Just like I grew up in phases, my relationship with God grew in phases, as well.
The first phase began when I was a little girl. I grew up without a relationship with my biological dad. I was adopted when I was four and while I couldn’t ask for a better father figure than my adopted daddy, I had so many questions. I felt so unsure, unwanted, and rejected.
Because I had confusing and conflicting feelings, I always looked to God as my father. I mean, that IS what He is. I knew that many decisions made and feelings that I felt stemmed from a feeling of disconnect with my biological dad, so throughout the years, I grew to cling to God as my Father. I held close to verses like 1 John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God!” Yet I often felt somewhat dissatisfied with that. My brain knew He was my father and even my heart was sure of it, too. But I always wanted something more. I just wasn’t sure what that was.
As I got older and began dating, I began to look at my relationship with Jesus in a different way. When a man I was dating didn’t pursue me, I tried to see Jesus as “the one” that would. If no one else wanted me, Jesus still did. He saw me as His bride and He loved me more than anyone else could. He would never manipulate or abuse me and He always knew how to make me feel loved. He loved me like a bridegroom loves his bride, like Ephesians 5:25 says. And though I found solace in knowing Him as “the one” who loved me, something still felt like it was missing. I still found myself searching for something that would fulfill me and make me feel like a whole person.
And then I moved to Kansas. Maybe Kansas is just a magical place (Cue Wizard of Oz soundtrack and put on sparkly, red shoes). No, but seriously. Moving away from my family, my home, and my friends to a completely new and unfamiliar place changed me.
Within the first two weeks of my time there, my previous relationship with a boyfriend ended, I couldn’t sleep very well because I was in constant fear of bugs/CO poisoning (read previous blogs to understand this), I started a job where I knew absolutely no one, and my relationship with Jesus was dwindling. I felt completely alone. I felt like whenever I was talking to The Lord, I was talking to a wall. I practically begged God to let me go home to my comfortable house and be reunited with my cat and my bedroom with a window, because the basement I was living in made me feel dark and alone.
I questioned everything. I questioned whether moving to KS was the right thing to do, I questioned my faith, and I even questioned God’s existence. It was hard.
I felt like I was the only one who was going through this mess and I was afraid to be so alone.
As time went on and I began meeting more people and sharing my experiences with them, I began to see that this whole summer was a process of revealing another kind of relationship with God. I was stripped away from everything that made me comfortable; my boyfriend, my family, my friends, familiar places, and thrust into an unknown world. This deep feeling of loneliness forced me to look God in the face and say, “Okay. This is it. You’re all I’ve got.”
God became my friend.
I used to cringe at those songs that call God our “friend” because I thought, “Okay, God is more than JUST my friend”. But this summer taught me that in times of deep sorrow, friends can be our rocks to stand on. GOD can be my rock. In those times of utter weakness when I felt like I couldn’t even drag myself out of bed in the morning to face the sunshine, God became my strength.
He proved His friendship to be real to me through friends who reached out to me during my darkest moments. He proved His friendship to be real to me when He calmed my heart every time I was afraid to sleep. He proved His friendship to be real to me when He kept me strong enough to get up and drive to my grandma’s deathbed before she went to Heaven. He has proven Himself over and over to me. He IS the friend that laid His life down to save me. (John 15:13)
And so I believe that as life’s phases change, so does God’s relationship with us. It seems as if it should be obvious, but just think about it. God, the maker of the entire universe, the absolute beginning and end of times, the star-breathing, all powerful, Heavenly King, is able to completely fulfill any position in your life that you need Him to.
He will be your Father. He will be your Brother. He will be your Bridegroom. He will be your Friend. And He’ll be amazing at all of it. He is perfect and He loves you so desperately.
I always say that although God didn’t have to do much coaxing to get me to Kansas, He had to force me to stay there. And I’m glad He did, because I got a new best friend out of it: God Himself.