Faith is courage; it is creative while despair is always destructive. ~David S. Muzzey
When I first started writing this blog, I promised it would be real, and warned that I might use a bad word on occasion. Considering my state of mine throughout this process, I am surprised that I was guilty of that only a couple of times. Now that many more people are reading Maxie's Life Unfinished, I am resisting the urge to go back and clean things up to make my posts pretty. There are what they are, and they will stay that way. And I am not concerned about future posts. I am actually more concerned with making grammatical errors, than saying something inappropriate. My personality still has a lot of rough edges, and God keeps polishing them off. Ouch! That hurts! :o)
I think it is time to talk about my faith. Though I don't hesitate to speak of God and how He works in my life, I want to tell of how I got where I am today in matters of faith.
My parents didn't go to church when I was small, but my grandmother took me to services with her, I remember the struggle of sitting still on a hard pew, except for once a month when the Missionary Lady came and the children were allowed to go downstairs to see stories told on the flannel graph. I loved that. After Grandma moved away, I eventually began to attend a small chapel, with a bus ministry which picked up kids every week. Most of the congregation were children, as that was the church's main outreach. I went to summer and winter camp, and Bible school. I learned how to read the Bible, and memorize Scripture. During that time God became a fixed star on my journey; even when I ignored Him, or forgot about Him, He was always with me.
By the time I was a teenager, my parents became Christian and we started attending a much larger church. After the small warm congregation I was used to, I never really felt comfortable in the new church, but we attended until I left home. My sister Linda Jordan continued on in the church until her death in 2001, over 40 years of attendance, and she worked in the church's daycare.
Jim Simmons told me he was a Baptist and that he went to church with his cousins, and spoke glowingly of the church in Texas he belonged to. I learned later that his total church experience was 3 months, during the time he was staying with his cousins. Jim accompanied me to church until after we were married, when he left off all church attendance altogether, and it was many years before he would go again. But I tried to continue on alone.
We moved a lot and every time we'd go to a new town, I would find a church and attend sporadically, taking my kids with me, until about 10 years into my marriage, I stopped altogether for 5 years. I didn't intend to quit, but when we moved that year, I never got around to finding a church. We had moved down by Houston--camping and fishing paradise and that is what we did most weekends. I stopped reading my Bible and my thoughts were far away from God. Eventually I joined Jim in his party lifestyle and I threw myself whole-heartedly into it. I didn't want to hear about God, I didn't want to talk to door to door evangelists or little old ladies from the church. Basically I said , "See ya!" to the Almighty. Bad idea. That was the most painful dark time in my life, and I did irreparable damage to my life, family and marriage. But I did turn back to the God of my youth and became more and more faithful in the Christian walk. I had to overcome a lot of shame and self-loathing, and deal with the consequences of bad choices, but I know that God loves me today and that He has given me precious gifts--grandchildren, art, writing this blog and the boldness to present both to the world; He is teaching me to just be myself; He is allowing me to be of use to Him and others; he has given me countless loving, encouraging, fun friends and a church family. He has his hand on my future and I am a work in progress, so we will all have to stay tuned to see how it all works out...