Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Born again... One sermon changed my life.

I was reflecting tonight, and thinking that anyone who visits my blog may have noticed a change in my posting. Maybe noticed more about the bible or God in some of my posts where as in the past I made it a point to never really mention my beliefs on this blog.
Tonight I felt led to share a bit about what has led me to where I find myself at this moment in time.

We had a miracle from God in our family as our daughter Skylar went through her liver transplant 7 years ago. Her trials have been proof positive to us, not only of God's love and healing power but the power of prayers of many voices being joined as one, and prayer making a difference. I can clearly remember, Bry and Skylar being in the hospital one one side of the city and myself and our then infant daughter sitting in a church a few hours away, often for hours (so many circumstances made it hard for me to be able to get to see Skylar in the hospital as much as I needed to be there). So I sat in church, as close as I felt I could be to God with a baby in my arms with tears flowing down my cheeks, saying "please" over and over. This "please" I would say to God encompassed "Please don't let my baby girl die, please take me instead".
You know God's promise in the bible to Noah with the rainbow. We got that very same promise from God in the form of a rainbow the day of Skylar's transplant. And I knew in that moment, it was God saying "she will be okay". I felt it. God is good.

So you'd think with that experience under our belt, I'd never have lost my way and my faith would have been strong right?
But that was not the case. Despite my sitting and praying in the Catholic church those days for Skylar, nothing about church drew me toward it, and I still stayed away from attending any type of services.

You see as I look back over my life, my faith was never strong. If you'd asked me then if it was I would have said, oh yeah sure. Yes, I was brought up in a Catholic home (but I can't recall us really ever talking about God at home). Yes, I went to church (because I was forced) and went to Sunday school (again because I was forced). I received my sacraments in church, not because I wanted to. As soon as I was able to ditch going to church that was the first thing I did.  And I never planned on going back to church again. Did I still have faith? Yes    Did I still believe in God? Yes     Did I read the bible all the way through at any point in my life? No     Did I ever read about Jesus' time on earth? Never    Did I even own a bible that was not a child's bible once I became an adult? No   Did I believe the bible was the true word of God? Eh not so much. : (  Did I believe God was love? No   Did I pray to God each night out of love? No I prayed out of fear.   Did the God my church painted for me as a child resemble the God I've come to know now? No, not at all.
I did teach my children about God, but I was not feeling it in my heart.  I even used Sonlight curriculum for homeschooling and took out any books that I felt were "to Christian" aside from the kids bibles and wanted to use the cores in a secular nature.

Fast forward:
My life changed in one split second on 2/20/11 hearing a Pastor speak at my brother's church (now my church as well). I left the service, shook the Pastor's hand and said "that was amazing". I meant that like no sentence I ever said before.
From that service I felt a change in me, a driving force to go home and read the bible. I can assure you I'd never felt a pull like that before. I do feel it was the holy spirit. I only had children's bibles, so I went on Amazon and found a copy of the bible for people like me (me who never could make it through a bible), a bible called The Book. In this version it tells you to start with the Gospels on when Jesus walked the earth which is exactly what I did.... wow! Then from there I begin researching questions that came up as I read, notebooking the questions and answers, keeping emails from my Pastor of questions I'd asked him and his answers. I read More than a Carpenter and that answered any doubts I may have had about anything in the bible not being true. And from then I just could not stop seeking or as our church calls it, stalking God.
Today I attend church every Sunday because I can't wait to be there. A church I love! It's like a party every Sunday in God's honor! And it's fun to be there with others who do not believe that church has to be what I had been part of as a child. With Pastor's I respect and admire, who have taken the time to help me find my way by answering questions I'd been scared to ever ask before. Prayer time is now a daily priority to our family. Every night we pray together. We read God's word, we read character qualities from the bible, we read Jesus Calling together and in our prayer circle as a family, we feel God's presence in the center among us. Beyond just going through the motions of attending a church, we put into practice what the sermon is about. I leave service determined to change and I do make those changes in myself. I sought out a counselor who was Christian to help guide me in this journey and she has helped me work on areas that were of trouble to me. Bry and I have been baptized in our new church because it felt so right to do so, to make that commitment to God. We immediately felt different in our hearts something had changed. That hole that was once in my heart that was not filled despite having a wonderful husband and children, is filling now with my relationship with God. Each day I look forward to reading God's word and seeing how it will speak to me, and it does each time. I love reading Jesus calling, it's so uplifting and feels like a hug from God. Though Our whole family dynamic has changed with God at the forefront.
It is hard to describe accurately the chain of events that has been sparked from that one day at church. But as you can see, it's been an amazing journey.

I am now truly able to help my children grow with God because I absolutely without question feel that relationship with God myself. I feel so lucky that God is patient and kind and that no matter how long it took, he welcomed me with loving arms.
At their young ages my kids enjoy being in our church, they look forward to hearing the Pastor speak and look forward to each Sunday. I wish I'd have attended a church as a child that made me excited to be there. It may have shaped my taking a different path in so many aspects of my life. But the main point is that no matter how long the trip, I've arrived and it was worth the scenic route to get here.


Dee said...

What a beautiful testimony, Melissa! May the Lord continue to bless you and your beautiful family! Welcome to the family of Christ! I can feel your love of Christ come straight through the pages of your blog!!!

God is so good!

redkitchen said...

This post is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. God is so good & isn't it wondeful that He finds us & brings us home! :) I am so happy for you & your family & also so excited knowing that if I never meet you here on earth, I'll still get to spend eternity with you in heaven.

Melissa said...

Thank you ladies for your lovely and wonderful words. They have touched my heart.