Sometimes I feel guilty, because I take for granted the amazing gift I've been given. My heart has belonged to the Father since I was so young, it's part of who I am. I can't look back on a time "before" I became a Christian. I was raised in the church, by a wonderful loving mother. I was Christened at 3 months old. I asked my mom if I could be baptized again when I was 8, and my pastor agreed to do so (even though I don't think it's technically Methodist doctrine to re-baptize someone). And the Holy Spirit entered my life in rather dramatic fashion when I was 14. In the [paraphrased] words of Brother Jim (according to my mother), 'I've never seen the Holy Spirit get hold of a child the way He did Jill.' I don't say this to seem Holier than Thou or brag, but to illustrate that God has always been in my life in a very real way. And for that I'm truly grateful.
Now, I admit to you that at times in my life I walked close to His side, and others I've been further away. But His presence never left me, and I'm constantly convicted and drawn back closer when I stray. Conviction is not at all bad. It's the loving correction of the Father, and I cherish it. Like any parent-child relationship, discipline shows the child you care about them enough to set limits for them. I'm grateful for God's conviction, knowing that with it comes His GRACE.
God loves us enough to walk with us, comfort us, guide us, convict and correct us. He loves us enough to cherish us, and count each hair on our heads (even the gray ones!). God loves us enough to create us, and draw us into His presence through the sacrifice of His only Son. Most of all, more than anything, I'm grateful to be a child of God.