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Finding God
by Tiffany Tharpe
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Growing up my family didnít attend church often but I learned about God. I knew he created the world in six days, gave us Ten Commandments to live by, and had a son named Jesus who died on a cross then was resurrected three days later. I knew all these facts about God but sadly never stopped to think about Him and what His presence should mean in my life. I knew what God did but not who God was. Instead of devoting my thoughts to God they were consumed by thoughts of the world.

As an overweight child I spent every waking moment trying to fit in with the Ďcoolí kids. I tried everything I could think of to get them to notice me, to like me and to be friends with me. Everyday I went to great effort to dress just right and make sure my hair was fixed perfectly in hopes that they would think I was cool too and not ridicule me. I tried to act and talk like them, I shudder at the thought of the things I did and said. I even went so far as to do their homework for them but nothing worked. No matter what I looked like, did or said I was still on the outside.

Then one day fitting in didnít matter anymore. Twenty-five days after my fifteenth birthday, my life was altered in a matter of seconds. While swimming at a local park with my cousins I had a diving accident, which left me paralyzed from the neck down. From that moment on the worry of becoming one of the Ďiní crowd cease to exist, my worry then became the need to adjust to life as a quadriplegic. I no longer worried about what the kids at school thought about me.

After the accident I did think more about God than I had before. I was grateful to Him for saving my life the day of the accident. I knew He had made it possible for the men who played a key part in saving me to be in the park that day. The men were rural electric workers who had been working on power lines in the area for several days. Each day they had decided to eat their lunch outside the cafť were they purchased it but that day God compelled them to take their meal to the park. Because of the emergency training they received as a requirement for their job they were able to keep me breathing until the ambulance arrived. I knew God had used those men and others present that day to save my life. I knew he had helped me that day and was helping me everyday after that. He was providing me with the help and strength I needed to survive the changes in my life and He graced me with a wonderful supportive family. Unfortunately I was still only thinking about what God does and not who He is. I kept God in my head, thinking of Him as just a great far away being who was nice enough to meet my needs and take care of me.

Then several years later my thoughts about God were transformed, I came to know personally who God is and what he should mean to me. For months my sisters had been asking me to attend church with them but each time they asked I came up with an excuse not to go. Every time I turned them down I felt bad but something kept holding me back then one Sunday I finally decided to go with them. The church service that day pricked my heart and left me with a longing for more so I attended again and again. After attending the church for several weeks the members found out I didnít have a personal bible so they gifted me with one. I was honored by their thoughtfulness and took my gift home and put it away. I didnít think about the bible until several days later when I was in need of something to read, reading is my main pass time, and couldnít find anything I hadnít already read. My mother brought it to my attention that there was one book in the house I hadnít read, the Bible. She was right I had never read the Bible. I knew some Bible stories, like David and Goliath or Jonah in the whale, but I had never personally read Godís word. I decided it was time I read about God for myself.

In the pages of the Bible I discovered who God is. I found that God was not just some far away being but a God who wants an intimate relationship with me. I did learn about more things God had done but I also learned why He did them. I learned that He is a loving and giving God who knows me intimately and desires for me to know Him. He loves me so much that He sent His only son to die on the cross for me so that I could be free from my sins and able to spend eternity with Him. Finally I had discovered who God was and what He should mean to me. I repented for my sins, accepted God into my heart, was baptized and joined the church. My life was changed.

Each time I think back on all the years I struggled to be friends with the Ďiní crowd when all the time there was a true friend waiting there for me I want to cry. I tried so hard to get them to like me, saying and doing things I now know displeased God, when all I had to do to Ďfit iní with God was turn to Him. I now have a Friend who accepts me for who I am and who is there to love and guide me everyday. Iím glad I finally found out who God is and accepted Him into
my life and heart.

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