Lately, I have been surrounded by the idea of telling "My Story". Our pastor is doing a series on it, and then today we started a Bible Study and the first video was all about Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore's story. Ways they were raised and how they got into the ministry. What I always find so amazing is that each of them talked about God derailing the path they were on to lead them in a different direction.
I have talked before about how we got into fostering but didn't really go farther back than that. On Sunday mornings part of the sermon is about living the life you want to tell. Sometimes I can get so caught up in the life I am living right now, that I forget it's just as important to proclaim how far God has brought me.
So, here is a bit of my story. It's not fascinating and it's not amazing, but it speaks volumes about God calling the ordinary.
I grew up in a small town with more churches than people it seemed. There was a church on every corner and Sunday morning the town was dead because everyone you knew was in one of those churches. The 2 restaurants that were in town were packed at noon because everyone and their brother had just gotten out of church. We were a member of a local Missionary Baptist Church and my dad was a deacon as well as music minister (we called it song director at the time) and my mom played the piano and taught the children's group (she would be a present day children's director). My sister and I grew up in church and back then you went Sunday morning, short break in the afternoon, back for 2 hours on Sunday night and back again for Wednesday night preaching. You wore dresses and combed your hair and sat still beside your parents (man, I sound old). If I acted up too many times, I was taken out for a spanking and brought back. If you were me, you were taken out multiple times a service and left with a bruise. I couldn't understand that if I would just be quiet for an hour it would be easier. As I grew up, I started asking if we had to go to church on Wednesday nights or Sunday nights and the answer was always the same, "Are the doors open?" I hated that answer by the way.
I stayed the course through High School and always longed to be a part of the Big Baptist church in Lonoke where all my friends attended, but my parents stood their ground and I was an active member of our youth group. I probably didn't let them know, but I secretly loved our group. I left and went to college and wouldn't you know it, but my mom and dad were no longer there to wake me up on Sunday mornings. My dad had always gotten me up on Sundays and that wasn't an easy job. Sometimes it took several tries to get me up and going and usually by then, my extremely soft spoken dad would raise his voice and I knew, this time, to hop up. Well, in the dorm room and sorority house, no one made me get up! Sure, there was a group who continued to get up and go every Sunday and I would always have good intentions on Saturday night, but it rarely panned out.
As college went on, it became the new "norm" for me to sleep in. I would make it every now and then but any little excuse could keep me away. Out too late night before, homework I needed to do (which I wouldn't look at until noon anyway), no clean clothes (I had a laundry service do my laundry), and so forth. My list of excuses were amazing and ridiculous at the same time. Looking back now, I couldn't have been more where the devil wanted this small town Missionary Baptist to be if he tried. I graduated college and entered the work force. I had great intentions of getting into a local church but once again, social activities got in the way. Who knew how exhausting a 40 hour work week would be? I needed Friday night to crash and Saturday night to catch up on Dickson Street with my friends. That left Sunday to sleep in, do laundry (laundry service expired with college unfortunately), head to Wal-Mart and prepare for the week. Little did I know, by allowing myself to be out of God's will and sliding down a slippery slope just how far away I would get…….