I realized, that I am deeply thankful for all the people in my lives. Specifically, those on the Christian walk with me right now. As I look back over the past year, I am in awe of how God has strategically placed certain people in my life that have helped shape me. At the beginning of the year, I only have one passionate Christian friend and she always lived in another state than me - whether that be NC or Southern CA. Now, I am surrounded by passionate people for Christ. I am in awe and really humbled.
Looking to those in my life - it's very easy to become almost intimidated by their passion and obediance to Jesus. I look to NC and see this amazing mother, wife, and daughter who is so genuine in her walk with Jesus and so amazing - today I realized she's more than a mentor, she's in every sense my "spiritual mother" (yes I've always thought it odd that Protestants use this term, but I really understand it now). She's been my best friend, my mentor, someone who patiently allows me to vent and always has given my sound advice. She's prayed for me, she's counseled me, she's been there. I am so grateful for her friendship and most of all - her example. It's a true living testimony to God the way she lives her life and the attitudes that she has.
The leaders within Grace Point - many of them have really helped shape my walk. From our small group leader and his amazing wife who is just so awesome. They are so down to Earth, understanding, and even thought they don't acknowledge it - compassionate. Shh - don't tell anyone. ;) To our Pastor and his wife who have been so welcoming to our family (even when our kids misbehaved during small group), patient with my endless emails with questions and confusion, and most importantly - just allows God to use them in such incrediable ways. And the example they set - knowingly or not - on the dynamics of a godly family.
For those in my Sunday night small group - who God used to get the ball rolling over a year ago. They are amazing and so loving and they really are family. Manna Church - who I listen to every week and their convicting, funny, meaty sermons that I have grown to love so dearly.
Jesus. Ah - without Jesus none of it is worth it. I can't not cry when I think of His ultimate sacrifice for me when I was still so ungodly.
My husband - I know he seems a bit low on the totempole doesn't he? But out of everyone, he's my biggest hero. Because I may see the victories in others lives - but I see his stumbles everyday. And yet, to see where he was just even seven months ago to where he is now, just blows my mind. Men seem to keep everything close to their "vest" I suppose, so perhaps I'm the only one who has really noticed so many vast differences in my husband. From the way he drives, to the desire to share the gospel, to the man he is at home. He makes me a bit jealous in all honesty - he's transformed so amazingly and God works more and more on and in him everyday. He is an inspiration to me. He is my best friend, my soul mate, my second most important companion on this journey. I cannot imagine what life would be like had I been the only one under conviction from God to leave the LDS church - but he's been so faithful to God. Letting go even when scared. (Shhh - he likes to pretend he never gets scared.) Trusting, even when I think everything in him doesn't want to. And serving in the most mind blowing ways. And I'm blessed to be married to him. God surely most have made a mistake, I don't deserve such an amazing husband and friend.
My parents - I love them. I can't claim to know their hearts or walk with God, so I simply hope that their on it. Hand in hand with Him.
And while thinking of these amazing people, during small group tonight the question arose - paraphrasing here, what does an authentic and passionate Christian look like to you (or something like that). And I began to think about all these people. Our pastor and his family are inspirational to me. They came here to Vegas without any real knowledge that GP would succeed - and it seems to me that church plants are a risky venture. That's frightening obediance to God's call right there. Barbie - she dies to self daily, DAILY. I don't think she'll ever fully understand what an example she sets for me - or how much she gives me just in our daily conversations. Jean - she didn't even really know me that well, but came to the rescue when I thought I was drowning in my sin and disobedience to God. She let me cry, she comforted me, she allowed God to use her. Donny - my small group leader and his wife Wendy. Amazing amazing people. I can't even begin to list all the amazing things they've done or poured into our family and our lives. So I stand in the shadow of these amazing and obedient people and for a moment, I forget that they're sinners just like me. That they have struggles and ups and downs, and I just bask in my own shortcomings.
I don't know my Bible like Barbie, I don't submit like her. I'm not good with kids like my friend Kelly (even if she denies it), or a patient friend like Jean. I'm not fearlessly obedient like the Hudson family, or a tireless sacrificial servant like Donny and Wendy. I'm not any of these things. And then, I'm grounded and realize that while I'm not any of these things - I am so grateful that they all are. And I can only pray, that perhaps a little of what I admire most about them, will rub off on me so to speak and transform my life a little bit more to the image of Christ.
Thank you God.