Never Ending Grace

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.” — 1 Timothy 1:16, The Holy Bible, New International Version.

By Darah Dodt
The Flame Volunteer Writer

I grew up in a church that ministered to four generations of my family.  I went to church nearly every Sunday and learned that God loved me very much.  I learned all the popular Bible stories and songs.  But for my family, God stayed at church and we didn’t talk much about Him in our day-to-day lives.  Prayers were saved for when you were all alone at night in your bed before you fell asleep, thanking Him for the day and asking for the impossible.  I remember asking God to heal a family friend every night before I went to bed.  This man had terminal cancer and I truly believed that if I prayed every night for him, God would cure him.  Sadly, he passed away, and I in turn lost my faith at about 12 years old.

I continued to wrestle with my faith over and over throughout my life.  At times I wasn’t sure that God even existed.  Because I never developed a strong foundation, I didn’t have the necessary spiritual tools to navigate through my adolescence.  I spent most of my teen years and young adulthood searching for something to fill an unidentifiable gap in my soul.  Nothing and no one could seem to satisfy the void.  I faced lots of heartbreak as many do.  My parents divorced after I finished high school, and as I started college I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.  During those times, my grandmother was a source of unconditional love.  She was becoming more dependent on others and I really enjoyed helping her.  I began going with her to church every Sunday to the church where I grew up.  At this time, I was just a pew filler and a chauffeur to my grandma.  I can’t exactly tell you when or how, but things started to click.  I wanted to really know God and learn more about His word.  I wanted to spend more time in prayer with Him.

Not long after, I fell in love with my now husband, and in turn I started to value my life.  I really believe that God put him in my life at just the perfect time, and I have no doubt that we saved each other’s lives.  After a couple years of marriage, I experienced true unconditional love with the birth of my two children.  There was no way I could deny God’s existence.  Just as it says in Galatians 5:22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Just as my Father felt about me, I now felt this way about my children.  It became easier to understand the complex relationship between God and His children which is full of unrestricted love and complete forgiveness.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” — Galatians 5:22, Holy Bible, New Living Translation

God has always been patient with me, just like it says in 1 Timothy 1:16, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life,” (The Holy Bible, New International Version). While some have experienced profound turning points in their lives, my walk has been quite the opposite.  My adult relationship with God has happened so gradually.  At times it is one step forward, two steps back.  God leads me forward and then I get scared and begin to back pedal.  I will say that it does gets easier.  When I hear God’s calling, I can recognize it, when there is joy in my life I praise God for His blessings, and when there is tragedy I go to Him in prayer.  It is my sole purpose in life to make sure that my children have a strong relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. I am still learning how to be a Christian and how to teach my children about God. My hope is to continually grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ and pass the joy of relationship with Him to the next generation in my family.

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