Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The First Stone

Good news! I haven't had any fits of frustration, nor have I cried over any lost remotes since I've written about it! I totally give the credit to God. I asked for help and He gave it. I went to church like I was supposed to, and had a good time in the kids class. I've also listened to the sermon in my car on CD. I LOVE it. Pastor Frank talks about what to do when your life falls to pieces. Who do you turn to? Well, the obvious answer is God, considering this is a church sermon. He gave examples, and it was funny how just about all those examples have impacted my family's life.

Here are some of the examples he gave. "What do you do when your son tells you. 'Dad. I need to tell you something...I'm gay'". I don't think my parents ever sat down and talked about it with my brother. He just came out. "What do you do when your daughter tells you, 'sit down. I need to tell you...I'm pregnant."' Well, that was me. Single, pregnant teen mother. And Pastor Frank tells us how, in one word, your life changes. Divorce (only one that didn't apply). Cancer. You're Fired. And the sermon goes on about how it' s understandable why one would turn away from God, instead of turning toward Him in the face of adversity.

This sermon really got me thinking about how lucky I am. How lucky I go to this church. It made me really question how my faith would hold up if any of this happened to my family, if I changed places with my parents. And it amazes me how much faith my mom has since she has gone through it all. This sermon also had me thinking about memories I have. Memories that help build my faith, and I want to write about my first longing I had for God, one that worked as my first stepping stone toward my relationship with Jesus Christ.

My first stepping stone memory I remember well and I tell people of it often. I was a sophomore in high school, in gym class. At this time I've been out of Catholic school for years and I never thought about God or church. My friend, then more like an acquaintance, Elizabeth and I were walking around the gym with another girl named Julia. Julia was one of those dark, brooding, troubled girls who dressed in black, wore black lipstick, and probably didn't come from a very loving family. I remember Elizabeth, a strong Christian, telling Julia about God, how he loves her. And I remember Julia flying off the handle, yelling back at Elizabeth, "God doesn't do anything for me, I f----ing hate him! F---- God!" She said more, but it was all pretty much the same thing. I think she even flipped God, or the gym ceiling, the bird. I was mildly shocked at Julia, wondering where this anger came from, but was even more shocked when I looked at Elizabeth. I was very surprised to see tears streaming down her cheeks, and I asked her what was wrong. "He's my God, I love Him with all my heart, and it makes me sad to hear anyone talk about Him that way." In that instant, I longed for that. I yearned for that kind of love with God. I wistfully thought to myself, I want what she has. I want that kind of feeling for God. I vividly remember how that longing felt like to this day, and it is why I absolutely believe He made us to need Him. I felt that need. Elizabeth has since been a faithful friend and I will never forget her friendship and acceptance when I found out I was pregnant and my close friends had me ranked low on their priority lists.

I didn't give myself to God after this encounter until years later. I probably didn't give it a second thought later that day. But it did plant a seed in my heart, a God seed, and even though the seed didn't start growing for over a year, it was there.

I'm going to write more about this subject and more on my memories, but I'll wrap it up for now. When it comes to my relationship with God, it's amazing how far I've gone, and even more amazing how much I still have to work towards.

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