Sunday, August 9, 2009

Twenty-Six

***Last Sunday marked the 26th anniversary of the day I became a Christian. That day, in 1983, I made a decision that would change my life. I wanted to share some thoughts about that with you here today. Please read on. ***


I remember the room being hot and crowded. It was evening and we had gathered for a concert to be put on by a Christian college band. I remember there were three people in that group... that they could sing... and that I was seated in the front row with my friends Laura and Lisa.

For months before that night, Laura had seen the need for what would soon occur. I did not. I will always be grateful to her for spending a year talking to me, teaching me, leading me toward truth. As a 16 year old girl, my life was about my boyfriend and whatever fun event we could next attend. Laura lived a different life... nicer, kinder, more closely aligned with that which was good... and slowly, as we became friends, she expected the same from me. I knew there was something different about her life but the details of it were lost on me.

At Christmas, 8 months before the night of the concert, Laura gave me a gift. As I pulled back the holiday wrapping paper, I held in my hands something I had never touched before. The book was black and in the lower right hand corner of the cover, embossed in silver, was my name. It was a Bible. A Bible of my very own.

When Laura invited me to go to camp with her that summer, I really had no idea what to expect. I had never been to camp and certainly never a Christian camp but something in me tugged. Something in me knew I needed to go.

I don't honestly remember most of that week. I know that we went swimming and spent time outside. I know there was a couple of cold days... odd for early August. I know there was singing and chapel and a camp ditty that I remember clear as a bell even today.


"Way down in Crown Point, in Indiana, there is a camp that is the champ of all we know...
It's what we're here for, we're hear to cheer for, the greatest place to learn and play and pray and grow..."

But, I digress...

Yes, there were camp-y things that week. But in the end, those things meant very little because as I sat in that front row, friends on either side, my life was about to change in a way that would alter everything that I would do or think or hope for from that day on.

The concert was good... and the lyrics were significant. Then came one song, by David Meece, that would hit me hard and clarify for me what true need was... clarify for me what I needed. The chorus went something like this...

"Everybody needs a little help to get their life together
(And you're no exception)
Everybody needs another hand that they can hold onto.
Everybody needs a little help to get their life together
And I want to give it to you."

As I sat there listening, all these little pieces of my life came together. I understood something about what made Laura's life different from mine. I could see how badly I needed help to pull my life together into something beautiful... usable. But suddenly, I could see how I was fully unable to do that alone. Fully unable to help myself. Fully unable to save myself. Just plain fully unable.

As I listened to that concert, I did not hear the voices of three college-aged men singing a David Meece song from 1978. I heard God. I heard His very voice saying to me... "It's okay. You're a mess. Everybody needs help. I WANT to help you. I can. Let me."

And then, I started to cry. Now, if you know me at all, you know this is not something I am very comfortable with, crying in public. But, it was not a choice, it was a response. It was an overflowing expression of my deepest need; to know my God and to let Him love me. To love Him back. And so I sat, in the front row at a church camp concert, weeping my 16-year-old heart out and getting it for the first time ever.

I became a Christian on August 9, 1983. On that day, I stood up and accepted a gift that God had given to me centuries before I was even born. I am not sure what day in my life could ever be more important than that because all days before and after August 9th have been effected by my choosing Jesus that night and by His unfailing love for me. My wedding. The birth of my children. Everything. The entire direction of my life changed that day and while it has not, in any way, been easy... it has been right.


I have been on this journey of faith, walking with my God, for 26 years. I am humbled by that length of time... humbled by how badly I have needed Jesus during those years... humbled by how loved and tended to I have felt along the way. When I stood that night, tears on my cheeks, and professed aloud what I was learning to believe, I had no idea the change that would come. But, standing here today, I can tell you that the change of direction and the change of habit in my life are NOTHING in comparison to the change of heart. Knowing the Creator of all that is and calling Jesus my friend has offered a peace in the midst of so many violent storms. I have been given a foundation on which to stand when the world around me shakes. And even more importantly... I have hope. I am not alone in these difficult times and I am not abandoned to these troubles. I have hope, my dear friends, that the One who loves me best is at work in ways I cannot see and He will be next to me throughout the times that are too hard. And when all of this life ceases to be... ahhh, then I will know in a brand new way what hope TRULY is. When my days on this earth are done, you will find me in Heaven, where my faith will become sight.


I have been a Christian for 26 years. It has not been easy. It has not been without doubt. But, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and I would not change a thing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Numbering the Days and Filling them Up!

Good morning, friends. I want to extend a special welcome to all who have wandered over from the Hearts at Home blog! I am glad to see you here.

Can you possibly believe that August has begun? As I listen to my children bump around the kitchen making toast and pouring juice, I can sense the stress climbing as I realize that the number of slow and sleepy mornings like this are numbered. There is a part of me that longs for a minute or two of quiet, but I know all too well, that the fall will bring far more than that. Off they will run into the school we love so well and the quiet that streams behind them will fall heavily on my day.

But, ready or not, August has arrived and I am left making lists of things that I want to do and things that I must do in the next several weeks. It looks like this:

I want to:

-go camping one more time
-take the kids downtown
-spend time at the beach
-take the kids to the Chicago Bears Training Camp
-See the new exhibit at the museum where we are members
-relax! : )

I need to:

-finish (read: start) school supply shopping
-find gym shoes sales
-keep on top of speaking engagement correspondence
-complete my new speaking topic outline
-relax! : )

The end of August is always very full for me. My speaking ministry starts up, my leadership training work is busy and my mind is on my babies. There is an excitement that comes with the change of seasons but there is a sadness, too. With a new school year will come so much change, so much growing up in the lives of the little people into whom I pour so much of myself. While this can be an amazing thing to watch, it also reminds me how far we have come... and how quickly it is all just racing by.

So, the sun is out and there will be plenty of time for wallowing in nostalgia soon. Today, I will hook up the sprinkler, take my kids outside and and relish the feel of the sun on our faces. I will call the museum and check the Bears website and instead of counting down the days we left, I will pour into them fully and mark them well.

I am off to take out the hose!

Blessings on your day!


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