Are you a Christian, or are you a Christ follower?
Back in the day, these used to be one and the same. However, over recent years these two terms have separated.
Rather than just saying that I'm a Christian, I like to say that I'm a Christ follower. The reason for this is that in 2012 my Faith went from being based on the religion that I was brought up with to growing in a relationship with Jesus. My way of thinking began changing. Instead of thoughts like, "Well, this is what I believe, so this is what I do." I began actually having a connection with Jesus.
From the time I was a child, I struggled with self-medicating and other addictive tendencies. I would use anything I could to escape from the real world. By the time I was in my early 20s, I was a functioning alcoholic and was spiraling downward. I was getting caught up in the wrong crowd, hurting some of the closest people around me, and ruining my health. In 2012 my husband and I found a fantastic church where the people there looked past all my flaws and loved me for me, just like Jesus does. I began trying to get sober but failed many times. Later that same year, we found out that I was pregnant. From that moment, I stopped drinking, and I can happily say I was clean and sober throughout my pregnancy.
Two months after our daughter was born,
I had a glass of wine and felt like my heart was hardening toward all God had to offer me. At that point, I knew that I needed to stay sober and that God would help me. So as of June 1, 2013, I have not had a drink and can proudly say that I am sober to this day.
God is so good! I am thankful for the never-ending love and grace He constantly shows me!
What I believe might be easily thrown into the "religion" category,
but it's so much more to me than that. It is a forever-growing relationship with a Heavenly Father that loves me regardless of my past mistakes. I look at the life that Jesus led and try my best to follow in His footsteps. It is "loving others because He first loved us."