Hi! There you are! I wonder if you’re anything like me. You long for God’s presence and Holy direction in the midst of your own crazy brain, unpredictable relationships with people you long to love well, and demanding calendars and circumstances that breathe down your neck and masquerade as your boss.
More than anything, in the midst of it all, you want to be a Christgazer, one who dwells in the house of the Lord forever, gazing upon his beauty and studying at his feet.
I blog for people like us. As we go about our day doing all the things that really must be done, I pray we’ll find a place to stop here for some Christgazing.
As a child, teenager and young adult, I knew Jesus as a trusted friend. We weren’t consistent church-goers, but my parents taught me to pray to Jesus as a friend and I was told the Bible was true. I brought him my problems and looked to him to solve them. I poured out my heart’s longings and looked to him to bring me comfort. I was told Jesus died on the cross for my sins and if I believed in him I would go to heaven. That did not make a lot of sense to me, but I wanted to go to heaven, so accepted it as truth and enjoyed a relationship with Jesus nonetheless.
As a teenager and young adult, I did not walk with a fellowship of believers but loved reading the Bible. I trusted in God’s commands to keep me safe rather than trusting in myself. I kept them the best I could out of fear of unfavorable consequences and considered myself a good person.
About 6 years into my marriage (and pregnant with my second child), I learned to ask myself a powerful question:
“Why did I say the things I said?”
“Why did I do the things I did?”
As I began to ask myself those questions, the quiet answers inside me revealed to me my ugly sinful state.
“Why did I just say that?” Oh, it’s because I am jealous.
“Why did I just do that?” Oh, it’s because I am selfish and impatient.
I discovered I was a selfish, impatient, jealous, competitive, hateful, proud, and fearful woman, a sinful woman who lived for the praise of people. I didn’t really love anyone. I was judgmental and hateful and there was no excuse for it – it was just the core of who I was. For the first time, I began to really understand I was a sinner, even though I never did anything “really wrong” according to our culture’s standards.
It was during this time, I was also crying out and asking God, “Where are your people? Where are the people who actually live as if they believe this book is true?”
Fast forward 3 years. We bought our first house, which turned out to be just two doors down from a godly family. This woman, Laurie, started a Bible Study in her home shortly after I quit my career to be a full-time wife and mother. I was excited to participate.
I had learned 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I rejoiced in seeing there was a way out of this sinful state I was in. Jesus was offering MORE than forgiveness, He was offering PURIFICATION!
I made a decision to walk out 1 John 1:9 with Laurie. I thought for sure a woman who believed this book was true would stand on 1 John 1:9 with me matter-of-factly. I purposefully invited her over to my house for the first time. I will never forget standing in the kitchen when I shared that first confession with her. She stood in front of my refrigerator. I didn’t even invite her to sit down. I told her I only needed 5 minutes of her time. I flat-out told her I felt jealous and was actually competing to look smarter and more spiritual than another woman in the Bible Study. It was embarrassing and ugly and I hated it, but it was true. I let her know the only reason I was telling her was that I was simply hoping for freedom according to 1 John 1:9. I will never forget her response. She did NOT respond with an admonition, “Oh honey, quit feeling jealous and stop competing. That other lady is really nice and she’s not competing with you! There’s no reason to compete here!” No, she didn’t tell me that silly stuff. She was smart. She knew I already knew that. She was just overjoyed by my confession and with fire and tears in her eyes she simply hugged me up and said, “Oh, I totally get it!”
Shortly after that, our entire family began to attend her church (now mine too!) regularly and that was a season of many tears each Sunday morning. I was now a woman aware of my sin and each Sunday, during worship, I would mourn my sinful state and ache for righteousness.
One Sunday morning, the pastor shared the gospel message in a familiar way I had heard many times before. We were to consider a courtroom scene in which we were on trial for our sins and God was the judge. We were found guilty and the punishment was death, but Jesus stood up in court and offered to take our place. The Judge accepted and we were set free. Even though I had heard this analogy several times before, for the first time, I was able to truly put myself in the shoes of the person who was on trial. This time, I knew, deep in my knower, I was guilty.
Even so, I wrestled with the scenario because it made no sense for the innocent to pay the price just so the guilty can be set free to keep on wreaking havoc.
But, I heard a quiet answer to my wrestling thought, “But Amy, what if the guilty recognize the love of Jesus and are so thankful to be set free that they no longer go out and wreak havoc but live a new life compelled by the one who loved them and took their place?”
Oh, that makes sense! Understanding what He had done for me personally for the first time compelled me to give my life to him out of love. I owed him everything. I no longer tried to obey him just because I trusted His ways were better than mine or because I feared the consequences of disobedience; I obeyed him because I owed him my life – because I loved him – because I was deeply thankful for what he had done for me.
I became compelled by his love and began to love others.
For the first time, I personally knew and loved Jesus as my Savior from my sin.
My Family and Stuff
I‘m a Texan, born and raised.
I met my awesome husband at Texas Tech University where I earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics with an Emphasis in Computer Science.
I’ve been married to Jon, God’s gift to me, since 1995. We have been given four beautiful children, Joy, Glory, Freedom and Philemon. They are the most awesome people I know despite our shortcomings and we give God all the glory!
I am a member of CrossBridge Community Church where I have volunteered in many leadership roles since 2006 including coordinator of the Sunday morning Pre-K/Kinder program, author of a weekly 7-day devotion for children in K – 5th grade, youth life group leader, coordinator for a girl’s high school discipleship class and speaker at our women’s retreat. Currently, I volunteer as a KidZone Adult Helper and serve on the Freedom Prayer Ministry Team.
I work full time as a Senior Computer Scientist with the Space Science & Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute where I have the opportunity to work with a team of fantastic people to support a variety of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) space missions. “The heavens declare the glory of God and proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1)