(I'm the skinny brunette in the center, with her elbow on the table.)
I grew up in a family that went to church every Sunday. I went through a confirmation class and joined Madison Avenue United Methodist Church in Derby, Kansas when I was 12. Active in church, choir, summer camp, youth group and fundraisers, I also sang solos in church beginning in high school. I served as both treasurer and president of our youth group. We attended youth activities in Wichita and the surrounding area.
Before my junior year in high school, I applied to and was selected as a delegate from my church to attend the Kansas UMC METour (Mission Education Tour). Fifty girls from across Kansas were chosen to visit a number of UMC missions and report back to our individual churches the good work that Methodists were doing. We traveled to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. This trip changed the way I looked at the world around me. I didn’t realize that I had been so isolated.
After that experience, I began to question why I believed…what I believed. I realized that I could never be good enough for God. He was this big, disapproving Being in the sky that watched everything I did and shook His finger at me. For a while, I just drifted. During my senior year, I lived for myself. I prayed very little, didn’t read my Bible at all. I drank and went to parties and tried to shut out the empty feeling inside of me with all the noise and busyness I could find.
Receiving vocal music and academic scholarships, I went to Southwestern College and majored in nursing. During my first semester there, I began to slip into a depression. I was in the wrong classes, wrong major, wrong school. Pouring all my energy into researching and writing papers for my English Composition and Psychology classes was the only thing that made me feel right at all.
My grades dropped and I rarely went home. I just didn’t see the point. I couldn’t sleep at night, so I would take long walks around the campus. I wrote in my journal of how hopeless I felt. One sleepless night, I fell on my knees in desperation and prayed to God for help. I told Him how lonely and sad I was and that I needed to meet someone who could change my life. That short prayer was the beginning of my new journey and it wasn’t an easy one.
Wendy was a junior that lived across the hall. She was a bit of a problem child; always needed rescuing. One weekend in November, I was the only one on the hall to take her call for help. My roommate dropped me off at the bar Wendy called from. I spotted her right away, and the man that was with her. His eyes mesmerized me. We talked for hours, unaware of the passage of time. When I looked up, the bar was closing and Wendy was passed out on my purse. The dark-eyed stranger took us back to the dorm. We went out the following night, and every other night, for the rest of my life.
When you meet The One, things are supposed to be smooth and magical, but they're not. Love messes up your life. It complicates everything. I couldn't concentrate in class. My parents hated him. Most of my friends thought I was crazy. He asked me to marry him three times before I finally said yes. I couldn't figure out why a grownup man wanted to spend his life with a confused, not-very-talented little girl. The only thing I knew for sure was that I loved him.
We eloped; and my parents were upset. I dropped out of college and had very few prospects. The Hubster and I moved to Ark City and began working and going to the local community college at night. Even though we were happy, we fought a lot. There was still a hole in my soul, and something missing from his. Spending late nights talking, we reached out for what might be true.
Six months after we married, a co-worker of The Hubster invited us to a dinner and movie at his church. Hungry for company, we went. And it changed our lives forever. The people were kind and welcoming and the movie was "A Thief in the Night." We went home that Saturday night and talked for hours about the Bible, Jesus Christ and His return to Earth. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior on February 14, 1982 and The Hubster rededicated his life to Jesus.
I learned three things:
Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:10 There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You can say the Sinner's Prayer: Lord, I am a sinner. I'm so sorry for all the bad things I have done. Please forgive me. Come into my heart and save my soul. I promise to serve You and put You first the rest of my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.
This blog passed 20,000 all-time pageviews this morning. Yahoo! Thanks to you, my extra-special readers. Female in Motion would be mighty lonely without all of you. I am grateful to God for the blessing of YOU!
Female in Motion Exercise Update: I did four 20-minute treadmill workouts this week, complete with Motown soundtrack. I've lost seven pounds since beginning chemotherapy. According to my oncologist's nurse, my white blood cell count last week was 9.7. Healthy normal range is 1.5-10.5. Feeling stronger every day!
"A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world---and might be even more difficult to save."--C.S. Lewis, author