I grew up never knowing religion, or believing in God. I was, however, raised in a loving home. My parents always wanted what was best for me, and that was for me to figure life out myself and make my own choices. Not them forcing me towards anything in particular, let alone a Church. I do count myself lucky to not have some of the hard times that others have faced as youngsters. But I never even really knew what a pastor, father, priest or anything was - they just weren't a part of my childhood.
Fast forward many hard hearted years of self absorbed behavior, hurting people, alcohol, and being reckless with money. Things in my circle revolved around drinking to excess, recovering ... and doing it all over again, and with ill regard to others. The only times I went to church was to attend weddings, and each time, I had that guilt that I shouldn't be there. That should have been my first sign that absolutely I SHOULD have.
I met my wife Nicky and I ended up moving from England to the US, got married, bought a house etc. It was great, and felt right - I have zero regrets - but after a couple of years I started to feel alone. I had left everything and everybody I had ever known behind - I just hadn't really realized it. However, I do know that I was grateful to be out of that lifestyle.
I Remember being engaged in conversation with a family friend during a drive to go fishing on the Columbia River in Oregon ... he would keep pointing out some of God's glories - such as the beautiful skies, mountains, Rivers, the trees and the way the light hit certain places. It's like he was talking to me in a way I understood - as I love landscape photography. As we got deeper in conversation, he told me "If you can believe the first line of the Bible, you can believe any and all of it".
And so every time I picked up a camera, I remembered that conversation. His job was done. The seed planted and was growing within. It wasn't too long until I opened a bible - but I had no idea how to read it. There were strange words, phrases, and a whole bunch of numbers everywhere.
A year and a half later I actually got the courage to ask him - so, how DO you read the bible? It then took me almost 2 years to work through it - during which time our family grew, we moved states (a few times), and we started attending church more regularly.
My "coming to God" moment of getting to know the Lord wasn't an instant snap-of-the fingers moment, but more a slow drawn out process that I've only recently been piecing together and realizing. Looking back though, I really do believe the Lord had just plucked me out of that lifestyle of sin and moved me far away, providing me with new trials and tribulations as a husband, and a father.
All I can say is - you may not realize it at the time, but God is doing things for a purpose you may or may not ever know. But he is with you, and he is for you! Was I really ever lonely, or just looking in the wrong direction when He was sat right next to me all along?”
About this blog.
In this blog, Jen shares testimonies from others who have been passionately PURSUED by God and His relentless love, Jen would like to invite YOU to share your testimony and be featured on the MGK Blog.