Romans 15:13, says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
When I first heard this scripture was when I first realized those who trust IN GOD for authority, direction, and wisdom, are to be filled BY GOD with ALL JOY, ALL PEACE. But this meaning is exactly where I stumbled over for so long. The person God designed me to naturally be, was one who would be a good servant and having great desires to serve God in many ways. And yet, the reality was in my youth, I ended up placing more emphasis on the responsibilities, rather than the redeemer.
I was raised up in the Catholic Church as a young girl. My parents had regularly taken our family to Church. I can remember as a little girl, weekly being in the pews, taking communion, and openly confessing my sins. I was baptized as an infant and entered Holy Communion as a child. Over the years, with family dynamics changing and social circles expanding, the practice of faith became more habitual than it grew personal. I dwelt less in heart with God, but was obedient to the weekly worship. So, in time, I was grown up in a very moral home. It was at my junior year of high school I accepted the Confirmation of Faith. I felt I had a good understanding of God, I had finished years of Sunday school, and while not perfect, hoped to model a good daughter.
Years back, amid me evolving my career, I decided to move to Chicago. I jumped right into achieving my career goals. I became busy with personal hopes and obligations, that my focus when at church made me feel never truly present in spirit. At a point, I began this habit of rather making time for God, I prayed to him as I needed him.
My life had taken an unexpected turn that would change my relationship with our father. Most my life I told my folks most things that went through my mind, the good and the bad. Being who I am in nature, I just never really felt this crazy desire to do wild things. But over the years and moving away, I felt a freedom and curiosity of all that the world had to offer. I thought this is my adult life and if I had one crazy night- where is the harm in that? I compared myself to others thinking my choices were just not all that bad in relation to what others were doing.
I had grown up with frequent confession and prayer, so I thought well if I do something I knew I shouldn’t, I can just ask God to forgive me. I began making decisions in my social circles that placed me in some very hard circumstances. I became extremely fearful of what life’s purpose was showing me. I could not understand why life was unfolding differently than how I intended.
It was at that point, I connected with a Moody Bible Pastor who happened to be the father in-law of a good acquittance. He mentioned he was a Pastor and understood I was in a storm of my own. Not long after that, he asked me if I had known the love of the lord? The manner in which he spoke to me was so deeply personal and drew me deeper in the word. Shortly after our first conversation, I began driving several times a week to see him and his wife. When we would meet, we talked about the goodness that is in store, Jesus, his plans, and his will. Him and his wife would ask me questions about Jesus that would leave me driving back home pondering these excruciating thoughts exit after exit. In time, I understood that my relationship with God was missing a relationship with his Son. Through continually spending time with them in the word, setting lengthy time aware for prayer, I grasped sound doctrine, I understood scripture like John 14:6 – “I am the way and truth of life, no one comes to the farther except through me.” I stopped focusing only on the laws and attempting to qualify myself, HIS CREATION, in attempt to qualify MY CREATOR. I began laying myself down more and more till I could feel my new identity in Christ consuming me. I would feel God redirecting my paths. As I dwelt in his word day by day, prayed, and fellowshipped with others, I felt myself unable to say NO to him. I will never forget when my Pastor shared Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” This became a truth I clung onto everywhere I stepped.
In time, I began to feel the Holy Spirit re-working me, only after I had put my faith in Jesus. I realized I could not always live up to the law, but with the power of the Holy Spirit my walk with Christ was to be continual and that the message of the cross is me being saved, but most of all truth that in this life, it’s only the cross of Christ that can connect me with God.
If something in my faith story reminds you of your own, I’d love to grab coffee and talk about it. Thank you.