Monday was my 48th birthday-or the 19th anniversary of my 29th birthday-either way it was fun!
One of my friends came and spent the day with me and spoiled me! We had a lot of fun and just spending time together was the gift! Oh, there were other gifts, but I think there is no better gift than spending quality time together with those we love. I’m not always good at it because there is always so much to do, and the older I get the more important that time becomes. One of the things I wanted to do was show my friend the place I fell in love with Jesus. One of the things we all remember is where we were when we fell in love! Not just with our spouses, but also with Jesus, our Savior.
I’ll never forget when Cort came through the back door to my parents house one night, I thought to myself, ” that’s the man I am going to marry.” We had just begun dating. I remember what he had on, how he looked and what I said to him. It’s just one of those things you never forget! I like to tell people that we fell in love on a motorcycle! One of our first dates was a motorcycle ride. I don’t recall where we went, but I do recall how I felt! Ever since that day, we have been on the adventure of a lifetime!
Today I am on the biggest adventure of all…following Christ! We moved here 11 years ago and didn’t know a soul! At present , we know most people and are blessed to live in this wonderful community of Mitchell’s Crossroads. There is this little church about 2 miles down the road from us called Dinwiddie Presbyterian Church. It is a rock church with a rich history and love for Jesus Christ. It has been a beacon of hope for our community and for anyone who walks through the doors. My family and I were invited to walk through those doors 11 years ago. Once we did, I felt God’s embrace like never before, through the folks at Dinwiddie. I fell head over heels in love with our Lord, Jesus Christ. I grew up in church, SS, and all of that but I never knew what falling in love with Jesus really meant until I stepped into Dinwiddie Church. The folks there took us in like family and treated us like they had always known us. They have a knack for that and it comes from knowing Jesus. Hospitality is key to being a Christian. If people don’t feel welcome, they won’t come back. We always want people to come back so that we can share the love of Christ with them.
I wanted to go back to Dinwiddie on my birthday with my friend so she could see where I was 11 years ago. I love that old church with all my heart. Some people might say it is just a lot of rock and wood, and it is. But to me, ( and many, many others) it is much more than that. Each rock was placed in love by the builder and each board was carefully cut and nailed into position by someone who loved Jesus Christ. To me, each stone tells a story and I said to my friend, ” can you imagine the stories these old stones could tell if they could talk?” I see each stone as a representation of a family, or a person, who has been there before me. That great cloud of witnesses! Each one unique, valued, and placed on the eternal Cornerstone of Jesus Christ, our true Rock!
Before we entered the sanctuary I asked my friend to close her eyes. She did. I opened the door and we stepped through the entrance into the sanctuary and when she opened her eyes she caught her breath and exclaimed, ” Oh!! it is beautiful!” We sat down on the pew in the sunshine and just took it all in. Memories flooded back to my mind of the people, the preaching, the music, the prayers, the children, and the love. She asked me why we left and I told her that God was calling us somewhere else. Sometimes we don’t really understand things until later and this is one of those things. It is hard for people to understand why we would leave a place that we loved so much, and still do. God knows the plans he has for us and it is up to us to walk in discernment to HIS will, not ours. We have been away from Dinwiddie for 3 years and my life has been a rollercoaster ride since! I have realized and accepted the call that God has on my life and I am now in pursuit of GOD. I wasn’t before. God placed us at Dinwiddie so I could fall deeply in love with Him. It was a steppingstone to something greater and it is all in God’s glory! Just like each stone on that old church has a specific job to do until the steeple reaches the sky…each part of our journey has the same purpose until we reach our Heavenly Father with everything He made us to be. The first step is realizing His love for us. Dinwiddie was that first stone-the Cornerstone of my life.
Dinwiddie is the Cornerstone for my kids too!
Which ones are mine?
We walked to the altar and we both placed our hands on the stones and thought about all of the people who had been there before us with thier concerns, celebrations, grief and joy. I’ll never forget the day that one of my dear friends accepted Christ and was baptized at that rock wall…he was so reverent and holy and I could see the light of Christ in his countenance. He was glowing with it. As the preacher dipped his very large hands into the baptismal water and poured the water over my friend, it was like the River of Living Water was right there in that sanctuary. It flowed over his head and down his face like a refreshing and cleansing rain from Christ. I will never forget it, ever. I was moved to sobbing. This person had been faithfully prayed for for years. The people at Dinwiddie are faithful prayer warriors and this person and myself are a testament to thier commitment to pray.
There are people at Dinwiddie who have prayed for God to reveal His call on my life…not just once, but everyday for YEARS! They are faithful in thier prayer life and it is because of these prayers that I am where I am at today. I don’t think people realize this, but I take that old rock church with me everywhere I go. To me it SHOUTS, ” JESUS IS LORD! Come follow me!” I remember when they bought the church van and were deciding what scripture to put on it…” Follow me, I will make you Fishers of Men!” I am here today to say that I am one of those fishers of men! Let us never forget where we came from or who we are and let us always carry Christ in our hearts. Denomination does not matter, we are all part of the body of Christ – fully loved and embraced by our Father in Heaven.
It is no coincidence that I chalked this while in Slovakia…”Come, Follow Me…” You were right there with me Dinwiddie Folks!
It was a wonderful birthday visit to one of my most loved places and I am so thankful that I met Jesus there. I love you all! Happy Birthday to me!
In Christ’s all consuming love,
SHOUT to the LORD!