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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ultimate Blog Swap -

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Open Eye Health  about Green Living , and I’m excited to welcome Jeri to Granola Catholic
Shaffer wedding_hand kiss on lawn

I wasn't sure what to write for this guest post at first. After all, I am a non-Catholic, un-green mother of four who is more squishy than crunchy (and I had to look up the definition of frugal). But as women, mothers, world citizens and Christians, we are really much more alike than our About pages would suggest. With that realization in mind, I have decided to write about faith.
As a child, my family did not attend church; not religiously at least. So, I did not grow up hearing Bible stories. My parents did join a church and when I started going to youth activities with friends. While I am sure that faith is tricky for many life-long church goers, I wonder sometimes if faith would be easier for me if the concept had been introduced earlier. It doesn't really matter, because as it turns out, faith would find me and plant itself in my heart in a way that I could not ignore.
My first lesson in faith was a parting gift from an ex-boyfriend. I was a 21 year-old college student living in Florida. I was certain I had found the man I would marry in a Marine stationed in Hawaii, but youth and distance led to a break-up. I took my broken heart to church and I began to study the Bible. My tearful prayers were usually something like:
Dear God, please help me as I accept that marrying Marine is not part of your divine plan for my life. Help me, God, as I surrender to Your will. But, if you could re-consider, because I can't believe that there is anyone on the planet better suited for me. Please, please have Marine call me and fix this.

Sigh. I had sympathetic ears at church, but none more so than Rodney, who often filled in as my Sunday school teacher. Rodney listened patiently for over a year as I mourned the death of this relationship. One day, on his way home from work, Rodney stopped by. I launched into my typical song of heart break and torture, but Rodney was no longer sympathetic. He said to me, “Wow. If you can't move past this, you are going to be an old lady who lives with 15 cats and scares the kids in the neighborhood.” Move past this. Not get over it or stop hurting. Accept and move on.
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

I was stuck in the past because I didn't have faith that God had a future planned for me. Soon after that chat with Rodney (who is now a pastor), I saw the man who would be my husband. At church. I still had a couple of bad relationships to learn from and he was dating someone else at the time. But eventually, we would marry in the church God led me to when I was wounded and needed comfort. And faith.
Today, I am so often amazed that God loves me enough to pick James for me. He isn't perfect (he is a man, after all), but he loves me perfectly. James softens my rough edges and fortifies my weaknesses. James believes in me; when James looks at me, he sees the very best of who I am. Just as God intended. This is the love God planned for me. Knowing that brings me to my knees. Knowing that James was chosen for me is the only proof of God's love for me that I will ever need.
Faith is not constant. Faith, for me, ebbs and flows. But I never have to look far to find evidence that God has a plan for me, and it is so much better than anything I could wish for myself.
Jeri Nowlin Shaffer lives in Pensacola, Florida with her husband and their four children. With a B.S. in Elementary Education, Jeri is currently a stay-at-home mother and freelace writer. Learn more from her blog,

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