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02 January 2012

You Can't Just Talk the Talk

We've heard the expression "You Can't Just Talk the Talk, You Have to Walk the Walk," but what does that mean in the journey to know and understand Jesus? When I walked down that church aisle so very many years ago, pulled by something that I didn't fully understand, but knowing that it was where I needed to be, I made a public declaration of faith. Have I lived that faith, truly?

I wish I could stand proudly and say that I have. I wish I could shout from the rooftops and speak volumes on the subject of how my life was transformed and the fact that I've never since looked back. The reality is far less appealing. The child that I was grew into the teenager that I became, still walking in faith. I was not - nor will I ever be on this earth - perfect, but I was pretty much the dorky good kid. I minded my mama and daddy, listened to and respected my elders, went to church, and tried to be a good person. Church was not a place to go to see and be seen, it was the place where we learned about the Lord. I rebelled, at times arguing with the fact that we went to church while mama and daddy (and later, my stepdad) didn't always go. Did being an adult mean that you didn't have to go to church?

When I left home at the grand old age of 20 and got married, I didn't go to church. My husband proclaimed to believe, but the entire time I knew him he only stepped foot inside a church when someone got married or buried. Did I witness to Him, share the story of the gospel and how Jesus had made a change in me? Of course not. I was a young adult and I believed and that was all that mattered. Life changes, things happen. Next thing I know, I'm a young divorcee with a child. When I began dating again, I fell in love and married a man who didn't believe in God. How did I reconcile that with my own belief? Did I witness to him? Of course not. Religion became the subject on which we agreed to disagree. As our children were born, the decision was made to allow them to make their own choice when it came to religion. They knew that their father was a non-believer and that their mother did believe. Did I witness to them, share the story of Jesus, and take them to church? No. Why? I still don't have the answer to that question, even though my children are now adults.

Life changes, things happen. Without going through details that I try daily to forget, suffice it to say that we've now fast-forwarded several years. There was another marriage, and another. My husband believes in God, but does not attend church, and hasn't for a very long time. He was born and raised Catholic, which is a faith that I do not profess to understand, having been born and raised in the Baptist church. This, however, is not a discourse on which denomination is best. What this is, in its convoluted way, is a story of a woman brought up in faith, who proclaims to believe, who talks the talk, but hasn't walked the walk in so many years that it is as if I am starting all over as a new Christian. The one thing that I know without fail, without doubt, is that my God loves me. Just as I am, flaws and all. He doesn't expect me to be perfect, He expects me to be me.

What I know to be true, today, is that the last few months have brought the realization that something is missing in my life. It is not about what I have - for I am blessed indeed with great children, a husband that loves me, and a family that always believes in me. I have a home, a rewarding job, and good friends. It is about finding myself in the faith that has never left me, through all the ups and downs of my life. It's not about talking the talk, it's about walking the walk. Am I ready?

I am. This isn't about finding "the church," it's about finding a church home. It is about being with other believers, talking and communing with those who have a true interest in living for Christ. It is about getting up every day, secure in the fact that life on this earth is but a drop in the bucket compared to the beauty of the eternity that awaits me when I get to Heaven. It is about being strong when Satan tries to dissuade me from my path, and placing my trust in Jesus. It is about knowing, believing, and living my faith. It's not always going to be easy, but with Him, I will prevail.

God, I am so unworthy, but I offer myself to you. Make me into the woman that you knew I would be before I was even created. I am clay and you are the potter. Make me into your vessel, fill me with your love, and help me to pour out the blessings as I share my faith in you.

"He must become greater, I must become less."~John 3:30, NIV






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