My faith is pretty much the core of who I am. I love knowing I am loved by a God who knows everything about me. The older I recognize the importance of having an intimate relationship with Him. I love to teach my kids about it at a young age and seeing the effect of their understanding of loving Christ and others as Christ has on the way they live.
There are many things that I love about loving Jesus. There’s the peace. It was a time that I was struggling to find joy and peace. Although my marriage was falling apart, I still had so many blessings constantly pouring into my life. I was just so so sad. I started reading my Bible more and having late night talks with my Papa. I wanted so bad to be fulfilled, but my spirit and hope was utterly broken. I still remember vividly being in my office at work crying and my dad called me to check in. I vented a little and he encouraged me to read the Book of Esther. So I did. I read it a lot. The truth in those few pages pretty much got me through my divorce. It really opened my eyes to my self-worth. My heart was slowly being filled up with love and peace that only God could give.
Another reason I love serving God is the joy. I grew up as a Christian and was so grateful that He died to save me. I’m not the best person and ultra-flawed in many ways. But, I was a fun and happy person. That was always part of who I was; however, the past few years when my life kind of fell apart from underneath me, I really pressed into that relationship deeper than I had before. I always felt I was a pretty happy person, but when all the crap hit the fan, I was not a fun person to be around. I was still praying and having this quiet intimate time daily, but just couldn’t find my joy. Finally, I figured out I needed to quit telling God what I needed to be happy. My prayer and worship time became very simple after that. I just decided that my current approach was really getting me nowhere. I started just thanking God and instead of focusing on these specific prayer requests, I just loved Him and felt Him love on me. After a while of shifting my focus on what (I thought I needed to be happy), to just loving Jesus and loving people I experienced a joy and fulfillment I never even knew existed. Now that’s not saying I don’t get down in the dumps from time to time, I promise I do; however, now I understand how to find it back again. I guess I kind of view it like when my kids ask to do things that I know as a father would be bad for them. They keep asking and I keep trying to explain that I have something better. At times, their minds seem so caught up with doing and obtaining this particular thing that they are so distracted from me trying to explain how those won’t result in anything good. Also, they miss out on the fun things I have planned for them. They are so busy being upset; they aren’t paying attention to what I’m trying to tell them.
One of my favorite things about having an intimate relationship with God is hearing Him speak to me. I hear and learn things from reading, prayer, and worship. My favorite though is when I just feel something in my heart randomly click and make sense. Normally, they are just little, ordinary things. They just blow my mind when they happen. I seriously love the idea of God talking to me through everyday activities and people. I want to describe two of these little moments.
The first happened a few months ago. I was a bit upset about how certain things were happening in my life. In my heart I knew I wanted to be a husband again almost more than anything. I was just stuck in this single dad stage and getting a little tired of it to be quite honest… So we were at a local park. The kids were just running around playing. While this was going on I was just sitting on a bench watching them. My mind was racing with thoughts about our future as a family. Suddenly, I look over and I see this elderly gentlemen just sitting on a park bench. For some reason, my eyes just fixated on him. He was smiling just looking off into space. I started to wonder what he might be thinking about to give such a big, peaceful smile. While I was just sitting their observing Him, I felt God speak to me. It was a really strong rush of emotions. He said “Seth when you are an old man sitting on a park bench, what will thoughts and memories will you be thinking about ?” The question made me think. I’m sure I will smile and think of good times growing up. I started to wonder though, will I be thinking about good times I had with Crissy or will it be with my next wife? Then God nailed me with His Answer. He told me, “This season of your life is a rare gift. Enjoy it. Yes, you had a wonderful marriage with Crissy and I’m preparing such a wonderful bride for you, but you will never experience another time in your life like this.” Suddenly, I snapped back into reality. He was right (duh Seth). I have an amazing gift given to me. I’m never going to get this true experience again. Just me and my four babes living life together. Ever since that day, I quit focusing on getting remarried. I truly try to cherish this time. Being able to just enjoy this experience fills me with such peace. When I’m an old man sitting on a park bench, I’m sure I will think back on these few years and have the big wide grin.
The second thing happened in Wal-Mart. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I decided to go grocery shopping. I was just walking around with all four kids loaded up in the shopping cart. We were just chatting and shopping when I walked by the jewelry counter. I immediately stopped and was glued to this little family picking out jewelry. It was clear they didn’t have much money, but they all seemed to wearing their nicest clothes. Honestly, to most of us the jewelry at Walmart is simple as that, Walmart Jewelry. Just cheap jewelry of no real value. This family though was so dramatically excited about the experience. The man was talking to the associate behind the counter and having her pull various earrings out to inspect. Every pair that was laid on the counter, he picked up carefully and inspected thoroughly before showing each pair to his kids to get their opinion. So it hit me, he was buying his wife a new pair of earrings. There seemed to be no buggy, nor anything else they had shopped for in the store. This was evidently a very special event for their family. I see by the look on his face the pride of being able to select and buy his wife this little set of earrings. It was clearly something he had worked so hard to afford. Finally, he and his kids picked a pair. He paid for them and handed them to his wife. She put them in her ears and instantly broke out into the most enormous smile. I began looking at her examine the earrings she had just received in the jewelry counter mirror. I could see how valuable she felt to receive them. She looked as if she felt like the most cherished person in the world. The wife then looked at her husband, burst out crying, and threw her arms around his neck. Their kids were just saying over and over how beautiful their mom looked. Then they all just walked out of the store with such joy.
I just stood there thinking about what I just witnessed. Suddenly, I felt God chime in. He told me “What you just saw was true love in its purest form.” I realized how much work that man had put in and money he saved, only to just give it away. But the result of giving and blessing his wife resulted in the most unbridled joy I had even seen a human experience in every single member of their family. I felt God saying, “That’s how much I want you to love others. Don’t worry about how others view the quality of your gift. I want you to work hard and give it your best. People aren’t concerned with your gift being ‘Walmart Jewelry’, they are looking at your personal sacrifice. Give the best you can give. Try the hardest you can try. I want you to spread joy. Also, I am so proud of you.” Needless to say I started balling in the middle of the store. Actually, I tear up every time I think of that moment (which is quite often). God isn’t looking for me to do these miraculous things on a daily basis. He wants me to give everything I have. Knowing that my Papa is proud of me is pretty much the best feeling I know.
God loves the person He made and is so very proud of you. J