Nancy’s Story

Nancy's Story

How should I start my story? Where to begin? I think back to my childhood. My dad, a good man, who only crossed the church’s threshold for weddings and funerals. And my mom, who marched us into church each Sunday, dressed just right, seventh row from the front, left hand side. There we sat for one long hour.

As the years passed, I learned a lot about God during that hour. He was our father and a strict one. He had a lot of rules and when broken, we would be punished. But, if we tried hard enough we might be able to climb that stairway to heaven. As I grew older, I thought about it and wondered who would want to be there anyway?….God was there and he wasn’t anyone I wanted to spend eternity with.

I left for college and never gave God a second thought. Without my mom dragging me to church, I had escaped from His clutches for the time being. After graduation, I took a job with an airline and set off to see the world. Life was exciting, an adventure! I was the center of my universe and I was content.

In the world of flight attendants, crews work is tight environments for multiple days. A stranger at the beginning of a flight may be a friend and confidant by the end. I found myself sitting on the jump seat one day with a new friend named Val. We covered the usual topics, family, men, hollywood scandals. Then, out of the blue, she asked me if I knew Jesus! Personally knew Him. What was this about? She told me that He loved me and wanted to be a part of my life. I just needed to invite him in. What a concept. Something grabbed me deep inside. Maybe something had been missing. I found myself in a “study.” I bought a bible! I heard the “good news” message. God sent His son to pay for all of my many sins. Believe this and be saved. Easy, I thought! I can do this. I had it all wrong, God had loved me all the time. Loved me so much that He sent His son to the cross for me. And since I was this new creation, It was time to changed my lifestyle and lived the perfect life.

Failure loomed on the horizon. In fact, I failed so many times I became angry with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The whole Trinity! Why God, did You offer me this new life and then make it an impossible proposition? What a cruel joke. I had been right all the time but let’s add one more adjective….God was mean! He had promised “life” but knew that it was “mission impossible.” I turned my back on Him again.

Life moved on, marriage, kids, work! Just as the proverb says, “A time to live and a time to die.” My dad had a major stroke and lingered for 6 months. It was agonizing to watch. I cried out to God from my despair, God, I said, help me! I’ll give you one more chance to show up! This is it! If your real, show me! Looking back, God loves those moments when we are truly open to Him. He went to work.

Within a two week period, two friends from totally different spheres of my life suggested that I try out a neighborhood bible study in my area. I warily agreed but, warned God that this was His last chance.

The next week, I found myself in room full of strangers, hiding in the back row. Everything started in a predictable way, introductions and the kick off prayer. And then the leader said that she was not going to follow her prepared notes but instead decided that she would like to talk about the gift. The gift? “What gift?”, I thought. She explained that we are given the gift of Jesus and all that He has done for us on the cross but we needed to open the gift. “What good is a gift, if you don’t unwrap it?” she said. My heart fluttered. Is this what I was missing? How do you open this Jesus gift? The answer was almost tangible but out of my reach. Before I knew it the morning study was over. I sat in my car as a glimmer of hope began to creep into my mind. Were the last few hours an answer to my prayer?

I didn’t miss a Friday morning study after that. The strangers became friends and I felt God’s words drawing me closer. I heard other peoples stories and began to see that God was not performance driven. He was all about the heart. My heart! This was a love relationship. My new beginning! Finally, the gift opened in a dramatic way. No more failures. I knew that I was a child of God and He had set my feet on solid ground. And, just as I loved my kids, He expected those bumps in the road as I grew closer to Him.

That was eleven years ago. Jesus has never let me down. He has showered me with blessings and sheltered me from harm. He has touched my world…family, friends and acquaintances. The strangers in that room eleven years ago, who became friends are now my “sisters in Christ.” There is a deep bond between us whether we have been in the study for twenty years or two, whether we have been walking with Him for a long time or just opening the gift. We have shared laughter, tears and recipes as we walk through this journey of life.

I know that God is still writing my story but I have no worries about how it will end. I will be with Him for all eternity….. with all all of my sisters….and I can’t think of a better place to be.

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