FARGO -- I periodically share faith stories in this column. If you would like to submit your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail me at 319 32nd Ave E, West Fargo, N.D. 58078.
Here is Kari’s story from when she was recently baptized:
“I grew up going to church, but like so many did not have a personal relationship with Christ. Church was a habit and eventually a lost priority. Throughout my young adult life, I had years where I was living a life that did not put Got first. I always felt like I was 'missing something' regardless of my job or relationships. This caused a feeling of restlessness and lack of purpose.
"Nearly 5 years ago, I started trying out local churches after starting to build a relationship with Christ. A friend suggested Prairie Heights and after my first visit, I knew I had found a home. I said Yes to Christ shortly after and have not looked back.
"I choose to surround myself with others who follow Jesus. This allows us to lean on each other and provide encouragement when needed. Following Jesus doesn't mean your life won’t have hard times; it does mean I have a deep peace that I'm not facing those times alone.
"At one point in my life, I struggled because I wasn't seeing a big grand purpose for my life yet. Today, I believe that God uses us as his followers to bring him glory, regardless of our path. I truly feel that being baptized is my next step of obedience in my walk with Christ.”
There are several reasons I love hearing people’s story. Spiritually, Revelations 12:11 teaches us that followers of Jesus overcome the obstacles Satan throws at us through the blood of the lamb (meaning the gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ and the ongoing strength his sacrifice provides) and by the word of our testimony (we receive encouragement and strength as we hear what God has done and is doing in the lives of others). I also love hearing people’s stories because there is always something we can learn from each other. We can learn from each other’s mistakes and highlights.
What can we learn from Kari’s story? There is a difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Throughout the Bible we see a Creator who is seeking a relationship with the most prized piece of his creation: you and me, humans. Without a relationship with him through Christ, we will search for fulfillment in many places but not find it.
Our inner circle really matters. Who we regularly rub shoulders with will determine the quality and direction of our life. You will find that to be a consistent theme in the life stories of every person.
There is great joy, peace and purpose in reflecting God in our current circumstances, job, neighborhood, etc. This joy, peace and purpose is fulfilled daily until our days on earth have ended. That is really great news and a great discovery. Way to go, Kari! Thank you God!
I continue to hear and meet faithful readers and I deeply appreciate each of you, whether you agree with me or not. God bless you. See you next Sunday!