My walk, with the Lord, began when I was fifteen, but let me rewind a bit. I was born into a Christian home I went to Sunday school I heard the stories and memorized the verses, and loved the flannel graph, but none of it was real to me. For the first fourteen years of my life Christ was nothing more than fire insurance to keep me out of hell while still living for only myself. I stayed of away from drugs and sex but rock and roll had me like a drug, it was my god. I listened to grunge and metal and moved into punk rock and it shaped who I was. I dressed like a punk and I hated authority like a punk. I was a punk!
I can remember falling asleep every night with this still small voice in my head saying "surrender your life to Me." I also remember looking for the mute button for that voice, but it was constant night after night. I was confused because I thought the prayer I prayed when I two, asking Jesus into my heart, was good enough. Yet He wanted all of me. I remember going to a winter camp and wondering how come these kids that call themselves Christians look different than me? I had a foul mouth and they did not. They sang church songs like they meant it. I just wanted to get back to free time and 'the ladies.' I was seeing that what I thought was Christianity was nothing more than an empty prayer and I was just like the world.
During that trip I had gnarly run in with a sled, a hill, and ramp made of snow. The youth pastor thought I was the first kid he had killed, little did we know that he played a role in starting to kill who I was. It was like during that weekend the I.V. was stuck in my vein and the following months I would receive a lethal amount of love, grace, mercy to kill who I was and finally start living. I remember the night like it was yesterday that I was broken by the love of God. I wept as I finally saw for the first time how much God loved me and the sacrifice of Christ became more than just a neat story on flannel graph. After He broke me He put people in my life to start putting me back together.
One of those people was my uncle Ken who showed me how to study the bible and grow in my new found walk with the Lord. Another was my now wife of almost 12 years. She has walked with me since that night that I first started walking.
We have walked through four children's births, moving out of state to where we knew no one, and walked with me through the darkest time of my life. I recently went through a dark time of depression where the Lord broke me further than I thought possible. Through the shards of my broken life I was able to see the roots of pride that were growing everywhere. What I thought was a desire to serve the Lord was really just an idol. I was seeking the position in ministry much more than the Lord. My strength had become sufficient and I was able to do it all, and God needed me to see that I was nothing apart from Him.
I wanted so badly to have Him open the door that He shut, but I never would have seen how sick I was if He had. I was shown the beautiful reality that I needed Him more than anything and that I could be effective for Him without a church. I have often said that you can do your best when your in full time ministry, meaning paid by the church, but the moment you give your life to Christ you are in full time ministry. Ministry is all around us and He has told us in Eph. 2:10 that He has prepared it for us and all we need to do is walk in it
I am so thankful that the Lord, through His grace, showed me how backwards my thinking was. I am thankful that now I can look all around me and see ministry that can be done. I am thankful the Lord would choose to use a worthless sinner to do His work. It is all about Him, He is God I am not.
|Josh & Jen Schmidt, Mount Vernon, Washington|
Note from Ronda~
When I read, "roots of pride that were going everywhere...", I could instantly picture this. I had just likened pride the other day to Morning Glory. Looks beautiful when it blooms, but it is choking the living daylights out of whatever victim it has wrapped itself around. I am so grateful that you took time out of what I know is a very busy schedule to share what God has done and what God is continuing to do in your life. You have a beautiful wife and family, and an awesome testimony for the love, mercy, and grace of God.
Your Sister in Christ,
Josh is part of a band that loves the Lord and loves making music for him. If you would like to take a listen to their music you can find them here: The Unveiling