Growing up, as a child I
just loved Sundays! Our family would get
up early and go to church to worship God and hear the Preaching of the Gospel.
I was born in New York
City where we stayed with my mother’s family while my father served in the
military. I was just a few months old when my father was honorably discharged,
and we moved to Florida where my sister and brother were born. Five years later
we moved to Texas.
My first memories were of
Brother Monroe, a big imposing figure of a man in his cowboy hat and boots. He
always wore khaki-colored shirts and pants. It was wonderful to sit in the church
pew and to look up and wonder. I say
look up because our church had very high ceilings with enormous banners hanging
high overhead in the two-story auditorium. The banners had beautifully printed
Bible verses on them like Matthew 24:35; “Heaven
and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away.” And wonder because of the magnitude of
those words in a small child’s mind. I
didn’t understand them, but they caused my heart to “be still” and be at “Peace”.
Other verses hung
majestically across the great auditorium like John 14:2. “In my father’s House are many
mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
I would just sit there
before church ever started, looking up, and think about those wonderful words of
life hanging in the air while people found the way to their seats. I accepted Christ as my Lord and
Saviour and was Baptized symbolizing that I was buried with Christ
(the old me) and raised up out of the water as a new creation, (my inner man,
the real me). ‘Born Again’ into a new
spiritual life that meant I would live forever with Jesus Christ for eternity
when my earth suit (my natural body) passed away. We are all going to live
forever somewhere. It’s only in your earth
suit that you can choose where you will spend eternity. I completely understood
that physical death is not the end.
After church, my dad
would take us out to lunch. He was ahead of his time in doing so, for I do not
remember many children in the nice restaurants during those years. We were
taught good manners, and this was a reward. My brother and sister and I felt very special
that our parents would treat us to a grown-up thing like going to a restaurant
and choosing our own meal and then to be served by someone other than our mother.
Mother always looked so pretty.
She loved her family and gave her life and the Joy of the Lord to us as a
legacy. She was tiny, less than five feet tall and wore a size four and a half
shoe. We would sneak into her closet and try them on, but I think I was five or
six when I realized I couldn’t play in her shoes anymore; horrified, my feet
were too big! I remember her as always
being dressed up because she was a secretary and worked in an office during the
week. Rarely did we see her in casual
dress except for Saturdays when she worked in the garden planting something
while Daddy watered the lawn. She had the
original green thumb! My mother and
father loved Roses and we always had Rose bushes planted around every house we
I remember Mother and
Daddy never threw away coffee grounds. My father said they were “good for the Roses”. We children couldn’t wait
for them to finish their morning coffee. We always had the job on the weekend
to place the morning coffee grounds very carefully under the Rose bushes. Then,
we were taught to slowly water the base so that the grounds would gently mix
with the earth.
Daddy could do anything!
He was a mechanic by trade, but he designed and built nearly all the furniture
in our home. He built coffee and side tables, bookcases and headboards,
anything we needed. He was an Inventor and was always coming up with an idea
for new things. One of his inventions were window screens for cars since at
that time in history there was no air conditioning and going out in our summers
always meant mosquitoes!
The most important memories
of my growing up took place between the ages of nine and seventeen as we moved
and attended a small church in our neighborhood. It was there that I was a
member of a group called Girls Auxiliary and we met every Wednesday night while
the adults were in prayer meeting. From that point on, the focus of my life was
to complete the “steps” to become ‘Queen with a Scepter’. There were a lot of steps to pass before I
could get to this rank. The only way to reach the goal was to memorize
scripture; Chapters of it and to work on Mission Projects. I loved every minute
of both requirements, but the memory work was hard. I would read and memorize
the Bible verses I was assigned, repeatedly, until I could recite them without
thinking. These steps took years to pass the examinations and to work up to my
We could also choose
among the projects to work on, and I always chose the ones which concerned far
away places. I learned to cook dishes
from other lands and to read about what the people were like. I reached my goal
at sixteen and during the Recognition Coronation Service at my church, I quoted
the entire chapter of 1st Corinthians 13, called “The Love Chapter”
in the Bible. ’Though I speak with the
tongues of men and of angels and have not charity (love), I am as a sounding
brass or a tinkling cymbal.” I received my Crown and the important Scepter
that signified the power and authority of the Christian grounded in the Word of
I’m sharing this
particular time frame during my early years because later, the Holy Spirit
would use what was stored up in my heart, to teach me, even though at the time
I didn’t understand fully what I was learning.
Many people feel that
children should be left alone to choose later in life when they are older, what
to believe about God and Jesus Christ, or even whether to believe at all. The
hardest thing to watch is a child that is not being taught about God or the promises
of Scripture. The Bible teaches us how
to live on this planet and especially regarding Salvation and the afterlife. The
fact is children are learning and coming to conclusions all along life’s way.
It can be positive, negative, or indifferent but everyone is taking in information
all the time, consciously or unconsciously. The Word of God tells parents to’ Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not
depart from it.’ Proverbs 22:6
I was just like the Rose
bushes my parents tended around our home. God’s Words were the coffee grounds,
the extra needed vitamins in my life, to shape me to grow strong and produce
beauty for others to see the goodness and glory of God. I know from my own life that had I not been taught the scriptures early
in life and to have faith in Christ as my Saviour, I would not have had the
strength to survive the trials of life that I later faced. Yes, trials came, because
we live in a fallen, sinful world, but with the extra vitamins of God’s word
and His presence in our life, we are not alone.
We were taken to church
and purposely taught to love God. It
wasn’t hard to love after hearing and participating in the wonderful songs of
worship and Praise. This opened our
hearts to receive the encouraging Word of God.
In the ninth grade I
began to work part time after school Downtown. It was my own idea. I guess to
some extent because I was the first child, I enjoyed being responsible and not
depending on my folks for extra finances which they did not have. I guess, because of this, I grew up faster in
the business environment and learned to relate to other adults at work.
My parents were very strict
about following up on good culture and sent me to a Finishing School from
twelve to seventeen. This school emphasized good manners, good grooming, and social
etiquette. Anytime there was a pageant
in town, girls were encouraged to enter because it meant funds for college. I
was in a succession of these pageants, and I learned to compete in a world
where the external was the first attribute emphasized; how to present yourself
well. I was usually a finalist or a
runner up. I was beginning to learn that the world has a different definition
of success and came face to face somewhat with the tension between the World and
a Christian worldview.
I was accepted into college
on a partial scholarship and was invited to go thru Sorority Rush. This meant potentially
being asked to join a group of young women committed to the Greek system of
sisterhood for life. It would open doors and could mean a lifetime opportunity
socially and in business. I was totally green. I had no idea what was going on except
that I wanted to belong and to do good works. I followed.
This commitment culminated
months later in the semester. One
evening, my pledge class was asked to do something so disturbing to me, that I
refused to participate. My Rush class and I were told to unconditionally obey
or lose the invitation to belong. I walked away. This was my reality check with
the true battle for everyone in the world. Evil and darkness can be disguised.
What seemed like a normal, and in the natural world, a good thing to follow,
was really a choice of who will you allow to be your master? Who will you allow
to influence your decisions?
There were many lives at
stake. Young people, men and women unwittingly followed what seemed good. This wasn’t the only trap
the enemy set for me in my life and I fell into many temptations and flat-out mistakes
along the way in my walk with God.
John 8:12 tells us …’Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I
am the light of the World: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but
shall have the light of life.’
We are the product of the
choices we make along the way in our life. If you’re not dead, you still have
time to repent and thank God that He can lead us out of the darkness and into
the light if we will but do it. I love what Jesus said in 1st John
1:9.’ If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
He is there to forgive for
as long as we live. Keep short accounts with God.
Humble ourselves and Repent.
His Word contains the answers to all our questions and the way out of darkness.
It may be an instant response like my college experience when approached with a
bad situation or it may take us years to figure things out. Thank God He is always with us to be there, waiting
for us to turn to Him. Our part is to believe His Word by faith in whatever
situation we are in and to follow Him. ‘There
is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death.’ Proverbs 14:12
God ‘s plan for all of us
is that if we will invite him into our heart and life, by faith, and mean it
with all our heart, ‘none should perish’,
John 3:16-17. The world was condemned already. Jesus was sent to be the
fulfillment, to make The Way, for mankind,
by His precious Blood, but we must accept that wonderful gift. We are forgiven thru His Blood not
ours. He is the sacrifice, the
perfect Lamb of God, which the Old Testament portrays in the sacrificial system. That was the forerunner, the payment for OUR
sin, not His. That is how God can pardon us as Jesus took our sin upon HIMSELF.
Jesus is your Best
(SUNDAY HUGS was First published in a collection of
Short Stories with other Christian authors, c.2018)
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