Monday, September 14, 2009

Last weekend

Last weekend we had church in the park right behind our house.
After the service they had all kinds of games and water stuff.
Kids had a blast.

And it was nice to reconnect with so many that we love.
On the grass.
In the park.
In perfect weather.

Over the summer we haven't had small group.
And we have rarely made it to church.
Been feeling a bit disconnected from it all.
So it was nice to gather together again on a Sunday morning.
During the service someone from the church got up to tell his story.
It included involvement in a gang, 10 years in prison and lots of bad choices.
He was asked what his life was like now that he had chosen a new path.
Deciding to follow Christ.
And you know what he said?
He said it was even harder.
Harder than the gang life.
Harder than prison time.
SO HARD not to just give in to temptation every day. Especially being surrounded be old friends who DO give in. Not always popular, or cool or smart or easy to choose another path.
And I wanted to cry right there.
It's true.
Sometimes I think "Christians" like to talk about the good stuff.
About all the many blessings they receive and all the good stuff that happens if you just believe.
But they leave out the hard stuff.
So then when hard stuff starts happening, you start wondering why.
Thinking, "I thought if I just followed Christ, great things would happen."
So when he stood up there in front of hundreds of Christians and said,
"Ya know what. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Choose this path and stay on it. It's harder than anything else."
I wanted to hug him.

Obviously we all have different stories and different roads traveled to get to where we are. And for some, I'm sure it's not hard to be a Christ follower. It might be the easiest thing they've ever done in their lives. But for whatever reason, this story just hit me last weekend. And I can't stop thinking about it. It struck a chord. And I'm grateful that this man stood up and shared his love for Jesus AND the hard parts that go along with it. It was what I needed to hear. Because even though the trials and the pain, it's worth it. And he keeps pushing through each and every day because he believes that.
My struggles are nothing compared to his. But my life isn't perfect either.
And I'm grateful for the courage of others. For their stories. And for a community of people who acknowledge the good AND the bad.

That was a lot of thinking out loud.
I had just intended to post pics.
Guess you get a little added bonus today.
Lucky you.
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Jennie Peakin said...

Ya, I was glad I had sunglasses on to hide my tears during that! It touched me too.

Candi said...

Oh yes... very well said Cassie. I don't know what I would do without my faith but it is so true... doing what is right can be hard and so hard, I fail over & over again. No I haven't experienced the same trials he has for sure ... but I have had my own issues and found that when I leaned on Him during those times, it was doable. I also know that one day I will be rewarded for pleasing Him, rather than myself. It is how I cope with all the ugly all around... I too loved hearing his story and struggle as it allows us to understand that ALL people can become a follower, no matter what they have done in the past... so full of hope and to know we are doing that for the true reason we are all created. It touched my soul too... I pray that man is blessed for sharing his story. It was truly a beautiful day in the park :)

Beckysblog said...

Following Christ is hard. He never said it would be easy.
But He also said He would never leave us, or forsake us.
He's there in the hard parts...and that does make it easier!
We need to talk about the hard parts more because we cant win people to Christ by promising them a rose garden, that's for sure!

Courtney said...

i'm glad i checked here today! thanks for not just posting pics ;)

Trish said...

Amen! I too was moved by his amazing story. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & perspective on it!

Tisha said...

I've been thinking about this ever since you wrote it. I'm so glad you shared more than just pictures. There is so much hard stuff-

Eric and Pam said...

deep stuff, cass. i love it when you think out loud.