When Bud was finished at the church, he came out to where I worked at Gift of Life and casually said, “Guess where I’ve been?” Well, never in a million years would I have been able to guess. He told me and it was probably one of the few times in my life that I was speechless. But even more than that….he wanted us to start going to church on Sunday. I honestly didn’t know what to think. You see, God had also been working on me during the preceeding few weeks.
It seemed every time I got in the car to go to work in the morning “the Marshall Minute” was on. This is a little minute-long spot where the minister of St. James United Methodist Church would speak on some topic and relate it to Scripture. Every time it would come on I would change the channel. I absolutely hated it. Not really because of what was said in the spot but because I could feel God working on me. I would just get so mad.
Well, anyone who tells you that God doesn’t have a sense of humor is wrong. He absolutely does. Because not only did I hear this everyday, but it started that another station picked it up and when I would change the channel, it would be on that one too! It really infuriated me. And then people at work started talking to me about God and witnessing to me. Every book I would read would have something about religion or God in it somewhere – even though they were secular books.
Eventually I just gave up and started listening. I still wasn’t ready to make a decision but I knew that God wasn’t going to be ignored any longer. By the time Bud was saved God had prepared me as well.
So…we started going to church. The first Sunday we went to church the Sunday School class they put us in (Adult 2) was combined with Adult 3. The teacher – Coach – was teaching on the prodigal son! I just knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was speaking to me through the scriptures. I felt that God was telling me to come to Him and listen to Him….that He would welcome me to Him with open arms. When we went up to church I felt just like I was coming home. I knew Morningview was the place for me. After church, we all agreed that we wanted to keep going. Both Joey and Bella seemed to enjoy it.
Bud also was offered a really good job the day after he was let go from the other one. We just felt like it was God at work. We both knew that all the times we fell again and again were just God trying to get our attention. Bud always says now that we have exceptionally hard heads – we have to be knocked over the head with a two-by-four a lot to finally get it!
A couple of weeks after we began going to church, we were visited by a FAITH team. For those of you who don’t know, a FAITH team is a team of three people who come and visit people who have visited the church or expressed interest in the church. The team welcomes them, determines their needs, and tries to assess if the people they are visiting are saved or not. I ended up getting the “Dream Team” of FAITH visitors which was made up of Greg Belser (our pastor at the time), Ann Shoemaker, and Matthew Scott. Poor Matthew, it was his very first time doing the FAITH outline presentation and he had to do it in front of the preacher….he must not have been living right =-).
When they visited I had just taken around 4 loads of clothes out of the laundry room and dumped them on the couch to fold them. I was so embarrassed that I have visitors and there are clothes everywhere. But Ann put me at ease by offering to help me fold them. As soon as they rang the doorbell and I opened the door my kids had vanished. Bud was working late so it was just me to talk to them.
Of course, they were so nice and sweet and Matthew did a really good job with the FAITH outline. When it came time to ask me if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart, I really wanted to. But, as I explained to them, I had a lot of baggage I needed to take care of first. Satan was really working overtime because all of a sudden, all I could think of was all my issues with God over my mom’s death and I couldn’t make a decision. Ann informed me that God was an expert in carrying baggage and if I would just lay it all down, He would pick it up and carry it for me. WOW!!!
I just couldn’t jump over that ledge though. I was very, very close but not quite there yet.