Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quiet Time-From There To Here and Finding Happiness In Between

I have had a few people ask me where my faith came from and my religious background and I thought today I would share with you my story.
At the end of the day, no matter what our differences, we are all trying to find true joy. True joy is what changed me from a believer to a BELIEVER.

I was raised in a Catholic family, went to Catholic School K-12, never for one second in my life have I not believed in God. I thought we were pretty close but I didn't have the full peace that Jesus brings to you, I just didn't know it yet.

A few years ago when I moved to Birmingham I was trying to network to find a job in a new city and make new friends. When a friend of mine asked me to come to a Bible Study I thought, "Oh here we go, I guess I will go to network". I know, clearly God has His work cut out for Him when it comes to me. I never went to Bible studies before that, I thought they were for the "Bible beating nerds". You know the "holier than thou, I never have fun crazy times" crowd. *There I said it out loud, I wish you could feel me cringe as I type this. I know this is repulsive but I am just being honest.

So even though it was for the COMPLETE wrong reason I went. A lady name Mary Glenn Peeples was teaching this particular study for a group of 20/30 something young women. Mary Glenn changed my life. That night she was teaching on the book of John and read my now favorite passage. She talked about the joy and peace that comes from really knowing The Lord. As a stranger in a new town, changing careers, figuring it all out, her speaking of the peace Christ gives really captivated me. I am a worrier, I am stressed, I need some help!

That night Mary Glenn told us that it is all going to be okay. Everything is going to be just fine no matter how bad things seem. ALL we had to do was ask Jesus to come into our hearts and He would come. Just once, just ask and HE will be there. You don't have to ask every day, He heard you the first time, just believe or at least open your heart to the possibility of believing. "Wow, that is easy" I thought. So on the way home that night I asked Jesus to come into my heart (although truth be told I didn't know what to expect since I already believed in God).

What happened inside me after that I really can't explain. It wasn't a huge life changing moment, it was a gradual calm and joy that started to fill my heart. I heard God from within. It didn't happen that second, it took a while, but it was there. While I had always been a believer I had never been so close to God. I was surrounded by others who were vocal in their beliefs and that helped me along the way.

Here I am a few years later. Mary Glenn is no longer teaching that Bible study, but I continued going back until the end. This time because I could not wait to hear what she was going to teach us, not because I had other intentions. Now I have joined a new Bible study with different girls and it is so nice to be surround by other people going through the same spiritual journey you.

The love of Christ is in me. It brings me peace when I am distressed. It allows me to be me and not worry that I am not going to make it to Heaven. I say that because I have a VERY, VERY long way to go, I am only human. I talk to God constantly, sometimes I hear Him loud and clear, other times I just have to remember He is listening. Part of being of a Christian is spreading HIS word. I would like to think I do this through my actions, but this weekly series is allowing me to do it through words too. See, I am very shy about sharing my faith. It doesn't come naturally to me to just put it out there. For me to even start this Sunday series was uncomfortable, I know how it can come across to others.

It is my deepest hope that all of you know the same love, joy, and peace I have found. It does not roar every day but I know if I believe it will come again.

* I love and appreciate all comments on this blog but I especially look forward to the comments on Sunday. If you are still reading I just want to say an extra special thank you!

**I have had questions regarding my religion and at this point I do not believe in any one religion. I am a Christian and that is where it ends. I think religion can bring to many human elements and rules into my faith and I lose focus on what it is all about. Since I was raised Catholic I do have a special place in my heart for Catholicism but it is no longer how I define my belief.

19 comments:

Corinna White Charlton said...

Amen! I also live as a "christ-follower," not necessarily part of a "religion." I live in a new town with my new husband and we survive by keeping Christ as the foundation of our marriage. but i wish i could be a part of a great 20/30s group- I am so glad you are part of a wonderful fellowship group! thank you for sharing your faith here in the blog-world, enjoy your sunday; this is the day the lord has made!

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I think this is a great post! It is inspiring to me. There is a group of girls I know in my town that have a little bible study. This makes me think I need to join!

Staley Mc said...

Such a great post. Thanks for posting it, i love all your posts on sunday

Susie (So Blessed) said...

Marianne, I enjoyed reading your story today and I admire your honesty in sharing it. Much of what you said reminds me of one of my favorite sayings..."religion does not equal relationship". Many religious people do not have a personal relationship with Jesus...and knowing Him is what it's all about. I'm so thankful that you and Brooke and the other members of your Bible Study take the time to make that a priority in your young lives.

Donna said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony...I think your story resonates with many people...I myself had been catagorized as "baptist" most of my life until I realized it is more than that...I am a Christ follower and He will change your life! I look forward to reading your posts every Sunday!

chair up said...

Marianne, as soon as I first saw your photo on your blog I wondered if you were a Christian. You have that "glow" that no amount of Oil of Olay can give,lol. Reminds me of a verse..."those that look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame" Not sure where it's found, Psalms maybe.
I will have to check out your past Sunday posts.
Thanks for sharing today.That was very courageous.
Angex
Ange

Re:Fresh Design Studio said...

Marianne,

Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, was raised a catholic and understand where you are coming from about needing that personal relationship with Jesus (that I personally think was missing from my catholic upbringing). I'm lucky to have that now too!

Thanks again for sharing, even though it can be uncomfortable! :)

Katie

mary said...

Marianne,

Thank you for being so honest and open. I too am Catholic and now that I am "grown up" have found ways to become closer to him/her.

Enjoy your blog,
Mary Cate

nestegg said...

What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing it!! My relationship with the Lord happened in a very similar way... Go figure!!* Let's be honest- the twinkies need to meet. I also want to meet Brooke!! I see a date night coming up in the future (whenever I can get my butt to birmingham!)
Really, thanks again for sharing and spreading the gospel. I think it's great that you write Sunday posts and I might have to copy you one day. :)

Greet said...

Marianne,
I loved reading your story! So beautiful, so emotional! I have a lot of respect for you! You really come out for your faith!
I am sure you can inspire other people!
Thank you for sharing this with us!

Greet

Kelly said...

Hi Marianne!
I am an avid reader of your blog, because I love design and always appreciate your perspective.
Moreso, however, I love Jesus! Your Sunday quiet times are my favorite posts. Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us, even when that isn't easy to do. You're a blessing to me!

Pink to Green said...

This is a really wonderful story of your faith; thank you for sharing. I don't usually comment on your Sunday posts, but wanted to let you know that I appreciate them very much and admire that you are passionate about your faith to write about it every week. xx

Rita said...

Thanks for sharing your faith testimony.

I read most of your posts, but never miss your Sunday Quiet Time. I am a BELIEVER, and I find your Sunday posts to be such a blessing.

anna frances bradley said...

'atta way, marianne....great post on 10//11!

Down Pillow said...

Wow, I feel I share so many similarities with you - thank you so much for sharing your life with us :)

Stephanie Sabbe said...

Marianne! You are so sweet for sharing your testimony. I enjoyed reading it. I'm glad you have such a strong, personal relationship with Jesus. Being married to a man who was raised Catholic, I know the concept can be so foreign to some people.

Blueprint Bliss said...

M- am catching up on blog posts now and loved reading this one. I loved reading about your testimony and am so thankful that God has blessed my life with you. I love the time we get to spend together on Tuesday nights in Bible Study. I love you much! xx- Brooke

Melissa A. said...

Hi Marianne,
I just found your blog, started clicking down and ran into your story here. It is so inspiring to me that you have decided to share here. I have a blog as well, but seem to be discontent and busting at the seems, because the spirit of the Lord in me cannot be contained any longer. I am a follower of Jesus Christ as well and have thought about starting another blog just so I can write about my life, relationship and experience with the Lord. I think he wants me to share to, because I keep running into blogs where people like you go ahead and share their story. I'll be back to visit you again. Blessings to you.

Smitten Design said...

I love this post. I just found your blog and I adore that you are sharing your faith. I can't wait to read more.