I feel like I’ve had clicks before, I know the first Fuse I went to was a moment in my life when everything changed. My biggest moment was with Geoff- I started doing counseling with him and actually started moving away from all the depression and darkness. I hated everything and everyone- that changed a year and a half ago. That’s my big ‘when I met God moment’. That’s when I started to actually believe for myself. I started going to church because that’s what I believed and that’s what I needed to do. I didn’t just go because it’s what my mom wanted me to do.
For the longest time, I would just roll my eyes at everything. I hated God. I hated everyone, including myself. I realized that’s not how the world works and that’s not how, or who, God is. It’s a hard realization to have at sixteen. I just knew that I had never seen anyone at the church or anyone who claimed to know God, be hateful. No one here is hateful. Everyone is happy, even when things don’t go their way, even when they have every human right to be hateful. It’s just not in them. God isn’t hate.
My dad left me when I was seven. I didn’t see him for nine years and it was actually a month and a half ago when I saw him for the first time. For the longest time, I didn’t rely on my faith at all to get me through that, because I was just angry. It just gave me another reason to be angry at the world. But recently when I talk about it to people, they don’t understand why I’m not angry, because I’m never mad at him. I think the reason is, there’s no point in being mad. It doesn’t do anything for me, it doesn’t do anything for him and more importantly, it doesn’t do anything for God to just be angry all the time. My father left my mom I and have every right in the world to tell him he’s terrible and never talk to him for the rest of my life. It doesn’t do anything for me.
I think it’s a really good opportunity to tell people about forgiveness when they ask why I’m not angry. I believe in forgiveness and I believe that we’re called to forgive people. Forgiveness is almost never about what the other person either did or did not do. Forgiveness is almost entirely about you and God. It has almost nothing to do with the person who wronged you. It’s giving up any hatred you have and giving it away to God. It’s saying “this is what happened, God, I forgive this person and what they’ve done” and doing openhandledly. That’s the reason you don’t see a lot of hate in the church. They know how to forgive and not hold resentment in their heart. And that’s hard and I don’t do that all the time, but I’ve shared that with several nonbelievers and they’re just blown away by the fact that I’m not angry.
Missions do something in your heart. Anyone can go and build a house for widows in Guatemala, believer or non-believer. But there’s something about God calling you to go to a completely different hemisphere that changes things. About a month before I went to Guatemala, I was freaking out. I didn’t know why out of all the humans in the world, I was going. I didn’t think I was right to go. And then I got all the money I needed to, and about every step of the way, I’ve been smacked in the face to go. Just go. Everything just unfolded the way it was supposed to. Right before I left, I was just like “I see what you’re doing God.”
I came home with a different appreciation of the world. There’s so much more than the American culture I’ve been raised in. There’s life and family, giving and receiving. Everything was out of goodwill and family, and it’s a big deal to be called someones family. They’re really rich there. Not like American rich- they don’t drive cars, most of them don’t have shoes, most of them don’t have houses. But they’re happier. It’s weird to see that they’re living the opposite of what we’ve always been told- that money, cars, and things will make you happy. But there content.
Whenever I was in church, I would just roll my eyes and never pay attention because I was just angry at God. I didn’t want to be there. There are kids that sit in Ripple Effect and talk to their friends and roll their eyes and there’s nothing I can say that will stop them from doing that, but I hope one day they realize that you can’t just roll your eyes at everything. I did that for the longest time and it doesn’t work at all. Just care about whatever situation you’re in, whatever people you meet. Care about church, as cliche as that is. You don’t have to be grown up to care.