Last night at our family dinner, my sister Beth and her husband Jeff asked Dominic and I if we would be Isabel's godparents! We both feel very honored to be asked but even more so humbled when we heard the reason why. She said that she knew what kind of relationship we had with God and they knew that was important for Isabel and they wanted us to help and be that example for her too.
This could not have been said of us just a few years ago. The truth of that statement speaks volumes to the transforming work that God has done in our marriage and our lives. I really can't take any credit for what has occurred in my life, except maybe for being willing to follow Him and trust Him with my life.
I grew up in a Christian home, we went to church, were confirmed, went to church camp. From a young age I experienced God. When I was 10, maybe 12 my mom took me to these Christian Women's Club breakfasts. They were fun for me because I got to dress up in "fancy" clothes and we would go to the country club where we would get a fancy meal and then listen to a speaker. I don't remember specifics of any story but usually it was a woman sharing about things that had happened in her life and then how God had worked in her life to transform it. At the end of these messages, they would say a simple prayer and ask anyone to join them to invite God into their hearts.
I remember praying that first prayer at my first breakfast, and then again at each breakfast following. See at the time I expected to feel something, or become someone completely different and nothing really happened. So I wasn't sure that I did it right. So every time we would go I would pray again. I was pretty sure that I was saved each time, but then I would go home and maybe be naughty, or think something bad and I thought maybe that I lost "it". I just didn't understand God's redeeming GRACE in my life then.
A few years later I was given the opportunity to be a junior counselor at the bible camp I had attended for several summers. Once again I had that experience where I felt God a real part of my life and I came away from that on a real high for God.
But as was my way, life happened and I continued to try and do things on my own. Tried to manage things without God and if you can believe it, I struggled, a lot! I felt like I was a Christian, felt that I was saved, but I also had this conception of God that he was there for me only when I was perfect and when things were bad I couldn't count on him.
I wasn't able to recognize that he was ALWAYS there for me, it was I that had turned from him when things were tough. So for years, when Dominic and I struggled in our relationship I was angry at God. Why did He "let" this happen to me? Why wouldn't He just "do what I knew was best" and fix Dominic so we wouldn't have any more problems?
I was unable, unwilling to see how much pain I had contributed to our relationship. How much my actions affected our home and how much I had hurt my husband and my kids.
But then He grabbed a hold of Dominic's heart - yeah that's right Dominic got "it" first! :) Little by little I started to see a change in my husband. We started to pray together as a family and he was striving to become that spiritual leader that I had longed for in our family.
And still I was angry. I could see a difference in my husband but I still held on to my feelings of bitterness from the past. It was killing me and our family. And one day after we had prayed together, we finished and basically I cursed my husband under my breath for something, and Dominic looked at me and said:
"Why are you so angry? What have I done today to make you so mad?"
The answer was "Nothing". Dominic hadn't done anything wrong to me that morning. But I was filled with such an anger and a hatred of my life that I couldn't see straight. I knew at that moment that I needed help. And I began actively seeking to find that peace and serenity that God has to offer.
To be honest, it wasn't easy. Negative habits are hard to break and I had a lot of them. But through some wonderful people, a loving family and a husband who showed me grace over and over again, I began to develop a relationship with a Father who not only loves me for who I am - good and bad, but Who showed me through others Who He is.
And the work isn't finished yet. I am definitely a work in progress, and I am ok with that because I know that I can't live my life without Him. On my own I flop around like a fish out of water. But through Him I am given life sustaining water to breathe.
So to have my sister see God in me is humbling. It isn't at all about what I have done, but what He has done in me that is important here. He gets the glory - not I. I am allowed to reap the rewards, and one of those very special rewards is to be able to call my sweet niece Isabel Megan my godchild.
May I never forget what brought me to the feet of Jesus - my Savior, my God.