A couple of hours ago, my husband and I went to an advanced screening to see I Still Believe.
In case you haven't heard anything about it, it's a new movie based on Jeremy Camp's early years as a musician, sort of. I was choked up most of the movie trying to hold back tears. I left the theater with a headache because I fought the tears. I knew if I let them loose, I wouldn't be able to stop. Thinking about it now makes me want to cry.
Without spoiling the movie, I'd say One big takeaway for me is that we should all tell our story and if only one life has changed because of it, then what we've gone through would all be worth it. God gets the glory. Often what we go through isn't for us, but for the growth of others, to draw them closer to Christ. Depending on the level of difficulty, this can be a tough pill to swallow.
But as I pondered my takeaway, I started to think of my story. What is it that I could share with the world? What is it about my life that would draw someone closer to Christ? I don't have a sad, heartbreaking story. But is that the only thing that draws others to Christ? Heartbreak and difficulty?
God has kept me. What do I mean by that? I've done some crazy things in my life, but not too crazy. There've been times when I've crossed the line, but I quickly turned around. Imagine life with a toddler who you're constantly yelling, "aht aht!" Yea, those aren't real words, but we say them to get the toddler to change direction. Too hot! Too dangerous! Too cold! Too sharp! Too close to the edge!
Many years ago after starting college, I can recall one of my "church mothers" calling to check on me as I was heading out of town to do something I shouldn't have been doing. Maybe she knew. Maybe she didn't. But I believe that was a warning from God to turn around. I was going too far left. Did I turn around? Literally? No. But her call changed the course of my weekend, I think. "aht aht!"
I can recall when my college classes first began and I wanted to hang out on the plaza. Don't judge me. Everything was fresh and new and I wanted to see what was going on. My new friend wouldn't have it. She looked me squarely in the face and said she wouldn't go with me because she wasn't majoring in Plaziology 101. "aht aht!"
Wrong guy for you. Let him leave. "aht aht!"
The next time you might kill yourself and your friend driving drunk. Be sober. This is not the life I have for you. "aht aht!"
Turn around and take heed to your friend's story. I sent her to you for a reason. "aht aht!"
I have many "aht aht" stories...stories where God let me know many times that He was right there with me when I wanted to do something crazy, but instead, He gave me the courage and grace to turn around. The more I think about it, I guess these were immature times when I hoped God wasn't quite watching and I wanted to test the waters. But God is faithful and I'm thankful for that.
God has kept me. God has proved to me over and over again that He's with me and that He hears and answers my prayers. There are many times that He answers prayers that I haven't even taken the time to pray about. Faithful. He loves me and I am so grateful that He shows me over and over again.
No matter what your story is, I encourage you to share it and the love of God. You don't know who it may help. If it can help only one person, then it would all be worth it. And no matter what, keep the faith. :-)
God has kept me and He'll do the same for you!
Go see the movie and take some tissues so that you won't walk away with a headache like I did. #IStillBelieve