Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How I Found my Faith

If you remember in my post about prayer, I've been a little lax in my spiritual life. It's not that I stopped believing in God, I always knew there was a higher power in my life, I just didn't worship like I should. I had a falling out with the Catholic church when I was in high school and just couldn't bring myself to feel comfortable with the faith in which I was raised. I'll be honest, through college and after I didn't really miss church. I tried to attend sporadically, but with out a clear direction I was lost. I didn't know what church to attend and none of my friends attended with any regularity.

Then I got pregnant and it all changed. Well, my need for God changed. I had a horrible pregnancy and I still think that the grace of God got Adelae and I through safely. When Adelae was born, she had a fused cleft. The doctors believe that she had a cleft that closed in the womb. She doesn't have any problems or anything with it. You can see the scar that runs from her nose to her lip, but it's very minor. People always ask me if she had a cleft and who her surgeon was. I tell them honestly "She had the best surgeon..God healed her." People, doctors especially, look at me like I'm a nut when I say that, but I know it's true. Adelae was also born with a hole in her heart. I can distinctly remember getting that call from the doctor. I was petrified that my baby was going to die. Again, God healed her. Right after her 1st birthday her heart was declared healed. So, you see, God has been at work in very noticeable ways in my life for quite some time.

Once again, I tried to return to the Catholic church, since this is what I knew. However, I just couldn't make my beliefs and the beliefs of the Catholic church mesh. So, Ben and I tried a different church. It was a non-denominational church and well...it didn't go well, to say the least. We felt extremely out of place. I dont' know why, I just didn't feel that I belonged.

So, a few years went by. Then I stumbled upon the story of Stellan (see the button on the right side of my blog for Stellan's full story). Stellan is a little boy that was born with a condition where his heart beat was too fast. At the time I stumbled upon the blog, he was in the hospital and had been for awhile. I believe he spent almost two months in the hospital and wound up having a very scary heart surgery. What I remember most is his mother saying over and over again that she had put Stellan in Gods hands. I kept returning to her blog and pouring over the entries. I cried with her, this woman I had never met. I laughed when she told funny stories and I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for this little boy that I had never met. I prayed that God would heal Stellan, I prayed that God would give his little body the strength it needed to hang on until the doctors found a way to manage Stellan's heart condition. Then I got angry at God. Stellan was just a little boy (I believe he was 5 months old at the time), how could God do this to him? To his family? Then I would remember that Stellan's parents had lifted him up to God. They knew that God had a plan for Stellan, and they were fine with that plan. Even if that plan meant that Stellan was to join God in Heaven. (Stellan is now completely healed of his heart condition.) I was amazed when I read that. I was inspired. I wanted to be a better person. I wanted to be a better Christian. I wanted to, as Carrie Underwood sings, "Let Jesus take the wheel." But, where should I go and what should I do?

Then, faith came from the most unlikely place. It came from my little brother. Ben and I were looking for a place to go for Easter service. My brother started talking about Pastor Jim and his little church. I figured if my brother liked it, I would too. So, away we went to St. Jacob's to celebrate Easter. We were immediately made to feel welcome. It was more than the fact that we knew some of the people there. It was more than the fact that they welcomed us with open arms. It just felt like home.

As a result, I feel closer to God. I feel like God has just been waiting for me find St. Jacob's. God never lost faith in me, that's very clear. He knew I needed to find my way back to Him on my own. I am proud to say that I am a Christian. I know that God guides my decisions. I know that I am a better mother and wife since I welcomed Jesus back into my life. I know that I am more patient, loving and kind now that I try to be more like Jesus. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I never will be. I also know that's ok and that God loves me just the way I am. I know that Adelae already loves church. I know that Brinna does too. It's the one place Brinna rarely cries or fusses. She stares with rapt attention or snuggles against me and sleeps. Adelae comes home humming the melodies from the songs we've sung that day. She asks us to say prayers with her. St. Jacob's, Pastor Jim and the entire congregation have touched our lives in a way I never thought possible. I can't tell them how thankful I am that they are in our lives. I can't begin to express the love I feel for them. They have led me back to God and that's where I plan to stay.

1 comment:

James said...

Shawn, needless to say I am touched to tears. What a wonderful God that we have. Your expressions of feeling love from the church are most mutual in multi-ways; we feel the love of you and Ben and your children, and we love your family dearly. What a touching testimony. The love of Jesus truly glows through you. Thanks so much for giving a beautiful glimpse of your heart heart here. I will cherish it forever!