To Read on the Journey

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day

(originally posted June 19th, 2007)

June 19th, 1988- Nothing is worth more than this day.  
In late spring of 1988, when I was 14, a friend invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp, but because my mother worked as a waitress, camp wasn't financially possible (we got the free cheese. Those of you who got the free cheese know what I'm talking about). However, one week before camp the same friend who had invited me phoned to say another girl had cancelled. Her spot for camp was paid in full, and the church, River Oak Grace, wanted me to go in her place.

 I can't say I wanted to go to a Christian camp.  If there was a God, I had a question for Him, "Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it?"
From birth my dad rejected me, and over the years has made it clear to me that I am not his daughter. He was a drug user for 27 years. In 1998 he was arrested.  He served a year in prison, where it was discovered that he is 
Bipolar-Pschitzoaffective. He currently resides in a state hospital.

 A routine weekend visit to my paternal-grandparents at the age of 2 turned into a 3 year stay when my teenage mother decided she couldn't care for me and my younger sister.  When I was 6 my mother returned and regained custody of us.  In the 13 years I lived with her she was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married.  I've had 7 "dads."  

The message conveyed to me by my parents and "step-parents" was that I was not wanted.  Their rejection, abandonment, selfishness and neglect shattered me, and communicated that I was not worthy of being love.
  But God...

I went to camp.

Hume Lake itself was breathtaking. The camp experience was remarkable, and I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of community, eating 3 meals a day, singing (always my favorite), and especially by people who poured into me. 
That week the speaker, Steve Russo, spoke about how "God is a Father who will never leave you or forsake you."  He shared from Romans 8, that "nothing can separate us from the love of God" (tears- it still gets me). I desperately needed that.  Wanted that. 

Wanted a Father who wanted, and was committed to loving me.    
So, on June 19th, 1988, In Hume Lake's Ponderosa Chapel, I took my first steps to my Father God.

And what a journey (journey: to travel from one place to another) it has been since! 

15 years later I wanted to return to Hume with my husband and 3 young children to celebrate with them this day which had forever changed my life.
I hadn't mentioned our plans to anyone, when a couple from our church approached us with an offer to stay at their cabin at Hume Lake FOR FREE! Once again God had orchestrated my going to Hume Lake (oh, how He loves me!)

One morning that week, during a morning walk around the lake, God and I were chatting. He and I revisited the 15 years since I had taken my first steps to Him. I couldn't help but express gratitude for the mighty ways my Savior had worked in my life, and then the sweetest thought occurred to me, and I said, "15 years ago I came here asking 'why did You give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it,' and 15 years later I have the same question for You, 'Why did you give me this Life, I have done nothing to deserve it.'"

I really do not deserve the LORD God's generous love, but I am so so glad it is mine.
I don't deserve Jesus- Savior and Redeemer, but I am so so glad He is mine. 

I don't deserve the Spirit, Who tenderly speaks, leads, knows, but I am so so glad He is mine.     
I don't deserve this Life, but it's mine.


Michelle said...

That's amazing Denise. What a great Father we all have!

togetherforgood said...

He is so good. So very good. Thank you for sharing your birth story. :)

deb said...

I think I commented on this before?

but regardless, it was an honour to read it again.

you are so brave and ooze grace and gratitude.
It is infectious. You radiate Love. I imagine it isn't always easy.

I know it isn't.

I wish you love always.

Alexis said...

Love the full circle true.

Simply Sara said...

i remember this post.
i remember seeing myself in it. different circumstances but the same Grace. the same Father who came and rescued me a life that i too often question what i did to deserve.

love you sweet friend.

{cuppakim} said...

beautiful. what a tragic story, perfectly written by our creator and father - Jesus is everything, ever and always. love this. love that it is your story. :)

love that you went to hume lake. i spent so many summer camps there. God has done some incredible stuff up there. :)

Janelle said...

You are more beautiful than I have words to say.

I love what Deb RADIATE love. In just the short time I have known you I agree.

With tenderness, I protect this new friendship! Love you!

Jessica Johnson said...

Love this redemption story, Denise. SO powerful. Praise God. Now I love Hume Lake 500 times more :)

hannah singer said...

all things new.
i love you. weeping for joy, at your beautiful life. so grateful for jesus, his cross, his resurrection!
i'm glad we're sisters in HIM.
i was redeemed eleven years after you!
praise jesus!

2 Samuel 22:29-31
For you are my lamp, O Lord,
and my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

mama holly said...

This is worth a fresh read - and guess what???? 16 years before you stepped into Ponderosa Chapel - I stepped into Ponderosa Chapel and met our Lord and Savior. I love how God blesses us with "circumstances."