Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Give 52 - Week 4: Salt and Light

Salt & Light for John & Colleen Stickl
Give 52 - Week 4
Cheryl Houston 2015
When I met my husband in 2011, I was pretty much on the outs with God.

Well, I was out. God was faithfully waiting on me to open. Open my eyes. Open my heart. Open my mind. Open the door.

Chris had been attending Valley Creek Church for a couple of years and while at dinner on a Saturday night he invited me to go with him the next morning.

This was the moment I was dreading- the moment of invitation but I knew it was important to him so I held on to my open heart and said okay. I think my exact words were, "Okay, but don't expect me to be all churchy with you every week. Me and God have an understanding- stay out of each others business."

Okay, I was the only one in on that agreement.

Pastor John was in the middle of a series called Favor and talking about grace and gratitude. Quietly, my heart responded: "If someone had taught me about grace 20 years ago, it would have probably saved me a lot of heartache and frustration."

And, just like that I was hooked.

When I wasn't able to go with Chris, I was watching online. When he wasn't able to go, I was going by myself. Three years later, I found myself in a baptismal tank getting baptized and we rarely miss a week in the presence of God and our church.

(If one of my family members is reading this and saying, but Cheryl, "You were baptized in 1997 at St. Michael's Catholic Church! I saw you!" I can only say to you that I argued with God about the same exact point for about a year when asking God what my next step was. I would say, "I already did that, God!" But what I came to understand was in 1997 I got baptized to join a family. A family I'm no longer a part of and this time- I got baptized to follow Jesus. And it was pretty wonderful.)

Pastor John and his wife, Colleen, are awesome. Colleen has delivered the Mother's Day message for the last two years and I love it! My whole spiritual journey has been set on lighted path because of the work they do with the church. I've been to a lot of churches throughout my lifetime and the presence of God is so strong in this community. From the worship to teams to the serving teams to the leadership. Top to bottom and in the smiles of everyone's faces.

Our marriage is blessed to be in such a loving, honest place and while I could go on and on about all the different messages that have been spoken directly into my heart and changed my life this really isn't about me. I suggest if you're looking for some spiritual leadership that you join us at Valley Creek Church in Flower Mound. Not in Flower Mound - join us online. They live stream the service every week and have past series in the media archives.

Because of the gift that God has given to Pastor John, I have been blessed and I trust in the good plans that God has for me and my family.

This is my gift. I give it to you.

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