my first love

Circumstances as of late seem to be leading me to share my story with y’all.  I think I will start with the present and then flashback to earlier days.

I really don’t enjoy talking about myself, but I do enjoy pointing people to Christ.  I am not a bible thumping, hell, fire and brimstone kinda Christian.  So, I hope I don’t scare you off with all of this Christian talk.

I may offend some people here, but in my opinion, what you see on t.v. and the media does not represent  Christians well at all.  In fact, if I were not a Christian and that public persona is all I had to go on, I most certainly wouldn’t want to be a one.

If you have been hurt or burned by the church, I am so sorry.

It is easy, even as a Christian, to be discouraged in the faith.   I’ve been there.  I was there for quite some time until recently.

On Maundy Thursday, I went to an all night prayer walk.  It was kind of like stations of the cross if you are familiar with that practice.  I went hoping that Jesus would encourage me.  I had visited over half of the stations, and they were meaningful, but my hardened heart was difficult to penetrate.

When I got to the station that asked us to express our love for Jesus, it got real.  I was feeling a bit frustrated at not feeling love for Jesus.  I looked over to my right and saw that someone who had visited the station before me wrote, ‘undying love’.   “Liar!”  I thought.   “How can you honestly say that you feel such a deep love for Jesus?  He’s not visible.  Life is hard.  People get hurt.  I hurt.  Circumstances knock us down.  I’m down.  So, how can undying love be filling your heart?!”

At the risk of others seeing my own expressions, I decided to answer honestly.  I drew an empty frame and wrote the word ‘unwritten’ inside.  On the back of my drawing, I elaborated on the meaning of my illustration.

As I wrote, I was taken back to a time when I was about seven- years- old and truly loved Jesus with all of my heart.  I loved going to church.  My favorite part of church was going to children’s chapel.  There were puppets, songs, and bible stories.  I would sing “Oh, How I Love Jesus” with such conviction.   I vividly remember my heart swelling with love and joy.

Even now, as I write about it, I’m taken back to that time.

But something happened to that little girl’s heart.  On this Maundy Thursday, my heart was aching.  I missed  having a child like faith.  And so I prayed for God to reunite my heart with His.

I carried my illustration with me as I traveled to the next station.  Tears started to fill my eyes as I reflected on how I’ve denied Jesus in my life.

Then, with the illustration still in hand, I made my way to the last station: The cross.

Tears freely flowing and walls crumbling, I knelt at the alter before the cross.  Suddenly, I was that little girl again, being reunited with her first love: Jesus.

I left my illustration at the foot of the cross that Maundy Thursday.  On Easter Sunday, I worshipped with a resurrected heart:  a renewed sense of gratitude and love for Jesus.

Over the next while, I will fill you in on the story of the seven-year-old little girl and her journey through life.

Until next time,

Sharon

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After 17 years in an elementary classroom, Mrs. Hines retired from teaching to pursue her passions: decorating, writing and homemaking. While her formal education is in teaching, she discovered her talent for design at a young age and is a self-taught decorator. Mrs. Hines' DIY spirit has earned her appearances on the show Deals which airs on the Live Well Network. She continues to teach and inspire on her popular Lifestyle blog, Mrs. Hines' Class. Homemaking is Mrs. Hines' first love. So, when she isn't decorating or writing, you can find her at home watching television with Mr. Hines or trying to keep up with her teenaged daughter.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing that Sharon – I’m looking forward to hearing more of your story and faith! Have a blessed Lord’s day!

    Angie @ Knick of Time

  2. Good morning Sharon … great story from the heart. Thanks for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes. I needed to take that walk with you.
    Hugs.
    Audrey Z.

  3. shirley@housepitalitydesigns says:

    Thanks for sharing your story…look forward to your story about the journey of the 7 year old…

  4. thank you God Bless you and I am looking forward to the rest of your story.

  5. Thank you for the affirmation…it’s a little unnerving putting myself out there like that. I hope you have a beautiful Sunday too.

  6. Oh, that’s so sweet. Now you’re bringing tears to my eyes. You are precious, Audrey.

  7. Thank you, Shirley. It’s a little unnerving to bare my soul, but worth it if my story “speaks” to even one person.

  8. God bless you too, Brenda.

  9. Thanks for sharing that. You’re not alone in the ups and downs. I need that prayer walk, too.
    Blessings,
    Fran

  10. It is always good to hear the testimony of others. Whether we’re in a valley or on the mountain top, it helps to hear you’re not alone in your faith fight. Thanks for sharing your testimony! I look forward to reading more. Blessings my friend.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Fran. I know I’m in good company. Blessings to you as well.

  12. I like the picture of the valley and the mountain. You’re right. It’s very encouraging to know others are familiar with the battle. Thanks, Fran.

  13. I hear you about the way that Christians are depicted on TV and in the media and it makes me sad that they may cause non-Christians to turn away from God. I am glad that you have been able to reconnect with your faith. Jesus did say that He would not let anyone snatch you from His hand. You are His for always, nomatter how many doubts sneak into your heart. Keep praying, spend time with other Christians and count your blessings. God bless x

  14. It makes me very sad to…makes me cringe. And thank you for your encouraging words. It’s very sweet of you exhort me to press on. God has placed us in a very nurturing church where we our hearts are healing. Thanks for caring.

  15. My husband took my little one out of town this weekend, and I was able to have a weekend at home by myself (which never happens!) I spent a lot of time with the Lord, and what a difference it has made in the peace I feel this morning. So glad you had this encounter with Jesus. Because of my encounter this weekend, I am making more time in my schedule to spend with Him. The great part is He is always there even when we aren’t:) thanks for sharing…

  16. and thank you for sharing! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me about your weekend. it is encouraging and refreshing.

  17. Thank you for your honesty, Sharon. I have been up and down and all over the place with my faith for years. Right now I feel a yearning to find a church but keep putting it off. I would LOVE to have a strong faith and have my husband share that with me, go to church with me etc. I am looking forward to “the rest of the story”. XO, Pinky

  18. Sharon, Thank you for sharing your experiences. There are many of us, including me, that are touched by your words. We need to be reminded of the feeling of warmth, love and security that we embraces us when we draw close to Christ.
    Our Lord led you to share with us. I look forward to when he leads you to continue your thoughts of Him.
    Blessings,
    Ginger

  19. Sweet Pinky, I wish I could hug you right now! Thank you for sharing with me. I hope my story will offer some hope to you and everyone reading it. xo

  20. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Ginger. I can’t begin to describe how vulnerable I’ve felt since I hit publish on that post. I scheduled a new post for today and honestly, I hoped it would distract from this post. HOWEVER, everyone is still reading and commenting on this post. Today’s post has had one comment so far. I’ve had to smile at God’s sovereignty. I feel like He is showing me what you are telling me….that He led me to share my story.

  21. Sharon, thanks for sharing this experience. I can relate to what you’ve been walking through. Although I have been a Christian since I was 16 years old, I’ve been feeling disconnected from my first love. I appreciate you opening up and being transparent to encourage those of us in a dry place right now. I think you are right where God wants you. :)

  22. You just lifted my spirits sky high when you said that I’m right where God want’s me. And I’m so glad we can walk through the desert together.

  23. Thank you Sharon. God honors your faith. Blessings, Ginger

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