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My nephews and  co-workers, that I love so much, have inspired me to write. J Their inquisitiveness and insatiable appetites for truth and debate often challenge me to step up to the plate with responses that are not only interesting but accurate. That’s not easy, especially when our recent raps about my spirituality and Christianity have felt more like interrogations. Although I speak from my heart with strong conviction and passion, I often exit the Q and A’s feeling as though I fell short in some way. I fear I haven’t truly articulated my unshakable faith and love for God and Jesus Christ in a way that leaves them with a sense of true understanding of who their Aunt is. It’s hard to describe a feeling of truth that comes from deep within your soul. I find myself being driven to refine my explanation of faith so that what I say isn’t just babble going in one ear and out the other; but is something for them to wrap their minds around and will soak into their sponge-like brains. Out of this comes the inspiration; and I pray my words will frequently flood their thoughts and eventually their hearts filling them with truth and love. I want so badly to make the most of this precious time I have with them, realizing that the greatest gift I can give is sharing God’s love. I have the power to control the kind of influence I am and I don’t want to waste a moment. 

My life has been built mainly on faith and trust in what my loved ones taught me and very little on study and research. What I wish I could do is open up my heart and mind, let you climb in, and feel what I feel. That would be my answer to the question “How do you know?” But to put it in words would simply be, that I have a deep feeling of peace and joy that overwhelms my heart to a capacity that feels as though it may explode; but instead, it causes a flood of emotion to come pouring out the windows to my soul. In other words; how can it be wrong when it feels sooooo right!?! That may be enough to convince ME that what I’ve been taught and lived by for 38 years is right; but, to a teenager or anyone else who questions, that doesn’t exactly translate into proof, solid evidence, or an undeniable reason to believe. The interpretation is usually that I am either very religious, uneducated, or possibly just a nut.

 I have decided to stop talking and write. I want to explain to them MY understanding of God and the Bible, and what it means to ME in a way that makes sense, without being rushed, interrupted, or without them having to look at the unsightly facial contortions caused by my uncontrollable emotions. I always seem to have the perfect things to say fluttering around in my head like beautiful butterflies, but when I speak, the words that make their way out, although plump with passion and potential, lack the poetic beauty that leaves a listener wanting more. I never feel as though I’ve said something great. But now, cocooned in my room, I am able to be patient and let my thoughts metamorphous into words worthy of putting on paper. Let’s hope it all makes sense.  

To increase my chances, I’ll start with a little prayer. 

“Dear God, I give myself up to You and ask that You use me, work through me, and give me the right words, so that this may penetrate the hearts of all who are kind enough to read. Amen.”   

Who is God? God is the three most important influences in my life; the Trinity. He is the Heavenly Father who created me and loves me. He is the Son, Jesus Christ, who came to live and die to save me. And He is the Holy Spirit who lives in me to guide and protect me. This is a tough one to explain to others, but to me it’s obvious and undeniable. God is the Creator. God is King of all kings. And as the Master behind the plan, God is outside of time and space and beyond our comprehension. Out of love, He created everything with us in mind. He wants a relationship with us, where we rely on Him, confide in Him, and put our trust in Him. He wants only what is best for us, including an abundantly full and happy life. But most of all, he wants us to love Him. He desires this so much that He gave us free will so that our love would be true. Unfortunately out of free will comes the possibility of rejection.    

***Brief Interruption***   
 ***My intent was not to write a poem, but for some reason I suddenly can’t complete a thought without it rhyming. So I’ll let it flow so that I can move on ; )                                                                                                    

It’s a test of true love, our life on this planet   

It lasts just a minute, but that’s how He planned it 

Don’t think this is it, there’s way more in store   

Something better awaits for those who adore   

When it all appears over and the body is dead   

Take comfort in knowing the soul rejoices instead   

Our final exhale, last fall of the chest   

Leads to reaping rewards on passing the test   

Below we are buried, but above we will rise   

To heaven we are taken where our Father resides   

What is Heaven you ask, with great contemplation   

It is God’s place of dwelling, our final destination   

It’s absent of evil with no sadness or tears   

A place without anger, chaos or fears   

The sight of perfection, sweet smells and warm air   

Deluged with great love and joyous affair   

A place to be marveled, streets lined in gold   

With God as our ruler, so gracious and bold   

The problem there is, to rest in this place   

We must become pure by accepting God’s grace   

Our sins separate us and lack sacrifice   

So to earth He has come to pay the great price   

The truth that is told you must place in you’re heart   

Then spread the great word for soon we all part   

 ***Okay, that’s better. I can move on now. Thanks for hanging in there.   

God loves us all and wants us all to have eternal life in Heaven with Him. But our imperfections and our sinful nature is the barrier between us and eternity with God. Our transgressions must be paid for so that there may be forgiveness and a cleansing that allows for the purity needed for the acceptance into Heaven. God isn’t trying to be cruel. Quite the contrary; He loves us so much that He decided to come to Earth in the form of the Son, Jesus, to teach, love and ultimately be the human sacrifice needed for us to be forgiven of our sins – past, present, and future. Jesus paid the price of admittance for us, and now, through Him, the door to Heaven has been opened for all. WOW!!!! HE DIED FOR US!!!! Now if that isn’t true love. The ultimate gift …. Forgiveness! Think about that for a minute. We all know how hard it is to forgive, especially when it’s undeserved and the wrong doing continues, but that’s what God did for us. And all that He asks in return is to acknowledge that truth and store it in your heart. Absolutely unbelievable!! My soul aches with love and appreciation when I think about the suffering Jesus undeservingly went through for ME. Just so that YOU and I can have a home in Heaven with our Creator. Amazing! And what’s even more amazing, is we have this guarantee in writing.    

Authored by God, inked through carefully chosen men, the Bible is the story of life from beginning to end. It’s a tale of good verses evil. It’s the novel before the movie. A Father’s letter to His child writing of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. It’s a reference manual that contains our history, our present, and our future. This book is clear and firm on vital instructions for living. The Bible explains everything we NEED to know to enjoy a loving, peaceful, purpose filled existence with promises of rewards. At the same time, it cautiously reveals the future with warnings, truths, tragedies, and triumphs allowing room for imagination and interpretation, but leaving no doubt that good will prevail in a way that keeps hope and curiosity alive, filling you with anticipation for each new day. It answers our questions, but leaves us with more. To all that read comes inspiration, introspection, and self revelation. Lives are changed. This is the ultimate read where words come to life only to rest in your mind and forever speak to your heart.  

So what does this all mean for my life? Well, over the years it has changed. As my body goes through the depressing inevitable aging process and slows down, my mind seems to be ramping up. The way I think has changed and the blinders have been removed. I now look and react to situations differently. I feel as though I have the answer to life… my life. This realization sends an electrical current of renewed purpose and motivation enabling me to embrace who I am, where I am, and generates a light through which God can shine. This awakening warms me to the core of my being and literally takes my breath away. I believe this is a gift bestowed upon you when you reach a level of spiritual maturity that beckons you to surrender your life to Christ. This is the evolution of the soul that takes place when you allow God’s Word to penetrate your every day existence. I understand now that true power comes from God. Plug yourself into Him, for He is the only outlet from which the current flows freely and is never turned off. What a deal!   

Please take note, I am not claiming to be perfect or anywhere near; just ask my husband, kids, family, friends, co-workers, etc, etc…. But, I can tell you that it does get easier and easier to resist the temptations that haunt us. God replaces those desires with positive reinforcement and understanding that living for instant gratification leaves you feeling not so grateful; if you get my gist. Instead you are filled with satisfaction and joy that is so empowering. The longing to do what is right leads to an ability that gets stronger and stronger to the point of it being obvious and easy. I love God with every cell of my being and all I truly want is to live life exactly the way He intended. I want to make my Father proud!   

What makes God smile is when we talk about His love and share the true story of Jesus. I wish I could shout it from the roof tops. What makes me sad is I feel like people hesitate to accept, not just because of the “lack of proof” they claim, but because of the fear of having to change their lifestyle and stop having fun. They are scared that in order to become a Christian and actually confess to believing, they must first give up all the little bad habits in their lives that define fun and excitement for them. But, you see, they have it backwards. You don’t change for God; God changes you. God knows we are imperfect and lack the strength to ever get there on our own. I mean, seriously, why else would He choose to come to Earth as our Savior and go thru unimaginable torture and crucifixion, if not to be the ultimate sacrifice? If that was not His final gift to us or His purpose for existing, don’t you think that with all the miracles that Jesus performed He could have easily gotten out of that situation? For it all to make sense and resonate as truth you must FIRST CHOOSE to believe.   

So many live life searching for answers, something to believe, something that will fill that hole; the emptiness they feel within. It’s as if they are in the desert, thirsty and on the brink of death, wandering from place to place, person to person, hoping to find the water they so desperately need. It is not until the seeker decides to drink the gospel; to hear the good news about Jesus and God’s true love, that they finally feel quenched of what they now realize was a spiritual thirst. The internal transient has at last found a place to permanently rest his weary head and the questions that initiated the search, “who am I?” and, “what am I hear for?” are finally answered. My belief is; you will never know who you are until you seek the true answer to who God is. The problem is, we become our worst enemy. We allow our intellect to cloud our discernment. We let our minds override what God is trying to tell us and we end up getting in the way of our own happiness. I say to all, throw up the white flag, accept defeat, and let the Lord take over as Ruler of your life. He knows what is best for you and He always does it right. Place in your heart that Jesus is the Son and Savior; and pray to live in the Holy Spirit, for He is the internal compass that will successfully navigate you through this journey on Earth and on to Heaven. No longer are we lost, but go forward with purpose and direction always comforted by the overwhelming peace that comes from knowing the truth. Once this discovery is made you end up with a longing to grow deeper in your faith and in your relationship with Jesus. Life becomes much less about yourself and more about God and HIS plan for you.  
 The peace that God has gifted me is a feeling inside of satisfaction and understanding. I no longer allow the chaos of the secular world that surrounds me to determine my happiness or self worth. I don’t rely on anything else but my relationship with Jesus and God’s Word to provide me with what I need inside. I am happy and grateful no matter the situation I may be in. It is so true that the good and exciting times make life fun; but when you live in the truth of God, it doesn’t take great happenings to make life worth living. The life sustainer is the joy that comes from knowing that God is with me. I try to praise Him and give glory to Him in all I do and in all I go through because He’s there for it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even in the worst of times I take comfort in knowing that God is working in my life to make me stronger, wiser, more appreciative, or just changing my direction; all so that I may become who I am created to be. It is the journey that shapes us, so be grateful and outspoken about the past, for God says out of every hurt He will bring good. Ultimately, if you just allow yourself to surrender your plan for His you will end up rejoicing in this wonderful life that God has given you and be so completely satisfied with who He made you to be. I know I am.
Applying this to daily life means understanding that in all I do I should glorify God. I never know how or when He may want to use me, but I want to always be available. Being who God wants me to be takes a great amount of effort. But at this point in my life I realize that everyday is a chance to improve. I’m a work in progress. I say that because I understand that no matter how hard I try to always do the right thing there will be a lot of times that I fail, sometimes miserably. But each new day brings an opportunity to apply the hard lessons learned to improve my grade. I have found that a healthy plate of humble pie is the best way to prepare for the daily tests. Humility will always earn you an A+. I strive to do my best in all I do; not because I always love it, but because I love God. I talk, not preach, about my love for Christ. I make my faith known and stand strong in my beliefs. I try to keep my attitude and personality loving and kind to all. I don’t judge and always remind myself that my life should be an example of what it means to be a Christian. I’ve noticed that when you are the light in dark places people will gravitate toward you. Light represents warmth and goodness and people are naturally drawn to it. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine all the time….” This is my theme song and I vow to never hide it under a bushel or let Satan blow it out.
Being open about my faith has connected me with people I had no idea were just as passionate about Christ as I am. You find yourself talking about God more and more and enjoying every minute of it. You become friends on a deeper level and feel completely safe with that person. You know what’s in each other’s hearts. You confide in one another. You encourage each other. And you are there to hold each other accountable. It’s like saying to this person “I see you”. (That’s a line I stole from Avatar: ) It’s looking beyond the appearance, accomplishments, flaws, or mistakes and seeing what’s on the inside. It’s that inner beauty that radiates Jesus’ love that is so attractive that you suddenly have a strong desire to be around this person and talk to this person. Conversations are no longer shallow, but deep in truth. There’s a bond that can’t be broken. These connections are what God wants for us. They have truly nurtured and accelerated my spiritual growth.  Not only are their friendships and connections that I’ve made, but that light has become an inviting glow that seems to beckon visitors to my porch. I want to be a safe house for those who come knocking and I gladly open the door so that they may see Christ in me. I enjoy listening and showing interest. I have genuine concern for them and always treat them kindly so that they may allow access to their heart. I feel as though my job is to build a bridge and pray for Christ’s safe passage and let God do the work. We are meant to be disciples. Reach out, love, share, support and encourage. If I am in any way able to have even a small positive impact in someone’s life, I give credit to my Heavenly Father. I am a child of God, a believer, a follower; and I promise to always charge forward as a soldier for Christ.    
  That’s my story and I’m sticken to it : ) !
 -T.S.  2010    

7 Responses to MY STORY

  1. Tbfranco

    I love you sister! So proud of you, in all ur accomplishments!! I am quite certain that you will reach many lives with your words and give others including myself, this tool, to witness to the people that we know and care for and the people we won’t meet or even know we’ve touched until we all go home. Thank-you <3

    • Soldier for Christ

      Thank you, Tori! I love you and appreciate your words. I know your heart and I see God is using you also in amazing ways. We’re soldiers united : )

  2. Jami

    I am one of those that can speak through writing as well and I can feel the power in your writing. I am so happy that you started this website it’s encourging and uplifting. The Power of Prayer and investing all of your time and effort into GOD he will answer and show you the Sign. Thanks for sharing! I know by reading what you wrote only encourages me to open my heart and life to GOD, so Thank You! I loved Spasso’s and spending some dinner or lunch time with all of you, you are all so inspirational and fun to be around. I always walk away wanting to be a better Mom, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Friend. Thank you :)

    • Soldier for Christ

      Jami, wow! What a truly sweet thing to say. Thank you so much! To encourage hearts to know and love Christ is my goal and your words have given me strength to continue being honest and open about God’s love and the truth He so longs for us to know. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

  3. Shannon Mckelvy

    It is such an honor to read your words I am so proud that you finally are doing what God brought you here to do which is inspire us all. I cant wait to read your blog everyday! You are such a inspiration and I am so lucky that I had the honored to spend time with you!

    Shannon Mckelvy

  4. Tonya Moreno

    I am so happy and proud that your personal words of wisdom can now be heard, and touch the hungry hearts that seek Gods truth. You have the courage that I so desire for myself and I truly draw inspiration from you! I love you so much and respect your passion and dedication for our heavenly father. Keep up the good work! I’ll be your biggest fan!

  5. Holly Harper

    Finally! Trippin’ On Truth is what we need!!

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