Ever have that moment where something that should have been obvious just smacks you upside the head? I had it yesterday. The realization of what one simple change had done to our lives. I was inspired by http://www.goodmorninggirls.org to go ahead and write this story today because it has been knocking around since yesterday.
It has been about 2 ½ years now since that fateful day. It was simple & silly. I was driving my daughter. I can even remember the intersection we were sitting in – which is a miracle since I can’t tell you what I ate for dinner last night. My sweet daughter was in 2nd grade; she looked at me & said: “Mom, I’m tired of all the songs on the radio being about love. Can we try the ‘little ears station’? ”
My first reaction was of course to flip the channel to the station she was asking for Z88.3 (www.zradio.org). My daughter was happy & we continued on the drive. What was happening inside me was a whole other struggle.
I am a child of the 70’s raised on rock & roll and then I moved on to country in my 20’s after a failed relationship tore up my world. Music had defined me in some ways. How was I going to cope with my child listening to the Christian radio station? Ugh. I had tried on my own before to tune into this station and had given up after like 3 songs. Was I just going to have to grit my teeth while I drove with my daughter? What was I going to do without my country music fix?? But next to me sat a precious child recognizing a song from Vacation Bible School or church – and she was happily singing along. Game over, I was just going to have to put up with listening.
Then the strangest little miracle happened. The DJ came on and I was stunned. It was my favorite morning DJ that I had adored listening to on two country stations. They had replaced him & I had yet to find a morning show I actually enjoyed. There on the dial was Ellis B. Feaster. All the reservations I had were now gone. God was tapping me on the shoulder saying – look at what I have for you! We listened that day & the urge was not there to change the channel. That became our radio home, and because they are listener funded it became one of our missions.
Where our family went after the radio dial change was kind of incredible as well. I was raised Catholic – Irish Catholic in New England. Church was a place for social activities. Homilies were bland messages not strike you at the core sermons. The Bible was a book that sat on the shelf and collected dust. You didn’t pick it up and read it! That was left to priests. The church told you what to do; CCD classes explained what we believed. I was taught by my mother the Bible wasn’t true. I can recall her telling me it was stories to explain things to the people of the time, at a level they could understand. Creation was a story to explain evolution & the big bang.
With that mind set, it all didn’t matter much. The Divinci Code – so what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? His teachings are a nice guide to life and as long as I confess to a priest and live a good life – I’m going to heaven. I wanted to marry a man who’d been divorced. So, I just didn’t get married by the church. Religion was a dead thing. I called myself a Christian on the outside, but wasn’t really much of one and I was more of an agnostic. I went along this way for years.
The first rumblings of something needing to change happened when my children were born. They were not healthy born 3 months too soon weighing in around 2 pounds each. It was a time I wish on no one. When they were two weeks old, I got a call that my daughter might not make it to morning. I was home alone. It was late & I wasn’t cleared to drive. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I didn’t call someone to rush me to her bedside; I didn’t call my husband at work to tell him our daughter might not survive. I wrote. I wrote a long and rambling prayer to God to spare my daughter. He spared her, she survived. But the scares kept coming. My mother still a fully entrenched non-practicing Catholic insisted my son be baptized prior to a surgery. So I went through this whole ordeal of having the child baptized – because she believed he’d go to hell if he wasn’t baptized.
NO. I could not believe in that God any longer. The God in my heart would not cast aside a child because they were sick. I had no use for the Catholic Church for myself. For my mother’s sake when my son died at 6 months of age, having never left that hospital bed, we had the Catholic funeral & eventually baptized my daughter. It was all to please my mother. It had nothing to do with God in the slightest. I sought a spiritual path & abandoned all religion.
When my daughter was 3, she asked to go to church. All her friends were going. Off we went to the Presbyterian Church. I found out Bibles were for reading & studying. I heard some sermons that held value. We joined the church. I was forging a new little relationship with God, and eventually Jesus. Then the church we belonged to went through turmoil. The children’s program that brought us there fell apart. We left…but had begun listening to the Christian radio station and our souls were hungry. We NEEDED a church to call home, Jesus had grabbed our hearts.
I was stuck shopping for a new church. We only made it to about 3 before my daughter and I found home. A thriving children’s program. A Bible based church. Sermons that actually hit home, and were full of application for my real life. WOW! Where was this all my life??? My daughter accepted Jesus and asked to be baptized. I was raising a little evangelist! How on earth did that happen? Somewhere in all this transition I had become an optimist. In the middle of a terrible divorce – I had still clung to God and turned out to be an optimist??
Yesterday it struck me one of the driving forces. Changing the dial had been a powerful force. That voice inside my head is singing God’s praises, rather than singing about heartbreak, drugs, sex and other negative forces. My daughter has a shining self-confidence that I certainly did not have at 11. Because what I feed her brain constantly is that she’s a blessed child of God, that being charitable matters. I can see a difference between her and peers without faith. I am amazed at the strength and character my daughter shows. I know part of that comes from her head and heart being filled with praise for our Lord Jesus Christ. One simple change – turning the dial – lead me from doubt into truth and light. Where could a simple change lead you??