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By Taylor Sherwood

In middle and high school, youth group was a huge part of my life.  I attended as many bible studies and youth group related activities as I could, and spent countless Sunday evenings in the youth basement forming a close relationship with God while creating memories with some of my best friends at the same time. At the end-of-year youth group picnic my senior year, I remember thinking that things would never be the same. I’m now 26 years old and I often find myself missing those meaningful youth group memories.

Somewhere between high school, college, and becoming an adult, the amount of time I spend with God seems to have steadily decreased since my teenage years. When I reflect on why this has happened, it seems partly due to the increase of responsibilities that come along with being an adult, but also the lack of structure in my schedule. Youth group allowed for me to clear my schedule every week during the same days and times to spend in worship. I finally realized last year that I seem to struggle with committing to bible study courses now as an adult.

This past year has presented many challenges in my life that I never saw coming. I’ve always been a planner-I was the student who finished her paper the night it was assigned, the daughter who lived at home in college to save for a down-payment on a house after graduation, the wife who talked her husband out of a vacation to buy a dining room set so we can host holidays and have all the family together. I’ve always been very in control of life, so needless to say when life presented a challenge that I didn’t have control over, I started to question God and why this was happening to me.

At some point during this tough time, I began reflecting on my faith journey through my school years, college, and what it looks like now. I realized that in order to successfully face trials in my life, I needed to first reexamine my relationship with God and regain my relationship with him that I felt I had been missing these past few years.  Sometimes it’s so easy to put faith aside when things are going well, and then focus on it when times get rough. I started to read my daily devotional on a regular basis, not just when it was convenient. I started to remember to give prayers of thanks, not just prayers during hard times. And lastly, I started to analyze what the “big picture” for my life is, not just focus on this chapter of my life. I realized that I want to live a life like Jesus. I want to be someone that others would describe as a Godly woman, firm in her faith through good times, not just the tough times.

I’ve never written a devotion before, but when I saw this posting for a guest writer for my former youth pastor’s blog, I thought I’d like to give it a try in an effort to continue to my efforts of spending more time with God and His Word. The verse Jason gave me was:

Psalm 118: 1-2

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

This verse could not be more perfect for me to remember during this time in my life. Dictionary.com defines endure as to sustain without impairment. How great is it that our God’s love will remain even through the toughest times?! I feel a sense of comfort knowing that even though I had gotten off track with my faith journey, God’s unwavering love gives me the chance to refocus and strengthen my relationship with Him. During this lent season, I hope that you all will also find comfort in knowing that His love will endure forever.

Taylor is a member at Lebanon United Methodist Church in Hanover, Virginia.