Sunday, November 6, 2011

God's Hand on My Life

I wanted to share this moment I had with my daughter yesterday as it blessed me greatly.

We were driving to go wedding dress shopping yesterday and we were processing the news we had just heard about a death of someone we knew due to liver damage from alcoholism. I was wondering how someone who had such an amazing family would choose a life of alcohol over a beautiful family and what kind of darkness he must have lived with daily to have made that choice. My daughter spoke up and said that I was one of those amazing stories as most people could never have endured what I had endured and be in the place I am today. She then said, “God truly had His hand on you”. For me, there was so much (godly) irony in her statement but realized that I had never realized that my daughter had seen God’s hand on me!

It has always been God’s hand on my daughter that brought me to faith! I felt like I had to share this beautiful story!

When my daughter was two we were visiting my parents at Christmastime and had gone to mass with them at their Catholic church. At this point, Kaitlyn had never even been inside a church. That Christmas had already been pretty magical for us…we had family, snow, lights, and a lot of love that year. We had been building up Christmas with her from the presents, to visiting the beautiful lit houses in the neighborhood, to the making cookies for Santa with grandpa, and Christmas Eve mass where she could visit the nativity scene and see the baby Jesus in the manger. She was in great anticipation of going to church and coming home and leaving her home baked cookies and milk out for Santa (I think I even still have the letter “we” wrote for him). We showed her the nativity set when we go there and she was wonderful during mass, probably even more than me as I was had no clue what I was supposed to be doing half the time but as we began to walk out of the church building she burst into tears and we had to spend some time consoling her. Once she was able to stop the flow of tears and near hysteria she let us know that we could not leave yet…she had not met baby Jesus yet!

We had no idea that she actually thought she was going to meet a real baby that night, her Lord and Savior Jesus. It was more than evident to me that night that my daughter had some knowledge of Jesus and little did I know at that moment her heart would forever be connected to Him. The amazing thing for me was that her knowledge of Jesus was completely supernatural! I never spoke of Jesus and aside from knowledge that my parents went to church and spoke occasionally about God, Jesus was not a topic of conversation in our lives. In fact, although I had spent a lot of time in church in my teen years, I had no real knowledge of Jesus…my understanding did not include a triune God where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one person.

From that night on, Kaitlyn was very intrigued with Jesus, God, the bible, and especially worship music. During that time, the Songs for Worship infomercial appeared on TV regularly and Kaitlyn had already shown a great appreciation for music. The preview of those songs would stick with her and she was always singing them…Shout to the Lord was her favorite and she ended up singing this at our wedding 8 years later! I started taking her to a little chapel at the base we lived on that year. It was so cute…she really didn’t know who God was and for the longest time believed that the minister was God.

A few months into her 1st grade year, it became apparent that she would need the extra attention of a smaller class and a more structured learning environment so I enrolled her at a private Christian School. Her faith flourished that year. She would always ask to go to church, sing her worship songs with the appropriate interpretative dance moves, and was eager to introduce my co-workers to her Jesus. I remember driving home from work one night with Kaitlyn in tears because she realized one of my co-workers whom she adored did not know Jesus and it was her first realization this individual might not be joining her in heaven…she was 6! She was pondering ways in which she could share Jesus with this gal and I had to have the “hard” conversation with her that she probably should not be having these conversations at my work as I could get in trouble.

In 2nd grade, her teacher was a local youth pastor who absolutely adored her. He always encouraged me to bring her to church, would go out of his way to speak to me about what a joy she was and what a dynamic personality she had. He told me once that he could see her someday speaking in front of thousands of women about Jesus. I of course always smiled politely and did my part make sure her faith and desires were fostered while staying as far removed as I possibly could from the church and from God.

That year all she could talk about was being baptized, when, when, when could that day happen was all she wanted to know. I had grown up in the Baptist church and little children weren’t baptized. I had been taught that you could not make that decision until you were at least a teenager. As I explained to her that you cannot possibly understand or know what God was calling you to until then that baptism was reserved for older kids. I remember her teacher approaching me and asking me why I was resistant to her being baptized and once I explained to him that she couldn’t possibly understand what she was doing at her age he quickly corrected me. He told me that he had never met a child as young as Kaitlyn that was more assured in her faith and knew who Jesus and God were and that I was interfering with her faith by not allowing her to express it. Oh, I didn’t realize all that! So she was baptized by her 2nd grade teacher and I honestly can’t remember a time she was more joyful and pleased…well maybe yesterday after we were done wedding dress shopping 

When Kaitlyn was around 9 my life started to unravel…again. I found myself in great despair with little hope. What hope I did have, I found completely in her. She was my saving grace, or so I thought. I was able to get up most days and move forward because of her. It was during this time, of taking her to church, dropping her off, and waiting that I began to wonder. What was it she had that gave her such joy? Why didn’t I have it? How could I have what she had? So instead of just dropping her off, I started attending the services. It wasn’t long before I was on my knees crying out to God to give me what He had always given her. I finally understood and I finally surrendered.

So, when my daughter said yesterday that it was clear God’s hand had always been on me, she was right and I do believe that wholeheartedly. The (godly) irony here was that I have always seen God’s hand on her, long before I even knew who God was. My daughter was never introduced to Jesus, Jesus simply had placed His Spirit in her little heart long before she had the ability to decide on her own. I believe for as far back as Kaitlyn has memories of me, she also has memories of Jesus. He has always been a part of her heart, her love, and her life and for that I am eternally grateful.

I was not deserving of such a gift. I could not have raised such an amazing girl without a supernatural intervention from Jesus Himself! To hear her proclaim God’s hand on my life was a joyous moment but only because of my understanding that it was His hand on her life that saved me.