This weekend I was invited to attended a program to hear a "sister-angel" speak at something called, "Women With A Call International, Inc."
Sometimes I wear little angel pins on my uniform when I'm working as a nurse. Those of you who know me personally are aware that I'm a big believer in angels. So, I'm at the MRDD workshop (filling in as a substitute nurse) and I notice one of the staff wearing an angel pin just like mine.
The regular staff nurse I'm working with asked the angel-pin staff member if she enjoyed her recent vacation, and "Ann" responded that she had been attending a seminar (or something like that) for women. Immediately, my ears perked up, and the angel on my blouse started jumping up and down and clapping her hands!
Later, I asked Ann about the women's convention, and she invited me to a local chapter here in Columbus, Ohio. Our chatting time is limited at work, but we have been able to wave at each other and I've promised to attend the next chapter meeting when I could.
At first I hesitated and was inwardly relieved when I had to work on the first day I was suppose to attend last month. I wasn't sure I wanted another bad 'religious" experience with "religious" people who don't have a clue what "religion' is all about.
But, last week Ann told me she would be the guest speaker, and she gave me a printed invitation. Her presentation was titled "The Ministry of Helps" which I thought was a little odd, and I was interested in what the meaning of this "helps" was.
I didn't know how I should dress or if this was a business meeting or a religious presentation. She had mentioned I might be asked to give a little information about my book, "Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" so I grabbed a copy of that and found an old Bible that belongs to Jim. Just in case...
Isn't it strange that I have no Bible? And, my Jim who professes no religion or church affiliation has this nice New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha sitting on a box in his tiny office? (He later told me someone gave it to his mother to pass on to him when she died.)
I used to own an entire collection of Bibles and religious books. At one time, I could nearly quote the entire Bible! Alas, my heart was crushed by false 'religion" and it's been mighty tough putting it back together! I left all those books behind me somewhere along the way.
Okay, lets put a Bible on my Christmas list or Thanksgiving List or Anytime List. (Soon because we're moving to a new address on October 20.)
On Saturday, I found one dress in my closet - the one I wore to Philip and Shelley's wedding - and with my heart in my throat I set off for another adventure in the world of sharing with other women!
When I arrived (very early!), there were exactly three women present, and my friend, Ann, was not one of them. But, the three women who were present gave me enough welcoming hugs to unsettle my fears and make me feel like I belonged there. I soon discovered these Women With A Call follow a different set of rules. Actually, there are no rules!
"Pastor Ann" arrived in plenty of time, and her presentation touched my heart. She looked beautiful in her royal blue suit and she spoke with grace and power! But, most of all, the atmosphere was full of unconditional acceptance and love for everyone.
Yes, I opened Jim's Bible to her scripture verse at 1 Corinthians 12:28, but continued reading on to those verses that I memorized long ago in Chapter 13. I was reminded about true love and what it really means. On purpose, I'm not going to quote scripture here, but if you are reading this posting on the Internet, you can Google 1 Corinthians 13 (or click here).
Last night Ann called me to say she has started reading my book and is already shocked at the story of my life. She is excited that we might get together to help her start writing several books that sit heavy on her heart! Ann believes there is a joyous journey ahead for me that I cannot imagine. It's the start of a simple path that I look forward to with refreshing peace.
In the last year, I've been blessed with several 'sister-friends'. Including getting to know my two precious daughter-in laws a little better, and old friends from the past who have stepped back into my life.
If you are reading this today, remember, you ARE very special and you have a unique purpose in life! Let it began now!
I close with a posting comment on this website from my friend Floyd who was responding to other comments left on my website from members of the Worthington SDA church. His honest words meant a lot then and still resound in my heart.
I tremble to add to the cacaphony of expressions elicited from the last post. I was chagrined by the uncaring defensive words of those trying to defend their church while also trying to look like they are reaching out. I suppose I am not one to talk though. I have a reputation for callous comments that have hurt many hearts because of my self-preoccupation.As I read the most refreshing comment I was disappointed that it came from a BAP ('born-again pagon' as my husband teasingly calls himself). Not that I don't believe he has the sensitivity and wisdom to express such insights, but that it contrasted so sharply with the unsensitive comments of those claiming to follow a God of grace.I have read the book (Dusty Angels). I have also experienced a somewhat similar religious background though not to the extremes that Linda has survived. I can't blame little sister for her intensity of bitterness after all the hell she endured in the supposed name of God. What saddens me is that in all the intense feelings and defensivness it seems to be the reputation of the local church that is more important than the grossly twisted lies firmly planted on God's reputation that's seems to be the issue. But unfortunately it is usually that way. I think to some extent I understand Linda's heart and where she is coming from. I am soooo glad she has a husband who is devoted to caring and protecting her heart. He relects the way God feels about her to a very great extent. I happen to believe that after all the dust settles that those who are honest, open and humble enough will be surprised and delighted that God is very different than the way we always believed. I believe the real truth about Him will ultimately overcome all the slander and misrepresentation smeared on Him by professed believers and detractors alike. Linda, you are very unique and special. Your honesty and openness have been a real inspiration to me along with your husband. I consider you one of my few heart friends that I can relax with. You are very special and loved. And someday you may be surprised by joy - and maybe even in the company of Christians.
Take Care on the Journey,