This week has been so hard for me. My family is at Simpson Park and I'm stuck at home working; being a grown up is tough! I have been blessed with a few days down there and I have this upcoming weekend to look forward too-- but the whole week would have been great :)
Last night was so great. I headed down to Romeo after work, just in time for dinner and evening service. My entire family on my dad's side was all in attendance at the same time. My Grandma Thelma would have been so happy! I had been praying that service would speak to me-- that God would speak to me. I know so many people that say they hear from God, they talk to him, he is present in their life--- I feel like I haven't heard from God in so long. Maybe I have; the signs just aren't clear.
Last night changed everything.
It all started with the music-- just great, great music capped off by Amazing Grace.
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace
I was sitting between my dad and Uncle Dony. My heart started to melt-- so much has happened. This song is routine- it's a staple- but it couldn't have played at a better time. Our chains are gone-- we are set free-- his love is unending because of his AMAZING GRACE!
This song just set the tone for the sermon--- I was sure of it!
I told myself on my way down, regardless of the sermon, I wasn't going to get emotional. It's wearing and overwhelming- but it's also inevitable at a place like camp. The speaker at evening service was a new, fresh face. He was younger and excited. As he began to speak, I kept praying for God to talk to our family, as a whole. My dad was there, my Aunt Prudie, my Uncle Dony... Grant, Emily and I. (Not to mention 20+ cousins, Great Aunts and Uncles) If you know me personally, or my family, you know our story. We are finally at a point in our lives where we can face the past, and look forward and know there is a future for us. A fresh start.
He began by reading from the book of John.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,d who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
You are probably thinking--- okay? He went to tell a parallel story from his own life experiences. "When I was growing up, my dad was my coach and active in our school... he was a good dad, and still is." I knew, right then, here it comes. He went on to explain that the past 8 or 9 years have been the most challenging and hardest years of his life. His father, a great man, was an alcoholic... a recovering alcoholic. He spent many nights picking his dad up off of the front lawn, bailing him out of jail, and dropping him off at numerous rehab facilities.
.....................Really God, you're gonna take it here?........................
He continued by explaining how his father's addiction had completely taken over his life, emotions, and decisions. Every single feeling he had, I had felt and experienced. I wanted to run up there and hug the man! I myself let my father's addiction control me for far too long-- I was happy when he was happy, I was sad when he was sad, I was sick when he was sick. My personal life became a train wreck and my sense of determination deminished. I wanted to fade away-- as did he.
I noticed my dad's knee start to tap at an increasingly fast pace, I can only imagine what this message was doing to him and for him-- a new saved and healthy man!
I truly feel God sent these words to our family- He sculpted it just for us. He knew we were all going to be there and that we needed to hear His Amazing Grace. My father as well as the speaker's father are both recovering addicts, Amen.
The story doesn't end here though. The book of John explains that God had known of the risks he was taking when he created heaven and earth. He took a risk-- on me. God knew that we would face trials and tribulations; he knew that we would have tough choices to make. He also knew that WE WERE WORTH THE RISK.
"You may not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
I still don't fully understand-- but this message has helped me remember, no matter how bad it was, God took the risk on my family and will continually show His unending love and Amazing Grace. For the first time in a very, very long time, I felt God's presence. I was surrounded by family, I felt at peace and loved.
God has a purpose for all of us- no matter the situation. He took a risk on YOU because YOU are worth it. I am so thankful for all I have endured, it has molded me in my walk with Faith. I will be forever grateful.