Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
I naively came to Christ. I mean, I didn't actually know what I was doing. When the invitation was given on the radio program, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and prayed along with that radio preacher man, called the 800 number and a pamphlet showed up in my mailbox a few days later. A pamphlet I still have today. As I reflect on the timeline of my life and faith, I'm surprised by the postmark. It's marked a full year before I remember making the decision to fully follow Christ, not merely believe in Him. But that postmark captured the moment my heart began to surrender...
...and I guess that's how I went from a closet Christian radio listener, to a Christian women's conference attendee...to a follower of Jesus Christ.
Because of some challenges in my personal life at that time (which have a way of humbling you) and the influence of some authentic Christian co-workers, I had begun listening to Christian radio, which is why I found myself stopped along the roadside that morning. The messages and music I heard were counter-cultural but soul-inviting. So I listened...in private; changing the radio station each time I left my car to cover the evidence, resting the dial on something sensible and "normal" - probably country music. I wasn't ready to out myself just yet listening to this "Christian" stuff.
I reached out to a girlfriend who had been raised in the church, but hadn't really understood what it meant to have a "personal relationship with Jesus." Well sister...I just prayed along a roadside - neither do I, but we thought we might be intrigued enough to find out. We somehow found ourselves signed up for a local Christian women's conference together. We entered in with a heavy dose of skeptical anticipation. While they had name tags waiting for us -- we knew we didn't belong. After the evening kick-off session, we hopped on the elevator with women who had RAISED THEIR HANDS during the music portion (which they called worship). Imagine the madness. We were not the hand-raising types. Nonetheless, the music and messages had flat out captivated us. We couldn't get away from the conference fast enough to discuss how weird everyone was, yet privately admit that we were taken by this Jesus, whom they so clearly loved.
In full and humorous disclosure, we did this in a bar...over beer...and given how early we were in our faith journeys, we probably shared a good dose of bad theology and quite possibly too many beers. But you know...in that moment...I really don't think Jesus cared. I think he slid into that booth beside us, thrilled his daughters were opening their hearts to Him and met us us right where we were.
The invitation is clear, "Come to me, ALL who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." You see, He doesn't care where you've been, how you've acted, or what you've done. He doesn't care if you turned your back on Him or never knew Him. He is standing in front of you with arms extended saying come...come to me...
He knows who He created you to be.
This Created for Life pamphlet includes the below prayer - perhaps the exact prayer I was led through on the roadside that morning. Know that perfect words aren't important - you're invited to speak from your heart. But if you're anything like me, I needed a starting place, I needed borrowed words, until I could find my own. I needed a postmark.
"Creator God, I've been running my own life, but that's over as of today. I've been living for me. I'm sorry for my sin. But I believe Your Son Jesus Christ paid my death penalty when He died on the Cross. Right now I'm turning from a life of "my way" and I'm putting all my trust in Jesus Christ to erase my sin from Your book, to give me a relationship with You, and to get me to heaven. From today on, I'm Yours."
For me...I remember it sounding a lot like "Jesus take the wheel."
Turns out I'm one of the weird ones. Maybe you are too.
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Hi - I'm Brandy. I'm a farm girl at heart, but currently hang my hat in suburbia. I love my family and the roots they gave me...roots which provided enough courage to fly. I fell in love with Jesus in my twenties followed by Africa and my husband in my thirties. I'm fascinated by the tapestry God is weaving with our lives and the purpose behind each of our unique threads. I'm passionate about moving people closer to who they were created to be...closer to Him.