I was raised in church. My father worked as a music and youth director, and my mother served as a Sunday School teacher in several churches while I was growing up. So we were there every time the doors were open. I made a statement of faith while I was in grade school, but I don’t think I really understood what it meant.
When I was in my late teens, I began to drift away from the church. When my parents asked me why, I would give them some lame excuse, but deep inside, I knew I was beginning to doubt my faith. In fact, by the time I was in my early 20’s, I convinced myself that God did not even exist. I thought, “Why would a being that was so powerful and all-knowing care one bit about a mere human like me?”
I operated under that premise for many years, even reaching the point that I made fun of Christians. At that time, I was working in restaurants while going to school, and I would dread working Sunday lunches, because I would have to deal with “them.” Looking back now, I know that was only because I was trying to deny a truth that my soul would not let go of.
Then, 7 years ago, my lovely and loving wife brought our first daughter into the world. When she was only a month old, we made a trip to see my dad. By now, Dad’s health was failing, and he was in a nursing home. But I wanted him to meet his granddaughter. When he first held her, he began to tear up, and he prayed over her and thanked God for her. Seeing that man, who had always been a very strong and decisive force in my life, humble himself and show that he recognized God as superior to him and in charge of everything, forced me to re-think by beliefs. If Dad, who was such a strong and smart man, believed in God, maybe there was something to it after all.
Not long after that, my wife and I decided that we wanted to raise our daughter in a church. We visited a couple of churches in our area, but none attracted us back. I found that I was no longer interested in listening to hell-fire and brimstone. Then we visited our local United Methodist Church, and I knew I wanted more.
We made an appointment to talk to the Pastor. During that meeting, he pointed to our daughter, who was now a few months old and was being held by my wife. He said, “How much do you love your daughter? God loves you more than that.” That simple statement hit me right between the eyes. That simple concept made so many pieces fall into place.
Since that day we have been attending the First United Methodist Church in Devine, Texas. I am a long way from being a model Christian, but I am trying. I am trying to learn about God and follow His plan for my life. I am trying to raise by girls to know and love Him, and I am trying to teach them how much He loves them. I try to read my Bible every day, and I actually do it about 4 or 5 days a week. I was raised reading the Bible and praying, but it all makes so much more sense now. There is a purpose behind it all now. I am convinced, beyond any doubt, that God loves me and He sacrificed His son, Jesus Christ, so that I would not have to die for my sins and spend eternity outside of His presence. I know that God has a perfect plan for me and my family, and if I keep following Him and giving Him praise, He will continue to bless us, each and every day. And I know that one day, I will open my eyes and find myself looking into the perfect loving eyes of Jesus, and I will spend eternity with Him, the Saints, and the angels basking in His glory.