Catching up with Sunday and today's devotional, I'm finding I have to make a true effort to find that "alone" time with the Father. That makes me feel even worse. Reading Sunday's devotional I realized that I had never stopped to think about Adam and Eve and how they felt after they had sinned. Despite what they did God came looking for them. God continues to see us out. He continued to seek me out even when I was very far away from him.
I grew up in a very simple home with a very simple life. I did all the right things, followed all the rules and did on the outside what everyone expected. When I left home and entered the Air Force I was exposed to a whole different world. My first assignment was Okinawa, Japan. When I landed there in 1990 the quote "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore" would have been very appropriate. This strange and far away island (that I had to look up on a map because I truly didn't know where it was) became my home for the next 3 years. I lived in a dormitory room about 12x12 with a bed, wardrobe and a dresser. At the age of 19, even though I was a Christian and had grown up in church where my father was a deacon, I forgot about God. That first year I was enthralled at all of the new experiences and people that I met. God didn't seem to fit into my social calendar. I never had so much male attention in my life. It was very overwhelming and I made some rather bad choices. It was only after I had met a young man who would later become my husband and things settled down that I realized my dormitory had been right across the street from the base chapel. I had never noticed it before or made any attempt to seek it out. I felt so condemned and guilty for the life I had been living. I felt God tugging at my heart. He hadn't forgotten about me. I have proof.
My husband and I first lived in a small 2 bedroom apt for about 6 months and then found a quaint new townhouse to rent. After moving in we were excited to get American neighbors. Dave , Rachel and their son Dave Jr. They were awesome friends and we regularly BBQ'd on the side lawn. They invited me to church. Gotcha! I'm sure that is what the Father was thinking and He had it all planned out. Koza Baptist Church was were I reconnected with my Lord and Savior. I was baptized and loved getting back to what I knew. Dave was working on getting a seminary degree and constantly spoke to my husband about salvation. He was raised Catholic but never really participated growing up. I remember distinctly his words when I invited him to my baptism, "Don't expect me to start going to your church and getting baptized!" Since this is only a blog....a few months later and lots of conversations with Dave (not me) he walked forward and gave his life to Christ and was later baptized. If anything positive came from my first marriage...it's that I know his soul is safe and he is a part of the family of God.
I did feel new after that. Although, I had to constantly remind myself of that when I added divorcee to my resume. That's a story for a different day. However, changing the way I think about myself is what I gleaned from the devotional. I often felt that those 4 years with my first husband made me less of a Christian, less of person and I shared it with no one. It was many years later that God helped me release that guilt and shame. I laid it all down at his feet. The cool thing is that I have been able to share my experience with others that have gone through divorce and shared with them God's words and direction. How awesome it that?
Today, know that God is not a God of condemnation. If God isn't condemning me...I need to remember not to condemn me too.