Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sanctuary Full of Memories

This morning I was able to get out of the house long enough to attend church services.  It took a little pre-arranging, making sure our emergency signals were straight, and a little faith, but it all worked out so that I could leave for a short time.

I chose a church very near my son's home, so that if he needed me during service, I could be back in five minutes - literally.  I felt uncomfortable leaving my cell on during service, especially since they flashed signs asking everyone to please turn them off; but I could not figure out how to put it on vibrate, for the life of me, so I turned the volume down low and kept it close so that I could turn it off as soon as it rang, if need be.

It felt very odd to be there in that particular building, again, as it held poignant memories for me that no one there could have guessed.  The property had changed owners, now affiliated with a different denomination, and thus, a completely different congregation than the one I once knew. 

However, many years ago as a young teenager, I had competed in Bible "Jeopardy" type contests there from time to time.  Innocent times, good fun.  Churches from all over the district would send their representative to compete at the monthly youth rallies.

Then a few years after that, I had sat there with my spouse and our spiritual advisor, discussing our plans to go work as missionaries in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Our boys were one and three years old, and I was trepidatious about their health if we lived in a foreign country.

As it turned out, we did not go after all, but it was strange, and a little sad, to sit there this morning and look around remembering life-changing decisions from decades ago; plans which did not come to fruition, some goals which were achieved, regrets which we all live with, and the hindsight assurance of God's faithfulness through it all.

I could not see what my life would become when I last sat in those pews.  I did not know I would have one more child, and she would become one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I could not know that I would not become a missionary, but that I would become what I called a "country Christian in corporate America" as a business executive traveling all over the country (something I simply could not have imagined back then.)

Life does not always, or even very often, turn out quite the way we planned.  The old axiom goes, "Man proposes, but God disposes."  Um-humm.

Nevertheless, I am thankful.  Thankful for a chance to attend service.  Thankful that K. seems to be making some progress toward recovery (sometimes two steps forward and one step back, but we take as it comes.)  Thankful that today, those memories no longer haunted me, as they once might have; but rather they served as gentle reminders that God always has a plan, and even when we fail, His plans still succeed.

God bless you today.  Enjoy your day of rest. ...Marsha


  1. I am so glad your son is improving and that you were able to go to church....

    I like you would never have imaged my life to have turned out the way it has......When you're young, one has so many plans but if you belong to God He has His own plans and most of the time they are different but much better.....

    Have a great week....

  2. I really love this! Our pastor this morning talked about God's will in the moral choices, which are a given, and the non-moral choices which we make in life. The second category includes the directions our lives take when it isn't spelled out as "His will", but we still seek His wisdom.

    From the perspective of 'now'... I see there could have been other directions, and different paths. And yet... He is there through every step we take, and makes it all work together for His good, since we are His children. Amazing grace!

    I understand your heart tugs of this morning.


  3. Memories are not all good and not all bad but they seem to pay an ever increasing roll in our lives as we grow older. I'm glad you could have this time and place to reflect. I hope your son keeps improving.

  4. Very touching. Woulda/Shoulda/Coulda, that's how everyone's life unfolds. All the bends, twists, and turns that most of us could never have imagined, yet definitive moments...Gaqd you were able to get out for a while and that your son is improving.

  5. Your transparency without divulging everything makes for a compelling read. I'm glad you were able to get out and be there in church. Thanks for writing and sharing a part of your life with us.

  6. Nancy - So nice to have you stop by again. You are right, God's plans are much better than our own.

    Sonja - I like that phrase, "the perspective of now" - and now is really all we have, isn't it?

    Diane B. - Memories do become more prominent as we age, I think partly because more of our life is in the "rear view mirror" than in the windshield ahead.

    Sweet Tea - You have been such an encouragement. Yes, "woulda/coulda/shoulda" is universal to the human experience.

    Sheri - Thank you for your kind feedback. I do work to be transparent without going into TMI (too much information) :)

    Blessings to you all. ...Marsha

  7. You know sister, your heartfelt posts are so encouraging even when your burdens are heavy. . . truly your strength comes from the Lord and your joy and peace are in Him.
    Thank you for stopping by Journal of Faith . . . so glad the post encouraged you. God's timing is always perfect!
    Love and prayers,