31 years ago today I decided that I wanted to follow Jesus. My sister Tabitha and I were baptized the same day and we have celebrated this spiritual birthday every year since then. When I decided to follow Christ, I really couldn't understand the extent of what that meant. But I did know a few things for sure:
- I knew I had sinned.
- I knew Jesus died for me and that he would forgive me of those sins.
- And I knew that I would go to heaven if I chose to follow Jesus alone.
And that was enough for me to confidently make the decision to follow Jesus.
I didn't realize just how hard that would be.
I love to observe families and see how children grow and learn. I love to watch their little vulnerable selves interact with their parents and their siblings. A couple of years ago I witnessed something that was like watching my own spiritual life being lived out in front of me. There was a mother and a father walking with their two children down the sidewalk, the traffic hurrying by. The little boy was holding his mother's hand, and the little girl was holding her father's hand. The little boy walked peacefully with his mother, letting her guide him along the way, without a care in the world, excitedly pointing out things that they were seeing all around them. The little girl, on the other hand, was different. She, too, was excited to see the things all around them but tried several times to get free of the father's grasp and run off. She even whined and pouted when he would scold her and explain the dangers of the road. And for a while she would calm down and let herself be guided down the street. But inevitably she would pull at her father's hand and try to wiggle free, all the while her father never releasing his hold on her. I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.
In regards to my spiritual life, I always wished that mine was like the image above of the mother and the son. I look at some people's lives and am amazed that their constant trust in Jesus, their discipline in walking with Him, their joy in being by His side, and their peace in holding His hand. But my life is more reflected in the little girl. I have been easily distracted while walking with Jesus. Instead of enjoying things with Jesus, I have found myself trying to wiggle free from His grasp many times in my life. I have tried to pull Him in the directions that I have wanted to go and have pouted and cried when He says "Obey me." Walking with Jesus has not always been bells and whistles. It's been hard. Very hard. I've had my doubts. I've thrown my tantrums. I've threatened to walk away.
But, like a good father, He has never let go. And it's that faithfulness that draws me back to Him every time. The longer I walk with Him, the less I want to stray. There truly IS a peace that passes understanding when I abide in Him. And since we walk together, He has been present in everything: Heartache, pain, the valley of death, delirium, celebration, laughter, stillness....the list goes on.
When I decided to follow Jesus I only knew a few things for sure. I am more certain about other things now, but the basics remain the same.
I am a sinner.
Jesus died and forgave me of my sins.
As a follower of Christ alone, I have eternal life!
So here's to 31 years of walking with Jesus!
It's not been without its struggles, but it has been absolutely 100% worth it.
And the best is yet to come!
(Would you like to discover for yourself what God is like and how He wants you to live? Send me a message and let's talk!)
Un día como hoy, hace 31 años decidí que quería seguir a Jesús. Mi hermana Tabitha y yo nos bautizamos el mismo día y hemos celebrado este cumpleaños espiritual cada año desde entonces. Cuando decidí seguir a Cristo, realmente no podía comprender el alcance de lo que eso significaba. Pero sabia algunas cosas con certeza:
Yo sabía que había pecado.
Yo sabía que Jesús murió por mí y que me perdonaría de esos pecados.
Y yo sabía que iba a ir al cielo si quisiera seguir solo a Jesús.
Y eso fue suficiente para mí hacer con confianza la decisión de seguir a Jesús.
No me di cuenta de lo difícil que sería.
Me encanta observar a las familias y ver cómo crecen y aprenden los niños. Me encanta ver a sus pequeños seres vulnerables interactuar con sus padres y sus hermanos. Hace un par de años fui testigo de algo que era como ver a mi propia vida espiritual que se vivía en frente de mí. Había una madre y un padre caminando con sus dos hijos por la acera, el tráfico corriendo al lado. La mamá estaba sosteniendo la mano del hijo, y el papá sostenía la mano de la hija. El niño caminaba tranquilamente con su madre, dejando que lo guiara en el camino, sin ninguna preocupación, con entusiasmo señalando las cosas que veían a su alrededor. La niña, por el contrario, era diferente. Ella también estaba muy contenta de ver las cosas a su alrededor, pero intentó varias veces librarse de la mano de su padre y huir. Incluso se quejaba y hacía mala cara cuando el papá la regañaba y le explicaba los peligros de la carretera. Por un tiempo se quedo se quieta y se dejó guiar por la calle. Pero, inevitablemente, tiraba de la mano de su padre y trataba librarse, mientras que su padre nunca le soltaba de su mano. Estoy segura de que pueden ver a dónde voy con esto.
En lo que respecta a mi vida espiritual, siempre deseaba que la mía fuera como la imagen de la madre y el hijo. Miro a las vidas de algunas personas y me sorprende de su constante confianza en Jesús, su disciplina en caminar con Él, su alegría de estar a su lado, y su paz en agarrar su mano. Pero mi vida se refleja más en la niña. Me distraigo fácilmente al caminar con Jesús. En lugar de disfrutar las cosas con Jesús, me he encontrado tratando de librarme de su mano muchas veces. He tratado de tirar de él en las direcciones que he querido ir y he hecho malas caras y he llorado cuando me dice "obedéceme ." Caminar con Jesús no siempre ha sido campanas y silbatos. Ha sido duro. Muy duro. He tenido mis dudas. He tenido mis rabietas. He amenazado con abandonarlo.
Pero, como un buen padre, Él nunca me ha soltado. Y es esa fidelidad que me atrae cada vez de nuevo a él. Mientras más camino con Él, menos quiero alejarme. Realmente hay una paz que sobrepasa todo entendimiento cuando permanezco en él. Y ya que andamos juntos, Él ha estado presente en todo: Angustia, dolor, el valle de la muerte, el delirio, la celebración, la risa, la quietud .... la lista sigue.
Cuando decidí seguir a Jesús sólo sabía algunas cosas con certeza. Estoy más segura en otras cosas ahora, pero los fundamentos siguen siendo los mismos.
Jesús murió y me ha perdonado mis pecados.
Como seguidor solo de Cristo, tengo la vida eterna!
Brindo por los 31 años de caminar con Jesús!
No ha sido sin sus luchas, pero ha valido la pena sin duda 100%.Y lo mejor esta por venir!
(¿Quieres descubrir por ti mismo cómo es Dios y cómo Él quiere que vivas? Envíame un mensaje y hablemos!)
4 days ago I celebrated my 39th birthday. I'm one of those people who doesn't care that people know how old I am. Considering the fact that my kidneys failed when I was 28, I'm actually amazed that I've made it this long! But Sunday, February 7th, was a great day and many people celebrated with me.
When my sibs and I were growing up, our mom had a tradition of telling us our 'birthday story'. She would make us our favorite meal and we would eat chocolate cake & ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce (except for my 7th birthday when I pleaded for a Strawberry Shortcake cake and have regretted it ever since. Long live chocolate!). After we would get done eating, Mom would "tell us our story", about the days leading up to our births and the day of the birth and all of that. And usually she would end with something like "and we were soooo happy that you were born into our family and we are still so happy!" I can't speak for my sibs, but I always loved hearing that story.
As a matter of fact, I still love hearing it. She continues to tell us our stories, although now it's mostly only when we ask for it. I couldn't this year because of time issues, and I feel like my birthday wasn't quite complete.
Here are the highlights of my story:
In February of 1977 there was a blizzard that hit the Brookville, IN, area. Every three days the snow came in, and nobody could go anywhere. So in the three days between snow storms, the town would clear the roads and help people get their cars out and everything. Since mom and dad knew I was going to come soon, they decided to go to Connersville that first day that they were able to get the car out and see our family doctor, Dr. Ellis. He agreed that I was coming soon, but everything was up in the air with the weather. Dr. Ellis was an old-fashioned doctor, and he gave mom and dad the option. "We can wait and see if you make it until after the next storm comes, or we can go ahead and move things along." Mom & Dad decided to move things along and started by sending Nate and Tab (then 4 and 2) with my Grandma and Grandpa Wasson just in case "this baby comes". Dr. Ellis told her to go buy a bottle of castor oil and drink it. When my mom asked how much she needed to take, he answered "the whole bottle!" Mom says it was so disgusting that she asked dad to get her a can a 7-up and they sat there in the car while she took one sip of castor oil and then one sip of 7-up until they were both gone. But by that evening she was in labor, playing Rack-O with Dad while they waited, and I was born that night on February 7th, 1977. And if I remember correctly from what they've told me -- I was their favorite baby ever.**
Out of my 39 birthdays, I've probably heard this story 30 times. It's nice to have a story. It's nice to have something to celebrate. It's nice to be born into a family that is excited for your arrival, and that still seems genuinely happy that you are still a part of it even 39 years later. :) I am really thankful for parents who have celebrated our lives with the traditional story-telling that still makes me content to be a Hannum.
**This part of the story may or may not be true. :)