woke up sunday to dreary skies, but at least it had stopped raining. headed to the dining tent to have breakfast. upon opening the doors, angels were singing…
biscuits and gravy. sausage patties. and other stuff i didn't care about. my eyes were captivated by biscuits and gravy.
well that is a little overstated. my stomach's anticipation clouded my vision, because anyone can tell you there ain't nothing too beautiful about a big pot of gravy for biscuits. in fact, you'd best avert yer eyes. it's ain't purty.
but it sure is delicious…
and i know, i shouldn't get this worked up about food… any food… but i couldn't help it. doe river gorge's biscuits and gravy are pretty much out of this world. side-by-side with a sausage patty, and you've got down-right heavenly. (not too heavenly for my arteries, but whatever!)
alright, i completely digress here. it's not about the food. it's about the stories!
our final meeting time before packing up and heading home. stories about how a life in Christ has changed us and what it looks like going forward.
i thought this would be the easy part. you know, the part where my life is so much better, and on and on. this is redemption! eternal life here on earth! the good part!!
i was completely unprepared for the eruption of tears that began the minute i began speaking.
i became a believer at that conference. my walk with the Lord was more like a crawl, but it was a beginning. i couldn't tell the hubster about my experience. it's not unlikely that divorce papers would follow. he was not in the least bit interested in spiritual things, and having been raised in a very religious home, he wanted no part in empty religious practices, even though we were attending church regularly. so i read my Bible on the sly, and my growth really was very stunted that first year. i came to the decision to join our church, and invited the hub, but was clear that i didn't want him following suit just because of me.
it was during this process where the Lord got ahold of my mate and transformed his heart. his conversion was of the lightning bolt variety—a moment where he became weak-kneed and his heart became inhabited by the living God.
our lives changed dramatically from that moment. people could see the differences in us, and many of our relationships changed because of our new-found purpose in life. many of our friends faded away, but the Lord blessed us with new friends—deep, intentional, real friends.
our "first encounter with Christ" occurred not long after became Christians. our son had been shoved into a brick wall face first at the hands of a bully, and the Lord calmed our hearts in such as way as our first thought beyond the immediate safety and care for our son was mercy and grace for the young man who hurt our son. (and He continues to resupply this every time boy wonder has surgery…over ten at last count) it was evident that that was not us, it was clearly the Holy Spirit, because just months before, we would have been filled with bitterness and hatred.
three weeks later, my dad unexpectedly died, and again, we encountered Christ in such tangible ways. the body of believers surrounded us with prayer and assistance, and the Lord gave me the ability to share my testimony at my father's funeral. i had been too afraid to share my new-found faith with my father for fear of rejection. i was convicted i would never let another opportunity to share Jesus pass me by. as a new believer, sharing my testimony was frightening, but the Lord gave me the courage to share and the composure to speak without crying.
because of my past, the Lord called me into crisis pregnancy counseling, which i did for three years. every single day of that ministry was difficult and uncomfortable, but the Lord equipped me to serve. He nudged me into leaving that ministry when He showed me that serving young teen girls would ensure that many would never darken the doorstep of a crisis pregnancy center.
nine years ago, i became a youth leader. i began with middle school girls, and now lead high school girls. it is the joy of my life to share the precious gift of Jesus with them, and to lead them into a love-relationship with Him. reminding young girls that they are daughters of the King of Kings…perfect princesses, created by the master of all creation, his workmanship, the beauty of his very image.
it is my honor and joy to serve Jesus in this way. to breathe truth into their lives with love.
our God is a God of redemption. of mercy. of grace. and when i remember where i was and how he scooped me up from the cess-pool of my life, i weep in gratitude.
Jesus saved my life.