I have been a 'baby christian' for a long time. I always loved God, and wanted to know Him like grandma knew Him. Growing up, I was involved at church, loved hearing the stories from the Bible....but I stayed a baby christian for a long time, for so many reasons. What do I mean by a baby christian? Well I just knew the facts. God wasn't my focus. It wasn't who I was -it was just a part of my life. Some days I would even have the whole day go by and not really talk to God until prayer at night. But the differences betwen baby christians and mature christians are for a different blog! But one thing I didn't really understand because I was a baby christian was that once I was saved (age 7), that doesn't mean I have arrived and that's that..... being saved is really just the way BEGINNING! That is why they call it born again!
So one of the biggest steps in my journey was thanks to a mentor Brandon and I came across "coincidentally" (totally planned by God) in 2003. After meeting him, we were surrounded by amazing amounts of people that absolutely loved the Lord and understood His success principles. Meeting them really was the catalyst to help us get our lives back on track. Our atheist and super 'educated' college professors and the general liberal aura of a college campus were being used to lead us away from the Lord --- but this man and this group shed Light into our lives again. They reminded us of what our grandparents,
(digression: grandma! I understand you more and more as I get to know the Lord better -- what I wouldn't do for one more day with you!!! I can't thank you enough for all you did for me. Ohhh how much wiser I would be right now if I could rewind time and ask you LOTS more questions and study you more! I know in heaven you have received all the rewards you deserved - I can't wait to see you again - I am taking your lessons and your legacy and continuing! I will make you proud! THANK YOU for always being the best example to me - even though I didn't appreciate or understand you all the time!)
(MomMom! the ultimate example to me of unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance..... and Daddy Cat! the greatest example to me that life may not always be easy but that the hard times can make you better! His lessons taught me that we need to constantly try our best and that Right decisions won't be easy)
and church leaders had taught us growing up. They brought us back to the lessons that had been ingrained in our hearts, The Truth, The Bible. They challenged us to find a church --- and in late 2003, early 2004 - we found Southside Baptist Church and have been going there ever since.
Since 2004 I have been getting more and more fired up about the Lord. The more mature I get in my spirituality and walk with the Lord - the more I love the Bible! This year will be the first time I have ever read the whole Old Testament straight through. My goal was to read the whole Bible cover to cover because I had never done that before - but I missed that goal this year. Last year I read the New Testament and this year I read the Old. There is just SO much in there! Every other year, I have just skipped around and read my favorite verses - but now I can say I have read the WHOLE Bible! Reading the Old Testament this year, I just did a basic study - writing down my thoughts, journaling after I read, underlining passages that the Spirit made stand out to me. I can't wait to get even more in depth. I just yearn to really KNOW the Bible!
I started out wanting to REALLY start to study the Bible because I thought...when I go to heaven, I will be very embarassed if I meet xyz famous Bible character and not know their story! Then the more I read, the more I understand God.... and the more I understood God the more I understood me! I can truly say I found Randi in the past years from the Bible. I have gotten glimpses of Randi the way God sees Randi. Then after that realization, I yearned for the Bible because I realized it was my defense - when so many people are doing wrong - I want to lay out the black and white. When they ask me I want to say without a doubt... THIS is what is right. This is what the Bible says! See, there IS a right and a wrong and it is all laid out in the Bible. There IS ONE moral code no matter what the media or some politician tell you - there is right and there is wrong and it existed before you and I. This book will guide you, teach you the right and wrong and will teach you how to live! It will keep you out of the gray area that is so dangerous and only leads to a mediocre, average life. It will teach you to truly LIVE and go the opposite direction of the masses!
My grandma read the Bible all the way through every year. I will continue to have that as a goal! As all the people close to me know - I LOVE words. I seem to be BURSTING with them most of the time. My heart is almost always overflowing! I LOVE God's word.
The reason all this is coming out today - is because I just feel God's presence so much right now. More than I ever have. Today the pastor had an incredible sermon again! I just felt God's presence and God's words flowing through Him. God always affirms to me the lessons I am learning - because I will read a certain passage or blog about something the Spirit is nudging me on, and then the pastor will speak about that exact same thing the next Sunday! It's incredible! Through the pastor's words I can hear God saying to me, "great job Randi, keep reading, I want you to know Me even more! " That is how you know you've found a good church - and that is how God will confirm to you, that you are on the right path! There is SOO much potential in this church and I want to help it grow! I want to help all the people that flitter in through those doors to truly feel welcome and accepted -- and eventually challenged to become better and better daily.
During the sermon today, numerous times, I literally had the urge all of a sudden to stand up and shout numerous times, "praise God!" I wanted to shout --- "people do you feel that?! Is God piercing your hearts like He is mine!? He is calling us to action! He is calling up His army!" Nobody can say when the Lord will come back or not -- but I just FEEL something big is happening! The opposing sides are starting to gather more and more with each year! When I feel God's love and when I feel his joy -- I just can't help but smile which is why I'm always smiling! How can people who know the same truths that I do, not be joyful!?! How come they don't have smiles on their faces!??! HOw come they aren't more friendly to each other?!? How come they don't show the world what True joy and fun is!!! I want people to look at my life and lifestyle and I want them to think...now how is she like that? What does she know that I don't!?!?
We sang 'Above all Powers' (I think that is what it's called) today.... and the Spirit was just all over me. I felt like it was just me and God and other spiritual beings not the flesh at all, I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what I felt ---- what an AWEsome experience! The songs just tore my heart... "crucified, laid behind a stone, you lived to die, rejected and alone. like a rose trampled on the ground. You took the fall and you thought of ME (RANDI)...above all...."..... How can you not absolutely break down when you truly HEAR those words. I can't even fathom the love God has for me. and all He asks is for love back --- He asks for me to Love Him and then Love others enough to tell them about Him. He just asks for me to make Him a part of my life. He wants my attention, my love my soul and I want to give it to Him! OHH the power I have been missing out on by not letting Him into my life! I want to be with Him during every part of my day!! I want to always be TUNED into his frequency - I want to be ever-aware of His presence!
Whenever I feel the Spirit - I automatically shed tears - and numerous times during today's sermon I had uncontrollable leakage from my eyes! They aren't tears of sadness - they are tears of absolutey pure JOY and PEACE. It's a spiritual high. When grandma went to heaven this May..... I had some lows in lots of areas of my life - but I got through those tough times waiting to feel like this! I knew God was there even in my lows and I knew that I just had to get through those lows and use it to built my faith because this time right now would come!
Thank you God for showing Yourself to me more and more!!! Thank you for this blog I started in February when I just had SOOO much to say but not a lot of people with time to listen!! I thank you for this outlet. I also thank you for the people I have met that have encouraged and taught me and grown with me. Thank you for the couples I am finally starting to meet at church that are finally ready to get serious about having a small group together!
I want to be used! I feel like I have SOO much to give! I feel like a bursting spring sometimes! After the sermon, sometimes people just switch back to "regular life" and I am just still floating - I want to continue to talk about what the pastor preached about -- I still have so much more to say! I know He gave me this heart and my passions for a reason. I know God is preparing something big for me! I want to use these lessons I have been learning to help others!
Thank you to all my blog friends who have encouraged my growth in the past year since starting this blog. Some of them only stopped by once and left a comment one time...some are always there (hugs!) and some never leave comments - only email me! and I am thankful for every single one of you!
God, what plans do you have for me next!?!? :) I know that You will know when I'm ready --- so when You know that I'm ready -- use me!!!! I'm willing! Which talents have you given me that I can use to bring others to you? I know you gave me a talent in encouraging others. I genuinely love people and love to make people feel welcome and accepted! God --- please help me strengthen the talents you have given me - and please make it obvious what my talents are so I can find what my specific purpose is!!!
That's all I have on my heart tonight....to anybody who actually read all this --- WOW! I hope it was worth all the reading! I am humbled you would read all my words! I love you for it!!
These are some of my favorite blogs of my spiritual growth of the past year. Just thought I'd link them here for my own reference to remember some of the lessons I learned throughout the year: