I was baptized into the Episcopal Church as an adult, and I thought I knew what that meant. I attended church regularly. I sang in the choir and served on committees. I believed in God and Jesus Christ and I read the Bible. I got married, I had children, and my life got busy. I slowly drifted away from the church. My family and I moved from New York to Virginia and when we got here, we found a church. We attended church regularly. I served on committees. I believed in God and Jesus Christ and I read the Bible. My life got busy and I slowly drifted away from church. I’m sure you can see the pattern.
I was doing well in life; or so I thought. I was moving toward the top of my career field. I had money to buy the things I wanted and to do the things I wanted to do. We were…blessed? Roxanna and I – mostly Roxanna – knew we were missing church and set out to find a new spiritual home. We tried a few churches and once or twice thought we found the right one; but we never really got comfortable.
Then I came –rather reluctantly and with some “false starts” to Grace. The first time I sat in these pews, something happened to me. It was a feeling that I had that I was in the right place. The more I came to Grace, the more I saw the truth of my life. I was not entirely happy. I began to put my faith more and more ahead of myself, the more I began to understand why. Since being baptized, I had been calling myself a Christian, but I had not been living as one. Anyone who saw how I lived may have said otherwise, but I had begun to know better.
Very soon after coming to Grace I started making changes. I made a decision to live as a disciple (with a small ”d”) of Christ. One of the things I decided was to give the gifts that God had given me back to Him. I made a plan to start tithing, and within a year I was. I don’t want to make this just about money, because it’s more than that. Although during a stewardship drive I do not want to undersell that.
It did not take me long to realize that I was working in a career that was contrary to living the Gospel. I had a company that worked in a variety of areas of the US Government supporting mostly Defense and Intel agencies. The work I was doing was in support of programs that were perpetuating many of the bad things we see in the news every day. I decided to take the next step in living right. To give up the life of things and to take real action toward living the life that Jesus tells us to live. To “sell everything and follow” Him. And so I did. Earlier this year I quit my job. I sold out of my company and started toward being a true follower of Jesus Christ. I continue to tithe to Grace, but sometimes it takes longer to make that happen. It has caused pain and fear and struggle; but I am happier than I have been in a very long time.
And that is why I love Grace. Grace is truly a place that is filled with the Holy Spirit. A place where, if you let it, the Holy Spirit will work through you. The people here at grace are a big part of that. They are welcoming and accepting and loving. They have made it possible to realize that I am worthy of the Grace that God has given me. I have learned to overcome the fear that I had and to realize that God will give us what we need if we make the decision to give our lives fully to Him.