Who am I, Where am I Going, and Where have I been? The story of my life!
|Talking in front of large groups of people is not my forte. However, I’m excited about the chance to share with all of you, the changes God has made in my life since starting disciple. Let me start from the beginning though. I can’t remember a time when God wasn’t part of my life. My mother was a deeply religious woman. I grew up in the Catholic church, went to a parochial grade school and high school. When I was 12, my mom almost died from Congestive heart failure, and I learned then about the power and importance of prayer. When I graduated from high school and went on to the year I spent at ISU, I belonged to Campus Crusade for Christ. I started realizing there was so much I didn’t know. So much that I had been taught was catholic doctrine and not the bible. When Mike and I got married, we started looking for a church, and God led us here. It felt like home from the first time we walked in the door. Then we moved to Ohio…. and it was difficult to find a church that felt right…so we kind of wandered away, God really wasn’t a priority…when my daughter was born, we started going to a church that was across the street from us, and it was nice, we made friends, went to church…. but we didn’t really grow closer to God…I believed…never stopped, always knew God had a plan, prayed pretty much daily…but that’s about it, and even when I prayed…it wasn’t really a connection…. or a conversation…it was a plea for help, or bless this person…it was what I’d grown up doing…..never realized I could get any closer. Throughout all of it, my marriage existed. Some days bad, others good…usually somewhere in between. Everything that happened though, saw our relationship waiver. When my husbands uncle died, we moved back to our current area and we started back here at Cumc. And walking in the doors, felt like home again. Only the church was going through some upheaval itself and we left….tried to find somewhere else but nowhere else made us feel like we belonged. By that point….My husband and I were fighting a lot, working a lot, just plain existing. Some days I wondered if our marriage would make it. And then I would remind myself that God has a plan, and it would all work out. 2 ½ years ago…in many ways, my world fell apart. In January of 2002, my husband showed up at school (where I was working) and told me my dad had died. We buried him, and about a month later, my mom went in the hospital. Now mind you, I grew up, and went through adult hood, knowing my mom could die, pretty much at anytime. Every hospitalization…we wondered, would this be the last. But this one was different, and had a sense from the beginning, that it was the last…..didn’t make it any easier, when 6 weeks after dad died, mom died too. About 2 weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I was an emotional wreck. In many ways, I shut down. I prayed for the baby……but pretty much shut God, and everyone else out…..for quite a while. I was lost, felt alone and abandoned. My husband was my rock. A few months before my son was born, we knew we needed to get back to church…..our daughter needed it, the baby would need it. I didn’t realize, that we needed it. The Sunday the church had the informational disciple meeting…my husband and I had just talked to our pastor about rejoining the church. When he asked us at the door if we were coming down for the meeting….we just looked at each other, shrugged, and said sure….thinking…ok, why not….all we have to do is listen. Hahaha. By the time we left….we were signed up for it. All I can remember thinking….is what have I gotten myself into!!! And I love to read……I really wasn’t sure my husband would make it through it. Lol. The first class was not really what I thought it would be. And when asked the reason I was there….was to learn the bible more…….wanting to be able to know where stuff was, be able to know it more to share it with my kids. It was hard at first, getting in to a routine. Getting the assignment done. And our poor teacher…..we asked so many questions. But as the weeks wore on….our small group, became a family within our church family. We shared things, we wouldn’t have shared anywhere else. Asked for prayer, in a way, we would not have done before. Financially, our family was skating on thin ice…..All of a sudden though, or marriage was not. Though things were scary, we started turning to God, together. Trusting in God, together. And God started making His presence known. One night, crying in the shower, feeling so alone, missing my parents so much….I felt a presence settle over me…and felt, well, the only way I can explain it….is God holding me. My class had already laid hands on me and prayed for me…I was struggling so very much with my grief……now, while I can’t say I no longer grieve…..I can think and talk about my parents without falling apart….I can face holidays and birthdays, without as much dread. But that’s not where it all stops…because that was only the beginning. First of all….reading the assignments stopped being a chore…and started being something I looked forward to doing. Then, while searching at crosswalk.com, trying to find encouragement….one of the verses I pulled up was Luke 12:22-32 which says: Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23 For life consists of far more than food and clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! 26 And if worry can't do little things like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things? 27 "Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! 29 And don't worry about food – what to eat and drink. Don't worry whether God will provide it for you. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. 32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
That verse just seemed to answer everything we were going through God showed me that He would take care of us on more than one occasion…I remember most strongly….on a Thursday in January….my husband and I both stressing…….things were tight, bills were due, we didn’t know how we were going to make it…and my faith was shaky at best…..and I went into the bathroom and I was in tears, and I prayed for God to let us make it……I was scared and lost and didn’t know what to do….and then I had an answer…..a song came in to my head “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way, He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me” and then I felt a peace come over me. And I knew, it was going to be ok. I told Mike about it. Although at that point I wasn’t sure whether it was in my mind or what….I’m only now beginning to know when God is talking to me. Anyway….that Sunday….a church member walked up to me with an envelope, a collection that had been taken in the Sunday school class, I believe, and it had been decided to give it to us…..I almost cried. And yet I couldn’t stop grinning…..I’m still not completely comfortable with it, I’m not always sure it’s God and not jus tin my head. …..but I love the connection I feel with the Lord almighty when we talk.
One Sat in Feb, we woke up to no water. As my husband and his dad tried to thaw the pipes, I was finishing my assignment. In reading, I came upon a verse….which I hold as my own. Matthew 21:22 which says If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." I chewed on that all day long. When they came up from the basement, they informed me that although hubby had thought it was the water heater, it was not, the pipes were frozen…..not in the basement but under the ground…and there was nothing we could do until the ground thawed. Ok great. So off we went to bring some water home from a friends and take showers. We came home, put the kids to bed, and I got online. We were both so bummed….and we talked, and decided we could get through….it would be a pain to take showers elsewhere, laundry, have to haul water in…..but it wasn’t the end of the world. Of course….I’m not sure either one of us believed that..lol…honestly if felt like it was going to be the straw that broke the camels back. We’d just had it with so many things hitting us. And I walked in the kitchen, standing with the refrigerator door open, I recalled that verse. And I prayed. I prayed that God would thaw the pipes, that we could have water, that it would only be through Him that the pipes could thaw (keep in mind, it’s Feb and after 10 at night, it was only getting colder)That we were both at a low point and needed Him to fix it for us. I walked back in and sat down at the computer. And all of a sudden I heard water running. All the faucets had been left on from earlier in the day. We had our water back. And it is only through God that we did.
Being in disciple, reading God’s word…..has brought me closer to God, I never knew, you could get closer to God. I grew up, became an adult….didn’t realize that it could be anything more. That knowing God has a plan and praying and going to church weren’t enough. That just believing isnt’ enough. It’s a good start…..but it’s not enough. And you know what…..I don’t ever want to go back to that. I wouldn’t give up any of what we went through, all of the hardships, all of the worry (we still struggle with money, but who doesn’t ) God has saved my marriage, has brought my husband and I closer together by sharing and reading His word, by making Him the center of our marriage Now, instead of falling apart or fighting when things get tough….we go to God. We still fumble, still get worried first sometimes….but we are getting there. I’m learning to follow the guidance of the holy spirit, learning to listen to God’s voice. Learning to obey when I’m not sure of how it’s all going to work….but doing what he’s guided me to do. Often times, God uses music to talk to me, and it is through music, many times, I feel closest to Him. And so, if you will bare with me, I have a song, that not only shares very much the very basic theme of what I’ve learned in disciple, but also a song that I feel led to share…….
The song I sang that day was a song I'd learned in grade school called "You are Near" I'm not sure who sings it and the searching I've done only brings up the lyrics. When I was done, I was told 2 things by the pastor and another church member. Why wasn't I singing in the choir? I now am part of our praise team. We sing and lead the contemporary songs at church on Wed night and on Sunday mornings and I feel so connected to God above through music. The other thing I was told by a different church member, was that I should be writing. He said I moved him to tears and that I should write a book. That's been about 3 years ago. I've done a little bit. Mostly when emotions are high and God is telling me it's time to release what's in my soul. Joining this site is my attempt to start releasing His gifts, for His use more and to learn to use that gift to give Him power and glory.