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Experience + Remembering = Strength

Our two oldest boys are away at a youth camp this week, and I’ve had the privilege to pray for them. I didn’t pray for safety or that they’d have fun–I prayed they’d have a life-changing encounter with God.

I remember my years from junior high to nearly the end of high school, and they were tough in a lot of different ways. There were questions. Doubts. Wrestling. I wondered if all this Jesus-stuff were really true or if I were simply wasting my time–wasting my life.

At the heart of it, I just wanted to do whatever it was I wanted to do.

That battle would rage in my heart and mind, but I remember one time in particular. I was driving into town, contemplating all these things yet again. This time, however, instead of debating myself internally, I began to recount all the times and ways I knew I had met God.

I remembered times at youth camps (like the ones my boys are participating in now). I remembered life-altering encounters at the Christian school I attended. I considered experiences with the Holy Spirit, personal devotional times, worshiping before Him on the piano, and it washed over me like a flood.

That day was a turning point. It wasn’t the end of the struggle, but a decision was made that has carried me to this day. I know my God is real and He’s shown Himself faithful over and over.

Often at night I lie in bed and remember You,
    meditating on Your greatness till morning smiles through my window.
You have been my constant helper;
    therefore, I sing for joy under the protection of Your wings. –Psalm 63:6-7 (VOICE)

Which brings me to today… I was praying and thanking Him for people in my life, a church, a school, youth camps, conferences–all of them valuing the presence of God, the voice of God, and truly experiencing God.

I thought about the wrestling in my teenage years that I made through while many others don’t. They got stories and principles. They received good things, but not the experience of relationship and they walked away in the end.

Obviously, there are people who experienced many of the same things I did as a kid and young adult who ultimately didn’t continue to pursue God so I understand I had/have the responsibility to remember as well; but even so, I was given a wonderful opportunity and I’m eternally grateful.

This is what I pray for my own kids. Almost daily I pray that God would meet them in the night hours and confirm His word through the day, that they would not only hear our stories but experience their own life-changing divine moments.

Life gets hard. Questions arise. I pray you’ve had your own deep encounters with a holy God, and I encourage you to remember them today. Recount His faithfulness. Don’t shrink back.

Those testimonies are what make you who you are and connect you to who He is.

What do you think? Do you ever think back on experiences and remember God’s faithfulness? What’s your testimony this week?

ev-testimony-buttonWelcome to the Everyday Testimony link-up.

I hope you’ll join us every week for encouragement and a celebration of the goodness of our God. Add your post below and visit someone else on the list too. Thanks!

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  1. After just completing a week of VBS with my granddaughter, I can so relate to what you are praying for your boys. I prayed the same for Virginia that through the songs and stories, God would become real and present for her. I know she’s young yet, but may the roots spread and grow deep.
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Catch a Wave!My Profile

    • Yes, yes, yes! Never too young to be impacted by His heart and presence! I prayed for you this week as well as I knew you were helping. Hope it was amazing! Thank you, Martha. 🙂

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