Yesterday, I wrote a post called “A Change Will Do You Good”. In it, I shared the parable of the lost sheep and why it is so important to seek a sheep when it’s lost. Now, I would like to share my own personal sheep story and why it became a pivotal part of my life.
I was about 6 months pregnant with my middle son, Griffin. This was not in a good situation, and it was not a “happy” pregnancy. I lived in shame, embarrassment, guilt, fear, loneliness, anger, and many other emotions. I was saved, but I was NOT walking with God at that point. I screwed up, and I was reaping what I sewed… Because that’s a real thing, in case you want to know. I was a single mom of a two year old (Phoenix), pregnant with another man’s baby (which is now my husband) but I was not married to him at the time. In fact, he was married and so was I. I couldn’t get divorced because I was pregnant. I lived in low income apartments, was on food stamps, and drove a car that I was embarrassed of but lucky and thankful to even have at that point. I was alone and had hit rock bottom. Wearing a fake smile through the pain was something I had grown accustomed to.
I rarely left my apartment because I knew the drill; stares, whispers, dirty looks, yeah… that’s super fun. Going to Wal-Mart was my worst enemy. #smalltownproblems. There was a park right down the road from my apartment at the time. I scoped it out before taking my son out of his car seat. There was no one there. Score! He and I could play and have mommy/son time in peace. The sun was shining and there was no cloud of judgement hanging over me. My son loved me, and thought I was the greatest thing around. Happiness, real happiness, was there in that moment. We played for about 30 minutes, and then a car pulled up. I immediately felt anxious and wanted to leave. But, I waited to see if I knew them. I didn’t. An older woman and her son got out of the car. The guy was maybe 25. He had two daughters, and they played with my son. I kept my distance but ultimately ended up talking to the guy and his mom since our children were playing together.
I don’t remember how we even got on the subject, but church was brought up. And, not by me. I didn’t go, and hadn’t been to church in years. I maybe went on the holidays but only because my parents or grandparents asked me to. The guy asked where we went to church. I said: “Well, we don’t. But, I would like to take Phoenix. I grew up going to church, and I think it would be good for him.” (Notice, I was only doing it for my son.) The guy asked me why I didn’t go, not in an invasive way or anything, just curious. I told him that I had been to church, and it’s just full of a bunch of judgmental people, so I didn’t want to go back. I gave him a condensed version of my story and told him no matter where I went, I was judged. I wasn’t interested in going somewhere to sit in a room full of people judging me and a preacher telling me all the crap I’ve done wrong, like I didn’t already know… I said this as tears filled my eyes. Life sucked, and I cried a lot. I was mad that my life was something that needed to be explained. The guy said to me: “You should come to my church. You will fit right in.” I laughed inside because it had to be a joke. What in the world kind of church would I fit into right now? But, he assured me that I really would like it. He told me where it was and what time service started.
For whatever reason, I showed up that Sunday. I showed up where people didn’t even know me or my story and they smiled, hugged me, and welcomed me with open arms. It felt really good.
There in the park that day, a stranger changed my life. Full on change didn’t happen immediately, though. It took a while. But, I got where I needed to be, and step by step I found my way. I was walking with God for the first time in my life.
That guy didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him. I don’t even know his name, and I wouldn’t recognize him if I saw him today. So now, I’m a fan of circles. The kind that brings your life “full circle”. God puts people in your life for a reason. Like I said yesterday, the shepherd rarely remembers finding the lost sheep, but the sheep always remember being found. Thank you God for sending a shepherd to find me that day.
Peace, Love, and Jesus,