One of the first things I do every morning is go outside with my dog, Beth, and sit. If it is raining, I sit and look out the window and drink coffee. I think about how God has made such a beautiful world for me and is giving me another day to enjoy. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the many sounds I hear are calming and peaceful.

I need those sounds every day to give me a sense of calm in my life; to be so very grateful of God’s grace. I pray, thanking Him for giving me another day to dedicate to Him. I need Him in my life. I cannot live without Him, and I don’t want to.

There was a time in my life I was “just surviving” in the world. I felt bitter and alone. It was just awful. I had become so negative about life. I was nothing beautiful at all. It was pretty bleak. I was just surviving.

I was raised in the church and decided my family of three needed to go back to church. It never occurred to me (until later) that God was telling me to come back to Him, and bring my children (I was not smart enough to know he was talking to me). I needed to get back to Him so I could address my issues (baggage) that I had been carrying around and bring calmness and growth in God back into my life and the life of my children.

With my new church family, my family started to grow. It provided the help I needed for my children in Sunday school, church outings and fellowship. I started Bible study and through that, I found the most loving and gracious God. I found out he was flat “Crazy” about ME. I discovered I was never alone. He was always with me. Loving me, guiding me (when I asked for guidance and when I did not) and forgiving me. Through that process I really started to understand and grow in this world God created. It was a slow process for me, as my anger and attitude about life in general, stunk. I had to regroup (forgive and learn not to “just survive”).

God does not like any kind of baggage for his children. This baggage keeps pain alive and tries to push out the love of God, love of family, and love of friends. In Ephesians Paul talks about the love and forgiveness of this type of baggage and letting it go. When I read about that, a “light bulb” went off for me (at times, I am little slow). I just flat decided that being bitter and keeping the pain alive is wrong. These feelings are “not of God”. I had to learn to forgive all in order to have the calmness God wants me to have. Once I did that, my world (the world God made for us) helped me not to just survive, but to move on and forward in life.

No matter where I was in life, I was moving. My baggage was easier to deal with as I let so much of it go away. It took a lot of time to change in this aspect of my life. At first it was not easy. The funny thing about it was it was no longer a chore to be in the world. Do I ever get hurt or angry? Yes I do. Does it stay with me? No it doesn’t. I am no longer easy prey.

I still like to be outside listening to the sounds. I believe God knows that. When I moved to Jacksonville, I found a new church with a new church family that helps me grow, and continue to have peace. There is a bird (I believe God sends to me) that will sit on my roof most days and sing. When it sings, the sound is so loud that it travels throughout the house. I smile as it reminds me that God is telling me I need to keep moving and growing.

Marilyn Lecy

Lay Servant