I have always been a bit of a lost sheep, hesitant to follow the crowd, to trust, or believe.
I thought my parents tetched to make us kneel by our beds and talk to someone I couldn't see.
But then I did see, through the tears and smiles of my mother as she had her personal Bible studies, not knowing that I spied outside. I did see Him, in my great-grandmother's arthritic hands as she grabbed mine to pray, confident that God would come through. And He did.
Proudly I pushed away the burning tug of truth in my heart until the fearful realization that I might miss my chance caused me to cry out. Fighting against my reasoning I knelt by my bed in that empty room and whispered, "Jesus save me. I am yours."
Such relief and joy swept over me that I didn't want to stop praying. People saw a change in me because I was changed. I was sealed for eternity.
Yet learning to follow, has been a challenge. I relate to our cattle dog that has yet to learn to walk on a leash. He gets so excited; he rushes ahead strangling himself as he pulls in the wrong direction.
My parents requested one thing when I started college on a scholarship, "Don't study anything stupid like English. We can't have you coming back here to live with us."
I understood their concerns but as a girl who'd formed a newspaper during high school and had a sign tacked "Poet's Room" to her door, I was suddenly lost.
I prayed about what to study, but without apparent direction, dutifully went into the suggested major of Chemical Engineering. It took my Grandfather's words from his hospital bed after nearly dying to give me the courage to pray again.
"Life's too short not to do what you love,” he said.“And you're not happy."
He was right. I had no hope for the future, though I was doing quite well in my studies. This time I asked without limitations or direction, but an honest "I'll do whatever You want me to do God”, pointed me back to writing.
I followed. To the astonishment of others and contrary to logic, I leaned in trusting Him and switched majors. When I graduated with honors I didn't attend the ceremony but took a plane to Israel.
My church offered me a free trip a few weeks before my graduation, in return for serving as a traveling companion to an eighty-four-year-old woman, ironically named Grace.
She was an army chaplain's widow who wanted to see the Holy Land before she died, but her previous companion had suddenly canceled due to fears over tensions in the Middle East.
Grace and I argued for hours. A stubborn kneeler, she insisted on me helping her down beside her bed to pray. She then beseeched God to give me a husband that would adore me as her's had, finishing with tears in her eyes. I helped her up, and after politely thanking her, explained that I had no intention to marry.
I had locked in my mind that the best way for me to serve God was to stay single. I hid my fears behind Paul's verse in the New Testament declaring I would be happier that way.
Grace, however, continued with this request every night. From the Garden of Eden to marriage being a picture of Christ's love for the church, she wouldn't budge, but neither would I throwing back my own set of verses and examples. Finally, she cut me a deal.
She dared me to pray that if God wanted me to marry, I would. She held out her hand to pray right then. But I wouldn't take it. In my pride, I said I would, later, on my own. I snatched my jacket, marched out of the hostel, and took a walk under the stars along the Sea of Galilee.
I listened to the soft waves over the pebbles for the longest time. I was scared to surrender this area. I'd witnessed bad marriages and didn't want to risk a broken heart. However dreading dealing with Grace if I didn't follow through, I took a stone, like at Bible Camp, and threw it into the sea promising to follow God with whatever He had planned.
Little did I know that while I was in Israel my future husband had started attending my church. Little did I know that several years later I would be looking across from the opposite shore of this sea telling this story to my husband while expecting our first child.
God has plans for our lives. He saves us for eternity but also desires to walk with us here. We have the chance to know Him to a greater deal if we will learn to follow.
How I wish I could squeeze every drop of encouragement from my heart to get you to trust Him with your life. He knitted you together in the womb, you don't have to suppress who He’s made you to be.
Follow where He guides you even if it's against all logic or upsets those you love, or risks your very heart. He loves you. I dare you to trust Him.
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