I was 12 when Jesus called me to come. After years of Sunday School and church, he became very real to me and no longer just a story. I felt him tugging on my heart, whispering my name and drawing me in. I responded and stepped forward with faith.
Fast forward 36 years and I see his hand so often across my life, yet I also see the distance between us that has existed in this journey. What I couldn't see then, I can see now. I spent years thinking all was okay with God however, life was far from it. I was moving away from God, a gradual move, without notice. Slipping further away, making my own decisions with no thought of his plan.
Regardless of how I had ignored God, he was faithful. He never stopped loving me and as I wandered around aimlessly, he was waiting. In a moment of mess, when I felt shattered, I heard his voice again. The quiet whisper from deep inside, calling me to come and find the peace, rest, hope and love that I needed so desperately.
His grace, something I didn't deserve but that's God. Pouring it out, over and over again. Like refreshing water, it washes over us and removes away the layers of mud from hurt, guilt, injustice, disappointments and poor choices that has clung to our lives. It is this Grace that allows us to forgive ourselves when we think we are unforgivable. He does not hold the past against us instead, God says it is gone, removed, forgotten and gives us a fresh start.
"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west."
As a Christian, I can still make poor decisions and mess up daily. I can still overlook God and follow my direction instead of his. However, it is his grace that enables me to return to him, regardless of what I have done. It is his grace, that brings me home. It is his grace that forgives and restores. This grace is given freely to his children, those who believe through faith, for their salvation.
God never lets his children go. When we wander, he waits with arms open wide. The only distance that was between God and I, was what I put there. All the time, he patiently waited for me to return home. When I finally reached that turning point, he was there. Guiding me back with his loving arm around me saying it would all be okay. Grace....beautiful, perfect grace.
The lyrics of a song by Seventh Time Down says, "Outside your calling but inside your grace". I look back a my life and see exactly that. I had given my life to Christ but followed my own path. As his child, he never let me go however he allowed me to wander within his grace. I can see his hand had protected and provided, even when I wasn't acknowledging him.
That's what I love about him. He never changes, he is the constant in my ever changing world. Even when I make poor decisions, he shows grace and mercy when I realise my error. God desires only the best for his children and forces nothing. Our lives are full of our decisions. We can choose to enjoy a fullness of life with God or pursue our own path. I never realised until recent years, what walking with God was truely like. I am excited like a young child, for what lies ahead for me. There is an abundance that only comes from God and the only way we can receive this is to receive him and all that he has for us. .
When I chose to follow God, his grace was made available to me and it can be yours too. His hand is extended and all you have to do is grab hold. When you do, he pulls you close, wraps his arms around you and says you are mine. With that love, comes a fullness of life and it can only be found in God. By seeking him and pursuing his purpose, his plan, and forsaking mine, I experience a more abundant life. One where I can stand firm when the world wants to knock me down. One that is full of hope and expectation and the world cannot take this away from me. A life where His voice is not faint anymore but one that I hear clearly. The one who knows me and loves me. Forever thankful for his grace.