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My Faith.

I became a Christian when I was 3 years old. My mom said she felt the seed was planted when I followed the sinner’s prayer. For the first two years of my life I had received intercessory prayers for 2 hours each night by my parents. When my brother arrived at age 2, the amount dropped to 1 hour per night. So, for all purposes I had been born one. When I was 7 I prayed again at school, since I hadn't remembered asking when I was three. My mom informed me that I already was one. Which turned out to be slightly distressing, since I was hoping she'd be happy about it.

As I grew up, I tried to be a good Christian. I went to private schools until high school and Sunday school and I read my in-depth comic book bible enough times to wear out the binding. If you grew up in the faith, you might know which one I mean. It had a red cover and was as thick as a normal bible.

 I memorized scripture, and while finding their addresses proved difficult as I grew up, I knew quite a bit about the book. Up until high school, I could win any bible trivia game for kids. I was convinced that pursuing jesus with all my heart was the greatest aspiration a person could live up to.

 While I had many difficulties with kids my own age, both secular and Christian, I found I had a friend in Jesus. He was my pillar, my strength. I prayed almost daily, and read my bible daily, though I didn’t read it in its entirety until I was 18 or so. Because, lets face it, Deuteronomy, Numbers and the prophets are much less interesting than Joshua through Chronicles and the gospels. There are some adventurous stories there! I mean, even Job mentions dragons and sea monsters… or maybe just hippos and crocodiles according to the notes at the bottom of the page. But regardless... it's no wonder where my love of fantasy came from. the bible is chock full of adventure stories not set in modern day.

 When I was 17, I thought that I needed to start forming relationships with my peers. And you know what? God provided! I was listening to a friendly girl in my photography class talk about her youth group. It sounded like they had a lot of fun, so I wanted to try that one. When I came home, my parents said we were visiting a new church. Which one? Yes, you guessed it.

 It was a match made in heaven. Sort-of. It wasn’t until I hit college that I really found a group of kids that I seemed to click with. But I was learning how to be social.

 Also, at this church, I was delivered from my depression and suicidal thoughts the first time. I remember the evening. We were told to come up if we thought God was calling us. I couldn’t tell if he was calling me as I had never been able to hear his voice. But the thought of staying put sent frogs leaping through my stomach, I figured I had to go up. I remember the look the pastor gave me, like he thought I hadn’t been called. But he prayed for me, and I felt different afterwards. Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could literally feel God hugging me after that.

 I recalled the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ hem and thought that perhaps my healing had been like that. Since I had braved to ask for it, I had received.

 6 months after that, the college group fizzled out, since I went to another state for the summer, and there was no one to play admin/organizer for the group. A couple years later, my depression and suicide wishes came back full swing with the creation of the Cloak of Insanity.

 I wasn’t certain why that happened, but 4 years later, when things had gotten to the point where I had begun researching methods, I used the name of Jesus against the suicidal thoughts, they went away and still haven’t come back. So I figured it was a test, or maybe it had to do with breaking the strongholds. Another one of those things to ask God after I died.

 Trying to describe the depth and width of my faith is difficult. I was a spirit-filled, born again Christian. I believed in God’s power and that he answered prayer (yes, no, later), and that he could heal, that what I didn’t understand needed to be taken on faith. I believed the Bible was inspired by God, and that the only difficulties it posed were because of interpretation. You needed His Spirit to understand it. I prayed minimalistically, but daily. Most often, I asked for God to guide my life so that I pleased him. I also including people who upset me, since asking good things for them usually helped me let go, plus it made God happy. I also had difficulties with the “I’ll pray for you” promise which usually led to forgetting to pray for them, and thus lying. So, I prayed with people on the spot when they requested prayer for something.

 I read books, the bible, listened to sermons, Christian music, radio, Focus on the Family, Ravi Zacharius and more in an attempt to be all that God wanted me to be. I struggled with the idea of love your neighbor and that God hated the act of homosexual interaction. I struggled with the hierarchy of sins which weren’t in the bible (since when was homosexuality worse than adultery/premarital sex without marriage?) I struggled with how to make sins unacceptable, while still loving the people who sinned. After all, I was not without sin. I had gossiped, lied, and, when I was a kid, accidentally stolen.

 And still, I knew I had a relationship with God. After all, I experienced divine pleasure of being in God’s presence. Of the ecstasy that dancing for Him produced. So much so, that I was accepted into the Worship Team at my church. I was on-fire, a second honeymoon for a gal who didn’t have the first one, and everyone who looked at me seemed to see this godly woman. I was respected and loved, and all because my best friend was looking out for me.

 Though, inside, I struggled with trying to hear god’s voice. I couldn’t. Try as I might, I never was able to be clear on what he said. I had to go with my feelings, and the bible, and the reactions of believers around me. My list of do-nots was fairly impressive, and since I managed to accomplish it most of the time, I must be moving in His Spirit. After all, all the good that I did was of Him. I had to take on faith that since everyone pointed out my works were "good" and "godly" that I must be following God's will on a deeper level, some kind of instinct honed by the fact that I had been prayed over so much as a child, while I was forming mentally, and how soon I became a christian.  And sometimes, I would say things that amazed me in their profoundness and insight, so I figured he must have given me the gift of wisdom. So, I probably was on the right path and doing alright....

 I just wished he would talk to me. He was my best friend and all I had was an ancient letter from him (which I read faithfully each day). But I had Faith. I had faith in abundance. It was a point I was proud of (yes, I know, a sin), but I could believe. When others doubted God’s intentions, I had complete faith and trust he was working out for my best. That he cared for me on a personal level. And that he had grand plans for my life. And he would rescue me before things became irreversible...

 After all, he was my perfect Father, my best friend, and my divine spiritual guide. What more could a girl ask for?

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Wow. Take out a _few_ of the specifics and we had an almost identical experience growing up.

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