Friday, November 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Finding God

Last fall I went through a phase of desperately needing to better understand the world and my place in it. An overwhelming direction from God led me back to church after having been away since I was a young girl. I didn't know much about my faith, and I didn't know where to attend church. All I knew was that I needed to find that place. 

The first church I visited was Portland's Church of Christian Science -- it's right beside a Lutheran church where I meant to attend service. I didn't realize where I was until the sermon was starting so I politely stayed. The messages I heard there didn't help me connect with my faith and the church vibe wasn't the warm comforting love I needed. The next Sunday I attended church at First Presbyterian. Ever since that Sunday the people there have been a second family.

My first service happened to be the day all the different church organizations set up a table and recruited church-goers to extend their faith to a new activity. A few sweet, sweet ladies reached out to me and asked if I would like to join their women's Bible Study. The focus and concentration I put on God during those meetings has gave me a better direction to serve Him. I learned to love myself and others. I learned to forgive. And most of all I learned that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and will forever seek to better my relationship with Him. 

Last November I was baptized as a member of First Presbyterian. My parents came and I was surrounded by love from them and ladies in my Bible studies. At first I was embarrassed that I was being baptized as an adult, but now I am happy that I will always be able to remember and cherish that experience. One thing that was very special for me was being baptized my our associate pastor. She is inspiration for the Christian I want to be; dedicated but admittedly not perfect, and progressive yet traditional. I was the first person she ever baptized (with the exception of a Cabbage Patch doll at seminary, apparently) which made it extra memorable for both of us. 

My parents and myself at First Pres after my baptism (November 2013). I am holding the fantastic study Bible I was gifted from my Bible study ladies.
Since that day I have learned to better understand and love myself, those around me, and the world we life in. I am far from understanding what it means to be a Christian, but the endless journey of trying to better understand that has led me to be the best version of myself. I can never thank God enough for leading me toward his Grace. 

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