I’ve been a Christian for a decade now. Writing that feels funny, because at 23 I don’t feel old enough to have been doing anything for a decade, but somehow someway I have been following Christ for 10 whole years now. When I realized this in the car the other day, it stunned me in a way I wasn’t expecting. My faith usually feels so commonplace and normal, but the fact of 10 years struck me- reminded me of the miracle and grace and journey that this has been.
It’s funny, this choice I made at 13, how its cost me more than I ever could have imagined. And also how it’s given me more than I ever dared to dream.
The great thing about 13 year olds is that they have no ability to really think beyond themselves and their current reality. So at 13, when I prayed that God would invade my life, I wasn’t really thinking about my life in it’s entirety. I said a prayer that had more to do with inviting Jesus into the reality of middle school dances and Pre-AP classes, than anything else. I think at 13 I prayed hoping Jesus would meet me in my loneliness and would help me make sense of the chaos that 7th grade is. I gave absolutely no thought to what this would mean for my actual life as it grew and progressed.
And yet I so love my 13 year old self for this, and so love the Lord for letting me say yes to him when I hadn’t really considered what it meant. That yes in 7th grade, that invitation for God to take control of my life, while naïve was certainly earnest. I deeply desired for the Lord to use me however he wanted, to seize the abundant life I had heard about in Youth Group. I genuinely wanted to be a disciple, I just was so clueless about what exactly that would mean, how difficult this road can be and all the reasons why.
Now at 23, I’m no longer as naïve as I was at 13. I’ve walked through the death of a dear friend, I’ve questioned God through unknown health scares, I’ve traded wealth and power and prestige for a career teaching Kindergarten to some of Nashville’s most overlooked kiddos (and wondered if its worth it). I’ve gone through seasons where I didn’t read my bible for months, where pride and fear dominated my thoughts, when God felt distant and far and wildly impractical.
And yet, in all these times, I’ve never once regretted my 13 year old selfs choice. There have been days faith has felt too much- too demanding, too risky, too sacrificial, too burdensome. But it’s on those days especially that I’m grateful for the commitment I made alone in my room in that little yellow journal. Because even on my hardest days, this would all be impossible to walk away from. Not because of any merit of my own- my own strength or endurance or commitment. But because it’s true.
In 10 years of following Christ that is the biggest thing I have learned. This gospel is true. His words are true. His life is true. Jesus really means everything he said. The Gospel is truly Good News. It’s the best news I’ve ever heard. On good days and bad days and boring days too, that fact remains. When I ask myself where my life is found, the answer, mercifully is always in Christ.
When I think about where I’m going, I sometimes get scared. The thought of potentially having 7 more decades of this discipleship is flat out terrifying. I’m not sure what it will hold, and also not sure if I have what it takes. But mercifully, I haven’t been a disciple for 10 years because I’ve walked some particularly brilliant path. 13 year old Kelsey was stupid and 23 year old Kelsey is even stupider. If it were up to me, Lord only knows where I’d be today. His grace has been the sustaining factor in the last decade and it’ll be the sustaining factor in the ones I have remaining.
I don’t know where I’ll be in one decade, what ideas God has up his sleeve. But I’m entering my second decade of faith with the tried and true knowledge that life is indeed found in Christ and Christ alone. In so many ways my prayer today is exactly the same as it was all those years ago. Lord I want to love you. I’m scared. Help me. My life is yours. Amen.
Further up and further in!