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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dear Brad:

My mother named me Marjorie but everyone calls me Margie. I am a wife of forty seven years, mother of two, grandmother of five, and a Christian since I was fifteen.

My grandparents and cousins, most of all my family, every Sunday went to church.

My family did not. I remember my Dad not sending me to kindergarten because he said his kids didn’t need it. I think he felt the same way about church. His family did not need it. He did nothing to encourage church. In fact, he did everything but forbid us from going. It frustrated him that my sister and I wanted to go to church. We found rides or walked. Really it was my sister dragging me along. She was ten years older then me and I would go anywhere just to be with my “big sister”. She married when I was in the forth grade and that was pretty much the end of me attending church.

I made friends with a girl in seventh grade. She invited me to a youth group party at her church. That was on a Saturday evening and the next day I went to church with them. I loved it. I loved the acceptance I felt. I sat in the pew and saw families sitting together. Kids laying their head on their mom or dad’s shoulder, mother’s leaning over and giving a quick kiss on their child’s forehead. I heard adults talk to children and laugh with them. I knew right away, I wanted this kind of life. I wanted one day to sit with my husband and children in church. Sounds like a silly reason to love church but before I understood why these people were really in church,that is what I loved about going. It was a safe and  a loving place with a warmth that wrapped around me when I entered.

I started learning all the “facts” about God and Jesus. I learned what was acceptable in Christian behavior. I got baptized. I thought I had most the answers. No, I thought I had ALL the answers. I knew nothing. I lacked a real relationship with Jesus.

My life was easy. I floated along with no real problems. A good marriage, healthy children, and financially  we struggled no more than most. Not hard believing in Jesus when life is so smooth. Little did I know, real struggles were around the corner.

My cousin was murdered by someone I worked with. How does this happen in my ordinary and good family? My brother was murdered a few years later. Why? I watched my parents deteriorate, never recovering from my brother’s death. I turned a corner in the house, saw my Dad with a gun in his mouth and he pulled the trigger. Five bullets in the gun but it did not go off. Although, the sound of the click of the gun never left me and haunted in dreams. Few months later, my Dad died in my arms. Mother got Alzheimer and it broke our hearts. I got breast cancer. Three years later I got tongue cancer. My life stopped being smooth. I fell into a depression.

It did not happen overnight but I slowly started to feel Christ in my life. Christianity is not a bunch of rules. It is freedom. Being a Christ follower means loving His people. It means I forgive the killers of my cousin and brother.  It means I relax in the turmoil of this world and realize God is in control. It means if the phone rings and I am told I have cancer again, it’ll be okay. It means that whoever wins this election is winning because God has allowed it. It also means action. Do what I can when I see a need or a wrong but I do it with the love of Christ. It means I must live a life with gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and balance that without compromising God’s word. It’s a daily walk.

Sincerely,

Margie

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