Do you know any people that call themselves Christians and go to church occasionally on Christmas and Easter? Know any of them? I do. I was one of them. I would say that I was Christian, but I didn’t read the bible or go to church very often. I grew up attending Catholic schools and church. In high school, I really wanted to connect with God and get some answers. When I asked a priest during a confession, he didn’t really have any answers for me. I heard a religion teacher say in high school, that the bible was not really true. When I asked my mom, she said that it was based on fact but not all true. Wow, that shattered my whole belief system. Why had I spent all that time going to church and reading the bible if it was not really true?
I met my husband 17 years ago. He believed in God and Jesus and was the most Christian person, that I had met. He was really nice, so I thought maybe this Christian thing was not so bad after all. We married two years later. We went to church. We went to a bunch of churches, trying to find a good fit.
There were several times I called out to God to help me, because I could not figure out a solution on my own. I thought that I could do everything on my own, so I made my life much harder than it needed to be. The first time I called out to God after three miscarriages. I asked the church to pray for me, and God blessed me with a baby boy, followed by a baby girl two years later. After God answered my prayers for children, I started praying again. My journey back to God began, but I was still a long way away. God waited for me.
Five years ago, my husband lost his job. We were devastated. We had two small children, 3 and 1 years old. I was working part-time, but even going back full-time, would not cover my husband’s salary. One night, I was sleeping, and I felt two strong hands on top of my head and heard the words, “It’s going to be ok.” as I saw a vision of my daughter and I looking out the windows of our empty new house. I jumped up from sleep and woke my husband up, asking if he had put two hands on my head. He said, “No, I was asleep.” I told him that it was going to be ok. He was going to get a new job, but it would be in the Spring. When I saw the new house, my daughter was wearing a short sleeved dress, but it was shorter, because she had grown taller. I remember knowing this was our new house. I had no idea where it was or how we would possibly get there. It seemed impossible.
Even though I knew and believed what God told me, I was still stressed out and worried. I had to let go and rely completely on faith. As we walked through the next 7 months, it was not easy. Satan kept telling me what God said was a lie. Satan kept telling me lies. My husband would never get a job. I would have to work full-time. We had lost our good life. I would start to worry and believe Satan’s lies. I wished God would reassure me again. I would open up to bible passages and get new words of wisdom to help me through the difficult time.
During these 7 months, I went back to work full-time. My husband watched the kids. I needed an emergency surgery in December. I was given 3 weeks to recover with time off work. Ten days after the surgery, my dad died on Christmas Eve. He had been diagnosed with cancer a year earlier. It all seemed like too much to handle. I felt it all. Grief. Despair. Mourning. Desperation. Sadness. Loss. Through it all, I had hope. I remembered what God told me and showed me. Often. It carried me through.
We decided to go on faith and put our house back on the market. We prayed about the agents to use, and we accepted an offer to settle at the end of May. We had no idea, what we were going to do. We didn’t really qualify for anything that we wanted yet, so the mortgage broker wanted Shahzad to get a job and then see what we would qualify for. We both agreed on the area that we wanted. My husband had a feeling that this was where God wanted us. It was not what we planned. We had planned to move another city.
On April 17, my husband had a job interview. He was gone all day, and he came home with a job offer. I called the broker, and asked what we would qualify for. I gave him two houses, and he picked the higher one. He came back with a number in between the two houses. I remember sitting in the preschool parking lot, waiting to pick up my son. I was scrolling through house listings on my phone, when I saw it, and I knew this was the house. I scheduled a tour with an agent. On April 26, we put our offer, and on April 27 my husband started his new job.
After over a year, our old house sold, and we bought the new house in May. I prayed and thanked God everyday for my husband’s job and our house. I became a stay-at-home mom. God put us in a great neighborhood with great schools. Answers to our prayers were everywhere and even in places that we had not imagined. It was not always easy. There were days, that I did not think that we would stay here. God always provided for us. I think God used this time to show us, that he will always give us what we need.
In January 2017, we started attending a new church. We didn’t realize it, but the church had just opened in a new building to accommodate more people. This church has been such a blessing. The paster reads through the bible cover to cover, so it takes about 5-10 years to go through the bible. I love going to church. I read the bible almost everyday. My kids read devotionals everyday. I listen to worship music on the radio. I pray everyday. I watch Christian movies. Finally, I have brought myself to God. He was waiting for me.
I was a complacent Christian. I was settled in complacency. My heart said, ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.’ The Lord searched for me and brought me back to him.
“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And punish the men
Who are settled in complacency,
Who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good,
Nor will He do evil.’
Therefore their goods shall become booty,
And their houses a desolation;
They shall build houses, but not inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine.”
–Zephaniah 1:12-13 (NKJV)
Even though I turned my back towards God, he took me back. When we were at our lowest, God lifted us up. God heard my cry. God lifted us out of the horrible pit, where we were stuck. God set us on a firm foundation. God established our steps. God put new songs in my heart. I will praise the Lord all day long. I now trust in the Lord, wholly and completely. I have seen what the Lord can do, and I believe in God.
Faith Persevering in Trial
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.
–Psalm 40:1-3 (NKJV)
I was complacent. Now, I praise the Lord. I trust in the Lord. My hope and peace come from my belief in the Lord. I was complacent to the Lord, but the Lord did let me stay that way.