by Karen Blanchard
SHELBY TOWNSHIP, MI – The month of November ushers in a sense of thanksgiving and gratitude. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Before moving to Michigan, my husband Scott and I lived in Pensacola, Florida. For Thanksgiving we would travel to Alabama to visit his grandma in Muscle Shoals, and then drive over to visit my grandma in Huntsville, Alabama. This was always a special memory for us.
The first year Scott and I visited his grandma on Thanksgiving, she laid out an amazing spread. At that time, I was a pretty picky eater. I would only eat what I knew I liked, and I rarely strayed away from that. Sweet potato casserole never seemed appealing to me before. My mom made it with marshmallows melted on top, and something about the orange potato and white melted marshmallows just didn’t seem to go together in my mind.
Of course, being a guest in someone’s home I wanted to be polite, so I took a very small helping of Grandma Joyce’s sweet potato casserole. Now, Grandma’s sweet potato casserole was different from my mom’s. She topped her casserole with a nut, cornflake, and brown sugar mix, but I had already decided in my mind I wasn’t going to like it. When I took a bite of the sweet potato casserole, to my surprise it was delicious! Sometimes we just have to taste something to realize what we have been missing!
I love the verse in Psalms 34:8 – Taste and see that the Lord is good…
It is one thing to know about God; it is a completely different thing to experience him, and live a life surrendered to him. I accepted Christ when I was a young girl. I grew up in church. I knew a lot about God, but I wouldn’t say I knew God.
I think we can get very comfortable in our Christianity and do all the things a “good Christian” would do, but never experience God for ourselves. Many times, we experience God through a pastor’s message on Sunday morning, through a speaker at a conference, or through lyrics in a song. Those things are wonderful; however, that shouldn’t be the only times we experience God.
In 2016, God got ahold of my heart, woke me up from my spiritual slumber, and now I experience him daily! He isn’t just a God I worship on Sundays. I don’t read my Bible anymore to check it off my religious “to do” list. I don’t just pray when I need something, or bring requests to him. I have now tasted and seen God’s goodness. His work in my life is undeniable.
The amazing news is that anyone who is a follower of Christ can experience him in this way. It begins with a daily surrender. We must die to ourselves daily, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us and fill us with everything we need. When we do this, we become sensitive to his voice. When the Holy Spirit begins to lead us, we will experience God in a whole new way!
Have you tasted and seen that God is good? Or have you been going through the motions of Christianity? Have you ever wondered if there is more to your relationship with God? Today, you can surrender it all to Jesus. Our salvation isn’t meant to just be a “ticket” to heaven. God wants us to experience him here on earth and live the abundant life Christ died for us to live.
I had no clue what I was missing in my relationship with God until I fully surrendered to him. Just like the sweet potato casserole, I had to taste and see God’s goodness for myself. I had to step into my own faith, and not depend on the faith of others.
Can you guess what I bring to all the family holiday dinners now? That’s right! Sweet potato casserole.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen is married to Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church, and moved from Florida to Michigan in the summer of 2009 to plant Lakepointe Church in Shelby Township. She enjoys mentoring and discipling women and also leads women’s life groups through her church. She is passionate about helping women find their purpose in who God created them to be. She is on staff at Lakepointe Church and loves being part of what God is doing in the Metro Detroit area!