I asked you to pray specifically about this week as I planned to share some of my “testimony” aka how I came to know Christ as my personal Savior. I thank you for your prayers and faith in me. I hope it wasn’t in ME though, because I can’t do anything without Him. I hope to one day go public with some details of my life that has shaped the person you see before you today. I am, like we all are, a work in progress. You might have known me over 9 years ago- back when I was a Soldier in the Army and let me tell you I am a changed person today! Even my husband can attest to that… which is a great thing to me. (I may have been a wee bit wild in some areas…but hey we all have a past don’t we?) I am so thankful to God that I survived my childhood and young adulthood and that He got my attention one Sunday at church in Monterey, California back when I was going to school out there… I KNOW that God was speaking specifically to ME through that pastor. This pastor was walking the aisles, pointing, and he asked me, “What are you waiting for!?!?” I don’t even remember what the message was about but I was called out- both spiritually and LITERALLY by God that Sunday. I was still in the Army during that time; I still had my time in TX, Korea, MD, and then my recruiting duty time to do. During that time, if you knew me then, you probably was aware that I was not living for God like I am now. It was a slow process of growth, probably at a snail’s pace ya’ll. But He was there. He always is there, whether we recognize His presence or not or whether we believe He is there or not.
I will say this, child sexual abuse is in my past as well as trying to figure out Who I am and Am I enough. I still struggle with these things today (even though I know the answers) and really my main reason for wanting to speak out is because I hear, read, and see people who are struggling too and they feel so alone and without hope. Let me tell you, you are NOT alone in your struggles. In my searching, I have found that there IS HOPE. His name is Jesus. Seriously. AND I’m so glad He came to me since I wasn’t really looking for Him. I thought my life was fine (I didn’t know that things could be any different so I just learned to try and manage things, stuff feelings, and work harder.) But the recognition that you were made for something better and some one greater cannot be replaced by whatever it is we try to replace it with. It does take some time- or at least it has for me- to “unlearn” a lot of things (coping mechanisms or just blindly repeating whatever I learned from growing up) and slowly take the time to examine each area of my life (as various things sprouted up). Why do I do the things I do? What’s the purpose in doing this or that? What am I trying to prove or do here? It wasn’t an intentional plan on my part to “change” all these things but looking back over these years… I can see clearer how God was at work in my life and I can kinda see what areas are fruitful now. I see how people respond to Him. I am trusting in Him step by step, no agenda, just moving forward and keeping close to Him, intentionally now, because there are so many other things that pull me away. So, if this resonates with you at all, comment here or send me a message. Let me know if you ever want to talk… some people say I’m a great listener (but not my husband. I know I cut him off all the time. 😀 😀 I should stop doing that so much. Hmmm….)
Last week, at our Thursday am Women’s Growth Fellowship, again there were ladies who led particular areas. I want to thank you for contributing Thursday and injecting your own personality into the mix. I love how we can come together from different backgrounds and life experiences and talk, laugh and share with one another in His name. Thank you.
Getting to know you- Sheila Whitaker Walton
Praise & Worship music – MrsJay Grady (one song we sang was “You Deserve It.” I love this song and you can watch it sung here.)
Prayer- Ellen Garrett Zaborsky (talked about the A.C.T.S. method of prayer. (Described here.)
Devotion & Discussion – Sejana Sejana
**We had a great discussion from the questions presented by Sheila. They were “If you were in a bad mood, do you prefer to be left alone or be cheered up?” (One comment that came from this discussion that I had to write down was “We forget to love our spouses with the same unconditional love as we do towards our children.” WOW. Hmmm…. ) “If you could have witnessed anything in the Bible, what would you have wanted to see?” It was really interesting to hear the different responses from the Bible. The more we have read and are familiar with the Word (in addition to having the Holy Spirit within us to help us), the more we get out of spiritual discussions because we are familiar with what others are talking about. (If you don’t know how to get into reading your Bible on a regular basis, I would just like to share a note I wrote about this in response to a question someone presented to a group a while ago. You can read that here or here) From the question asking what would you have liked to see came another question from the group- What time from the Bible brings fear? Where would you NOT have wanted to be? Hmmm. I knew right away what it was for me. What about you?
Next week (actually TOMORROW 3 Aug) is our last week of this summer “Women’s Growth Fellowship.” Each week stands alone so if you come out, you won’t be behind.
If not, see you on Thurs 17 Aug at 9:30-noon for a movie & discussion! The ladies suggested folks bring food too – go figure!! 😉
Thank you for praying for me and for the ladies in our group. We appreciate it!