come out of their mouths.

I believe that having children in church is so important. The older they get without being in the routine of going to church, the harder it is to get them to go. I've seen it so many times. Church certainly doesn't save us, but we place such an emphasis on learning in school and excelling in sports, that it's a shame when we can't give God a few hours every Sunday because in the end, our relationship with Him is all that matters.

Faith is more than reading a passage or devotional each day. It's more than saying or writing your prayers. Faith is living. Faith is believing that without a shadow of a doubt, God will take care of you and lead you where you are to go. Faith is trusting that your salvation is complete by your acceptance of God's grace and forgiveness. Faith is keeping on keeping on when all you really want to do is cry. Faith is putting in the time and effort in our relationship with Christ just as we do with our family and friends even when we don't see a foot in front of us.  Faith is being salt and light. It's biting our tongue when we really want to share our mind. It's whispering a prayer in the darkest hours of the night. It's living in joy because we know we have eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord. Faith is believing that all things are possible. Faith is trusting God that others can see His love and light from our lives and that He makes our faith alive to all those around us.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer food for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaver.
Matthew 5:13-16

Faith.

8 comments:

Lil Light O Mine said...

this was beautiful. the whole thing - but i really loved. "Faith is keeping on keeping on when all you really want to do is cry." awesome.

allisonwest said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

this is awesome, Anna. i love it. your walk inspires me and i'm so thankful for your positive influence in social media. i know that you are such a light to your family and are encouraging those boys with your walk daily. you're a beautiful writer. thanks for linking up with us today!

Adrienne at La Vita e Bella said...

This was beautiful! Faith is truly about trust and walking strong even when it's hard. Thank you for stopping by my blog home as well! Blessings!

Jennifer said...

I can relate to your heart so much! I definitely just found a new blog to follow! Thank you so much for sharing and for encouraging me!

Kelly said...

Perfect definition of faith in that last paragraph!!! Loved this! You are so cute! Thank you for linking up!

Becki Poston said...

Thanks for this! I love you!

Becki Poston said...
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