FROM the TOP I begin… only because when you get to know the injured me, it won’t make sense if you aren’t introduced to the pre-injured me! 🙂
I was raised in a family of four… in North Dakota for 9 years, then Minnesota for another 9 – mostly during the ‘70s and ‘80s. As I mentioned in ‘part I’… our family’s main dysfunctions stemmed from the disease of alcoholism. Because of this, there were times of great strife and tension as well as periods of much uncertainty. Despite our flaws, looking back, it could have been so much worse. I am very grateful for the experience of growing up in my family. My parents loved and still love my brother and me. Throughout our upbringing, we lived in both abundance and need. But we were always a family. Always.
Many privileges decorated my childhood, teen, and young adult years. I ran freely in the woods (literally); I owned and trained every girl’s dream, a horse (Thunder. Oh how I loved Thunder!); I danced both on ice and on gym floors – performing competitively and just for the fun of it; I had a playhouse with young girl secrets hidden within; I floated on lakes and rode fast boats with crazy, fun friends. Gratefully, in addition to all those privileges, my parents also afforded me the opportunity to attend college both locally and overseas. They worked diligently at their careers to make sure I ate well, had a roof over my head, was always loved, knew where home was, and graduated with 2 degrees, 2 teaching licenses and a Masters in Education… ready for the world.
Church was important as we grew up. Both of my parents taught us to have a healthy respect for God and the church. We prayed both before bed and at mealtimes; we often talked about God’s viewpoint of right and wrong; we were baptized, confirmed, and raised in a religious setting. This religious setting changed for me at the age of 9, when we left one denomination and began to attend the services of another. And for me, it changed again when I began attending another kind of church in my late teens. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I became confused about the concept of religion.
As I grew into adulthood, I toggled back and forth searching for ‘the right’ religion for me. I was determined to figure out the right way to worship the God I was raised to believe in. I knew He was real. I believed in His Son. I prayed to Him and was pretty certain that my life would be quite dismal without Him. When I look back, I can now see that Jesus had always been chasing me – wooing me. He had placed people in my life who slowly drew me away from my intense focus on religious requirements, and turned my heart toward a personal relationship with Christ:
~My mom and my grandma taught me to pray – both in good times and in bad.
~I watched several friends become believers in Christ.
~I witnessed great healing in my dad’s life as he laid down his burden of alcohol and surrendered his life to Christ.
~My future husband explained the Bible’s message about the difference between religious works and God’s greatest gift… Jesus.
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6
In September 1992, I finally met Jesus, personally. For real. I finally saw HIS splendor and magnificence clearly instead of through the eyes of religion. I fell in love with Him, and as a result I let go of my quest for a perfect religion… I no longer needed it. I realized what I really needed (all I ever needed) was simply a relationship with the perfect Savior.
The simple Gospel message got me past all of the grey, hazy, religious thinking, and brought me to where I needed to be, and to what I needed to understand: that Jesus died for me, and that I needed to accept that immeasurable gift of His forgiveness so that my life could begin again with a personal knowledge of, and a relationship with, my wonderful creator. What a blessed and eternal freedom I found… and still live by to this day! He is my rock.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” Psalm 40:2
In December of 1991, I met my husband. In Florida! Up North girl meets Minneapolis boy down south in The Sunshine State at our mutually best friend’s wedding. A year and a half later I married the boy… a new part of my life began…
listening link ~ part II … FROM THE TOP …click here to listen to the above article…