When I say I am a Christian.....

I am a christian. Some people will quit reading right there, and to be honest, I can't blame them. In today's society, the lines of true faith have been blurred and smudged, atrocious acts and hateful words carried out in the name of religion. Men and women who are supposed to be leaders and examples are found too often in the headlines as a discredit to their faith.
Many will wonder how I can hear about these things and still believe; many more ask, when looking at my life and the things I've done in the past, how dare I? The answer isn't simple. I grew up in the knowledge of a gracious God above, secure and replete, and I never questioned it. God wasn't an abstract idea in our household, he was a living entity. Then a series of events, including the death of my father and a falling out with my mother that put me out on my own, caused a definate shift in the foundations of my faith and left a gaping hole in my heart where God once dwelt. The years that followed were filled with loneliness and vain attempts to fill the space left behind. I did more stupid things to myself and others than I care to think about. I've never been so unhappy. Even after I'd cleaned up a bit and found stability in my marraige and kids, I still felt something missing.
Then one day, in a wave of shining revelation, it hit me just how much I missed God. I was tired of carrying around the bitterness, guilt, and shame. It's taken some time, but the void in my heart is healing and filling with His love once again. The journey hasn't been easy, and there are no simple answers. I guess the answer to the burning questions is true faith - believing in what you can't see and therefore, can't really prove. My faith, my love for God, are tangible to me. I feel his love in and around me. I believe that his mercy can save even one who's screwed up as much as me. I don't waste my life in worry or unease, because I know I have a heavenly father who ultimately has my best interests at heart. It may be hard to accept the heartbreak in life, but it's easier knowing the burden is shared with one more capable of carrying it than I.
To those who would question me, I wonder of them: How can you not believe? Look at a newborn baby, perfectly created from just a few cells, or the reds and pinks in the sunrise of a new day, and you'll have your answer. I'm not naive enough to think that life is a coinidence, nor arrogant enough to believe that we simply came to exist from nothing. God has had a hand in everything that has been, and whether you choose to believe it, knows what will come. I can't say that my life will be perfect - there will be hurt, and sickness, and even death. Christians suffer the same day to day fates that plague the rest of humanity, the difference is the ability to see beyond the present hurt and know future joy. This world and it's pain will pass away, but because of my savior, I will know the beauty and happiness of the next.
"Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." - 1 John 5:4

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