As I sit here on a quiet Sunday night typing this blog post, a flood of emotions fill my heart as I glance back into my life over the last 39 years. I have so many things to be thankful for despite the fact that I have experienced grief, sadness, pain, confusion, anger, animosity, bitterness, hurt, fear; just about every emotion that many of us go through at some point in our lives. For some of you, traveling through these emotions may have been short and sweet; however in my life, I traveled extra long journey's through many of them with an emptiness inside that even I did not understand at the time. It wasn't until many, many, years later that I would find what would fill that spot.
I actually remember that night; I was dressed in a small white robe as I was escorted down some stairs into a water filled "bathtub" which hid behind the pulpit where Pastor Branham stood to deliver his biblical messages each week. I recall being a little scared but draw a blank beyond my toes hitting the water. What I do not know is whether or not I really understood what I was truly doing that night; I was young, and understanding that kind of commitment is a little much for a 6-year old to wrap their brain around. However my family was very active in the church, and I went to a Christian school; I have many memories of attending both, including that of a boy named Dohrias that used to eat the candles from the birthday cake we would make for Jesus at church every Christmas season. (Lick the frosting... sure but EATING the candle? Weird!) Anyway.... being baptized was something we were taught to do. (Sorry... I got off track with that candle memory.)
When I was a little girl, about the age of 6 I think, I was baptized at a small Baptist Church in North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Fast forward to 1981, when my sister Teresa was killed in a drunk driving accident; my family and everything around us...devastated. Years went by and as my world continued to crumble, I lost faith in God, my "protector" and eventually stopped believing in Him altogether; I did not feel protected. After losing my sister, moving away from the home I always knew, watching my brother lose total hope, my parents divorce... I found myself asking "Where is this God I have learned about through all of this?"... my mind was made up, He was not real.
Fast forward again to 2006. I had been through many, many years of adversity, confusion, emptiness and grief, and as I may have mentioned in previous blogs, I was in a situation that involved one of my children and I had exhausted all of my efforts and still had no solution. I needed help, my Mom was with me and told me to give it to God. I chuckled knowing I had prayed all week long and he had not answered them but took her advice and yelled out asked for PROOF that their was some reality to this "man in the sky," I told him to "take it." Well... my life was changed for good in that moment, because my "situation" changed; literally overnight. (If you know me at all, you KNOW I don't make this stuff up.)
Since that night in 2006, I have been through a lot more adversity... more pain, more grief, more resentment and absolutely more confusion but one thing was different through it all. My faith was growing stronger and I was no longer carrying the weight of my load alone. Although as a child what I understood was that HE would "protect me" that did not mean that I would never feel pain, suffer from grief, or fall on my face. What it meant was that when I did... if I had Him in my heart, he could ease the blow and help me through. I get that now. There were times when I began to doubt, but I was quickly reminded of that night and that doubt was quickly replaced with hope.
Then... 3 years ago as many of you know, I began writing my book during a very sad, confusing and scary time for me. I was honestly at my lowest low but I knew there was a plan for me so I pushed through the circumstances with FAITH on my shoulder. The turn-around in my life over the past three years has been nothing short of miraculous. As I think about it all, I am overcome with emotion because I never would have believed it if I had not lived it.
Now... I am going to share something with you that I may not have ever shared before; I don't even think that I shared it in my book because I was saving the story for the sequel, however it is in my heart to share it in this post tonight. I have issues with commitment... I easily commit to things related to my career, my kids, or my immediate family... but I have had issues committing to people who I feel may hurt me based on remembering the pains of my past. I was so happy last night as I sat in Saturday night service at Grace Family Church; (the non-denomination church which I attend.) I had missed going for the last month with all my traveling and the moment I walked through those doors I felt a blanket of positive energy surround me as I always do. During the praise and worship portion of the service (my favorite) I was unexpectedly brought to tears during one of the songs as I was reminded what life for me had been like before I let this part of my past back into my life. It was then announced that this weekend was a baptism weekend and that they would be doing them in the courtyard after service.
I laughed... feeling that I was being spoken to. I have been living my life to the beat of a different drum for the past several years, I have been "engaged" to my faith and life has been much easier and fulfilling because of it... but I had yet to make that final step and commit my life as an adult. I had not yet sealed the deal with a dunk in the water and a prayer; it was time, and this time I KNEW exactly what it meant. So... after service, totally off the cuff (Yep that's me) with no change of clothes (they gave me a shirt) I committed my life to the "Big Guy" by sealing the deal and saying YES! It was a long engagement but since I know this "marriage" will last for the rest of my life, I jumped in with both feet and didn't even care if I looked like a wet rat in front of everyone.
I am not really sure what the lesson for you will be as you let this post sink in; I am not one to push my opinions on others, I am just simply sharing "Another Day in the life of Shells" with you, as I always do; it's just another day, another story. I have always said the timing for everything is on purpose, it's the key, and to each his own. You will have to your live life the way it was intended for you, but you ... like me will have to figure out what that is. What I will say is that I hope you don't take as long as I did to understand what it is you are missing... whatever it is you are missing.
Have a great Monday... a wonderful start to your week, and fill your life to the rim with positive people, positive things and positive reading.
LOVE YOU ALL!
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