Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Hour I First Believed

I had a weird thought the other day and I haven’t been able to shake it. What if there was a way to put all the books you’re currently reading through a blender or a grinder? What would the end product look like? I ask this because I read all kinds of stuff. The only books I typically avoid are gushy romance and murder mysteries, though my parents send me a murder mystery every so often that I’ll chomp through quickly. Oh, and I’m not too much into sci-fi. But other than that, I’ll read just about anything.

Books I’m currently reading:

The Hour I First Believed (just finished this last night)
by Wally Lamb
(for pleasure)

The Moment Between
by Nicole Baart
(for pleasure)

The Fire in Fiction
by Donald Maass
(for my passion)

Crazy Love
by Francis Chan
(for leading youth small group)

The Bible
(I'm lost without it)

Scared (getting ready to start)
by Tom Davis
(highly recommended/for insight)

I just finished The Hour I First Believed last night. I was engrossed by Wally Lamb’s second book, I Know This Much is True and The Hour… did the same thing for me. The characters reeled me in. I cared what happened to them. That’s a sign of a strong writer. I also loved the way Lamb weaved symbolism throughout the novel.

Here’s a brief stream of consciousness description about the hour I first believed.

I was fifteen. I’d just listened to the message with fresh ears. All week long I’d been having a blast at a Christian camp. That evening, after we heard the message we were allotted twenty minutes to reflect on what we heard. During that time, I felt as though I traveled across Europe and spanned generations of time. The abandonment of self can feel like that, a release and time warp of sorts. Receiving God was both a homecoming and a bus ticket for a new adventure. Everything inside me, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aligned and connected, like the formation of a unique star pattern in the sky. I understood confidence for the first time because it came from a different, infallible source and the source was now a part of me.

Everything was believable again. Hope had landed on me, as gentle as a butterfly and then lifted into the sky, daring me to follow it. Understanding Jesus as my Savior changed everything about me, everything about how I viewed the world and everything about life and death. Telling God I ached to follow Him had the sensation of leaping off a bridge into baptizing waters below. The word free doesn’t do justice to what I experienced in those moments. I came alive to why I’d been born, to why I was alive and to why my life had any meaning and it all intersected at one reason—God’s love.

The path has certainly been rocky since those twenty minutes at that camp almost twenty years ago, but I know one thing holds true, God found a home in me that day. Just as pioneers would lodge a flag in the ground to stake their territory, the nails lodged in Jesus claimed His territory in my heart and in my life that day and forevermore.

How would you describe a pivotal point of faith in your life?

*photos by flickr


  1. Another thing we have in common... Wally Lamb. I've only read I Know This Much is True, none of his other books. But I was captivated. What an awesome story. It's cool to see what books you're reading. I might check Wally's other book out.

  2. I enjoy Wally Lamb's books. He writes characters so fluidly, it's impressive.

    A pivotal point of faith in my life? Wow, it's amazing I've been a Christian for only three years and I can think of three...okay four VERY pivotal points. One was last fall on a mission trip to Vietnam. A group of us had just finished taking a large group of kids to a water park and spent hours with them having the time of their lives. Some are so poor they don't have homes, they don't go to school. They can't afford food or clothes. And yet we'd seen only smiles and had such fun. Then a few of us rode on the backs of motorbikes to travel through a poorer part of the city, to see where some of these children lived. To see their families and that some of their homes were little more than scraps of wood and metal leaning up against sturdier surfaces. Needless to say, it was a tearful time but I felt such an overwhelming sense of love from God. God loved these people, God loved me. It made me realize that nothing is too big or small for God, AND it was wonderful knowing He had chosen me for this trip. Sometimes one person, or one small group of people, can make a huge impact in His name.

    Sorry for the length in that. Good memories though. I miss Vietnam :D

  3. Okay so Now I want to borrow two books from you the Daisy Chain and this Wally Lamb as I also have only read I know this much is true. I love his style. Guess I will be waiting ;)

  4. I love to read also and have my own personal library at home-just without all the bookshelves. I’d love for them to be on shelves instead of in boxes so I could reread some of them. I need to participate in that online paperback swap.
    One of the most pivotal points in my faith was when I chose (and continue to choose) to believe what God says about me through His word instead of some of the wrong ideas I had come to believe about myself. We can have some faulty assumptions about ourselves when we listen to what others tell us instead of what God tells us. It can be highly destructive. The transformation began when I was working through Believing God.

  5. There are many lessons I learn, then have to learn again, and yet again, working them into the fabric of my life little by little until they become part of who I am.

    Pivotal points drive home a lesson to the core of my being, piercing me with pain before finally surprising me with God's peace. Those lessons carry me through every other moment to follow.

  6. Katie, I agree, separated at birth!

    Cindy, I'm glad you wrote about your experience in Vietnam and really I could have kept on reading. Never apologize for length...I love reading what you have to write!!!

    Doodles, you are so funny. You know where to find me.

    Inkstillwet, Beth Moore is such a solid teacher! I did that Bible study and can very much relate to hanging on to what people say. It is so freeing and redeeming to realize and really sit with the truth of what He feels/thinks about us--it really is a crazy love!

    Anne, sometimes I feel like asking God, "How much do you think I can learn at one time?" Then I realize that He's patient with me, knowing it will take me time.

    I love the way you write, woman.

    Meet me back here tomorrow for the Friday Question and a Fourth of July send off!

    Missed a lot of readers today, but I hope you are enjoying food from the grill and sunny skies. I'm about done with rain! :D
    ~ Wendy

  7. thank you, traci! i'm glad to know you're that sort of friend. =)

  8. I read such a variety of books as well. I wonder what that smoothie would look like!

    I haven't yet tried anything by Wally Lamb, ut I probably will at some point.


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