I have posted this in Cafemom and Myspace, but thought it would also make a good blog. I have learned that I love the story that God is writing, even the tough spots. He sometimes lets us face dark days so that we might better see His light. And, He never leaves us. Even in our darkest moments, He is there.
Psalm 28:7 (KJV)
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
So, this could be a bit long, but here goes. As a kid, my family didn't go to church. My parents were both raised in church, but we just didn't go. I always knew there was a God and when I was in the fourth grade, my neighbors started taking me to Sunday School with them. In fifth grade, one of the girls from Sunday School was in my class at school. We became best friends and I started going to children's choir and GA's (Girls in Action) with her. Her parents were wonderful people. Both of my parents worked, so on Wednesdays (when we had choir) I would ride the bus home with her. Her mom would feed us dinner and get us to church. I accepted Christ as my personal savior in Children's Church at age 12. My friend's mom, Mrs. Whetzel, was there. Shortly after I began regularly attending, my parents also joined the church. We started going together as a family.
Throughout middle school and high school, I was very involved in church activities. Youth Group, Sunday School, Youth Choir, Youth Drama, Church League Softball, Youth Ministry Council, etc. Most of my free time was spent at church and many of my closest friends were from church. I stayed out trouble during those years by staying busy with church activities, and I loved it.
My college years were a bit tumultuous. All of a sudden, there weren't all of these church activities to fill my time. My closest church friends went away to college, while I stayed home and I lost the positive influence that they had on me. I backslid big time. I let myself go down roads that I knew were wrong and didn't think (or care) about the example that I was setting to those around me. I met my husband during this time. He was not a Christian at the time and I entered into the relationship while I wasn't behaving as one. After about 6 months of dating, we moved in together and 6 months later we moved from VA to TX.
For some reason, even though I wasn't living to glorify Him, God chose to bless me with my husband. Despite my incongruous lifestyle, Trey accepted Christ and we married after 3 years of dating. (He is a terrific husband and father). Shortly after we married, we joined a local church and started attending a newly formed Sunday School class for young marrieds. We got pregnant about 2 months after we married but didn't share the news with our new class right away because there were several couples who were struggling to get pregnant. At about 10 weeks along, I miscarried. We were devastated and finally shared with the group. These wonderful people prayed for us and loved us through that hard time. Within 18 months, we saw 4 babies born to the class. I can't give the story justice here, but God truly showed that He answers prayer in ways that we don't even expect.
Since then, I have continued to grow in my walk. I hope to never travel down the dark road that was my late teens and early twenties again. My life isn't perfect and I have faced some dark days, but God has been constantly there. He has protected me (most often from myself) and forgiven me. He has loved me and placed people in my life that have nurtured me and my faith. I owe everything that I have and all that I hold dear to Him and His gift of grace. I can't wait for the day that we will meet face to face.
My favorite verse since I was a child is John 3:16.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (KJV)
As I have aged and grown, I have started to really love the Amplified version of the same verse.
"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."