One Sunday I heard the Pastor preach from Matthew. His message was on being a sheep or a goat. The sermon was simple, sheep go to be with Jesus, goats do not. I wanted to be a sheep. That was my first real encounter with the gospel, and I've carried those verses as part of my testimony ever since.
In 2004 - when I was 19 - I worked as staff for a Christian summer camp for students. I was introduced to a young evangelist who was in charge of all of the evangelism efforts at the camp. I was his right hand 'woman'. I watched him and sat beside him on countless nights, at countless camps, with countless students as he introduced them to Jesus and led them through scripture as their eyes were opened and their hearts became receptive.
In August of 2005 Aaron and I married. We lived in our old hometown. God moved us around here and there. Then we went back 'home', had a couple of kids, and ultimately felt God was moving us onward. The year was 2011, and the next thing we knew, God had brought us to a church being pastored by that same evangelist I'd worked alongside 7 years ago.
Last night, as we were going through our normal bedtime routine, I sat down with the kids to read the Bible. The topic of the night was sheep and the Shepherd. I explained the sheep were people - us - and that the Shepherd was Jesus - that those of us who are sheep hear Jesus' voice, recognize it and follow Him. Memories of my grandma Peggy and my sitting in that pew really hearing the gospel for the first time flooded back, and, in passing, I mentioned to B that God saved me with scripture much like this, about being a sheep or a goat.
Last night, God led my baby boy to Himself using similar scripture that He called me with. He used the faithfulness of my ( now deceased ) grandmother who faithfully took her grandbaby to church. (I can't imagine the party that ensued...) Lesson 1: The legacy you leave reaches much further than what you can see, and chances are, if you're a Christian, God had been preparing a way for you to get to Him LONG before you were even born.
And today - today I sat in the Pastor's office, hearing him talk to MY little boy just as he had those students 11 years ago. Had I known then... I could not have fathomed. So many times in life we wonder 'why' and 'what was that all about' and 'how does this fit in with God's plan' -- and that brings me to Lesson 2: God always has a plan. He's always working it together for good for those who love Him. Sometimes we can't see it, sometimes we can't understand it, and sometimes we'll never see it, but sometimes, yes, sometimes we get to see a small piece of years worth of God's orchestrating out our lives come to a hard, beautiful collision, and it's awesome and overwhelming and an incredible blessing.
His love for us is beyond anything I can understand.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God is so good. We are so blessed.