I don’t remember a time before I believed in your existence. I don’t remember a time before I considered myself one of your children.

I loved learning about you when I was a child, but as I got older, my focus was not so much in the knowing you, as in being RIGHT in what I knew about you. If anybody in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School was going to have the correct answer to a question, it was going to be me.

By the time I reached adolescence, I was an arrogant little creature who was more preoccupied with getting praise, than giving it.

Still, you loved me.

I took a few detours on the path I had so meticulously laid out for myself, all while calling myself following you. I fell for many lies, was hurt by people. I hurt myself and my future. I knew true shame for the first time. But I wouldn’t admit my faults. I wouldn’t confess my sin. In fact, what began as a detour took a hard left turn off the track completely, and I only thought about you in times of desperation.

Still, you loved me.

You gave me a child. A beautiful, wonderful, amazing little person. And that was the beginning of my most real, sincere, desperate journey of faith. Because when I looked at her face, I knew, immediately, how inadequate I was for the job that lay before me.

Still, you loved me.

By the time she was 3, I had made my way back to my church roots. And it didn’t take me long to fall right back into self-righteous thinking. I was doing and saying all of the right things and expecting you, like a mythical god, to be pleased with my works and my words and bless me accordingly. I stepped out in many places of “faith” – but as I look back, I’m not really sure any of those moments were spiritually sound. I doubt them all the time. Because they sort of feel like they were more for me than for you. Which is pretty reminiscent of my old behavior patterns…. But I don’t know yet. Time will tell, I suppose. I think my heart was sincere at the time – but I cannot always trust my motivations. They are naturally selfish and bent to my own desires.

Still, you love me.

I found myself, over the years, starting to realize that my philosophy of both completely blind faith and/or merit-based blessings was not exactly working for me. It felt like the harder I tried, the less satisfied I became. The more I felt distance between us, not intimacy.

Still, you loved me.

And then I lost someone close to me. Suddenly. Without warning. Someone who didn’t have a mean bone in his body, and who had been my best friend for a significant portion of my life.
And I hated you for it. I blamed you for it. And, for not the first time, but for the hardest time, all that I thought I knew about you didn’t make sense to me. I questioned you. Hard and often.

Still, you loved me.

I’ve had to look into my child’s hurting eyes, or my Daddy’s sick face, or my friend’s broken heart, or my own and realize: I don’t have the answers. There is no “right” answer, sometimes.

And those experiences have made me grow in good ways, and bad ways. Good because I treasure life and love more than I used to bad because some of those experiences have given me a jaded spirit. An untrusting heart.

Still, you love me.

I am now in a new church, with new people, who also don’t have all the answers.

I find myself, at almost 35 years old, feeling like I’m just barely scratching the surface of what I really and truly, actually believe about you. I think my life up until this point has been you steadily, heavily, grinding away the parts of myself that do not shape up to the image of your son that you are trying to create in me. I fail, constantly. In my words. In my actions. In my attitudes.

Still you love me.

This refining process that I believe you put all of your children through, it is that: a process. I am the one from scripture, crying out to the potter, “What are you making?! You’re doing it wrong!”

Still, you love me.

I don’t understand your ways. I never will, until I meet you face-to-face.

Still, you love me.

I have doubted you and cursed you.

Still, you love me.

I don’t even pretend to have my life figured out anymore. Or my faith. I do my best to take it one day at a time, and if I only have faith for one thing, one act of belief, it’s for this:

Still, you love me.
Still, you love me.
Still.
You love me.

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