I was scrolling through social media the other day and I see loads of people from my past. People who I used to pray with, fellowship with in church, bible study and summer camps or even college events. But now I see that they don’t have a passion for Him anymore. Friends who used to love the Lord so very much.
For me, I went through a phase of rebellion. It was only about a year long, but during that entire time I KNEW what I was doing. I remember one of my very best friends came over to my apartment one night because she wanted to talk to me. She knew I had been drinking most nights of the week, wasting away my hard earned money on nothing. She saw the destruction I was doing to myself and she knew in her heart that she had to talk to me.
I remember this as if it happened last night, even though it was almost 12 years ago.
We were standing in my dining area by my table. I knew why she had come over. I was a little nervous to hear what she was going to say but I also had this, almost cocky sense of confidence so I was going to take whatever she dished out. After we said our ‘hello’s,’ and ‘how are you’s,’ she looked at me with such loving eyes. She said that she was worried about me, worried that my new lifestyle was not good for me and she just honestly MISSED me. She said she missed our friendship and she missed seeing me have a joyful heart with the Lord. She showed nothing but love. She wasn’t judgemental or angry or hurtful. She just wanted me to know that she was worried, she loved me, but most importantly that as a sister in Christ, she wanted to help hold me accountable.
I remember knowing full well that every single word she spoke to me was truth. All of it. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and that’s exactly what I said to her. Ugh. Sometimes I can’t believe I did this, but after she poured out her heart to me, I looked at her and said, “Riv, I know what I am doing is wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway.”
You’d think at this point anger would come, but it didn’t. She looked at me and replied with, “Okay Michelle, but I’m praying for you and I’m here for you when you decide that you’re done.” And after that conversation I remember her just hugging me. She just held on to me and hugged me. We both cried a lot of tears during that hug. That moment will always be one of the most influential moments in my walk with God.
Let me tell you something. That friend. She is a true example of Christian Love. I get emotional even writing about it because what if she had come to me in anger and frustration? Would I have ever wanted to go to her when I turned my life back around? Or even scarier, what if she had never come to me at all? She was so loving to me that I felt compelled to go to her when I knew enough was enough. She was the first person that I turned to. And in case your wondering, after she had that conversation with me, it wasn’t but a few weeks later that I came to her, telling her I was done. God used her in a very mighty way.
Now, I’m not saying I’m even close to perfect now. Heavens no. How about this…do you know how many times we’ve been to church in the 10 years we’ve been married? Probably under 20. I don’t even like to admit it, but it’s the truth. There have been years that went by when I’d do little things here and there with my quiet time or prayer, still knowing full well that God is God, but definitely NOT living my life sharing Christ and growing in my walk as I should. Now, that IS changing and has been something that I’ve been trying to really focus on the last few years. But, I still struggle. I still fall short. I still sin. I still have moments where I just question things. I have a hard time not trying to control EVERYTHING. Thankfully, I’m forgiven and there is grace and I am able to give it over to something BIGGER and something way better than I could even imagine. My heart physically hurts just thinking of a life without God as the core.
I say all of this because I see so many of my, then, “christian” friends who are not living for Christ anymore and I wondered why. I even asked my husband if he had any idea why that happens. Maybe because even at my lowest of lows, I still KNEW that God was always there, watching me, protecting me, but still allowing me to make my mistakes and giving me consequences for them. So I guess I just want to ask,
What made you turn away from God?
Was it the group of christians that you spent your time with? Was it the church that made you turn away? Did something tragic happen in your life that you couldn’t even imagine God allowing to happen? When I think of all of the people who were close to me, who lead very different lives than their younger years it makes me just wonder what made them turn away.
If you have turned away but still have that voice inside, speaking to you, let me pray for you. Let me be your “Rivkah.” Email me, call me, message me. I want to be an encouragement to you like Rivkah was to me 12 years ago.