Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: A Deeper Relationship
By Dianna Schnabel
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Spring is often celebrated as the season of new life. Spring is when the trees and flowers begin to bloom after the long season of hibernation. Spring is when the chatter of birds and the crisp breeze wafting in the open window invite us to climb out of bed to go for a walk in God’s creation. Spring is undeniably a beautiful season to enjoy nature, but one thing that it lacks is experience. The spring season of life teems with excitement and newness, but it does not carry the depth that is found in later seasons.
The fall season invites a slower pace than spring, less exciting for certain, but also fuller in many ways. One of the most poignant things about the fall season of life is the quality of the relationships that we have nurtured through our lives. Without a doubt my relationship with God qualifies as one that has become much fuller later in my life.
I believe the foundation of my faith was cemented by a childhood of continuous exposure to Christianity. My mother loves God and always found a bible-believing church for us to join. I remember as a child attending Baptist Sunday Schools and Vacation Bible Schools. The Baptist churches regularly had alter calls inviting us kids to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Every time an altar call was made I felt as if Jesus Himself were beckoning to me; I must have said the prayer of salvation at least a dozen times growing up. Although I did not have a personal relationship with God until much later, my belief in the existence of God was planted and watered throughout my childhood.
As a young adult I struggled with my faith. I did not come to a place of unbelief as some people do, but I put God in the hall closet of my mind. For a long time I thought that Christianity was all about going to heaven. It was not until after my oldest daughter was born that I started to actively pursue my Christian roots.
Several years ago I began attending church regularly, not for my own personal growth, but so that my children could be taught about the existence of God. What I did not foresee when I initially stepped into that church building was that my own faith was about to undergo a major overhaul. It was while attending that church that I first read completely through the Bible, and under that pastor that I learned the true reason for Christianity-a personal relationship with God.
In addition to attending a biblical-based church and studying the Bible, a recent enrollment in the school of suffering has solidified the bonds of my faith. As a child I learned to believe in God as the Creator of the earth, and as an adult I learned that Jesus is the bridge that connects me to a personal relationship with God. It was through a time of physical suffering, however, that I learned of God’s role as El Shaddai (God All-Sufficient).
After four years of wrestling with an unnamed disease I have reached a new level of faith. I know now that my physical struggle is with Multiple Sclerosis, but the lesson I gained during the initial stage of my disease remains invaluable. My physical vulnerability necessitated complete dependence on God, and taught me that the relationship I have with Him is the most significant in my life. I can now identify with Job’s declaration, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42:5 NIV).
Although my faith was not very strong earlier in my life, the foundation of my childhood belief in the existence of God has been slowly built up. Now in my fall season of life, my faith is an impenetrable wall fortified with the bricks of love, dependence, and trust.
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