Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Hope Embraced

     I was in my first year semester at Florida Beacon Bible College in Largo, Fl. (Over 30 years ago) Christmas break was upon us and everyone was getting to go home except me.  But then one of my dorm mates was going home to Hershey, Pa. offered to let me ride with her and we could take a day to go see my family in NJ.  Now Julia came from a strong Mennonite family and they took me in just as one of their daughters… even gave me chores to do.
     On Christmas morning I was hit with the reality of being with this family and not home.  I just couldn't get out of the bed with the thought of intruding upon this family's Christmas. My friend Julia kept telling me to get up, but I stayed in bed.  Finally her father poked his head in and said; “Young lady get up now!”  I was up fast.
     The family sat together to read the Christmas story from the book of Luke and pray. Then their father reached under the tree to hand out gifts to whoever’s name was on the gift.  The gift was placed in front of them to wait until all the gifts were handed out so that each person could be focused on individually. I watched as each person started getting a pile in front of them. Suddenly, I heard “Cindy”… And I heard it several more times. I ended up with a pile as big as the others.

     An overwhelming feeling of love, acceptance & forgiveness from God and this family flooded my whole being! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or run and hide. I was blessed & humbled beyond words. I didn’t have anything to give them but they gave me more than just material things. They gave me hope and began the healing process in my life!
     My birthday happens to be December 27 and they have a daughter whose birthday is December 29. She was having some of her young adult friends from college and church over for a birthday dinner.  Again they surprised with the birthday cake having both of our names on it, and not only the family but this girl's friends handed me birthday gifts. Again, what an overwhelming sense of love!

     God was using this family to teach me that He loves accepts and forgives me. From that day on I vowed to God that I would do whatever I could to show people His love acceptance and forgiveness. 
     It gets even better!  Little did I know that one day God would place me in a church family whose motto is “Come visit us at Longview Church of God where you will be greeted with unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.” 
     This is just one story out of my testimony. Maybe someday I will share the whole story.  God has brought me a very long wait these past 30 years and He's still working on me. I'm so glad he doesn't give up on us! To God be the glory!!!

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