A Joy-Filled Life
written by Zach Carter, member of Fellowship of Grace
What does a life of joy truly mean? A life where you never have to worry because you know all your needs will be taken care of. A life full of love, happiness, and wonderful people that care about you. A life where you know what you are meant to do and that you are here for a purpose. You know you were created for a reason. Whether you believe in evolution or creation, we are all here for a specific purpose and we are all meant to be fulfilled. I believe we were all created to live out joyous lives and this is my story of how Jesus Christ has changed my life.
Do you know that feeling inside of you when you just know you’re missing something? The feeling that something just isn’t right and you start wondering why you are here? Have you ever felt that things just couldn’t get any worse? I grew up in a family of four in a small town. Everyone lived for football on Friday night and most did labor jobs. Pretty typical, small town environment. When I was young, my parents got divorced and I didn’t know how to react. It was tough. We had to move a lot and my mom did the best she could to support us. My grandparents helped tremendously and for a long while we lived with them. I have an incredible amount of respect for my mother and I love her tremendously. If it wasn’t for her and my grandparents, I’m not sure what my relationship with Christ would be today. My mom had a background in church and my grandparents took me fairly often. This is when the real story begins.
I came to learn about Christ when I was eight years old. I accepted Him into my life and the journey began. It was a very slow start. About three years later, I started attending church consistently and was around a lot of great men who I could look up to and be discipled by. I immersed myself in the Bible and began learning as much about God as I could. Also, I began to help as much as I could and began to serve people in whatever ways I could at the time. Then something huge happened in my life.
I was twelve years old and my mom said she had someone she wanted me to meet on the phone. It was my dad. Not the one I thought was mine. But my real dad. We met a week later and had dinner. Over time, I began to learn more about him and today we have a very close relationship. This changed my life. As my relationship with my dad grew closer, so did my relationship with Christ. But as time went by, I gradually started to live for Friday night. I started to drift away over time and eventually was just like any other teenage kid. After a couple years of living like this, I just felt something was missing in my life. I thought maybe I just needed to move on. So, I moved out of the house, got an apartment with a bunch of guys and decided to go to college. This didn’t make me happy either. Then a pastor came to my apartment one day. We spoke for a good half hour. I told him I would visit his church sometime. Then, a few weeks later he came again! Of course, I hadn’t visited his church yet … but then I decided I should at least try and go some time. God must be trying to tell me something. After the service, I decided that guy was a complete psycho and half the stuff he said wasn’t even in the Bible! He was a nut! But, this experience did help me to start reading my Bible again as I continued to question many of the things this pastor was teaching. Soon after that, I started going to a God-fearing and Bible-believing church. It was wonderful. My relationship with Christ began to mend and I finally felt like joy was coming back into my life again. Sometime after that, I made the decision to quit school and move to Kansas City. Since my time began in KC a few years ago, I have started a business, left that business, and I am now working full time in sales and going to college. I will be done in about two years. Although my life has been filled with ups and downs, my relationship with Christ continues to grow steadily today and I am thankful that He has always been there with me.
I am currently a member of Fellowship of Grace and love serving people when I can. The people here are very encouraging and it is amazing how so many people have given me sound advice and have been able to help me through difficulties as they arise. My life is continually improving and I have learned to be happy no matter the circumstances. Is my life perfect? Am I perfect? Absolutely not on both questions. Life is still a challenge, but I embrace it because I know that God will take care of me and I am here for a purpose. Because of this, I can truly experience a joy-filled life. What is your story? Is it missing something … or Someone?