By Lauren Standen
I don’t have a jaw-dropping, about-face, born-again testimony in my walk with the Lord. I remember becoming a Christian when I was about ten years old. I grew up in a Christian home and knew Jesus as my Savior early in life, but my walk has had its ups and downs. I have had periods of deep faith and closeness with the Lord, and times when I’ve felt so distant I have questioned my faith entirely. In college, I had the specific fear and anxiety of, how am I going to keep up this Christian walk thing throughout my whole life? I’m only 20! How many more years am I going to be able to do this??
But my problem was obvious. How am I going to keep doing this? I’m not. It’s not up to me. God is going to hold onto me and be with me through all of the ups and downs of my walk. It was during my interview for membership into New Life Dresher church that I was told this, and it has stuck with me. I was explaining this fear, ready to brush it away again, when my interviewer said, “God is going to hold onto you,” and it hit me. I bet the interviewer doesn’t even remember his simple statement, because it was obvious to him. But to me, it made all the difference.
I recently read an article by Ann Voskamp, who said, “Oak trees don’t happen overnight. Growing in grace and wisdom and stature isn’t an immediate download — it happens the way a tree grows up: over decades. There’s a reason why children begin as seeds. It’s okay — it’s okay — that growth and change take time — it’s supposed to.” She was talking about raising children and I was reading it because of my own children, trying to glean her wisdom for parenting. But this affected me personally. I realized that I, too, am a growing oak tree, blessed to have been planted as a Christian during my childhood. I’m taller and stronger than I was when I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I’m not a mighty oak. God took hold of my heart early on, and I have been so blessed by that. However, I still have lots of learning to do and God is going to guide my growth and direction, because He will hold onto me. And I am so glad He will.