When I was 15 and in the foster care system, I had some friends in a local church group that I sought out for friendship and added support through such a difficult time in my life. At that time, I was encouraged to pray and "be saved." So, I did it and for many months afterwards I went to weekly church meetings and events with this group and lived what I thought to be a Christian, or saved, life. At some point as I neared the age of 18, I "grew out of" this group I guess would be the best way to put it into words, and stopped attending altogether. I still have contact with some of the people from this group and we are always on good terms with one another, as it was nothing personal.
Fast forward a bit in my life. I turned 18, got married, started a family, and went about day to day life. An then everything went down between me an Frank in November, and I needed a whole different level of support than what was currently in my life at that time. I had been in contact with an old high school friend for many years who attended a local church I had gone to a handful of times as a child. I had met some other lovely ladies through this friend and this church as well. One Sunday morning I made the jump and got all 4 kids ready and out the door and we went to church. This was the first time for the children to ever be a part of anything like this. It went really well and we attended pretty regularly after that for a month or so. I got a bit distracted with someone in my life about 4 months ago, and we didn't attend much at that time, but I still had regular contact with some of the girls from that church, and I knew I was still being prayed for even though I wasn't as physically present as I once had been in that church community.
About a month ago, I was hanging out with a friend one Saturday evening, but the whole evening, I had a nagging feeling in my mind and my heart about needing to go to church that next morning. Looking back, I know it wasn't just any ol' nagging feeling, but was God speaking to me and my heart and leading me back to Him, where I have always belonged.
I woke up the next morning, got myself ready, and went to church. It was like I had never left to begin with, which is always refreshing. I visited, participated in our moms Sunday school class, and of course the actual Sunday service and sermon. But I couldn't ignore the nagging feeling that lead me to church that morning. During the whole service I truly felt that I was being spoken to in my mind and in my heart. Something was happening inside me, and I was yet quite sure what, but I knew it was meant to be and happening for a reason.
I left the service, went home, researched local hikes in my area, and grabbed a bite to eat. Then I set off to Stowe to hike Pinnacle Mountain. I have never hiked in my life! Well, in 7th grade we went on a school trip to a local state park and I hiked that mountain then, and when Frank and I took the kids to Santa's Village for the first time a couple years ago we hiked through the Flume Gorge, but I didn't really count that as a true HIKE like the one I was about to go on.
So, I started the hike, all by myself. It was HARD! For someone who had never really hiked before, to tackle this huge mountain that was graded a 6 out of 10 for difficulty, it was a challenge but I knew I couldn't stop. I had been lead here for a reason, and something, someone, was pushing me to keep going, no matter how nasty sweaty I was getting or how difficult it was, or how many times I had to stop and take a break.
I have to say, it was peaceful to have that time spent in my own head and my own little world and with nature.
I completed the hike though and made it to the very top of the mountain. It was exhilarating!!!
The view was BEAUTIFUL and the feeling I got from completing this hike was indescribable!
Though the view was amazing and the feeling was even better, one of the most important events in my life happened to me on this day at the top of this gorgeous God made territory.
I sat for a while in a quiet spot by myself, and reflected on the past 6 months and even years before that in my life. And then, I prayed. I talked to God. I asked Him to come into my life, change my heart and soul, and lead me closer to Him and all that He had planned for me for the rest of my life. I asked him to guarantee and prepare His home to be my home one day, for so long as I believed in Him and the gift of everlasting life that He gave to all of us in this world. I became saved on Sunday, May 18, 2014.
The feeling I had after praying that day and the way my life has gone since then, has been truly amazing. I can wholeheartedly say that I am a true believer in the power of Christ and what He has done with my life and what He will continue to do with my life and for my life.
I'm by no means a "Bible thumper." I will not push this belief on to anyone else. I will, however, pray for every single person I know, and even those that I don't know, in the hopes that they too, can find and be lead to this inner beauty and peace within their lives, and come to understand the Lord and all that He can and will do for us!
I have felt an amazing feeling of inner peacefulness since becoming saved, and felt more comforted than I ever have before, even when I am physically all alone, because I know that He is always with me. He is always guiding me, blessing me, and pushing me along in all the things I do, helping assure me that I will never be alone again, that I have the most beautiful and peaceful home waiting for me when my earthly life is done, and that all things are possible through Him.
There is a quote from a well known poem that I have found great comfort in lately:
"When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
This is so true. There have been so many times in my past that I can look back at now and wonder, "How in the world did I make it through that??" There are times in more recent days that I wonder how I have gotten where I am now, how I have made it through 8 months without my husband, without someone I thought to be my one and only life partner. And the answer is simple. The Lord was always there with me. He carried me through when I literally felt like I had no strength left. When I felt as if my world had ended and I would never be happy again, He carried me as long as He needed to, and built my strength back up, along with my happiness and inner peace. It truly is amazing to see and feel what He can do, has done, and continues to do for my life.
I am so excited to start teaching the word of God to my children. They are at such a perfect little age where they are like little sponges soaking everything up around them, and so hungry and thirsty for knowledge, so I know I can raise them to seek the Lord, follow Him, and love Him just as I do. I am also greatly enjoying seeking out all I want to know and feel like I need to know about the Lord and His word. I can't stop reading it, speaking it, sharing my testimony, and sharing the word of God to everyone I come into contact with. And the best part is, I know it is Him guiding me to do this. He is changing my heart and speaking to me so that I may speak through Him to others, to help bring them to know Him and His work and love.
This has already been such an amazing journey in my faith and it has only been a few short weeks! I can't wait to see what the next months and year brings as I continue to grow in His love and His word and see what He has in store for my life that He has known about since before I was even in my mother's womb.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11-13