walk with God

Our Walk with God–and Those Stumbles

Last week at church I had the joy of talking about my walk with God. My pastor asked if I would answer a question during our morning worship services. I said yes, even though I knew I’d be changing the question, but how to tell him.

It’s never good form to be asked to speak and then decide to change the topic! My pastor asked how my devotion to Jesus had made me the person I am today.

Our Walk with God…

A great question. But you see it’s really not about me. It’s really about God’s devotion to me, His love and faithfulness, that made me the person I am today.

The original question focused on what I’ve done, what I’m doing, and honestly, what I’ve done and what I’m doing hasn’t always been the most devoted to my Lord and Savior. Too often in my walk with  God, I’ve skipped on ahead, assuming God will follow, that He’ll keep up. I’ve insisted on doing life “my way” and “my way” worked well—except when it didn’t.

In my younger years, I deferred to no one. I was the troublesome child. In school I was always being scolded for talking. I was the child who never shut up, who insisted on having the last word. I was the defiant teen who drove around the block 8 times just to make sure she got home late. I hated being told what to do.

I thought I had all the answers all the time. I questioned authority, pushed the limits, defied the rules.

I did it in my walk with God, too. When I had the opportunity to decide my own comings and goings, church went. It started as a missed Sunday here, another one there, and then it became a habit, a morning for extra sleep and relaxation after too many late nights.

All good—or so I thought.

And then I became a mom. And then there were some sleepless nights, a surprising lack of patience, one ridiculous meltdown after another (my own!), and that evening I fell apart when Kurt happened to be 10 minutes late from coaching responsibilities.

…and Those Stumbles

I needed help. I needed parenting reinforcements. Hey, I could do church!

And that’s what I did, but my reconnection was really just casualty insurance. Should anything really bad happen with the motherhood thing, I’d have a backup plan. I’d have that forgiveness-thing.

But when I reconnected with God and his church, I not only got that fail-safe back-up plan, the one that promised to keep me and my family safe should life go awry, but I also got user-friendly opportunities to serve.

I jumped in. It felt very familiar, do-able. My first real job in high school had been church secretary, our parish worker’s answer to a wayward teen’s missteps and misdeeds.

My early experiences of “doing” church helped me find my way when I reconnected with church. I did committees and projects. I did special events.

No longer was I scolded for talking too much! It was all great, but I look back and wonder if it was really a “my way” attitude repackaged. Whether planning a celebration or playing an instrument, whether leading a meeting or sharing a prayer, I became very good at doing. I took my church responsibilities seriously. Except for the occasional travels and kids’ soccer games, I had perfect attendance.

But it wasn’t long before I began to understand that my walk with God, our walk with God, is not about what we do. It’s about what God’s done and continues to do in our life. He directs and redirects. He gives us a gentle nudge, words of caution and correction.

In the moment I rarely saw it. Looking back, I can’t miss it.

God’s devotion to me has made me who I am are today. God’s inclusion of all of us has made all of us who we are today.

Do I still have “my way” moments? Yep, still struggle to stay in sync with God’s way, struggles that have shown me the consequences of my choices. As a child, I lost recesses. As a teen, I lost privileges. As a young adult, I lost my way.

And every time, God’s been there to direct and redirect—through the support and encouragement of my husband and my family, through friendships, even through lost jobs and terrible missteps, through quiet walks and morning studies, through you here at FB.

I’m not who I was. I’m not who I will be. I’m still learning what it means to walk with God. I’m learning to stop and look for God in the details—in the moment, not just after the fact. I’m learning to confess mistakes, to more boldly say, Yep, screwed up that one, missed the mark there, antics and vulnerabilities that connect to bigger, more important lessons in life, because God’s been a bigger, more important part of my life.

More than once I’ve marveled that God would allow me to be a part of His work. “Really, God, I was your best choice?” I’ve written about it.

My walk with God has been scary and uncomfortable at times. I’ve been challenged and also filled with great joy and more humility that I ever expected.

Our walk with God is like that—a little scary, a little challenging, filled with joy and humility. In grade school when not talking, I was falling down—frequently—while playing hopscotch, jumping rope, kicking the ball. My knees were always wrapped in gauze, outlined in heavy adhesive tape, huge bandages that called attention to my many missteps.

Childhood scars have been replaced by larger ones when one knee after another has been replaced, reminders of a life not always well lived. Getting down to the ground is not easy; getting back up is even harder.

In my walk with God, I’ve often plopped down, banged up and bruised, knees bandaged, replacement parts here, repairs there, and God’s always been patiently waiting. He’s always been there for me. And when it’s time for me to get back up, He’s been there to steady me.

He’s there for all of us. In our walk with God, He invites us all to plop down at His feet, to come as we are—whether battered and bruised or on top of the world. And when it’s time to get going, He promised to be there to steady us.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah invites us to “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Come, let us walk with God–in His light–together.

Deanna Nowadnick author

Hi, I'm Deanna

I am a writer and speaker who loves helping women of faith connect our delightfully ordinary stories to God’s extraordinary love and faithfulness, so we can be encouraged and empowered knowing God’s been in the details–always has been, always will be.

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