every Christian has a starting point. maybe not a moment, maybe not a day, but a place where their faith started, and has since grown and grown.
For me, it was my Chrysalis weekend.
For those of you who don’t know what Chrysalis is, Chrysalis is a 3 day retreat, that someone you know invites you on, meant to show you God’s love, and how much you are loved.
If you do know what Chrysalis is, this is my 4th day talk. The one I will never give.
My name is Judiclaire Kinerney. I sat at the table of the Purdy Pink Princesses, and I walked on C-91.
I grew up in a Christian home, and I spent more time at church throughout my childhood than anywhere else. I was involved in everything. Youth Group, Choir, JLU, Christmas Shows, The Easter Egg Hunts, Vacation Bible School, Christian Musicals, and Thanksgiving Eve Services, Acolyting, Being on like 10 committees, Leading Worship, Leading Youth Group. I’ve worked in the nursery and served communion. And because I did everything, I was never able to truly worship. I was always running around doing 500 things, that I never took time to have a personal relationship. I didn’t even think that was something that could exist. Even though I grew up in the church, I never a whole circle of Christian Friends outside of my church. Praying was not something that was cool, and def not something I wanted to do. Being so in love with Jesus was weird. I did not want to be any weirder than I already was. I was perfectly content only being into Jesus part time, and honestly, after I left my parents house and went to college, there was not a hope in anyone’s mind that I would continue in my faith.
March 28th 2015. I was on my way to a retreat in Ocean City Maryland. All I was hoping to get out of this retreat was some good food, and maybe a 24 hour Holy Spirit high. Instead that weekend my seed was planted. (you can read all about seed planting here) A seed that took 10 months to be planted, and grow. Chrysalis had been a word that had been in my life for awhile at that point. I definitely did not want to do it.
A couple of rules that are pretty set in stone when you first walk on Chrysalis
a) You can’t have your phone (lame)
b) You can’t know the time (double lame)
c) You have to act like you’re having fun, the whole time (so lame there’s no adjective to describe it)
October 2015 rolls around, and suddenly, the seed starting to grow, with a lot of help from the soil around it. My friend Lydia, and my adult best friend Katie, filled me out an application, and then suddenly I was going up to the mountain. When you apply to walk on a Chrysalis weekend, you get a call from someone, sometimes you know them, sometimes you don’t. When you say yes to your call, that is when you are officially going on the weekend. That Yes ended up being the Yes that changed my life.
January 2016 comes, and it was at that point I realized I really did actually have to go to this thing. I tried everything in my power to get out of it. Sickness, Homework, and spending time with Friends were all excuses I gave. However I obviously still went, because otherwise this post wouldn’t be applicable.
The first words I said to anyone on the mountain were “I’m sorry if i’m mean to you this weekend, I don’t want to be here”
The First Day is “Dying with Christ” You have to lay down yourselves in order to live, and later Fly with Christ. At the end of Day 1, there is a really powerful moment. It was after that moment, long after everyone had gone to bed, reading a prayer one of the team members gave me, locked in the bathroom in tears that I accepted Jesus for the first time. It was a feeling of freedom and pride and bliss unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was a feeling I never wanted to leave my body, mind, or soul.
Since that point, my life has not been perfect, or even close to it. I’ve seen joy, pain, hurt and sorrow. I’ve laughed about as much as I’ve cried. But if our God is for us, then who can stand against?
That was my starting point, where it all began. Everyone has one, even if you can’t remember it. Whether you were three years old in Sunday School Class, or 17 at the foot of the cross. God was there. If you can remember that same peace in your soul, and the calmness wash over you. That was the time. That’s your starting point.
Now with most things that start, they must also have an end. Except for this. Your relationship and journey will never have an end point. He is here, and he is working, and my God isn’t leaving me anytime soon.
God is greater than the highs and the lows and the ups and the downs. He is higher than the highest mountain, and lower than the deepest depth of the ocean.
This is your starting point. Do with it what you are called.