Monday, August 17, 2009

A brand new day

God is so good. Ephesians 3:20-21 sums it up:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
The pastor of the singles group where I met my husband wrote a letter of blessing referencing that verse, which the pastor who married us read aloud on our wedding day. That, together with my confirmation verse of 1 Peter 5:7 (Cast your cares on the Lord for He cares for you), and the verse we have chosen to guide our parenting of Pookaloo (Ephesians 4:32) are my life verses.

When I look back over my adult life, I see that God's blessings to me have been immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine:

  • The summer of 1998, I did an internship at the Youngstown Vindicator. I lived alone in a furnished apartment in a town where I did not know anyone. Though I was strongly questioning my faith and ignoring God's laws about my sexuality, I attended a Disciples of Christ Church to beat back loneliness. There, a wonderful family adopted me for the summer, inviting me over for Sunday dinners and Saturday night videos, even taking me on their family picnics. We had some amazing conversations about faith and legalism that still impact me today.

  • When I first moved to Miami, I attended a Lutheran church there sporadically. The people were so kind, I eventually started coming more and more. I joined the choir, and different families in the congregation invited me over to their homes for every major holiday and even some minor ones. One Sunday, we were singing "We are One in the Spirit" and we got to the verse about walking hand in hand and I earnestly prayed to God for a man after his own heart to walk alongside me one day, even though I considered myself "damaged goods" at the time and felt I didn't deserve such things. Years later, God was faithful to answer that prayer with my dear patient tender wonderful husband.

  • I didn't exactly trust God to answer my prayer for a husband. I thought I had to get out there and make it happen, so I posted an ad on AOL Personals and went on some blind dates with several different guys. God used even that to woo me to himself. One of the guys invited me to a Bible study at his house, and it clicked. I went faithfully for the rest of my stay in Miami. The people in that group became my family. I switched to their Methodist church and went through the Alpha Course with them, joined their worship team, got baptized on an Easter morning, went through Via de Cristo with them. The pastor there spoke into my life and pointed me to the depth of God's unconditional love for me.

  • Via de Cristo is a spiritual retreat weekend with a specific structure designed to draw the participants closer to God. One of the elements is that your sponsor obtains letters to you from your family and friends. After all the bad choices I had made, I felt unlovable and unforgivable. I didn't trust in God's love for me, or even my family's love for me. God ambushed me with grace that weekend. My new friends were able to get letters from my close family, letters with sentiments of love so tender and heartfelt, they opened my eyes to the love that had been there waiting for me all along.

  • God gave me the opportunity to move back home to California.

  • God led me to the 20's singles group at Mariners Church, where I met my amazing husband who treasures me and adores me, works alongside me, seeks to please God with me, cheerfully serves me and others, is a wonderful father to our precious daughter, and who's extended family has wholeheartedly embraced me as one of their own. Me, who once felt I had to earn love and was willing to settle for so much less than God intended for me, am showered with love from every side. It fills my cup and runs over with joy!

  • God led me away from a toxic boss at one job to the wonderful proposal writer job I just left. My professional abilities and confidence blossomed within the structure and encouraging atmosphere of that team of people, and I'll forever be grateful for the opportunity to work there.

  • God blessed me with a beautiful precious daughter, and answered the desire of my heart to be more fully devoted to mothering by providing an opportunity to work from home. I'm now recording textbooks for visually impaired and learning disabled students at a Cal State University.

I am so grateful for his lavish lovingkindness. It makes me want to sing, dance and clap for joy!

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