"O Holy Night" plays on the start page. I love, love this Christmas song! It brings tears to my eyes when I sing it.
My heart I gave to Jesus Christ when I was young and after realizing how much He loved me. It was then that I began a lifetime of learning how to love Him in return; even learning how to be faithful ---loving Him, loving my husband, loving my family.
I had graduated from eighth grade and it was time for all kids my age to go away to attend high school. I had applied to the same high school that my older sister, Millie and two older brothers, Don and Toby, were going to. It was a Bible-based boarding school. I was accepted but there was not any room for me. I waited on pins and needles right up until the plane scheduled to take my older siblings away landed to hear if anyone else had dropped out of attending the school and there was one more bed available. But nope. I stood and watched the plane get smaller and smaller as they flew off to school without me.
Dad said that I should go to Kodiak to go to high school. I balked at that idea. Graciously Mom and Dad remained quiet about the whole situation. I ended up staying at home that year. I think that it was hard for them to send off another child. That had to be so tough on village families then!
Someone (I still don't know to this day who it was), concerned about me being at home, not attending school and probably wondering what I would be busying myself with sent me a correspondence Bible study. It was on the life of Christ. There was a short reading, encouragement to read God's Word, then a quiz to complete. Upon completion of each lesson I folded it up, stuck a stamp on it and mailed it out. About a week later I would get it back with a golden star, a note from Rose Nabinger with a new lesson to complete.
I did it. I would read, I would read. The more I read the hungrier my heart became.
As I read about Jesus Christ in the Gospels and how He had died, my heart was overwhelmed with how much He had loved me. He endured such beatings, and spitting. I had several encounters of being spit on while I was young and that made such an impression on me ---that He endured being spit on! It is so humiliating.
I had always considered myself a "Christian" because ---my parents were! My parents were ostracized because of it. (Old Harbor is a strong Russian Orthodox village.) Even though the village is RO and that church's foundational beliefs are Christian, at that time the attitudes and actions of the people were not Christian towards my parents.
My Dad had been the lay reader of the church and had challenged the church's stand on venerating the icons (pictures) inside the church. My parents spoke with the church leader Targonsky. Finally, Dad and Mom ended up making a decision that they could not continue to attend the church when the people that they loved were encouraged to cross themselves, kneel down and kiss the icons. Their decision was not made lightly.
The result of all that for us kids? The other kids in the village spewed out the words they were hearing at home, "Christian!" "Missionary!" So I THOUGHT ---that is what I am. As I read the Bible and the studies, I soon realized that I was responsible for myself, that I personally had to choose to believe or not to believe. I could not gain Heaven on the merits of my parents, but only on believing God's word myself.
When I was fourteen, I knelt beside my bed and cried. Cried for I had just realized how much God loved an insignificant little girl. I prayed and told Him that I did believe that He was God's Son. I believed all that God's Word said. His Peace overwhelmed my heart that night! At that moment, I knew it was the Truth because the Holy Spirit in my heart confirmed it. I realize that Peace was the Holy Spirit entering my heart ever so gently, ever so triumphantly - never overbearingly.
I am thankful. This is the greatest Valentine story of love.
Because of His love abiding in me --- I can love too.
My home website speaks of Doug's love for me, I thought it would be a good thing to share today. My other loves are there too... my children. I hope that you will have the time to stop by that website for a visit with myself and my family. CLICK HERE.
I hope you have an especially great day - determining once again to faithfully love those around you - God has blessed you.