It seems some Christians come to know the Lord and start flexing their faith muscles at the same time they’re weaned to solid food. But others – and I speak particularly for myself – muddle and slip and slide and fall and slide some more – before they hear the voice of God and understand He is calling to them.
Throughout my childhood, all during my young adulthood, past middle age and then, yes, to that age of distinction and grandchildren I knew people and had friends who not only went to church but who also actually believed what they learned there.
Me, I had heard the Bible stories, had even gone to the rail during an altar call, served as an officer at my church’s youth group and joined a quasi-religious sorority. But believe? Really, I was right there with Saul of Tarsus, the “worst of sinners.” Really, I was.
While I sinned, I also wrote and published and spoke publicly and very definitely in, of and to the world. Two sons were born to my first marriage, and I forsook God’s grace for my children and for that union.
Saul had his Damascus Road encounter with Jesus. I had so many brushes with His love that I can’t count them, but I closed my ears, ears and heart to what He was saying. Then, with the rest of the world, I watched in stunned horror as the Twin Towers fell and the unspeakable evil that is satan mock the goodness of God.
Something deep in me cracked. And for the next few years a true softening came over me. I began watching, on the sly, Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn and T.D. Jakes on TV. One morning about three years after the towers fell Joyce had an altar call – probably had it months earlier, but for me it was a cold, blustery January day outside my home and a city on a hill inside. I fell to my knees in my living room, stretched my hand toward the flickering screen and said, “Jesus, save me.”
You know what? He did! He took my trembling hand and my clutched heart and He said, “Come home to Me.” And you know what else? I did!
At age 54, when lots of folks are looking forward to retirement and slowing down and goofing off, I found myself on fire for Jesus, joined the wonderful Faith Freedom Fellowship church family in Fairplay, CO, and began consuming the Word of God with unquenchable desire.
Pastor Grady Miller and his wife Jody mentored me and led me into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Eight years later, on Sept. 9, 2012, in before my family and friends and with my husband Abe at my side, I was ordained into the ministry of serving God by Pastor Harvey Wittmier of Crossfire Church, CrossFire International Alliance and Deborah Ministries.
Now as Pastor Kathleen Gaspar of Faith Freedom Footsteps, I minister every Sunday to residents at Florence Care Home and to veterans at Bruce McCandless State Veterans Nursing Home, also in Florence, CO. Less frequently I lead non-denominational services at St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City where I am part of the Spiritual Care Team.
Most of my congregation have cognition “issues,” not always remembering me but always, always, always remembering the lyrics to “Amazing Grace,” “How Great Thou Art” and “God Bless America.”
God blessed me with a gentle ministry – these lovely people know Him and are so eager to praise Him as they await His call to come home to eternity.
Is my story unique? Surely not, but on that day – “On that day…” – that the hand of my God pulled me out the pit that held me fast for so many years, the movie of my life played like nothing I’d ever seen before and nothing I ever wanted to see again.
The eyes of my heart saw Jesus and His love in front of me, and the eyes of my heart saw and heard and felt, as He lifted me up, the bleak existence I was leaving behind. I know real love, steadfast love, tender mercies and loving kindness. I know Jesus.
“For you did not choose Me, but I chose you…,” Jesus said. Thank You, Lord!
Amen and hallelujah.