When I was about 9, our pastor and his wife, Dr. and Mrs Carlton, took me to San Jacinto Monument for a Sunday afternoon picnic. Dr. Carlton taught at the seminary, and he was an interim pastor at my church. They were older (my age now), and were like another set of grandparents.
That day was life-changing for me. I loved ice cream, so they bought me a double scoop from the vendors, after going up in the Monument ( I loved history even then). We sat under the low oak trees at a picnic table. Mrs. Carlton began to talk to me about what having and knowing Jesus meant. She spoke softly as she told me that just going to church with Mama was not enough. She and Dr. Carlton quoted John 3:16 and prayed with me. I asked Jesus into my heart right then under the moss-covered oak trees. I understood as a 9 year old, but I knew my life would be different. You see my Mom and my Grannie had read their Bibles to me and prayed for me. My redheaded Mom had asked the Carltons to talk to me.
At age 14, I went to church youth camp at Glorietta and felt very strongly the call to serve my Lord in ministry. Life happened and I took many detours as I married and gave birth to two precious daughters. As a military wife, those first years were filled with moves, diapers, devestating illnesses with our precious babies, and military life with new friends in far places. As the girls matured into beautiful young ladies, I began to serve as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School director, church secretary, missions director, extended coordinator, and Christ Kids University (bus ministry) director, but God kept reminding me of my promise and my dream.
Life again took a dramatic turn as our girls married and started their careers. In 2001, our precious Sarah died. I lived in a deeply dark place for months, as we all did. God, however, had a plan, and I made a promise...had a dream. My Lord showed me how all things work for His glory in this finite life on earth (Romans 8:28). My sweet man and my two precious daughters, Sarah and Larah, always encouraged and cheered me on as I sought to accomplish my dreams. I ran races, raced bicycles, and raced motorcycles, but there was a dream and a promise still unfinished, a race incomplete.
We moved to Hilltop Lakes, and God kept reminding me in so many ways about that promise. I taught school at Normangee High School and saw many of my students continue their education, dream big dreams, and fulfil their calling in life. I was a proud teacher; I loved my kids! There was joy as a teacher, but a personal dream and a promise still remained in my heart.
In 2014, I received a master's degree from seminary and began what I do now, serving as an assistant pastor. What joy I feel every day. I am seeing a promise become reality and am blessed by my Heavenly Father beyond measure. There was a dream I had, however, not realized quite yet. I completed a doctorate only with God's strength, a very patient and sweet husband. and much mentoring by my pastor. A dream fulfilled, but God was not through with me. When our Sarah died, God gave me a deeper understanding of how He walks with us through grief (Psalm 23:4). He also gave me an awareness of the struggles that families face in caregiving. God does use our life lessons, struggles, despair, mountaintops and dreams for His glory. That is exactly why we are on this earth as His children. We are to reflect His glory, realize the plans He has for us, live boldly for Christ, tell the Good News, and preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior!
Our Lord is never done with us as we have a mission here on earth and an infinite life with Him to come. How sweet that will be. We may grow older and our bodies may age, but we always have a place in God's Kingdon to serve, to pray, to glorify Jesus.
I am fixing to be 75; my goodness that was quick! There is no joy like the joy of embracing Jesus Christ as your king and serving our Lord and Savior. I thank my mighty God that I have a living hope, realized and guaranteed in heaven by Jesus!
1 Peter 1:3-9