Name is Debbie which means “Bee.”
And when you think of a bee, what words come to mind? Busy as a bee! Doing, moving, making things happen like making honey. You don’t often see bees sitting still! I believe my name fit me very well.
During my spiritual life I was:
Raised in the church and in a family of believers – Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles
Accepted Jesus into my heart at the age of 4
Went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any time the doors were open. (I was raised in the Baptist Church!)
Went to Pioneer Girls – and got my patches.
Excelled at Sword Drills (if you are a Baptist you know what these are!)
Baptized at age of 12
Sang in Kids Choir
Went to High School Youth Group every Wednesday night without fail.
I was the good girl, good student, good daughter, good friend, good, good, good! (Except for those two days in Jr. High) My dad even said once, he thought I was too good.
Didn’t smoke, drink, dance or chew or go with boys who do!
Served in many ministries – kids, youth, High school, college age, single adults, special needs, music, more.
1991 – I left a great job, a great church, a great roommate, and many friends to go to Nashville to help start a church in a city with 800 churches already!
Now, I knew that Jesus died for my sins. But, somewhere in the back of my mind, unspoken, was this belief that I could seal the deal by serving Him faithfully. AND I had this unspoken contract with God that if I did my part and sacrificed to serve Him, He would keep his part of the deal and bring a husband and family with a home to me, as long as I was faithful.
So, I kept doing all the things you do as a Christian, until, that day in Nashville when I decided I had had enough! I was tired of giving, serving, putting my dreams aside to do all the things I thought God wanted me to do. So, I walked away from the church I was helping to start, I told staff at the Christian school where I worked that I would no longer pray with them. I completely pulled away. I was done with God, done with being a Christian, done with church, done with waiting for God to come through. I was done!
I remember sharing my struggle with someone and she said “Debbie, if you never did another thing to serve God, and just sat there, He would love you just as much! His love does not depend on what you do!” And as the tears flowed down my cheeks I said, “I just can’t believe that! I just can’t!” Through all of this, I started to question if God really existed, and if He did, was He good and did He love me?”
Now, when you are raised in the church, and you have some of these hard questions, it can be uncomfortable to talk about with those who are solid in their faith. So, God, in His miraculous ways, took me to England for 6 months to a place called L’Abri which means “The Shelter”in French. And there I learned to stop doing and start being. When I was supposed to be studying like the other students, my tutor, wisely, gave me permission to NOT study and go just BE– sleep, walk, play the piano, read a fun book. I didn’t have to DO anything! I didn’t go to church, didn’t read deep spiritual books like everyone else, didn’t get into deep spiritual conversations.
Instead, I allowed God to gently woo me back to Him as he waited for me to learn that it was all DONE by Him at the cross! I faced some very dark, long, hard days during those months, and there were times when I thought, “If there is no God, or if He isn’t good or loving, then I have no reason to be in this life.” There was one day in particular that I remember it was overcast with dark clouds above. And I suddenly saw the true condition of my soul – the dark, depraved, empty heart that was underneath all the doing. And I came to see my desperate need for a Savior. But, I still clung to the belief that I had some part in my salvation.
In England, the hymn books don’t have music, just the words and the melody of many hymns there are very different than ours here. So, many times, I couldn’t sing the hymns (yes, I did start to go to church at times) and could only sit and listen and God used those words to cut through my stubbornness and pride – When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. Pride in what I had done for God, pride in how good I was. But, apart from God I am NOTHING – and desperately need my Savior to rescue me from myself.
On November 12, 1993, I sat with my tutor, Wade, and I surrendered my heart, desires, and life to Him, completely. The day after Veteran’s Day, my war with God was over. My salvation was DONE in Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
I came home from England and for the next two years, I didn’t serve in the church. I learned to be, just be. There are moments the old me tries to poke her busy bee head up. But, God gently and lovingly reminds me that I am His precious child, loved deeply and completely, even if I sat and never did another thing! God is so good!
So, I can hear you asking, “What does this have to do with being the Runaway Bride?” If I wanted so badly to be married, why did I run away? Good question! More to come! See you next post!