When I told one of my friends the title I was thinking of for my book, she laughed and said, "People may think itís a cookbook." So I want to start off by saying, this is not a cookbook, although I will most definitely give you my recipe for chili. The chocolate cake I canít claim fame to; Betty Crocker gets that.
Chili and chocolate cake represent stability in my life during a time when nothing was stable . . . a time when I was being tossed around, as my husband said to me one night, "...like a ship in an ocean."
Thatís not exactly how you want your husband to describe you, but he was 100% correct, and unfortunately at the time, I had no clue as to how to calm the seas that were surrounding me and threatening to capsize me as each new wave came crashing over my life.
Where to start? That is the big question. There are so many beginnings, so many endings, and so many places Iím still in the middle of ...
"Gratitude. More aware of whta you have than what you don't. Recognizing the treasure in the simple -- a child's hug, fertile soil, a golden sunset. Relishing in the comfort of the common -- a warm bed, a hot meal, a clean shirt." -- Max Lucado
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and suppplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
You are going to get to know me quite well by the time you finish this story, but let me start you off with a little background information. I am forty-four years old, and I live in southwest Florida, with my wonderful husband of nine years, Bobby, and my two sons, Carson, seven, and Chase, who is five.
I'm just a regular person; a wife, a mother, a friend.
"I am only a small container of Your Spirit, Lord. Let others be affected by the spill-over." -- Neva Coyle
I volunteer each week for my son's first grade class at school, teach Sunday School to a group of rambunctious two-and-three-year-olds, lead a weekly mom-based woman's Bible study, and do a hundred other activities that fill my day. I am probably a lot like you.
I grew up in a Christian home in southeast Ohio with a loving family and I went to church all my life. Unfortunately I never knew what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I heard lots of people talk about it, but I just never could figure out what the big deal was.
I would hear testimony after testimony of what God had done for others, and as much as I wanted to know Him, for watever reason, I just didn't know how to let HIm into my life. Part of me was extremely fearful of a God who could hurl lightning bolts and strike men down dead, but another part of me was rebellious and a huge know-it-all, someone who didn't need God. Someone who thought she could take care of herself.
Now, I had prayed the prayer of salvation when I was young, probably at the age of about eight or nine, but I still never felt like Jesus was really a part of my life. I would pray and pray, but never felt like He ever answered me, or even heard me for that matter.
I'll get to more of that part of the story a bit later, but for now, the best place to start is in the middle. (We'll work through the beginnings and the endings together as we go.)
"When we confine our relationship with God to only the accumulation of information about him, we may miss the experience of his presence or fail to realize that the act of adoring God is very different from merely reading about adoring him." -- Brenda Waggoner, Fairy Tale Faith
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we shall know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
I John 3:18-20