Something Crazy?

Ever have one of those moments after doing something that leaves you questioning your sanity?

I’ve been on the fence about taking a next step in my faith journey, a step that would mean a significant time and financial commitment. For several months now I’ve been wrestling with the idea, going back and forth as to why I should or shouldn’t do it. Today, it all came to a head. I felt God nudge shove me and say, “Just do it already!” So I did.

This evening, I submitted an application for the TrinityQuest program at Trinity College. My goal is to learn more about God’s Word and, along the way, earn a degree I can use to transition out of corporate life and into a vocation of ministry.

In the application process, I was asked to submit a brief biography explaining how I came to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and why I want to attend Trinity. 750 words can be considered brief, right?

Below is a copy of the essay I submitted.

Hello. My name is child of the one true King.

Yes, I know that is a blatant rip-off of a Matthew West song, but it also happens to be true.

Over forty years ago, I, as an infant, was baptized by my God-parents and welcomed into the Catholic Church. I was raised in an “attend church every so often” household, one where God was present but not necessarily made a priority.

I attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through high school, doing my Catholic duty along the way. Altar boy, lector, Eucharistic minister, peer minister, Christian leader: I was happy to fill my extra-curricular time with work and activities related to my Catholic upbringing.

As teens tend to do, I drifted away from church in college. The pace and workload of university life, coupled with giving into the indulgences of living in New Orleans – I attended Tulane university – lead me to exclude God from my life. I became a stereotypical Christmas and Easter Catholic, and that is where I stayed for the better part of 15 years.

During that decade and a half, I was married, had two children, eventually failed as a husband, and saw my marriage come to an end. I faced the darkest moments of my life, moments that found me chasing comfort at the bottom of a bottle and in the beds of strangers. Yet although I felt alone, I knew in my heart I was not alone. I knew through it all, God was calling me to course correct. He was calling me back into His love, His grace, and His protection.

One Sunday morning, I felt His voice stronger than ever. “Go to Mass. I need you there.” I randomly and reluctantly attended Mass at the nearest Catholic Church, and on that day I was introduced to the new Youth Minister that had just been hired. She convinced me to step up and volunteer in the youth ministry program, and it was that experience that started me on a path of redemption.

I would meet someone new, a woman who would challenge me to be a better person and a man of God. This woman would end up becoming my wife, and we would struggle at first to celebrate our faith together, she having been raised Baptist and I having been raised Catholic. Through God’s will, we were introduced to Relevant Church in Tampa. I would say through coincidence, but I’ve come to learn that coincidence is just God showing off.

For the two of us, we were not facing a crisis of faith so much as a crisis of church. At Relevant, we found the spiritual home we’d been seeking, and it’s been truly transformational for the both of us. We’ve taken part in growth groups that have allowed us to do life with others in our church community, and to truly grow our understanding of His Word. We’ve volunteered on our First Impressions team, happily greeting on Sunday mornings, and welcoming experienced and first time visitors alike with warm smiles and firm handshakes. And in the spring of 2013, my wife and I renewed our commitment to God by being baptized as adults.

It was during one of our growth groups, at a time when we were studying the book Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick, that I felt God compel me to move. I felt His calling in a way I hadn’t before, and I knew God was telling me to move in a direction of ministry. God blessed me with the talent of writing, and rather than continue to bury that talent out of fear, I’ve chosen to invest that talent in His Word by ministering to others through both my actions and my blog.

I know I still have a long way to go in my faith journey, but it’s a walk I take with a new found yearning to learn more about the loving direction God provides us through Scripture. It is for this reason I would like to attend Trinity College. I want to continue to grow in Christ and move on the path God has called me to take.

I am a child of the one true King, and I want to learn, grow, and Kingdom-build here on earth for His love and His glory.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Renewed and Reborn

One of my favorite things to do as a husband is to buy my wife flowers for no particular reason. Go out for milk, come home with flowers (and milk, of course). It’s one of the things I feel helps keep our marriage strong. The random, “I love you” while we’re sitting in traffic on days we carpool to work. The thoughtfulness of buying the right kind of sunscreen when we’re planning on having a pool day with the kids. Things like that. They’re all a tiny reinforcement of the promises I made to her when we were married.

Now, ask me to recite my wedding vows and you’re on your own. Even though we married just four years ago, and even though I wrote the vows, I can’t begin to remember exactly what it is I said that summer day in June of 2009. I’d definitely have to look it up. I think that’s why people have vow renewal ceremonies. So they can keep fresh in their minds the promises they made to each other. So they can re-strengthen the bond they share.

So if it makes sense to do so with our promises to each other, it should only make more sense to publically renew our vows with God. After all, our relationship with God should be the most important relationship we maintain. It sets the foundation for the other relationships in our lives, and if we’re not right with God, it’s tough to be right with everything else in our lives.

That is what I’ve decided to do this morning. As this post is published to my blog, I will be standing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and holding my wife’s hand as we, together, renew our commitment to God. We’ve decided to be re-baptized, and I’m so excited.

To be clear, it was Lee’s decision to be baptized again. My decision to join her is a surprise. However, it’s also a decision born from the fact I was initially baptized as an infant. It was a promise that was made for me, and even though I underwent the sacrament of Confirmation as a thirteen year-old, I don’t have a vivid recollection of the promises I made that day. If I can’t remember my vows from four years ago, you can believe I’m not going to remember specifics from twenty-seven years ago.

I want to be able to openly and honestly profess my faith in Jesus Christ as an adult. Yes, this baptism is more symbolic than anything else. I’ve never had a crisis of faith, and I’ve always felt Christ in my heart. Even in my darkest times, I knew it was me walking away from God and not the other way around. Yet, by being baptized, I am able to renew my vows with Him, much in the same way couples who’ve been married for fifty years renew their vows with each other. They’ve never stopped loving each other. They just want to strengthen the love they already share.

So this morning I renew my commitment to God and proclaim Jesus as my Lord and savior. In my forty years on earth, I’ve experienced a God that loves me no matter what. A God that took me when I was broken and made me into someone better. A God who has always cast His grace on me.

I can’t think of anything better than to stand up and proclaim that I love Him right back.