Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The year was 1990. It was late spring. I was 22, had been married to a wonderful man for four years, and was the mother of a beautiful little girl. For the most part, I was a very happy young woman. But if anyone could've seen inside me, confusion and torment is what they would've witnessed. Let's back up a bit.
Even though I loved the man would would be my husband very much, before we actually married, there was a tremendous amount of contention between my dad and me. The problem was that he (my intended) was a member of the Baptist church. I don't know why exactly, but my dad has this "thing" about Baptists. Truthfully, I didn't really know what anyone outside of the Christian church believed, except maybe Roman Catholics, but I'm pretty sure that the Baptists' beliefs being considerably different from ours was one reason my dad wasn't so happy about me marrying Mister. But I did it anyway.
The Bible teaches that "two become one", but when one or the other (or both) of the "two" doesn't break that tie entirely with the parents, it causes all sorts of issues. I had not made that break from my parents and still worried very much what they would think of the decisions my new husband and I would make. One of my promblems was whether or not to join my husband's church. I knew that would make things even worse with Dad, so I just never did anything about it. Though my husband really wanted me to, I just could not bring myself to it. I just couldn't risk further issues between my dad and me.
Truthfully, attending a Baptist church was a totally strange experience for me. They sure did things differently than the Christian church. Despite that, I still became invovled in several ministries: AWANA, VBS, teaching sunday school, helping in the nursery, and singing in the choir. I loved every minute of it, settling into the church very easily, and was considered a model Christian. And I was, I suppose, but only outwardly. Inwardly there was much fear, guilt, and shame over my sins, though I confessed to have been saved. Truthfully, I really wasn't a Christian, but I didn't understand that then.
I remember one particular afternoon during that time. Standing at the sink washing dishes, I suddenly dropped to my knees and begged God to help me through whatever it was that was going on inside of me. It is very painful to remember that time, probably it is because I hadn't a clue why I was feeling like I did then, but I can clearly see it all now. Not too much later, God made it clear to me that I was lost. I wasn't really saved. I wasn't a Christian. He didn't know me. There had been a baptism when I was about nine, but that's all. No repentence, sorrow, or faith in what Christ had done for me on the cross. Long story short, it took weeks of me fighting with myself and worrying about what Daddy would say for me to finally accept what the Holy Spirit was telling me. Eventually it became too much to bear and I quietly called out to God to save me one Sunday morning during the invitation. Though I could not find the strength to make it to the altar, inwardly I had finally accepted that there was nothing I could do to receive His forgiveness for my sins except believe on His son just like John 3:16 talks about. That was the day I finally started living! No more fear of dying! Peace in my heart, through and through.
When I called out to God that morning, one of the things I prayed for was for Him to do whatever He wanted to with my life. Talk about doing exceding abundant above what we ask Him for! I couldn't ever have worked out things out on my own like He has done. About six weeks or so after that day, just a few days before I was to be baptized, we found out that our family was growing again! No doctors. No pills. No keeping up with the temperature every morning.
It did not slip my attention that I had become pregnant not long after my salvation . . . and my prayer to God to take my life and use it in any way He thought fit. Because I believed that this was one way God was honoring my desire, I have always testified and witnessed about this when talking to others about our family.
Anyway, as some of you may know, that surprise pregnancy ended up being a twins. I can't even begin to tell you the feeling of knowing two babies are growing within the womb. I truly felt doubly blessed by God. I felt so special. And not only had we been blessed with our first child and then the twins, within four years of that time in my life, I had given birth to a total of five children.
So, how does a couple go from being a two-income family supporting two people to being a one-income family supporting seven people? Only by the grace and provision of God. Over the years, my husband had opportunity to move up in his job, which, of course, meant a pay raise each time. Though there were many tight times, I can truly say we've never been without food, clothing, good medical insurance and care, or a roof over our heads. Not only that, we've been able to see a lot of our 'wants' met as well.
Though God has always provided for us, what I've always prayed about the most is for God to use each of my children and for them to live lives that glorify Him. Each of our children has made a profession of faith in Christ and I thank God for this. Beyond each child's salvation, I've also prayed that I would be a godly example and influence on them to be obedient for whatever God called them to do. I believe God has answered that pray as well.
The oldest of our children is attending Bible college and feels called to missions; she loves God with her whole heart and wants nothing more than to always be in His will. Each of the boys works in public safety, one as a fireman and the other in law enforcement, a dream they have each had from they time they were very young. I tell them often that by the Lord answering their prayers and dreams, they're in a unique position to minister to others who are need or are facing a crisis in life, either directly or through prayer . . . or maybe both. As for the two youngest children, that's still to be seen. It's exciting to watch God mold them and lead them down the path He has set before them. Whatever each of them becomes or does with his or her life, I see them being active, influential members of society with much potential to reach many for the Lord and with the gospel. Would that not truly be a prayer that was met exceding abundant above all that I asked!
So as to not make us seem more than what we are, I'll be the first to tell you that we are not a 'perfect' family by any stretch of the imagination. I am thankful, though, for how God has worked in our lives in spite of that. With each trial that we go through and each mistake that we make, I know that He is working to perfect us.
When I was a girl, I had but one dream: to be a wife and mother. That dream has been answered way beyong my expectations and now I am entering a new phase in life: the children are reaching adulthood. College, serious relationships, living on their own, and adult responsibilites are issues in the family now. Within a few years, all five of the children will have finished high school and will be pursuing their dreams, if they have not already begun the process. I have a few new dreams of my own that I will be working toward. How it will all turn out is a mystery to me: where will our daughter serve God in missions and where will the boys' careers lead them? who will the children marry? when will I get to be a grandmother? what will happen to me once I'm an empty-nester? So much to consider!
When it comes right down to it, though, no matter what happens, past experience has taught me that He is able. But most of all, He will answer my prayers exceding abundant above all that I ask.