Looking back at that time in my life, I DO remember that distinct moment when I prayed and accepted Jesus and the moments leading up to that decision, and I remember my baptismal, but so much more than that as I look back I remember all of the seeds along the way. I was a couple months shy of 18 when I accepted Christ, but long before that, there were people and friendships along the way that planted seeds.
These memories were brought back to me as I listened to Angela Thomas speak at my MoPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group yesterday and while she covered several topics about Motherhood and life, and as a Mom being filled with Jesus in order to fill the kiddos, there was one point that stuck out in my mind. She spoke about how we as Moms set the tone for our household, and it's totally true! I mean let's get real, "if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" More than that though, in setting the tone of her house, she talked about how her teenage kids invite their friends over all the time to hang out, to have dinner, to just be. The friends of her kids feel comfortable there, they feel welcome, and I wonder if they are drawn there like I was to my friends' as a kid.
I'm reminded of one friend (and her family) in particular and they have been on my brain for many many months and I've always wondered if she and her family realize what an impact they made on my life. My dear friend Caroline. We met in the 6th grade, we were in classes together, we played softball for many years together, and in a lot of ways we were inseparable for many years. I had many sleepovers at her house, she and her family picked me up and took me to church very frequently, sometimes I'd go home with her after school, we would hang out at our sports events.... I always loved how welcomed I felt, how loved I felt, and regardless of the fact that her upbringing was different than mine, I was never judged.
I was drawn to her family. I loved that they prayed together, they had family game night, they ate dinner together, her Mom was a sunday school teacher, and above all I loved that they welcomed me. You would think that all of this family time, and prayer, and church, and only watching family friendly television shows would be totally lame to the average teenager in middle school, but in fact it was the exact opposite! They were different, I was drawn to them, I felt loved by them, and in a lot of ways I wished that my family could be more like theirs. Along the way as the relationship grew, I was inspired to read my Bible, inspired to attend church, and to search for what they had that I didn't.... Were there bumps in the road!? Absolutely! I made a lot of mistakes along the way and there were many more people in my path guiding me, and I eventually came around in October of 2004.
Now back to Angela's words.... As I have sit back these last few months pondering how all of the pieces in MY story fell together so perfectly, I have thought a lot about Caroline's family. Don't miss that there are many more people I owe credit to as well, but Angela's words about her teenage children and their friends coming over reminded me even more of Caroline's family. I have prayed frequently over the last couple years for our boys and one of my prayers is that OUR home will be that safe place-- that place where Leeland and Hayden's (and baby #3's) friends feel welcome and comfortable. A place that they feel drawn to because we are different from the world. A place where family time, food and learning about Jesus co-mingle and it is FUN! I pray that my house is a place where seeds are planted in people's lives.