But my story didn’t end there. Because God’s story is much bigger than that. His ideas for me move far beyond what I could possibly imagine.
I can’t even begin to describe the kinds of changes God was working into my life during my first year attending Liquid Church. It was time for me to learn about his grace. I had no idea what that meant.
After I’d been attending for a few months, Tim preached a sermon series called iGod that had me questioning everything I believed about God. It wasn’t necessarily new information, but it was a new perspective—a paradigm shift, if you will.
I had somehow (during my seventeen years in fundamentalism) developed a lifestyle that belied my belief that God is personified in love. I was living like I believed God was some cosmic scorekeeper who was keeping track of everything I did, ready to put my poor score on display.
But this guy was talking about a God who really cares. Was I serving a scorekeeping God? Or was I serving a God who is Love?
I wanted to believe this, but it would be a while before I could truly accept that truth.
Six months pass, and I decided to join the Liquid Kids team. Little did I know what kind of journey God had in store for me then. But that was the beginning of something beautiful. And scary.
And even quite painful.
* * *
I think now would be a good time to tell you where I got the name for this blog (y’know, after nearly three years of writing here). My story has been one of searching for the “meaning” of grace. I’ve been trying to capture this concept and wrap my mind it for so many years, but until March 2008 (when I started this blog), I had no tangible understanding of it.
Before I started attending Liquid, I was fully invested at a church that had a vice grip on my family. Much like Bob Jones University, this church dictated the way you were to live your life, forcing you into their mold of 1950s Christianity. And if you failed to do so, they’d call your faith into question.
After being part of a “family” for seventeen years, the idea of leaving doesn’t really make sense. But after certain events took place, after certain words were exchanged (and some that should’ve been exchanged were kept silent), we had to get out. We had to get to a safe place.
But God wasn’t about to let us flounder. I’d started attending Liquid with my childhood best friend during the summer of 2007 after I’d returned to New Jersey from South Carolina. My family left our former church in November of that year, and my brother started attending Liquid a month later. My parents were a little more cautious and, after searching for a church home for several months, started attending Liquid in April 2008.
That’s where I found grace.
In his first letter, Peter (one of Jesus’ closest followers and friends) wrote these words:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
That’s what this blog is about.
That’s what my story is. It’s a constant cycle of suffering, grace, and restoration. There’s much more to this story than I’ve told in these six posts, but stick around. I may tell it to you one day.
And seriously, thanks for reading.