I played around with how to title this blog post... I've written my Love Story and my Birth Story and, of course, each of those stories have defined me in HUGE ways... But, this story is different. My Testimony sounds too stuffy, and my Jesus Story sounds unneccesary... The story of my faith and how I've come to know Jesus is, just that: My Story. Period. It isn't just a defining moment, it is who I am.
Honestly, I'm ashamed that I've been writing on this blog for almost three years and have never sat down to really tell my story. Sure, I've written lots about my faith and what I believe. And, of course, I hope that Jesus seeps through my every day and people see Him when they look at my life on these pages. But, in truth, I haven't written this story because it isn't like the other stories I tell. It doesn't have a clear beginning or a clear end, and the English teacher in me needs a climax and a resolution to be complete.
For years, I thought I didn't have a story. I thought a story was something you shared at a Young Life camp about a wild life you were living - one filled with booze and sex and sneaking out - and then one day, BAM, God interfered and you quit drinking and partying and started reading the Bible and, somehow, your life got better. I thought because my life has mostly been ordinary - two parents, a loving community of friends, grandparents, etc., and pretty much zero rebellion - that I didn't have a story...
Then one Easter just a couple of years ago, on my parents' back patio over wine and deviled eggs, my uncle said something that changed everything about how I viewed my story. He said:
Some people have Paul conversions - where they are living one way and then something major happens and EVERYTHING changes - they are never the same again. And other people have Peter conversions - where they walk with Jesus for a long time. They know Him all along, but they go through different seasons of being close to Him, and doubting Him and being transformed by Him.
I am a Peter. And my story is simple - it isn't going to be a Blockbuster or a best-selling memoir probably, but it is my story. It is a story that He has been writing since I was a little girl of walking and running and falling and getting up; and, through it all, I am His beloved friend.
Peter knew Jesus. For three years he had gone everywhere with Him. He had heard his teaching so many times that he could probably recite it by memory. He had seen His power at work in incredible ways - seen Him turn water into wine, heal people, bring people back from the dead. And, he saw first hand the way Jesus LOVED people (oh how He loved people), even, no especially, the people no one else loved. He knew Jesus was a good man. He knew He was different. He believed that He was who He said He was (Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). How could he not? He was his BEST friend.
BUT, he also doubted (Matthew 14:28-31). He got mad and did stupid things (John 18:10). And, perhaps most painfully, he denied he even knew Jesus when it wasn't convenient, or cool, or easy (Luke 22: 54 - 62).
THEN, on this day all those years ago - Good Friday we call it - I think Peter finally GOT it. Obviously, I don't truly know what was going on in Peter's heart on Good Friday in Jerusalem, but I can imagine... I imagine that seeing someone he loved hanging on a cross to fulfill God's word - to save us from sin - changed him.
Perhaps for the first time, Peter didn't just know things about Jesus; but, he knew how much he desperately NEEDED Him. I think maybe he understood then that this man was so much more than preaching and miracles - He was His SAVIOR, and the real journey was only just beginning...
My actual story to come on Sunday. ;)
Happy Easter Weekend!