There is a wonderful community of ladies that meet every month at the home of e-Mom (Chrysalis) and discuss the topic of marriage. Sometimes poignant, often funny and always wise, these ladies stretch me and encourage me. This month instead of focusing on marriage, we have been asked to share our story of how we met our "First Love" as a way of encouraging one another as well as getting to know each other better. I am so looking forward to reading their stories. I hope you will visit some of the sites as well and get to know this amazing group of women (and maybe even join in the fun!).
My story of my path to faith is not very exciting, but I am thankful for that. I was blessed with parents who were very involved in the church. I started attending at a few weeks old and just never stopped. My earliest memories are in the church preschool department learning about God through playdough theology and felt board stories. "Miss Rose" and "Aunt Josie" gave me a strong foundation of a loving God. During Vacation Bible School on my seventh birthday I "walked down the aisle" and said I wanted to be baptised. A few days before I had sat in my bedroom with Mom and Dad, prayed and said the same thing. As much as I was able to understand at age seven, I knew that I was not doing all that God wanted me to do and I knew that I wanted to go to heaven and that Jesus was the bridge between those two realities.
Later, in Junior High at church camp, I would be faced with more decisions about whether Jesus was just my Saviour or also my Lord. I was realising that there was more to faith than just a quick prayer to get me to heaven. Over the next few years that relationship of Jesus as Lord would deepen. By the time I went to University, those roots were deep. In University I was involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship leading small groups and going to Urbana. I was more and more drawn to full-time ministry, even though little girls raised Southern Baptist knew that full-time ministry was off limits to them. But apparently it was not off limits to God. By the end of my senior year, I was sure my Math degree would not be used as I originally thought. Instead, it was the catalyst to get into a Church Social Work program in seminary and to train.
I am grateful that my parents were faithful believers and church attenders. They introduced me to my first love early in my life. And He quickly became just that. I know that I have been protected from so many hurts and stumbling blocks along the way because of that early introduction and acceptance. Although I may not have a dramatic conversion experience, I am forever changed by a God who met me as a little girl who wanted to go to heaven and grew the relationship to the woman I am today. I pray that I am able to shepherd my own little girls to have such a relationship as well.