Forward by Megan Jessop
Sometimes as people, including Christians, it's easier for us to focus on our skepticism or our doubts than it is to stand secure in what we believe to be truth. In this month's PigTale, Jeremy shares the importance of the hope we have when we have faith and trust what we know, even at times when we don't understand the why or the how behind that belief. Often times, as Jeremy shares in his story, our trust in who God says He is, will be strengthened with what we experience in the end, which usually will back up what we had the faith to believe in before we even have the evidence to explain why.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a people watcher. One of my favorite things to do is to observe how others handle a situation that I’ve been in, or could picture myself being in. Lately, I’ve seen a huge dichotomy between my Christian and Non-Christian friends, and how their personal struggles with faith seem to be shaking out. The other day, I began thinking about my life, specifically as it pertains to my relationship with a loving Savior. Though my life has had it’s share of ups and downs, I’ve been a Christian since I was 5 years old, so I’ve always kinda had faith in God. So many people have an interesting story of a major testing of faith, or of tragic circumstances that led to walking away from God (and in some cases, returning to Him many years later). I don’t HAVE that. This has led me to my current dilemma: WHAT AM I GONNA WRITE ABOUT?!?!
I usually don’t have this problem. You see, I was always the guy who had very few friends. In high school and college, most everyone knew who I was (that drummer guy!), but not that many people actually KNEW me, and I was fine with that. I was a very quiet guy socially. However, somewhere around the year 2000, I stopped caring what people saw or didn’t see in me. I developed a voice of my own, as it were. I don’t know if it was because I had been quiet for so long, or if it was because I finally felt as though I had developed a firm grasp on what I believed. I finally felt like I had something to say, that it was time to contribute. To whom or what, I didn’t care. I just wanted to be a light to the world and share this faith that I’d had for so many years. I started writing, about faith, about music, poetry, song lyrics....whatever! Ever since then, it’s hard to keep my mouth shut, haha!!
With that said, as I sit here rambling, wondering what the hell I should write about, the one thing I can be is honest. So that’s what you’re going to get.
I grew up the middle of 3 children to a single parent. My dad left my mother and uskids when I was very young. In fact, I don’t really have that many memories of him, nor do I care to try and remember anything about him. My mother was (and still is) a Christian, which means my sister, brother and I went to church whether we wanted to or not. In fact, our lives were kind of consumed with church meetings and what not. Sunday morning. Sunday evening. Wednesday nights. Every special meeting. Every. Damn. One. I remember falling asleep many times during the services, waking up when my mother stood up for the final song, forcing my head off of her lap in the process.
One Sunday, after coming home from the morning service, I asked my mom if I could say the “sinner’s prayer” with her. I can’t remember what I had heard in Sunday School that led me to ask her, I just remember knowing that I needed to do this! I NEEDED to ask Jesus into my heart. With my mother praying beside me, leading me in the words, I dedicated my life to God.
And that’s it, friends. Since that moment, I’ve always had faith in God; a faith that has never wavered. I can’t really identify a time in my life when I’ve even dealt with doubt in my faith, and I really couldn’t tell you why. I see other people struggling with their doubts, and though I understand WHY they struggle, I have to admit that sometimes it’s a little difficult to relate. I’ve just always believed. Boring, right?! My humblest apologies, of course.
I mean, I guess I could write about the time in high school where my mother and I got in a massive fight, and I grabbed her and slammed her repeatedly against the stairs... then stole her car to make a point that I felt she wasn’t allowing me enough social freedom.
Or I could talk about that time when I was super convicted by a sermon that was given at my Reformed Church Of America college, and ended up getting rid of all of my secular music, only to beg all of the people that I had given the music, to give the cassettes (yeah, I’m old….shut up) back to me after three horrible weeks of massive withdrawal.
I could talk about the hell on earth I went through with my ex-wife, and trust me, there are some things that would make you crap your pantaloons!
You could be reading about my constant struggle to forgive my dead sperm donor. The years of dealing with rejection issues due to his never being there, and my apparent need to seek approval from others to make up for what my “father” never gave me.
How about my years and years of struggling with porn???
In the end, there are a ton of good, juicy stories in there, with many a lesson learned. Perhaps each one of those things will indeed be covered at some point in my blog that I write for the Christian Pig website (absolutely shameless plug, sorry not sorry, haha). As for right meow though, I just want to encourage people. As someone who has never struggled with his faith, I can understand how hard it might be to listen to a single word I would say to you about a relationship with God, because I’ve had that relationship for as long as I can remember. I know it might appear as though I can’t relate. My faith in God has never wavered, but I’ve still been through the ringer in life, just as we all experience heartache, wounds, struggles, etc….
The fact is, my faith in God has carried me through each of those experiences. The good. The bad. The fugly. He’s always been there...or at least my belief in God has always been there, and that faith/belief has helped me get through life’s bullshit without taking too many chinks in the armor in the process. In the midst of every trial, I’ve known that God was there, wanting the best for me, His son. Like a weightlifter who tears down his/her muscles by lifting heavy things, in order to build those muscles back bigger and stronger, my faith in God has only gotten bigger and stronger through each trial, tribulation and triumph that life has brought my way. With each new struggle, it seems as if it comes easier for me to just…...believe. I don’t say that to brag, I say that in hopes to encourage.
I’ve heard people say that faith is a crutch for the closed mind. I’ve always held the stance of “hell freaking yeah, I’ll take that crutch if it’s gonna help me get to a healthy place again!! How is that ever a bad thing?!?!” I have countless friends who don’t believe in God, and I get it. When you ask the questions, it’s very easy to almost disprove a Creator. And yet, here I am, firm in my faith that there IS a Creator, and that He loves us and wants relationship with us.
There’s a Christian band that I love named Petra. One of their songs is called “Fool’s Gold,” and this song contains one of my favorite lyrics ever: “Some may call me foolish, some may call me odd; but I’d rather be a fool in the eyes of man, than a fool in the eyes of God.” There are times I can’t explain why I have so much faith in God, I simply can’t find the words to express the where/why/how of it all.
I just believe. And no matter how foolish that looks to some, I don’t see that faith ever going away. I believe that He desires that relationship with you as well. Yeah, I’m looking at you! I don’t have all the answers in regards to theology, religion or Christianity. I just have faith and a heart to love God and love others. This may be taboo or bad etiquette for this kind of writing, but I really don’t care. God loves you. I love you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to hear from you. Let’s get a conversation going about faith….or whatever you want! I can tell you some of the stories that were alluded to in this Pigtale, things that have only made my faith in God so much stronger because of the absolute insanity of how they went down, and how I made it through to the other side.
Are you in??? I have faith that you are! ;)