I know I said my next post would be about the Sabbath, but then today happened. And, that changed my blogging trajectory for this one post. I hope you'll indulge me today, my 60th birthday, as I share about the goodness of God and His great love for me.
That last part sounds unbelievably arrogant, doesn't it? Well, it could be, if the basis of His love were ME. The truth is - - His love for me is all about HIM. I am completely undeserving; He is the very definition of love. And, that is why He loves me.
The truest example of His overwhelming, never-ending love for me is my life story, the good, bad and ugly.
I was born into a middle-class,Christian, American family in 1958. My childhood was spent in the foothills of the beautiful Appalachian mountains, in a small community called Hollingsworth. My parents both worked full-time but were also musicians in our small, Southern Baptist church. I was their first-born and also the first grandchild on both sides of my family. Needless to say, I was adored and spoiled, lol!
At age 9, the Holy Spirit drew me. He called to me through a sermon about Hell. I accepted Jesus as my Savior, in a revival service at my home church. This was the most life-changing moment of my life. Nothing that came before or after has been a greater moment than this, because it began my eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything changed as the Holy Spirit came to live in me and began to change me.
Mother had begun to teach me how to play the keyboards. So, also at 9, I began playing the piano and later the organ for our church services. As a teenager, I attended several Christian camps and was a camp counselor. It was there that I committed my life to serving Him, wholeheartedly.
I attended Bob Jones University for four years and graduated with a degree in music education. At college, I met my first husband. We went our own ways after graduation, but kept in touch. In 1984, we were married. Together, we served churches in the music ministry for 7 years. He was an extremely gifted musician. In our 7th year of marriage, we divorced. This, and the events leading up to the divorce, were the most devastating life events I had experienced.
In 1993, Bill and I married. He was a bachelor until age 51. He says he was just waiting for me! Precious man! We have been blessed with two fine sons, Jesse and Will, who are now 23 and 21, respectively, and are on target to graduate from college this year in December. Our sons were, in my heart, dedicated to God from the moment I realized I was pregnant with them. I love them dearly and pray for them fervently.
After a 30-year career in education, the last nine years of it as an elementary school principal, I retired from full-time work. These past 7 years I have worked part-time in my small, home-based business called Hood Educational Services. Through that, I blog (as you know). I serve in my young, fledgling church. I sell the best make-up and skincare on the planet. And over-arching all of that, I seek to love and minister to my family, friends and everyone God places into my path.
So, that is "my story".
You may wonder why the title of this post is "furrows of love". I borrowed the phrase from a John Piper devotional I read this morning, based on Galatians 6:8. A furrow is a trough in the ground the farmer makes in order to sow seeds. After putting the precious seeds in, the farmer then mounds the dirt up over the seeds. Soon, plants appear! Hopefully, as you read my story, you were able to read between the lines and see how God has sown love and mercy into the furrows of my life. The story itself is not that remarkable. What IS remarkable is how God has blessed me with His love and salvation.
As I look back over these 60 years, the best thing in my life is just that.
The love of God does not manifest itself in material possessions or "good luck" or good health or great friends. All of those blessings flow FROM God's love.
The core of God's love is - - Him. HE is life's greatest blessing.
Knowing Him, loving Him, worshipping Him - - allowing His Spirit to mold me more into His image, day by day....that is my source of Joy and my life's greatest Treasure.
In order to make me more like my Savior, He has dealt with me as the loving Heavenly Father He is. At times, He has disciplined me severely. My besetting sins are, without doubt, selfishness and pride. The devastatingly sad parts of my life have been designed by Him to break down those strongholds in my life. This is still a "work in progress", unfortunately. You know, if God changed us instantly, this would prevent our faith from being strengthened; we would begin to depend less on His mercy and more on our own merits, which would be the very antithesis of faith.
I am so very, very grateful for how He has loved me through the years. When I woke up 60 this morning, that was one of my first thoughts....how His love is incomparable, and how incredibly blessed I am to be the recipient of it.
Again, I am no one special. His love is available to every human being who desires it. I hope and pray you won't miss out on life's greatest blessing. On the surface, to become a follower of Jesus Christ looks like you are giving up your independence or your way of living life on your terms. And, that is true. But, what I hope you can see through this post is that you gain SO much more by giving up those things. Every day is a JOY to me, regardless of its events and circumstances, because I am His, and He is mine. And, I want that for you, dear reader, as well. My birthday prayer is that, if you do not know Him, that you will call out to Him today.