“J-E-S-U-S, no one’s bigger from the east to the west, higher than the highest, better than the best…”
When I was a little kid my Meme (grandmother) bought me this little red cassette tape that was just full of silly little christian songs for kids. And of course I thought it was awesome. I jammed out to that thing in my playroom probably every day. Thanks to that, whenever I spell out my Savior’s name I sing that song in my head. It would probably be better if you could actually hear the song but I literally have no idea how to find that.
I felt like my path to Christianity deserved an introductory post of it’s own, because that’s probably what I’ll be talking about most of the time here. It also made sense to start it out by talking about my Meme, because when I think about Jesus I think about her.
Instead of going to daycare after school, I went to my Meme and Pop’s house. So they basically half-raised me. I spent most of my childhood reading any book I could get my hands on, watching tons of Barney episodes, and repeatedly reenacting scenes from the Bible using various stuffed animals with Meme.
I remember one day in particular we were acting out a story involving King Solomon. To paraphrase, two women lived together and both had babies. One woman’s baby died during the night, so she swapped her baby with the living one. The next morning they went to Solomon arguing over who would get to keep the baby. Solomon bluffed, saying he would use a sword to split the child between the two women. Then the true mother said “NO, she’s his mother, please don’t kill him!” Which showed Solomon that she was the baby’s mother and we can presume she got to keep him.
Obviously this seems like a pretty brutal story for a grandmother to act out with her six-year-old grandaughter and a white fluffy teddy bear, but that’s just how we did things in my family. And it’s one of my fondest memories, followed closely by acting out the story of baby Moses which is arguably more age-appropriate.
All of this is to say that I learned A LOT about the Bible from Meme. She was and is a wonderful teacher, and an even better grandmother. I don’t call her as much as I should, but I’m trying to work on that.
During that young season of my life, my parents were still married and they took my younger brother and I to church every sunday, followed by the most delicious, classically southern lunch at Meme’s house. My parents were both active members of our church community and as far as I was concerned, everything was perfect. This was probably the happiest time of my life.
A few years down the road, right before my 12th birthday, my parents separated. A few months later, they were officially divorced. This was probably the saddest time of my life. A lot of things changed for me following their divorce. Already, those early teen years are important ones, but the divorce just heightened the difficulty. When I look back on that time it’s hard to remember anything in particular. It’s just one gigantic dark cloud of sadness and confusion.
My parents quit going to church after the divorce, and I was left alone to stumble blindly along my path to true faith. Somehow I never really questioned the existence of God, and I think it’s because he always made his presence so known to me. It was religion that I was struggled with.
I grew up going to a Church of Christ. As a child, I had no questions or comments on the way we did things there, it was all I knew. But later, during my high school years, I visited a lot of different denominations. I even went to a greek orthodox church a few times. Through this, I gained a much broader perspective on how things could, and should, be done. Since then I’ve found that I have several questions and comments on the Church of Christ, but it will always and forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s where my faith was firmly and deeply rooted and I will forever be thankful for that.
Eventually I came to realize that what Jesus really wants more than anything is a relationship with me, not a religious experience. I currently attend a Church of God that seems non-denominational but isn’t. I’ve found my home and I feel overwhelmingly blessed for that. There’s not a single doubt in my mind that God has led me every step of the way. From that tiny little kid sing-yelling with her red cassette tape to this woman (it never feels right calling myself a woman, I’m a girl) who’s striving to find her place and be as Christ-like as possible along the way.
Mainly I just want you guys to feel like you know me. I don’t want anyone to ever think I’ve got it all together or that I’m the “perfect Christian” (if there’s ever been a bigger oxymoron I haven’t heard it) because I can promise you I’ll never be either of those things. I’m just a little lost person trying to be the best version of myself I can be, and for me, that means following Jesus.
Now, I should probably go call Meme.