“You’re such a strong kid”

“You’re such a strong kid,” people would tell me. Back then physically I was strong for my age, an attribute of growing up on a farm. Mentally, that depends on how you want to look at. I wasn’t ever book smart (still wouldn’t consider myself today) but I had some common sense. I was just another high school kid who was into sports and got the grades needed to play.

As a whole though I was seen as a role model. Morally strong, followed the rules and did what had to be done. It’s funny to think parents/adults actually made comments regarding me as “someone their daughter should date” or “if I was younger I would date your son.” Grinning, I shake my head at those thoughts.

After hearing people tell me how I was a good and strong person I eventually started to believe them. Not that I wasn’t strong but the strength was not my own. At that time I had a strong relationship with God, looking back it was because of Him that I had those good qualities. It was He who allowed me to take the high road and focus on doing what was right. Although I had my share of moments when I didn’t listen to Him. As time went on and in my senior year the comments were still coming. I even had a teacher state, “If you improve much more you will be Superman.” How was I not supposed to take pride in that? As graduation came and went, college came all to fast.

As I started college I planned to continue my strong relationship with God. Then, I didn’t.

My first excuse for missing church on Sunday was football practice. Once I no longer had practice on Sundays I took up the popular idea of partying. My second excuse for missing church became sleep. And shortly following was my third excuse, the biggest lie of them all, “I didn’t need to go; I can still be faithful.” And I was for the most part, I still believed in God. I went to church about once a year while at college (not counting holiday back home of course). Unfortunately, this patterned continued with the exception of the occasional, “let’s start go to church together” idea. Prompted by whatever girl I was currently dating.

I continued to lie to myself about my faithfulness to God and my ability to still have a strong relationship with Him. Looking back now it is obvious I became a pretty good liar over the years. At this point the moral strength I previously had in high school had diminished to practically nothing. Like our physical strength, our moral strength can leave us just as quickly if we do not continue to strengthen it. Although my moral strength had diminished I had failed to realize this and continued to put myself in situations where I thought I was strong enough to take care of myself.

I wasn’t strong enough.

After years of neglecting and disconnecting with God the strong relationship we had was no more. The strength I had in high school was no longer within me because I no longer had God within me. I attempted to take on life without God, only to realize how much I still needed Him years too late. I should have known I needed Him in my first year of college when I decided sex didn’t have to wait until marriage. And I should have known I needed Him in my fourth year of college when drinking began to consume my life and I spent that night in jail.

Maybe, if I would have learned how much I needed His strength after those weaknesses up ended my life it could have been different. Maybe then I would have had His strength in me before I was tempted and chose to destroy the relationship I had with the person closest to my heart.

He was there, I felt and heard Him telling me, “Don’t put yourself in this situation” and “Stop before you do something you will regret.” I wasn’t strong enough.

“You’re such a strong kid,” people would tell me.

Yes. I was strong back then because my relationship with God was strong. It was His strength that made me strong. It was only until my most recent battle of righteousness against my weaknesses that caused unimaginable amounts of pain to those closest to my heart and myself.

Fortunately, there is hope. Not that my loved ones will ever take me back. No, the hope lies in Jesus’s gift of death on the cross. Because of Him my sins are forgiven. And there is hope in the Lord, who has taken me back, which testifies to his strength, mercy, grace and love.

It will be a journey of tribulations and triumph to show my trust in His plan and my willingness to pursue His glory. This is a journey many of us have to take for many different reasons. No reason better or worse than the next but we are on this journey together. Let us take arms to make right with the Lord and live as Christ showed us.

Superman?!

Superman?!

I need a little reminder everyday.

I need a reminder everyday.

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Stephen Mattson

Inspiration. Faith. Christian Culture. Writing.

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