One Year Later…

It has been just over a year since I walked into NOLA Church for the first time, and I cannot believe how different my life and point of view are now.

I have friends who love me without judgment, and I’ve built relationships with people who know everything about me – my deepest regrets and fears and joys – and love me in spite of those imperfections.

My church isn’t perfect.  It is filled with flawed people who are searching for acceptance, seeking to have their questions answered.  We have issues, but I like that.  Jesus spent time with people who needed Him, and we need Him.  I need Him.

I’ve discovered God’s immeasurable grace and unconditional forgiveness, and I have a relationship with Him that I didn’t realize that someone like me – so flawed and imperfect and horrible – could ever have.

My life is different.  I’m different.

I remember writing a post about my feelings on church, the reasons that I was skeptical about going and the reasons that it just wasn’t for me.  I remember wishing that I could have faith in someone that I couldn’t see, and I remember being terrified of being hurt by the church again.

I needed peace and assurance that everything would be okay, but I didn’t find that. Instead I faced gossip, judgment and condescension.  The meanest, most judgmental people I knew were from the church, and I decided that if that’s what church was about, I didn’t want any part of it.

You can read the whole post here.

Now I love Jesus.  Sometimes people find my love for Him obnoxious, but I’m so thankful that I can’t imagine not talking about it.  It defines so much of who I am now, and I don’t want that to change.

Last week I wrote a post that some of you didn’t like.  Someone called me preachy, and another person called me an idiot.  Someone else called me naive.

I get it.  Some people think I’m ridiculous or full of crap for talking about Jesus here.  I understand that you don’t all love Him or believe in Him or have faith in Him, but it’s who I am now.  I still have a lot of other loves and interests, but He’s part of me now.  I’m happier and more at peace than I’ve ever been so it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

I didn’t write about forgiveness recently because I was trying to preach to anyone; I wrote it because I’ve been working through my feelings on forgiveness lately.  As I look back at my past, I’m forced to think about things that I’ve tried to forget for years.

In my late teens and early 20’s, I was an insecure, suicidal, dishonest person who desperately wanted to feel loved and accepted.  I didn’t think it was possible that I could forgive those who hurt me, and I didn’t care who I hurt because I was in so much pain.  I lived crippled by that pain for years, and now I’m free from it.

It’s by God’s grace that I’m not dead.  It’s because of His love that I get to live in freedom now.  I’m loved.  I’m forgiven.  I’m His.  End of story. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s just the beginning…

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Betty Adams
    April 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    You just made my heart smile <3

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      I like hearing that, Betty! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Brenda Pickett
    April 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Love hearing you talk like this and I know Uncle Wesley is doing his little jig and looking forward to seeing you again. I Love You!

    Aunt Brenda

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      I know that Uncle Wesley is so incredibly happy….He knew that God was drawing me in before I knew it. 🙂

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  • Reply
    nidi
    April 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Great post. You shouldn’t have to make excuses to anyone for your faith. Way to tell it!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks, Nidi. I agree. I do think it’s important to share why it’s important to me though, which I hope I did. hehe

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  • Reply
    mary
    April 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    love you kenlie!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 9, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Love you too, Mary. <3

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  • Reply
    dad
    April 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Hard to know just what to say, I am so thankful for the changes in your life direction. And bless God, we are on the same team. Amen.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 9, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I’m thankful for it too, Dad…Love you.

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  • Reply
    Susan
    April 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I think what you’ve done is amazing and deserving of praise.

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  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Athlete at Heart
    April 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    It’s shameful that people would say negative things about such a beautifully written post. I have been working on my relationship with God lately too and found your post on forgiveness very timely for me. Don’t stop sharing this part of you here… there are lots of us that find strength and hope in it!

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  • Reply
    Kate
    April 11, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    It’s terrible that some people are so judgmental. I can’t imagine sharing as much as you and many bloggers do, and then getting blasted with such negativity. Even if someone is not in agreement with your beliefs, no one should be so angry toward you for expressing your thoughts. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  • Reply
    Early M
    April 14, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Don’t worry, with Jesus in your corner, the best is yet to come; The Grace of God is sufficient for you, Kenz.

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  • Reply
    Christie
    April 15, 2014 at 12:35 am

    I remember the post where you went to church with your Uncle Wesley and I think it is simply said in a child’s song…..he’s still working on me, to make me what I ot to be….. Sometimes there is such meaning in the simplest of things. God Bless Kenlie! Your testimony is wonderful. Never apologize for that!

    Have a fantabulous week!

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  • Reply
    OLWomen
    April 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Good to know that, having faith makes you feel that you are never alone and keeps you going through tough times. Keep going Kenlie!

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