Dear Connect friends,
I come from Christian families on both sides of my family. Both of my granddads were southern preachers, and there were many missionaries in my dad’s families.
The denomination that we were a part of is a very legalistic one and painfully so I would say. We were happy enough in our beliefs, but we were very exclusive of the other Christian denominations and would look down on anyone who associated with them in Christian fellowship unless they were trying to convert them to our beliefs. We believed our denomination was the true Church and because of that we considered everyone else a denomination, but we weren’t. We believed we weren’t saved by works but taught that we had to be immersed in water baptism to be saved, and pretty much behaved as if we were lost every time we sinned and had to repent to be again in God’s favor and to have any hope of salvation. Once my husband and I learned the truth from a precious man who wrote a book to help free those in our denomination we realized what bondage we had always been under. We then attended a Baptist church with some dear friends and began a journey of learning about salvation of grace through faith. It has been many years of growth as we have struggled to understand the new concepts of our freedom and the many things we had never learned as a result of being so exclusive and not allowing any teachings to be learned from our other fellow Christians of different denominations.
When I was just 12 I made the decision to be baptized, which in our denomination was our way of saying we have accepted God’s gift of salvation and wanted to be a Christian. I truly did love the Lord and His word, but I spent years with the self righteous attitude that comes from a legalistic upbringing, as well as being a bit of a know it all by nature anyway. Over the years our Father has humbled me and showed me the beauty of His truths, and I feel as if the RZIM ministry has given me an understanding of love for others that I have never experienced.
There is one decision that my husband and I made that has changed our lives dramatically. It has become our trademark in a way and that is that we have a very large family. We had always wanted a large family of 6 children, but it was after our 4th that I had the idea that God would want us to put our family size in His hands and never say no to having another child. They are considered a blessing after all, so why say no to more of those blessings? Well, we did it, and here I am expecting #13 at the age of 43. The journey has been difficult, and in spite of easy pregnancies and short labors I suffered from some slight PTSD from so many childbirth experiences, which included anxiety attacks and a sense of doom whenever I had a trigger. But we never gave up, and I have been delivered from the anxiety attacks and that sense of gloom and doom, and with every challenge and obstacle we have encountered, which were many, God’s grace helped us through and we learned even more and have truly been enormously blessed. It is my wish for everyone to understand that I am not a super woman, and I knew nothing of children beyond the occasional babysitting job, and I was so inexperienced when I had my first baby at 19, but I feel the Lord must have given me this desire since I have been drawn to babies and children ever since I can remember. But none of this has been possible by my strength, but the ability to do this has purely come from God. All I had to do was accept the challenge and allow Him to provide and to never give up and to continually look to Him. I want to challenge Christians to never say “I can’t” when we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Whatever He calls us to do, we CAN.