MY CROSSING STORY
Ryan from Quincy 48th
Serving in the military in Afghanistan was a turning point in my life. Up until that point, I had been a sometimes type Christian, where I would go to church a few times a year and ask for the good Lord’s help when I was in a jam. When I was overseas for the first time in my life I really felt vulnerable. It sounds cliché now, but at the time I never knew when my last moment was going to be, I never knew when my last conversation with my wife and kids would take place, and it made me feel like I’d left things unfinished. This drove me to get to know Jesus Christ on a real, personal level.
I prayed daily, which at the time I did not think looked like a “real” prayer, but Jesus and I were definitely chatting it up. For the first time, I felt the charge to not only get my act together, but to lead my family to god. I have a lot of work to do in my relationship with Christ but I am learning that it is about the journey and realizing those moments when the Lord is talking to you.
Before I had an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I was trying to juggle everything, hold all the cards, and run the show. Things continually fell apart and I felt like life was spiraling out of control. Now I realize that my life is in the Lord’s hands, and that HE holds all the cards. I can put on my best poker face and wish and hope and pray for whatever I want, but the Lord can see right through this into my heart.
“When I am out in the community now, my eyes are open.
I try my best to bring and spread the Word however I can with whomever I can.”
Curiosity, more than anything, led me to The Crossing. I have been in and out of different churches all of my life. Several coworkers and friends attend The Crossing, and about a year ago my wife and I decided to give it a shot.
I think anyone who attends The Crossing can mutually agree that the message hits home. I often get caught up in life and in my lower story. With three kids and a wife, life can feel chaotic, there are never enough hours in the day, or money to pay the bills. Whenever I catch myself slipping under my lower story, I stop what I am doing and pray. That’s when I reground myself, take a look at everything happening around me, and remember to count the blessings I have been given. I have healthy children, a wife that loves me, and a job that pays the bills.
I haven’t discovered what the Lord’s plan is for me yet, but I don’t concern myself with that because when He feels I’m ready I know He’ll call. He’s tapped me on the shoulder and slapped me around to wake me up before, and He’ll do it again.
When I am out in the community now, my eyes are open. I try my best to bring and spread the Word however I can with whomever I can. I’m the leader in my son’s Cub Scout pack. I try to teach the boys to observe and recognize reverence, and lead them with Christian example and intent.
If a child asked me what having an intimate personal relationship with Jesus meant, I would say something in relation to having a mother and father. No matter how much their mother and father love them, it still falls short of how much God loves them and how he’s always there to talk to, for the good times and the bad. Having that relationship with him is like having a suit of armor that fills you with the most calming feeling, and that no matter how scared they get God is there to guide the way.
“I tell them what it feels like to be on the other side, to know that your life has purpose and reason. That when they have finally had enough and the weight of life has crushed them, they only have to ask for help and God will be there to pick them up and say ‘I’ve been waiting for you'.”
Sharing Jesus with those around me is definitely something I am still figuring out, but one way I know I can contribute is through prayer. Although I’m private with my prayer, I’m working on busting out of my shell. When I am talking with someone who is going through a rough time, no matter how big or small, I tell them I’ll pray for them.
When I come across people in their lower story I share my own pain and the hurt I had before I knew Christ. To give them hope, I tell them of how I survived and persevered. I’ve seen people walk out of situations that by every reason should be dead, myself included. I tell them what it feels like to be on the other side, to know that your life has purpose and reason. That when they have finally had enough and the weight of life has crushed them, they only have to ask for help and God will be there to pick them up and say “I’ve been waiting for you”.
The Crossing community has been wonderful for me and my family. There are so many people taking part within the church and there is no question that the people and the facilities feel alive. One reason we call The Crossing home is that it offers something for everyone, but mostly it’s because of the people. The Crossing is a living community and one where you’ll never meet a stranger.