Sunday, September 3, 2023

GOD Series Blogpost - Sunday School


I had been pondering on who to interview for the God Kiss blog series.  I gave the search to God, and he answered- go reconnect with your old friend, Karen. For you see, we had been neighbors and became good friends back in the mid-1970s & 80s. And life happened and we both moved and lost touch with each other.  And low and behold, I remembered her old land line number… which is amazing since I can hardly remember anyone’s phone number let alone an ancient land line number from over 30 years ago! I called and got ahold of her with my request to be able to share her story about how she became a Christian.  We quickly met for lunch to reconnect and then set a time for me to come out to do the interview. And it was like were never apart for all those years, the friendship was still strong.

Karen recalls growing up in a suburb of Los Angles and while her parents didn’t attend church, they were the ones who showed up for others in times of need.  Their moral compass was always set up for compassion, grace and love of their fellow man.  Karen recalls the story of her mom raising her two siblings after the death of her own mom.  Her grandfather remarried a woman who basically used church as a weapon against her mom and siblings.  So even though attending church wasn’t a high priority of her parents, Karen’s mom and dad were the kind of people you would want in your world.   At around age 7 or 8 Karen asked her mom if she could attend Sunday school with her friend.  The answer was yes, and Karen and her friend would put on a dress every Sunday morning and then Karen’s mom would drive them to church and drop them off.  There Karen embraced the stories told by an amazing teacher.  And then they attended the worship services and embraced the scripture. It was where she learned the scripture John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Fast forward to the teen years, and like many of us at that age, religion was set aside and put on the back burner.   Life revolved around friends, social life which included partying and falling under the influence of our current world.  During the summers, Karen visited Idaho where her older sister lived.  And after high school and a few semesters of junior college, Karen packed her bags and drove to Mud Lake, Idaho to live near her sister & brother-in-law.  Karen landed a job as a legal secretary.  One night she attended a rodeo dance, and her brother in-law introduced her to Rick, a cowboy who was on the rodeo circuit.  Karen recalls that was a rough lifestyle which included a lot of drinking.  They married and Rick decided to leave the rodeo circuit and finish his degree at the University of Idaho.  They bought a home just outside of Moscow which happened to be a house next door to yours truly.  Besides being neighbors, we became good friends.  One day Rick came home with some biblical brochures he had been given.  Rick felt the calling to return to his structured Christian upbringing and recommitted his life to God.  I recall Karen telling me that Rick had become a Christian and we pondered what life would look like since neither of us were walking the Christian pathway.  Karen said for about 6 months that Rick would daily share his concern about her soul going to hell.  Karen was angry and just wanted her old husband back.  Finally Rick gave the situation to God, who also had plans for Karen.  Karen eventually committed her life to Christ and there they began their new life as Christians.  They had two daughters and settled into life as parents along with joining a legalistic centered church as Rick was raised in a stricter traditional setting.  For Karen as a new Christian, she struggled and questioned the church’s mandates/lists of rules that she felt were being placed on her to obtain God’s love. Often it felt that the rules were oppressive and unattainable to appease God. Some of the church practices required women to wear tunics/dresses, have their hair in buns and bake whole wheat bread. That along with submissiveness made Karen question these practices. It often felt that members were simply going through the motions while not living the gospel.  Rick was a faithful, kind, loving husband and father and together he and Karen continued their search for a church that would be a good fit for their family.   Karen began reading a book by Charles Stanley and there she finally felt free, that she embraced and understood how God valued her with or without her hair in a bun, wearing a dress and other lists of rules to adhere to in order to be a good Christian.   She experienced and continues to experience His grace and mercy and feels His presence moving in her life.  When her mother was dying in the hospital, Karen and her dad were there 24/7 taking shifts until the end.  It was shortly after that Karen was approached by a nurse who had witnessed Karen’s behavior along with that of anther Christian nurse and commented “that she wanted whatever they had in their lives” as she saw God’s grace in action.

Today their children are adults, married and leading productive Christian lives.  Rick and Karen are enjoying their lives and love the current church they are attending. As the church’s focus is committed to “preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We want all to be fed by God’s wonderful Word, and be fruitful in Him.”


              “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalm 34:8”


And as always, it is an honor for me to get to hear and share the life stories of others.  May God’s will be your guiding light in all you do.  Gayle

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