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I have many good memories of my childhood and growing up in the Baptist faith.  There is no lack of evangelism when you are a part of the Baptist church.  There are frequent occasions of folks giving their testimonies, witnessing, and sharing stories of God speaking to them directly.  Though I didn’t witness speaking in tongues, sometimes my childlike faith was a little overwhelmed with the “heaviness” of what I was hearing in those pews.  I experienced a lot of this while lying on my mother’s lap.  I think she didn’t mind the fact that I might not be “taking it all in,” but was just relieved I was not drawing attention to my misbehavior.

While I was half asleep in that pew, enjoying the smell of my mom’s hand lotion, I was hearing things that were hard to digest at the time.  I “heard” that there was a long list of all of our wrongdoings that would be put before us and examined, one by one, after we left this earth.  As much as I tried to “be good,” I kept thinking of more things being added to that list.  I would have no good explanation except that I had been “bad.”  It actually bothered me enough that it kept me awake a lot of nights, wondering how I could plead my defense, making sure I joined the others who were being “good” and most likely had a shorter list.

Going about my merry way in the United Methodist Church, I heard less about the direct messaging and more about learning the way to reach out to God for answers and a plan for your life.  If you just read enough material, I thought, you can get all of this figured out.  I personally needed to feel a bit more comfortable in order to do this soul searching.  My faith was strong, but I thought it best to operate quietly behind the scenes, under the radar.  So, imagine my surprise when I suddenly felt God was truly trying to say something to me.  Earlier this year, I felt a strong urging to listen more, observe more, pray more.  I became excited about doing work in the church again and interacting with others in ministry.  Every day felt new and like there was a whole list of things to discover and do.  It felt like having too much caffeine or energy drink.  But it was good and actually pretty amazing.  Then, along came the virus in March of 2020.  Our church shut down.  Everything shut down.  Basically, even communication shut down, except for the constant barrage of warnings about what not to do and if we do wrong, we could kill people.  That list again.  So, I thought, “well, this is it.”  So much for the spiritual awakening I seemed to be having - guess that is over now.  

After a few weeks at the pity party, I realized it was not, in fact, over at all.  There was that newfound energy again!  All of these ideas came into my head about reaching out to people in different ways, sharing love by writing notes...note after note after note.  I felt the need to start a new Facebook page that would connect all of the friends and family through our shared interest in our church through the years.  I also sent a few specially selected gifts to people.  Several people have asked me how I knew what to do, how I knew they needed to hear something from someone at just that time.  And, as much as I’d love to take credit and say, “Just something I wanted to do,” it was really never my idea.  I opened my heart and my mind and every day something would just deposit itself there...usually around 3am.  Then, it just kept happening.  More ideas and more wanting to give.

If I were to go back to my Baptist roots, I would definitely be sharing this testimony about now.  Maybe even asking, “Can I get a witness?”

Thank you, God.

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