October 26, 2008

Falling for Him — From the Inside Out

I wrote the following for Internet Cafe Devotions' "Falling for Jesus" contest. Click their button on the right to read others' entries and to check out this great site.


I knew all about Him—this guy named Jesus. I sang songs, memorized Scripture and watched stories re-enacted in dramas. I envisioned Him a rescuer of fair maidens and figured sooner or later He’d sweep me off my feet. The emotions from Vacation Bible School, summer camp and youth group retreat fueled my young faith. But when the happy feelings faded it seemed Jesus disappeared too. Leaving behind the same old me.

Entering adulthood poor Prince Charming Jesus didn’t stand a chance against my burgeoning intellect. So I packed Him away alongside Barbie and Ken and the other mementos of my youth. Fondly remembered but no longer useful. Skepticism crept in.

In time skepticism turned to outright cynicism. For years I wandered far from Jesus.

Until about six years ago when I found myself in Alpha, a ten-week program for those questioning Christianity. People like me. We started with the basic principles of the Christian faith and I found my disbelief was fueled more by ignorance than intellect. I began to understand who Jesus really is and why He had to die.

Then one week at Alpha, I heard a verse that changed everything. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20, NIV)

To illustrate we viewed the famous painting, Light of the World. In it Jesus stands knocking on a door overgrown with vines, however the door’s only handle is on the inside.

Finally, I was beginning to get it.

How foolish I’d been. I wasn’t a modern-day Rapunzel. I was a stubborn, willful girl whose Prince had already rescued her at Calvary. No matter how far I'd strayed He’d been standing outside the door of my heart, waiting—patiently.

A few weeks later at the Alpha retreat we held an afternoon of intimate, one-on-one prayer. Sacred music played quietly as the small group leaders prayed with each participant scattered around the dimly-lit room.

Nervous yet excited for this unknown experience, I prayed to Jesus, this new guest in my life. From somewhere deep inside a wave of emotion—pure and spontaneous—enveloped me. Without knowing exactly why I started to cry. But they were tears of joy. Of beauty. Of forgiveness. Of truth. The quiet sobs and sniffles of others told me I wasn’t alone.

Soon my small group leader came alongside and listened to my prayer requests. He laid hands on me and lifted up my requests, asking the Holy Spirit to come. As he prayed it felt like lava flowed from his hands, into my head and through my body. Heat radiated. I was filled. Invigorated. Transformed. The crying turned to sobs. How long I’d wandered—lost. And now I’d finally found my way home.

What I’d always feared would be a leap of faith into an abyss was really a step into the waiting arms of a Savior. By His amazing grace and the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus took me to the mountaintop. There He removed the scales and gave me eyes to see. He instilled a thirst that’s yet to be quenched. And He filled the hole inside that’s shaped just for Him. I felt like Moses—radiant from the encounter.

What seemed like minutes was actually hours and when our prayer time ended, I sat speechless and spent. I wanted to rest in that moment forever. To bask in Jesus’ consuming love.

That afternoon marked the close of one door and the opening of another—one that I’d opened from the inside. It was as Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV). Scripture came alive. Praise music stirred my soul. Sunday worship joined my heart with His. I was truly, madly, deeply in love!

And I still am. Oh, to know Him—this guy named Jesus.

15 comments:

Leebird said...

Beautiful.

God's girl said...

Your way of describing things is so amazing. The way you captured the love of Christ touched my heart.

Cheryl Barker said...

Aren't you glad Jesus comes for us, knocking and waiting? What a Savior!

Peggy said...

Oh Kelli.....
Reading this gave me my holy spirit weekend experience all over again.
Thanks dear friend, what a joy you are and what a joy to read your explosive words of love and joy for Jesus.
Thanks..
Blessings and Love...Peggy

Runner Mom said...

WOW! This was so powerful and awesome! Thank you for sharing this, Kelli!
Hugs,
Susan

B His Girl said...

He waits for us to open our heart to Him...Love is patient, Love is kind. : ) He head over heels for you too!

Justin said...

Kelli,

I've been out-of-town, and away from my computer, for a little while. Glad to be back, especially so I can read this entry. It's beautiful!

I love the lines, "I wasn't a modern-day Rapunzel. I was a stubborn, willful girl whose Prince had rescued her at Calvary." Wow.

I've never taken Alpha, but I've heard such great things about it from so many. I definitely need to keep it in mind for future ministry!

By the way, love the picture of you and Dan at the Grand Canyon!

Love,

Justin Gung

Leebird said...

Hey girl,

Congrats on the P31 devo! I remember reading it when you posted it on your blog. :)

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I believe I've been floating on air since Sunday. Love, Lee

Debbie said...

Hey Kelli,

What a delight and honor to watch, encourage, and pray for you as God has blessed you with the gift of writing for Him! He has great plans for you (Jer. 29:11)! It has also been a blessing to watch you grow in Jesus.

As for your P31 devotion today, you know I LOVE IT!!!

I thought of you as I flew over the Grand Canyon over the weekend!

See you soon 

Love, Deb

Sue J. said...

"What seemed like minutes was hours when our prayer time ended...."

And you DO want more after an experience like that! It's this amazing encounter with Christ that we need to draw upon again and again as we face the difficulties in our lives. So to have this down, "on paper"....keep it with you so you'll always remember.

Thanks, always, for sharing of your soul!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Could there be anything better? Truly, the light of Jesus Christ dawning onto and into a soul is the most precious witness of eternity on this side of heaven.

I love the picture you painted for us, allowing us the privilege of sacred participation.

Thank you.

Keep to the Light, always.

peace~elaine

kara with a k said...

That is such a beautiful testimony. You truly have fallen for Jesus. I enjoyed coming by your blog today.

Tanya said...

This is great. I'm so glad you stopped by my site!! It's good to "see" you again. Too often we meet people at conferences like that then never again connect. Thank you for seeking me out. :)

Julie Gillies said...

Kelli,

You've perfectly captured the transformation of your new birth in this inspiring and beautiful post.

Many blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Way to bring this account to life, Kelli! It's good stuff.

-Brian (from Philly Writer's Conf.)