Hello, what’s your name?
“Our Father, which art in heaven, hello, what’s your name?” The prayer of my five-year old self, long before I truly understood the concept of God. I remember reciting these words in first grade hall assembly, being comforted by the thought of a BIG father-figure somewhere in the clouds who cared about me.
Bacon, eggs and the Jewish mama
I was raised in a home where God was believed in, but not specifically practiced in daily life. By that I mean that both parents believed in God, but there was no church going or specific teaching of the children about God, apart from following rituals in certain religious holidays. In fact, there was some confusion in our home as my mom was Jewish whilst my dad was a Gentile.
We celebrated Easter and Christmas with all the associated rituals followed by most of the world. We had Easter eggs and Christmas presents. My mom, although she’d never eat it herself, made the best Christmas gammon I’ve ever eaten to this day! She’d light candles on a Friday night and we’d eat a fish dinner. We also celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and at those times my mom would cook the delicious Jewish food that I love still. My brother and I would also be kept off school on the Jewish holidays, which was a certain mark of pride for us, even though we did not really understand.
I think that I’ve always believed in God, even as a tiny girl. I remember being a 6-year-old in the school hall, singing about “Jesus loves me, this I know” and really feeling that He did, this Jesus that I did not know. I believed that there was an all-powerful “man-in-the-sky” who loved all people, through most of my childhood…
A stirring in the spirit
In my early teens at high school, a friend invited me to her church youth group on Friday nights. Just starting to form a social life, I agreed and went along. I went for a couple of months, enjoying the singing, the friendships and the kindness of the leadership. I also started attending the youth “Sunday School” on Sunday mornings, and the church service on Sunday nights. I didn’t know it then, but I was experiencing a “stirring in the spirit”, and one Sunday night at church, I responded to an altar call after a particularly powerful message. My feet seemed to move me, without my permission, to the front of the church. I knew, without a doubt, that God was calling out to me. (Others who have experienced this will know what I mean, it is unmistakable!). It was what Christians called “being born again” or “saved”. I became, and still am, a “Messianic Jew” (because the Jewish faith follows the mother’s line), which is in essence, a person born Jewish who chooses to follow Christ.
I was quite shy as a young girl, but I suddenly found boldness that couldn’t be explained. I started telling everyone what had happened to me, and invited everyone I knew to youth group. One of these was my brother, who also was born again at the same church. I started teaching at Sunday School, and later got involved in youth leadership. It was at the same church youth group that I met my husband when I was 15 years old. (We were about the 5th couple out of that youth group to marry, and I believe all are still married over 30 years later).
That Sunday evening started a personal relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ, which continues to this day. I have learned a lot over the years, and I continue to learn about Him and His grace every single day. We have had our ups and downs, just like any relationship, except that I have learned that when that happens, it is me, and not Him that pulls away. He is steadfast and is always the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. I know that I can count on Him, and His grace and love surrounds me, even when I don’t deserve it. We are all sinners before we come to God, and we are redeemed by His grace from the time that we choose to love Him back. I have run away from Him, raged at Him, been disloyal to Him, and been disobedient to Him many times, but His grace has always found me, rescued me and loved me. I have been through some tough challenges in my life, as we all have been by the time we reach midlife, and I can honestly say that I don’t know how I would’ve made it without the love of God through Christ in my life. I don’t understand how people can get through all the trials of life without God’s love and peace surrounding them…what they don’t know is that God always loves them, and chooses them, but sometimes people either are ignorant that they can have a relationship with God, or they deliberately choose not to. That to me is sad. It’s like being given the most valuable gift you could ever receive, and throwing it up into the air saying, “thanks but I don’t want it”.
I believe that every one of us is special and unique, and that God has a good plan for each of us, without exception. He wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, but He never forces Himself on us as He, being God, could do. He is a gentleman, and we get to exercise our own free will to choose Him or not.
Every human being alive draws breath because of God. We all have a “hole” deep inside of us that can only be filled by Him. There are people in life who have a great abundance of stuff…everything their hearts could desire, yet they still feel empty. They still feel like something is missing. That’s because they are not connected to the Giver of Life, and until they do, they will walk the earth, acquiring more stuff, going through many relationships, getting hooked on all sorts of addictions, getting involved in all manner of funny stuff and even in religion, and never find what they seek. We all know people like this. Maybe you are one of them. You will know that you have an emptiness inside… when you sit down long enough to actually catch up with yourself, and listen to that still, small voice, you will know it.
An aside to the searchers…
If that is how you feel, please drop me an email at any time, and I will get right back to you. My desire is to help people. Or, find a Bible-believing church near you and go there. (Even if you’re skeptical of Christians and have been hurt by some, remember that God is Who you must seek, not Christians, who are mere people). Some people have even got the help they needed by picking up a Bible and reading it. If you’re searching, or experiencing trouble in your life and have no support, please drop me a line. I’m always happy to pray and ask for help from the One who is the lover of all our souls, no matter who we are, or what we’ve done in our lives. If you don’t seek and find Him, you’ll always feel like you’re missing something.
Do it today. You deserve it.
With love and blessings