I'm putting on my big girl pants once again and stepping back into the world of serving at church. In a weak moment, I said yes to co-leading a 7 week small group study that starts next week.
I met the other girl and guy I will be leading with tonight, and to get to know each other, we decided it was probably best to share our stories of coming to know Jesus and what He's done in our lives. That's really one of the first times since Tony died that I have shared my testimony out loud with folks I don't know. What a different story I tell with this last year of tragedy and grief added in. These leaders were so sweet to just let me ramble, certainly not my eloquent, well-rehearsed speeches from my college days as Student Government President.
Since we've got 12 people in our group, we have opted to condense our stories to a 2 to 3 minute "elevator speech" of who God was to us as a child and who He is to us now. I've got some work to do, I've got to document it so it won't escape my brain like everything else left to my memory. So, I thought I'd just share it here.
I call it...My Love Story...
I was very fortunate to be raised in a loving, Christian home, where my parents prioritized my brother and I going to church and learning about Jesus. However, being the over-achieving, straight A, "good little church girl," I always felt that I had to earn God's love by performing well, doing the right things and basically trying to be perfect. That was until at 15, I went on a weekend retreat and learned about God's unconditional love for me, that He desired a relationship with me not because of how good I was, but because of His Son Jesus dying on a cross for the sin of the world, for my sin. It was then that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Since that time, the tension of my Type A personality has still been something I have to work through, but God continues to lead me in releasing that to Him in exchange for just resting in His love. He gave me a tangible example of His unconditional love in 2008 when I married the earthly love of my life, Tony. My husband doted on me, delighted in me, romanced me extravagantly, regardless of my imperfections, regardless of whether I always did or said the right things, regardless of my performance. He just loved me. He just wanted to be in relationship with me.
I lost this earthly love very suddenly and very tragically in March of 2010. My world turned upside down, my dreams were shattered, this unconditional love was no longer something I could hold in my arms. It was then that I heard God whisper in the depths of my heart, "now it's My turn to romance you, to pour out My unconditional love over you, to display how much I desire you and your heart, to delight in you, to just be with you." And in the darkness of my grief and pain, I have fallen more in love with Jesus than ever before. I feel God loving me extravagantly, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath. Though the chapter of my beautiful love story with Tony has come to an unforeseen close, my love story with my Savior continues to be written.
So there you have it, the story of "Little Miss Perfect Princess" swept into the arms of the God of the Universe. And regardless of what happens in this life, my story will always have a "happily ever after" in eternity with my Savior.
Dearly loved, in my love story,